Christian experiences and imaginings of the Secular in New Zealand
This thesis explores how the Secular comes to materialise in the lives of a small group of Pentecostal-Charismatic Christians in Wellington, New Zealand. It presents an ethnographic account of how Christians experience and imagine the intertwined relationship between the religious and the Secular as they navigate social spaces, construct their identity, and make sense of the world. I argue that the Secular is not simply a residual state following the demise of religion, but rather, it is a discursive sensibility that produces religious subjects, and shapes a particular way of thinking about religion and its place in society. The Christians in this study seek to reject, counter and shape secular sensibilities, but they are also embroiled in producing the Secular. Consequently, they problematise dominant understandings of the Secular and religion as intrinsically separate and opposed domains. Based on four months of fieldwork in a Pentecostal-Charismatic church, and interviews with nine church congregants, this thesis reveals that Christian lives involve complex and multifaceted ways of being both Christian and secular.