This book highlights the complex identity crises among many Christians as they negotiate their new identities, religious ideas and convictions as both Christians and members of Nigerian-African societies of indigenous religious traditions and identities. Through an interdisciplinary interpretation of religious practices and educational issues in teaching and ritual training, the author provides tools to help analyse empirical cases. These include the negotiation processes among Christians, with focus on the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria (PCN) and members of the Ogo society within the Amasiri, Afikpo North Local Government Area, Ebonyi state, in South-eastern Nigeria.
Identifying the power dynamic, identity, role and influence of indigenous religions on Christians and the Ogo society, this book reveals the limited interactions between many Christians and members of the Ogo society. Questions explored include: what makes the Ogo society an integral part of the socio-religious life of Amasiri and what powers and identity does it confer on the initiates; how is the PCN within Amasiri responding to the Ogo society through its religious practices such as baptism, confirmation, local auxiliary ministries and organisational structure; and how does the understanding and application of conversion within the PCN impact on its members’ response to the Ogo society? Demonstrating how complex religious identities and practices of Nigerian-African Christians can balance mission-influenced Christianity with indigenous religious traditions and identities, this book recognises the importance of appropriating the powers of indigenous cultures, ingenuity and creativity in the construction and preservation of community identities. As such, it will be of keen interest to scholars of Christian theology, indigenous religious practice and African lived religion.
Table of Contents
1 Historical and Socio-Political Background
2 Ritual Processes and the Ogo Society
3 Implications of Initiation into the Ogo Society
4 Locating the United Presbyterian Church (UPC) Within Local and Global Landscapes
5 Religious Conversion: Transition and Transmission
6 Negotiating Culture and Identity
7 Towards Dialogue: Christianity and the Ogo Society
8 Theoretical Reflections on the Ogo Society
Elijah Obinna currently lives in Scotland where he serves as a minister of the Church of Scotland. He was formerly a senior lecturer and Director of Research and Postgraduate Studies at Hugh Goldie Lay/Theological Training Institution, Arochukwu (in affiliation with Abia State University, Uturu), Abia State, Nigeria and a visiting assistant professor at the University of Missouri, Columbia, USA (2011–2012). Obinna obtained his PhD from the University of Edinburgh, UK. He is the co-editor of Christianity in the Modern World: Changes and Controversies (2014); and author of Scottish Missionaries in Nigeria: Foundation, Transformation and Development, 1927–1944 (2013) and many articles and book chapters in learned publications.