Obinna, “Identity Crises and Indigenous Religious Traditions”

In February, Routledge released Identity Crises and Indigenous Religious Traditions: Exploring Nigerian-African Christian Societies by Elijah Obinna (Corsock and Kirkpatrick-Durham Church). The publisher’s description follows:

Nigerian ChurchThis 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.

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