Abstract: Language ideological work on Protestantism has largely focused on how people engage in an intimate, immediate, and individualistic relationship with God, and the answer has been that they do so by sweeping away the debris—the history, the social relations, the sins, and the language—that keeps God at a distance. However, this focus has neglected the extent to which other Christian social formations play crucial roles in how Christians conceptualize their past, present, and future relationships to spiritual forces. In this article, I focus on Guhu-Samane (Papua New Guinea) discourses that circulate among Christians that their ethnic group is actually one of the Lost Tribes of Israel even as these same Christians denounce their own ego-centric genealogies as nothing more than histories of sinfulness. I argue that the renunciation of ego-centric genealogies and ego-centric pasts to create individual Christians depends upon the embrace of socio-centric genealogies and ethnic pasts to create the potential to be united Christians.
A part of the special issue Beyond Logos: Extensions of the Language Ideology Paradigm in the Study of Global Christianity (-ies)