Breath Becomes the Wind: Old and New in Karo Religion.
A providential visit by Hendrik Kraemer prodded the establishment of the church as an independent Karo institution, the Karo Batak Protestant Church, or GBKP, with the first synod held in 1941 and the first two Karonese sent off to seminary. During the Second World War and the war for independence that followed, the church became truly Karo and grew rapidly under Karo leadership. Lay leaders were trained in evangelism by an English OMF couple, and Karo music, earlier rejected by missionaries and the church, began to be used in the seventy-fifth anniversary celebrations. By 1970 the church had a membership of 85,000, out of a population of 300,000, though adherents of the primal religion still outnumbered Christians. Today, the GBKP church is "the first real Karonese institution seeking to work throughout Karoland and in the Karo dispersion" (p. 225).
Rae tells the tale well. He is weak in making sense of the kinship ties that are the fabric of the society but recommends Karonese anthropologist Singarimbun, who describes them elsewhere brilliantly. And the Choice of the title, Breath Becomes the Wind, taken from a list of changes the Karo believe to occur at death, is never explained.
H. Myron Bromley, retired missionary translator, served with the Christian and Missionary Alliance in the Lower Grand Valley Dani area of the Baliem Valley in highlands Irian Jaya, Indonesia, from 1954 to 1992.
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|Author:||Bromley, H. Myron|
|Publication:||International Bulletin of Missionary Research|
|Article Type:||Book Review|
|Date:||Jul 1, 1995|
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