Reforming preaching

refugees in European sermons from the perspectives of space, body, and politics




Preaching has been a means of moral and political communication. In this article we address the question how preaching addresses societal issues, focusing upon the case of what has been called the ‘European refugee crisis’. Relating to the conference theme, the perspectives of space, body, and politics are used as a structuring framework. Material was collected from six different European countries within a collaborative research framework. We conclude that most sermons (1) advocate an open and hospitable attitude towards refugees in a contested European space, (2) refer to refugees as abstract metaphors for general religious or political truths, and (3) are largely religiously motivated and move between public and religious discourses and relate to both of them. However, the article also points out exceptions to these general patterns and discusses whether the refugee is primarily portrayed as victim or agent. We close by offering a tentative typology of how refugees are referred to in our material.