Forthcoming, Oxford University Press, 2014 –
The Deconstructed Church: Understanding Emerging Christianity co-authored with Gerardo Marti
“Christianity is the only mad religion; which is perhaps, the explanation for its survival—it deconstructs itself and survives by deconstructing itself.” — Jacques Derrida
The Emerging Church Movement (ECM) is a reform movement within Western Christianity that reacts against its roots in conservative evangelicalism by “de-constructing” contemporary expressions of Christianity. Emerging Christians see themselves as overturning out-dated interpretations of the bible, transforming hierarchical religious institutions, and re-orientating Christianity to step outside the walls of church buildings toward working among and serving others in the “real world.”
Drawing on ethnographic observations from emerging congregations, pub churches, neo-monastic communities, conferences, online networks, in-depth interviews, and congregational surveys in the US, UK, and Ireland, this book provides a comprehensive social scientific analysis of the development and significance of the ECM. Emerging Christians are shaping a distinct religious orientation that encourages individualism, deep relationships with others, new ideas around the nature of truth, doubt, and God, and innovations in preaching, worship, Eucharist, and leadership.
More than other expressions of Christianity, the ECM simultaneously reacts against modernity while drawing on distinctly modern conceptions of self and community to produce a form of religiosity well-suited to our era. The significance of the ECM extends far beyond the individuals and congregations that identify with the movement as the imperatives that drive this movement accentuate what is driving the future of Western Christianity.
Evangelical Journeys: Choice and Change in a Northern Irish Religious Subculture, co-authored with Claire Mitchell
This book, co-authored with Dr Claire Mitchell, was published by UCD Press in 2011. It draws on interview material with more than 100 evangelicals. We ask why do people born into the same religious community turn out so differently? We tell the stories of pro-life DUP picketers, liberal peace-campaigning ministers, housewives afraid of the devil, students deconstructing their faith and atheists mortified by their religious past. We explore why people have chosen to go in one religious direction or another, and how their religious journeys have unfolded.
You can order the book on the UCD Press Website
Evangelicalism and Conflict in Northern Ireland
Prof. John Brewer of the University of Aberdeen has written about the book:
“This is a remarkable first book by an excellent young scholar. It recognizes the importance of religion to Northern Ireland’s sectarian conflict, while not reducing it to a religious war. Above all, it sees religion as a site of reconciliation as much as contest. It is based on impressive empirical analysis that displays the qualities of her insider knowledge, deriving from Ganiel’s extensive period of fieldwork in the North of Ireland and her own evangelical beliefs, but also her outsider status as a North American social scientist, which gives the volume enormous sensitivity as well as a sense of balance. Evangelicals are a key sector of Northern Irish Protestantism, perhaps the dominant theological position within the Reformed tradition there, and Ganiel documents the transitions that are occurring in evangelical identities in Northern Ireland. The arguments are optimistic for Northern Ireland’s future and fully consistent with the country’s latest political developments. Politics, theology and ethnography elide in this volume in wonderfully fertile ways that make it a pleasure to read.”
Writing in Anthropology News, William Girard says:
“Ganiel presents the world of Northern Ireland’s Evangelical communities in an engaging and convincing manner…The fact that Ganiel documents how these Evangelical communities transform in response to policies of the state underscores her larger critique of the modern secular vision of autonomous social spheres…Ganiel’s book offers an important contribution to the theoretical categories in the anthropology of Evangelicalism.”
The book was launched in Belfast on 15 September 2008 by Canon David Porter, the director of the Centre for Reconciliation at Coventry Cathedral. Porter said the book challenged evangelicals to think about their commitment to social justice and Christian unity. He urged evangelicals in Northern Ireland not to retreat into pietism or moralism. The book was launched in Dublin on 26 November 2008 by Prof. Jennifer Todd of the School of Politics and International Relations at University College Dublin. She praised Ganiel’s book for documenting important changes in evangelicalism, demonstrating how change occurs at the micro-level, and recognizing the impact of this on politics.