About prayer abjection and urgency in an American Holiness Church

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This article explicates how, among members of the Nazarene church in upstate New York, forms of social abjection become a religious good through the pastor's sermons and the symbolic labor of prayer. It examines what it means to circulate issues, weaknesses, and bodily ailments in prayer, and to transform them into power, chosenness, and the promise of the wrath of God. More specifically, the appeal and efficacy of sermon and prayer is largely dependent on the experience of social abjection of the parishioners. The expectation of relief that the community so intensely desires enables the pastor to create the hallucinatory reality he is summoning. Reflecting on a series of religious experiences of one particular member of that community, this article demonstrates how Nazarene religiosity is nurtured by mundane experiences of loneliness and social neglect, which find their most acute expression in the identification of malevolent intent and evil.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)235-265
Number of pages31
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


  • Christianity
  • Ethnography
  • Evil
  • Nazarene
  • Prayer
  • Religion
  • Social abjection
  • Symbolic labor
  • United States


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