Short-Term Mission An Ethnography of Christian Travel Narrative and Experience

ISBN-10: 0830839739

ISBN-13: 9780830839735

Edition: 2012

Authors: Brian M. Howell

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Over the past few decades, short-term mission trips have exploded in popularity. With easy access to affordable air travel, millions of American Christians have journeyed internationally for ministry, service and evangelism. Short-term trips are praised for involving many in global mission but also critiqued for their limitations.Despite the diversity of destinations, certain universal commonalities emerge in how mission trip participants describe their experiences: "My eyes were opened to the world's needs." "They ministered to us more than we ministered to them." "It changed my life."Anthropologist Brian Howell explores the narrative shape of short-term mission (STM). Drawing on the anthropology of tourism and pilgrimage, he shows how STM combines these elements with Christian purposes of mission to create its own distinct narrative. He provides a careful historical survey of the development of STM and then offers an in-depth ethnographic study of a particular mission trip to the Dominican Republic. He explores how participants remember and interpret their experiences, and he unpacks the implications for how North American churches understand mission, grapple with poverty and relate to the larger global church.This groundbreaking book sheds light on how American Christians undertake short-term mission. It is important reading for all who celebrate or lament what happens when Christians travel overseas.
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Book details

List price: $24.00
Copyright year: 2012
Publisher: InterVarsity Press
Publication date: 10/7/2012
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 256
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.990
Language: English

Brian M. Howell (PhD, Washington University) is associate professor of anthropology at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, where he regularly teaches introductory anthropology courses. His books and articles have focused on ethnography of the Philippines, anthropology of religion, faith integration, and Christian missions.

Preface and Acknowledgments
Introducing Narratives
"It Changed My Life"
Short-Term Mission and Christian Narratives of Travel
"Are You for Them or Against Them?"
Defining Short-Term Mission
The History of a Narrative
"That's No Missionary!"
Redefining Mission and the Missionary Establishment
"Youth Try the Impossible!"
Youth Movements and Short-Term Mission
"It Will Change Your Life"
Short-Term Mission and Central Wheaton Church
Traveling Narratives
"Remember, These Are Real Missions"
Embodying a Missionary Narrative at Central Wheaton Church
"Pour Out Your Soul"
Living the Narrative of Short-Term Mission
"Of Course You Always Grow Close to God on a Mission Trip"
(Re)narrating a Short-Term Mission Trip
The Future of the Narrative
"Just Bring Greetings"
Creating a New Narrative for Short-Term Mission
"And What Does the Lord Require of You?"
Suggestions and an Encouraging Postscript
Notes on Transcription
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