Every Time I Feel the Spirit: Religious Experience and Ritual in an African American Church

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NYU Press, 2005 - 222 pages

Dreams and visions, prophetic words from God about "dusty souls," speaking in tongues while "in the spirit"—narratives of these and similar events comprise the heart of Every Time I Feel the Spirit. This in-depth study of a Black congregation in Charleston, South Carolina provides a window into the tremendously important yet still largely overlooked world of African American religion as the faith is lived by ordinary believers.
For decades, scholars have been preoccupied with the relation between Black Christianity, civil rights, and social activism. Every Time I Feel the Spirit is about black religion as religion. It focuses on the everyday experience of religion in the church, congregants' relationships with God, and the role that God and Satan play in congregants' lives—not only as objects of belief but as actual agents. It explores the concepts of religious experience and religious ritual, while emphasizing the attributions that people make to the operation of spiritual forces and beings in their lives.
Through interviews and field work, Nelson uncovers what religious people themselves see as important about their faith while extending and refining sociological understandings of religious ritual and religious experience.

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Contents

Gods House in the Holy City
13
Religious Experience and Ritual
46
Do You Really Know Who God Is?
64
On the Battlefield
93
In Spirit and in Truth
116
Sacrifice of Praise
145
Race Class and Religion
172
Belief Experience and Ritual
192
Notes
209
Copyright

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Page 94 - The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD."* Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down.
Page 136 - You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.
Page 35 - There is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body, parts, or passions ; of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness; the Maker and Preserver of all things both visible and invisible. And in unity of this Godhead, there be three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
Page 73 - Other refuge have I none ; Hangs my helpless soul on Thee ; Leave, ah, leave me not alone ; Still support and comfort me. All my trust on Thee is stayed ; All my help from Thee I bring ; Cover my defenceless head "With the shadow of Thy wing.
Page 34 - Son Our Lord, and that he was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, that he suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried, that he went down into hell, and also did rise again the third day, that he ascended into heaven and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, and from thence shall come again at the end of the world, to judge the quick and the dead?
Page 35 - THE Son, which is the Word of the Father, begotten from everlasting of the Father, the very and eternal God of one substance with the Father, took man's nature in the Womb of the blessed Virgin, of her substance : so that two whole and perfect natures, that is to say, the Godhead and manhood, were joined together in one person, never to be divided, whereof is one Christ, very God, and very man...
Page 100 - Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places].
Page 117 - For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
Page 35 - Christ. CHRIST did truly rise again from death, and took again his body, with flesh, bones, and all things appertaining to the perfection of Man's nature ; wherewith he ascended into Heaven, and there sitteth, until he return to judge all Men at the last day.

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About the author (2005)

Timothy J. Nelson is senior lecturer in sociology and assistant research professor in the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University.

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