Context:I read this just days before I came across a cargo cult that it described in the village of Male in Papua New Guinea.
I would have passed this off without a second glance but it had the phrase “cargo cults” on the cover. Incredibly, I was to encounter just such a cult not more than 24 hours after reading about it while I was staying in the village of Male.
Strelan’s book is a very useful one for anyone working in Papua New Guinea because it provides not just a history of the origins of cargo cults with brief descriptions of beliefs across Melanesia, he also provides vital help for the church.
The second half of the book outlines our interpretation and response to the cults, and I found the way that he outlined the theological interpretation very helpful.
I was pretty much overwhelmed by my exposure to the lo-bos cult in the village I was in. Strelan’s book provides me with not only the beginnings of an understanding of where the cult had come from, it also enables me, not that I’ve left the village, to make some sense of what I encountered.