Dik, “‘Your prayer moves God'”

Dik, Oleg.  2015.  “‘Your Prayer Moves God.'”  In Religion and Volunteering, edited by Lesley Hustinx, Johan von Essen, Jacques Haers, and Sara Mels, 263-282, Springer International Publishing.

Abstract: The Charismatic/Pentecostal (C/P) movement has emerged mainly due to its capacity to mobilize new believers towards strong participation in their emergent groups amidst a fragmented post-war city. In this chapter, I examine how volunteering of C/P believers is rooted in the benefits and religious culture of emergent C/P communities. After analysing the particular religious and sociopolitical culture of volunteering, I attempt to draw a conclusion as to whether C/P volunteering in Beirut contributes to social solidarity. The common sociopolitical analysis contends that religious volunteering in Lebanon is divisive. Religious volunteering is mainly carried out through religious welfare organizations (RWO). While I agree with the common overall political analysis, I also attempt to show that the effect of religious volunteering on social solidarity is not static, but hinges mainly on the religious culture within which the volunteering is embedded, the larger sociopolitical context, and the concrete setting and encounter of volunteers. By considering both the larger sociopolitical structure and the C/P culture as influencing the volunteering practices, I attempt to overcome the insider–outsider, agency–structure dichotomy, which often undergirds social analysis. The article contributes to a fuller understanding of how religiously motivated volunteering works in post-war societies with weak state institutions.