Institutt for sosialantropologi

The Perfect Christian. An Analysis of Paradoxical Aspects of Charismatic Christianity in the U.S.


By Kristen Steiner Noss

Supervisor: Professor Annelin Eriksen

This thesis is an ethnographic study of Charismatic Christians in a Midwestern American church called Mosaic. This study analyzes the concept of personhood that emerges in this form of Christianity and the kinds of social and cultural dynamics that are generated through their belief.  I aim to show how these dynamics entail paradoxical features such as being humble in front of God, but aiming at becoming a perfect Christian.

This thesis focuses on the members of Mosaic Church and one’s personal and “live and direct” relationship they foster with God.  I examine the notion of converting and whether or not it is the radical break with the past that one imagines.

Mosaic is referred to as a “Pentecostal-like” church within charismatic Christianity.  This is part of a contemporary movement within the “renewalist” establishment of Christianity. The member’s beliefs are examined within the context of the church as well as within the social realm outside the church, where they attempt to leave a “God-like” life of perfection.