Liana Chua, The Christianity of Culture: Conversion, Ethnic Citizenship, and the Matter of Religion in Malaysian Borneo. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.

Liana Chua’s ethnography attempts to answer the question why people who call themselves Christians would maintain continuity with a religion that they themselves identify as a traditional relic. The people she describes are Bidayuh of Malaysian Borneo. Their traditional religion is adat gawai. It centers on esteemed, senior ritual experts who can mediate relationships with an enchanted landscape on behalf of the community as a whole. Chua shows how this religion is reinforced and maintained by people who have come to believe these nature spirits are at best subordinate to an omnipotent, sovereign deity who needs no rite. […]