Take & Read: New titles in Global Christianity
By Maria José de Abreu
Duke University Press
This is not the first book to discuss Brazil’s Catholic charismatic renewal, but it is assuredly the first to apply this particular approach. Working from the concept of pneuma, which connotes both breath and spirit, Maria José de Abreu studies the role of breathing human bodies in the culture and theology of pneumatic, Spirit-based faith. She makes innovative observations about the material environment of charismatic worship, including airy tents, arenas, and outdoor settings. Churches speak of “the aerobics of Jesus” and preach both physical and spiritual “body-building.” De Abreu links these beliefs and practices to the mass media world that is critical to Pentecostal success. (Are not such programs always “on the air”?) Her theoretical language may puzzle the uninitiated, but her insights are provocative and demand application beyond the Latin American context.