Dr. Susanne Rodemeier
Christians in a minority position in central Java

Institut für Ethnologie
Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
Sandgasse 7
69117 Heidelberg

Telefon: (06221) 54-3975

E-mail: Rodemeier@eth.uni-heidelberg.de
Webseite: http://www.eth.uni-heidelberg.de/personen/rodemeier_kontakt.html

Sprechzeiten: nach Vereinbarung
Raum: 1905

Researchproject (funded by DFG): "Christians in a minority position in central Java"

How do Christians act locally, given the fact that they hold a minority position? How are they influencing and how are they influenced by the inter-religious living together?
The research takes place mainly in Surakarta (Solo) in central Java. Solo is regarded as a center of Javanese tradition, but also as a center of radical Islam. Traditionally the court society of Solo has a clear hierarchical social structure. Adding to strong believes in local power and a diverse spectrum of Muslim schools, Solo is also the home of a number of Churches, Catholics as well as Protestants.
Christianity came to Indonesia by Portuguese and Dutch missionaries during pre-colonial and colonial times and therefore most often is regarded as the religion of “the West”. After independence Indonesia put in its Constitution that the nation should be a religious one, tolerating several monotheistic religions (agama) next to each other. During the last ten years or so a new wave of Christianization got going. Charismatic and Evangelical Churches of American origin are spreading and growing rapidly all over Indonesia. Their mysticism as well as business seems to attract Indonesian Christians. So far, it is not much known on how those Churches spread and how they influence court societies of central Java, or of how they are themselves influenced by the peculiarities of Java.
This gives the background of my main research topic concerning inter-religious tolerance, researched from the angle of Christians in an area with Muslim majority. Is the Javanese ideal to avoid conflict (rukun) (Magnis-Suseno 1981) still of importance? This brings along questions as: how do Christians interact with members of other Christian Churches, as well as with their Muslim neighbors? How do Christians deal with religiously motivated violence? Are there remarkable differences when answering these questions from the point of view of ethnic Javanese or ethnic Chinese Christians? In Indonesia the Charismatic Church has a fast increasing number of members, similar to other parts in the world. It is not researched yet, why this is the case in Indonesia, too? Does this development have its reasons in local (traditional or political) particularities?