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‘Won't you break free?’ An ethnography of music and the divine-human encounter at an Australian Pentecostal Church

Jennings, M. (2008) ‘Won't you break free?’ An ethnography of music and the divine-human encounter at an Australian Pentecostal Church. Culture and Religion, 9 (2). pp. 161-174.

Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14755610802211544
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Abstract

This paper is based on ethnography of the ‘worship time’ at ‘Breakfree’ Church, a Pentecostal congregation in suburban Perth. I begin by exploring the ritualistic ways in which music is used to catalyse an ecstatic experience. Making use of the metaphor of ‘break free’, borrowed from a popular worship song, I demonstrate that music is used in deliberate ways to assist people in leaving behind the profane and encountering the sacred. Drawing on the thought of theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher and philosopher Paul Ricoeur, I explore the ways music facilitates and symbolises this experience. I demonstrate that for church members, the ecstatic divine-human encounter is the centre of their church worship and the antidote to difficult experiences such as grief or illness.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Social Sciences and Humanities
Publisher: Routledge as part of the Taylor and Francis Group
Copyright: 2008 Taylor & Francis
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/24039
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