Death in a Church of Life: Moral Passion During Botswana's Time of AIDS

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University of California Press, 2010 - Religion - 352 pages
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This deeply insightful ethnography explores the healing power of caring and intimacy in a small, closely bonded Apostolic congregation during Botswana's HIV/AIDS pandemic. Death in a Church of Life paints a vivid picture of how members of the Baitshepi Church make strenuous efforts to sustain loving relationships amid widespread illness and death. Over the course of long-term fieldwork, Frederick Klaits discovered Baitshepi's distinctly maternal ethos and the "spiritual" kinship embodied in the church's nurturing fellowship practice. Klaits shows that for Baitshepi members, Christian faith is a form of moral passion that counters practices of divination and witchcraftwith redemptive hymn singing, prayer, and the use of therapeutic substances. Besides providing vital ethnographic detail on how AIDS is understood on a local level, Death in a Church of Life asserts the importance of love and care, challenging the dominant view that sickness and death inevitably foster resentment and blame in African social life. An online audio annex makes available examples of the church members' preaching and song.
 

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Contents

MORAL PASSION IN SUFFERING AND FAITH
1
WHOSE CHILD?
37
GO WITH ME TO BABYLON THE DOMESTICATION OF INEQUALITY
82
CLEANSING THE SPIRIT THE BODILINESS OF SENTIMENT AND FAITH
122
SPIRIT FOLLOW THE VOICE VOICE AND THE MAKING OF INTERSUBJECTIVITIES
163
IT IS ALL RIGHT AS LONG AS WE FEEL SORROW CARE FOR AND BY THE DYING
213
YOU MUST NOT LOOK BACK CIVILITY IN THE PLACE OF DEATH
246
PUTTING LOVE INTO WORDS
279
ONE
289
TWO
297
NOTES
305
REFERENCES
325
INDEX
343
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About the author (2010)

Frederick Klaits, a cultural anthropologist, teaches in the Thompson Writing Program at Duke University.

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