From the perspective of male/female “seduction” (and crossing gender theories with the anthropology of religion), this paper aims to reconsider the first case study on the failure of the establishment of an African Pentecostal church in France. This religious attempt, made by a Canadian pastor-prophet from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is analyzed in the light of the internal contradictions of the charismatic authority invoked in this church. The vocabulary of spiritual kinship structures, which was used to formalize the assembly’s internal hierarchy, is for practical purposes unstable as the matrimonial insecurity of the faithful leads to most of the “spiritual daughters” being considered as future spouses. The power of seduction exerted by the pastor-prophet plays its part in the concrete functioning of the assembly. Two facts prove this instability: a woman, close to the prophet, is accused of witchcraft by another woman; and the traditional re-marriage of the pastor which dismembers the spiritual kinship by assigning value to the authority of the carnal kinship. By describing the actors and the events, this paper shows the benefits of an ethnography of failure.
- African Pentecostal church