This book engages with a widespread contemporary dilemma--how do we do theology in a context where the cultures of the people are oral and not literate? The nations of the South Pacific, from their missionary beginnings, inherited an approach to theology that was dominated by Western cultural categories. The global movement of contextualization began to impact upon Pacific churches in the 1960s, and challenged this inherited approach. Significant changes have resulted, but the dilemma has remained. The dominant approach is still one that is defined by and better suited to literate cultures. The consequence is that theology remains an alien enterprise, distant from the life of the local churches, and distant from the hearts and minds of the indigenous people. In facing the dilemma, this book exposes the fundamental differences between primary oral cultures and primary literate cultures, and identifies the key factors that lie at the heart of the theological problem. By addressing each of these in turn, the author then paves the way ahead. He offers a methodology for theology that is rooted within the oral cultural context of the South Pacific . . . and potentially in any context where oral cultures are the norm. The consequences for theology and for theological education are profound.
The nature and story of the Christian church is immensely important to theology students and scholars alike. Written by an international team of distinguished scholars, this comprehensive book introduces students to the fundamental historical, systematic, moral and ecclesiological aspects of the study of the church, as well as serving as a resource for scholars engaging in ecclesiological debates on a wide variety of issues. It divides into six parts: the church in its historical context the different denominational traditions global perspectives methods and debates in ecclesiology key concepts and themes ecclesiology and other disciplines: social sciences, philosophy, literature and film. Authoritative, accessible and easily navigable, this book is indispensable for everyone interested in the nature and history of the Christian Church.
The last 50 years have seen more rapid change than at any time in human history. Changes in technology have changed every aspect of life: from contraception to computation, from communication to community formation. These changes have affected the ways in which Australians have sought meaning in their lives, from the fulfilment of duty to the maximisation of subjective wellbeing. They have affected deeply the role that religion has played in life with the focus moving from the preservation of tradition to personal spirituality. Over the past 30 years, the Christian Research Association has charted these changes. It has done so through the examination of census and survey data and through interviews with thousands of individuals. It has examined these changes in youth culture and rural culture and has explored the impact of migration and the rise of the Pentecostal and charismatic movements. It has suggested ways in which churches and schools might respond to these changes. Part 1 of this book tells the story of these changes and how the Christian Research Association has charted them. Part 2 contains contributions from various researchers discussing how the Christian Research Association has served the churches. Part 3 explores some extensions of and parallels to the work of the Christian Research Association in relation to religious institutions, migration and other research. The story told in this book is a personal story for Dr Philip Hughes, the senior research officer of the Christian Research Association from 1985 to 2016. But it is also a story of global significance as Christian and other religious institutions grapple with changes to their place in society and their roles in changing perceptions of life.
What constitutes the unity of the church over time and across cultures? Can our account of the church's apostolic faith embrace the cultural diversity of world Christianity? The ecumenical movement that began in the twentieth century posed the problem of the church's apostolicity in profound new ways. In the attempt to find unity in the midst of the Protestant-Catholic schism, participants in this movement defined the church as a distinct culture—complete with its own structures, rituals, architecture and music. Apostolicity became a matter of cultivating the church's own (Western) culture. At the same time it became disconnected from mission, and more importantly, from the diverse reality of world Christianity. In this pioneering study, John Flett assesses the state of the conversation about the apostolic nature of the church. He contends that the pursuit of ecumenical unity has come at the expense of dealing responsibly with crosscultural difference. By looking out to the church beyond the West and back to the New Testament, Flett presents a bold account of an apostolicity that embraces plurality.
Christian theologians in the Pacific Islands see culture as the grounds on which one understands God. In this pathbreaking book, Matt Tomlinson engages in an anthropological conversation with the work of “contextual theologians,” exploring how the combination of Pacific Islands culture and Christianity shapes theological dialogues. Employing both scholarly research and ethnographic fieldwork, the author addresses a range of topics: from radical criticisms of biblical stories as inappropriate for Pacific audiences to celebrations of traditional gods such as Tagaloa as inherently Christian figures. This book presents a symphony of voices—engaged, critical, prophetic—from the contemporary Pacific’s leading religious thinkers and suggests how their work articulates with broad social transformations in the region. Each chapter in this book focuses on a distinct type of culturally driven theological dialogue. One type is between readers and texts, in which biblical scholars suggest new ways of reading, and even rewriting, the Bible so it becomes more meaningful in local terms. A second kind concerns the state of the church and society. For example, feminist theologians and those calling for “prophetic” action on social problems propose new conversations about how people in Oceania should navigate difficult times. A third kind of discussion revolves around identity, emphasizing what makes Oceania unique and culturally coherent. A fourth addresses the problems of climate change and environmental degradation to sacred lands by encouraging “eco-theological” awareness and interconnection. Finally, many contextual theologians engage with the work of other disciplines— prominently, anthropology—as they develop new discourse on God, people, and the future of Oceania. Contextual theology allows people in Oceania to speak with God and fellow humans through the idiom of culture in a distinctly Pacific way. Tomlinson concludes, however, that the most fruitful topic of dialogue might not be culture, but rather the nature of dialogue itself. Written in an accessible, engaging style and presenting innovative findings, this book will interest students and scholars of anthropology, world religion, theology, globalization, and Pacific studies.
This book describes and analyses the formal constitutional changes that have recently taken place in the Asia-Pacific region, embracing the countries of East and South East Asia and Pacific Island states. In examining the variety amongst constitutional systems operating in the region, it asks several key questions: What constitutional arrangements operate in the region and how can their fundamental differences in structure and operation be explained? How do social, political and economic factors limit the effects of the constitution in place? What lessons exist for the practice of constitutionalism elsewhere?
This new volume in the award-winning Encountering Mission series is for current and future missionaries. It provides practical guidance regarding getting ready for the mission field and the realities of life on the field. The authors are well qualified to write such a manual, each having served as a missionary for more than twenty years and each having taught missions in seminary. The authors begin by examining the contemporary context for missions, including the recognition that the world's mission fields are in constant and often rapid change. They then discuss aspects of preparing oneself for the mission field, beginning with home-front preparations and moving to on-the-field preparations. The final section deals with practical issues and challenges of missionary life.
"Farhadian provides the first major study of a highland Papuan group in an urban context, which distinguishes it from the typical highland Melanesian ethnography. Incorporating cultural and structural approaches, the book affords a fascinating look into the complex relationship among Christianity, Islam, nation making, and indigenous traditions. Based on research over many years, Christianity, Islam, and Nationalism in Indonesia offers an abundance of new material on religious and political events in West Papua. The book underlines the heart of Christian-Muslim rivalries, illuminating the fate of religion in late-modern times."--BOOK JACKET.
John D'Arcy May's achievements motivate these essays on ecumenics. Amid today's scepticism about the ecumenical movement's relevance, the authors demonstrate the necessity of working together for the betterment of all. This book deepens our understanding of how theology, peace and reconciliation studies and interfaith dialogue critically cooperate for the flourishing of earth's life. The perspective of church unity amid ecclesial division is broadened to embrace interfaith and intercultural issues: ecumenics becomes visible as the intellectual paradigm of our times.
Examining the multifaceted nature of Christianity in Fiji, My God, My Land reveals the deeply complex and often paradoxical dynamics and tensions between processes of change and continuity as they unfold in representations and practices of Christianity and tradition in people's everyday lives. The book draws on extensive, multi-sited fieldwork in different denominations to explore how shared values and cultural belonging are employed to strengthen relations. As such My God, My Land will be of interest to anthropologists of Oceania as well as scholars and students researching into social and cultural change, ritual, religion, Christianity, enculturation and contextual theology.
This book shares global perspectives on Catholic religious education in schools, chiefly focusing on educational and curriculum issues that take into account the theology and the pedagogy which support learning in connection with Catholic religious education. Further, it offers insights into the distinctive contribution that Catholic religious education makes to religious education and education in general across diverse schooling contexts. Bringing together insights from leading scholars and experts on Catholic religious education around the globe, the book offers an essential reference guide for all those involved in researching, planning and designing curricula for Catholic religious education, as well as developing related theories in the field.