On How Religion Creates New Life-stories
The book will be essential assigned reading in university courses in development studies, anthropology, and missiology.
Chapter 8. Restoring Dignity
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Ever since I came to know Malagasy people as a little girl, and later as an adult, I have been struck by how prevalent and visible the struggle for basic human dignity is for many people in Madagascar, especially when faced with poverty. In this book I have sought to share, through anthropological work and human encounters, my experiences from a life-long relationship with this country. What I have seen, and what I have presented in this book, are stories of lived lives and experiences of the human dignity of people who live in Madagascar, a society that survives in a context of vulnerability, both social and economic. The stories show how everyday life is lived when there are unfulfilled needs and when decent living conditions are but a dream. The book is primarily concerned with commitment to Christianity in a changing society, and focuses on church members’ experiences of the diaconal work of the Lutheran church in the context of their everyday lives. Stories of individuals tell of lives in which many have met compassion and participation, and of how individuals and institutions have given priority to the task of upholding human dignity.
I have wished to describe the significance of the diaconal work of the church and how new opportunities and challenges create new life stories and changes in people’s experience of human dignity. The conclusion I have come to is that local people’s commitment to Christianity...
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