Death in a Church of Life, by Klaits, Frederick
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- ISBN: 9780520259669 | 0520259661
- Cover: Paperback
- Copyright: 2/8/2010
This deeply insightful ethnography explores the healing power of caring and intimacy in a small, closely bonded Apostolic congregation during Botswana's HIV/AIDS pandemic.Death in a Church of Lifepaints a vivid picture of how members of the Baitshepi Church make strenuous efforts to sustain loving relationships amid widespread illness and death. Over the course of long-term fieldwork, Frederick Klaits discovered Baitshepi's distinctly maternal ethos and the "spiritual" kinship embodied in the church's nurturing fellowship practice. Klaits shows that for Baitshepi members, Christian faith is a form of moral passion that counters practices of divination and witchcraftwith redemptive hymn singing, prayer, and the use of therapeutic substances. Besides providing vital ethnographic detail on how AIDS is understood on a local level,Death in a Church of Lifeasserts the importance of love and care, challenging the dominant view that sickness and death inevitably foster resentment and blame in African social life. An online audio annex makes available examples of the church members' preaching and song.