What is the work that miracles do in American Charismatic Evangelicalism? How can miracles be unanticipated and yet worked for? And finally, what do miracles tell us about other kinds of Christianity and even the category of religion? A Diagram for Fire engages with these questions in a detailed sociocultural ethnographic study of the Vineyard, an American Evangelical movement that originated in Southern California. This movement is known worldwide for its intense musical forms of worship and for advocating the belief that all Christians can perform biblical-style miracles. Setting the miracle as both a strength and a challenge to institutional cohesion and human planning, this book situates the miracle as a fundamentally social means of producing change—surprise and the unexpected used to reimagine and reconfigure the will. Jon Bialecki shows how this configuration of the miraculous shapes typical Pentecostal and Charismatic religious practices as well as music, reading, economic choices, and conservative and progressive political imaginaries.
Jon Bialecki is a fellow in the School of Social and Political Science at the University of Edinburgh. His work has been published in several edited volumes as well as in academic journals such as the South Atlantic Quarterly, American Ethnologist, Anthropological Theory, Current Anthropology, and the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute.
“Jon Bialecki’s book is certainly a revealing ethnography of charismatic Christians. But, really, it is so much more. A Diagram for Fire is a daring theoretical account of how difference and change are instigated, fostered, and managed. My wager is that this book will quickly earn an expansive readership among anthropological and trans-disciplinary scholars.”—James S. Bielo, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Miami University
“Jon Bialecki takes the study of Pentecostal/charismatic Christianity into surprising and welcome new territory by applying Deleuze’s diagram of the relations between social forces to the Vineyard movement and ultimately to religion as a whole. A Diagram for Fire is capacious in its intellectual scope and audacious in the largeness of its claims. It captures the imagination as readers are whisked along through lyrical prose and thought-provoking theoretical interventions.”—Hillary Kaell, author of Walking Where Jesus Walked: American Christians and Holy Land Pilgrimage