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Henry Ford's interest in reviving the dances of his youth and publicizing old fiddlers was a major media phenomenon of the 1920s. The claims of one fiddler became the source of the often repeated, but erroneous, assertion that Ford sponsored a national fiddlers' contest, which in turn has become a part of country music lore. This article, based mostly on archival sources and newspapers, attempts to describe the particular musical and dance traditions that interested Ford, his personal activities and ambitions in this area, his motivations, and the larger popular interest in the subject itself.
When asked to address the issue of the afterlife in African Christianity, my immediate reaction was to doubt whether there is much stress on the afterlife in contemporary African Christianity. This brought the response: ‘Well, deal with that; a Christianity from which the afterlife has been displaced.’ What follows is an attempt to do just that.
To the extent there is an African academic approach, it is comparative (showing that the African world has similarities with the biblical). There are some “post-colonial” and similar readings, but this academic study is in the main done by Western-trained academics and directed at Western readers. There has been relatively little study of the way the Bible is actually used in churches, especially at the very grassroots. In mainline churches, the Bible is generally taken (as in the West) as a book of revelation which the preacher must expound and apply. In the new fast-growing Pentecostal sector the Bible is conceived quite differently, and understood as a record of covenants, promises, pledges and commitments between God and his chosen. It is not just a record of covenants and commitments to others in the past. It is not primarily a historical document at all. It is a contemporary document; it tells of God's covenant with and commitment to me, and to me now. These promises in scripture are effected in believers' lives through proclamation. The major biblical motifs in this emerging Christianity are thus those stressing victory, success, hope, achievement. The texts that are dominant are therefore prophetic texts, and narratives of those who can be made to illustrate success.