Spirit-Empowered Migrants in the Anthropocene: The Defining Role of the Spirit in the Entanglements of Charismatic Evangelical Churches, Latin American Migration and the Spanish Public Sphere
AbstractSince the 1990s, migration from Latin America has had a considerable impact on the Spanish religious landscape. Many charismatic evangelical churches in major cities like Madrid and Barcelona are filled to the brim with migrants who have crossed the Atlantic. These charismatic evangelical churches – with a considerable Latin American presence – are, moreover, increasingly stepping into the Spanish public sphere. In this paper, I will focus in particular on charismatic-evangelical-church-run foodbanks as an exemplification of this increasing public presence. In these foodbanks, a complex space with a multitude of complex entanglements between Latin American migration, the Spanish public sphere, and charismatic religious beliefs and practices come to light. The questions this paper strives to answer are twofold. Firstly, how might I make sense of a space with a multitude of entanglements through the concept of the Anthropocene? I will particularly focus on Latour’s understanding of the Anthropocene, as he demonstrates its relevance beyond questions relating directly to the climate crisis. Secondly, how might Tillich’s theology of the Spirit bring to light the defining role of the Spirit for migrant charismatic evangelical communities in such complex spaces? The answers to these questions will be based on ethnographic research conducted among charismatic-evangelical-church-run foodbanks, which were mainly run by Latin American migrant volunteers. This ethnographic research was conducted over the course of a year, between February 2021 and January 2022, in southern Madrid. In this paper, I will demonstrate the defining role of the Spirit for migrant charismatic evangelical communities in navigating the complex realities as understood through the concept of Anthropocene, moreover demonstrating how the Spirit enables entanglements and connections which are salutary for the life of these charismatic migrant individuals and communities.
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