Visible Religion: Pentecostal and Orthodox Christians

 Pentecostal women stand and sing during a church service

Module 1: Pentecostal Christians

Resources:

Readings:

Discussion Questions:

  • What role did Blacks play in the early history of Pentecostalism? What is the racial makeup of today's typical suburban American Pentecostal church? Why do you think a white suburbanite might prefer an all-white congregation? What would such a person miss out on?
  • What are some of the key beliefs of Pentecostal Christians that you found interesting? Inspiring? Confusing?
  • How are women treated in Pentecostal churches compared to the Catholic Church? How does this influence their differing customs and rituals?
  • The Pentecostal movement has a significant influence in Africa, primarily Nigeria. What about African cultures do you think influenced the pillars of the Pentecostal movement?
  • How does women's clothing in Pentecostal churches differ from in other denominations? How does men's clothing differ? What do you find interesting about Pentecostal Christians' strict rules about dress for women specifically? Do you think this is beneficial?
  • What kind of behaviors are seen as unsuitable for Pentecostal Christians?

Homework:

  • Have each student write a compare-and contrast-list of Pentecostal beliefs compared to another kind of Christianity of the student's choice.
  • Have students research what Pentecostal churches are in their hometown area. What may influence the number of Pentecostal churches in a certain area?
  • Have students find articles that helped them to understand the link between Black identity and the Pentecostal movement.
  • Write a compare-and-contrast list of similarities and differences between clothing in Pentecostal churches compared to other religions/denominations.
  • Write a summary of who Charles Fox Parham was and why he is a prominent figure in the history of the Pentecostal movement.
  • Create a discussion question that invokes thought from your peers and also reflects personal learning from the readings about the racial history of the Pentecostal movement.
  • Write a timeline of the Pentecostal movement's racial history. This can be very broad, as it is meant to establish a theme rather than establish major events within the movement's history.

Module 2: Orthodox Christians

Resources:

Readings:

Discussion Questions:

  • How do you feel about the views that Orthodox Christians have on the LGBT community? Do you feel that they provide a clear explanation of what they believe is right or wrong?
  • What did you find interesting about the rules of marriage within Orthodox Christianity? About divorce?
  • What was most intriguing about the emphasis that Orthodox Christianity puts on the power of worship?

Homework:

  • Write a summary explaining what stood out to you the most about the beliefs of Orthodox Christians.
  • Compare and contrast the beliefs/traditions of Orthodox Christianity to those of another religion of your choice.
  • Choose an individual who adheres to Orthodox Christianity and interview them. In a paragraph or two, explain if what you learned matched up with what you knew before your research.
Photo credit

Pentecostal Gospel Church Service by Flickr user Tim Dennell, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0; cropped from original.