Prof Nadar co-presented a paper with Dr Jodamus at the 2nd annual Discernment and Radical Engagement (DARE) conference in Mexico City in May 2018. The paper was presented in a stream called Body, Normalcy and Indecency and forms part of an international publication that will be prepared for publication in 2019. The title of their paper is Sexual Healing: Exploring ‘Indecent’ Sexual Imagery in Pentecostal Liturgical Practices.
It is well known that in Pentecostal churches praise and worship is the most important aspect of the church service, arguably even more than the Sacrament and Word, with the key focus being on the charismatic outpouring and healing of souls. In these contexts, liturgical practices are important conduits that ultimately usher in the Spirit and power, with a focus on the spirit as opposed to the body. Drawing on Foucault’s theory of repressive sexuality where he proposes that the main ‘appropriate’ outlets for sexuality have been psychiatry and prostitution, this paper suggests a third outlet, namely Pentecostalism. This consideration not only expands the interpretive possibilities for Foucault’s analysis, but allows us, in Marcella Althaus Reid’s words, to take a sneak peer ‘under God’s skirt’. Through a feminist critical discourse analysis of the lyrics found in selected praise and worship choruses and songs, this paper explores to what extent these songs allow for the expression of repressed sexuality that is often strictly and doctrinally controlled in these churches. It calls for the consideration that these songs open up critical spaces for more embodied theologies – sexual healing that perhaps even the worshippers themselves have unconsciously ignored