Worship bricolage and the characterization of Protestant congregations in contemporary China

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract / Description of output

Despite the significant growth in research on Christianity in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in the last two decades, there is still a dearth of scholarship on the everyday religious practices of church congregations. A general trend within the broad literature on Christianity in the PRC is to present an oversimplified distinction between “house churches” and “Three-Self churches” and to characterize these churches in particular ways. Based on extensive ethnographic research in Protestant congregations in a single city in Huadong, this chapter challenges this distinction and some of the characterizations by examining the worship practices of different congregations, with a particular emphasis on congregational Sunday worship gatherings. It will argue that the characterizations which are used to present a clear distinction between these two congregation types become much less apparent when we examine the worship practices and processes of bricolage which churches engage in to construct their worship aesthetic. The chapter will further our understanding of worship practices and resources in contemporary China and encourage us to rethink the categories we use when we approach Christianities in the PRC. © 2024 selection and editorial matter, Joshua Mauldin individual chapters, the contributors.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPolitical Theology in Chinese Society
EditorsJoshua Mauldin
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781003380177
ISBN (Print)9781040032688 , 9781032446585
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jun 2024


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