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Joseph Drexler-Dreis

Abstract

This essay develops a response to the historical situation of the North Atlantic world in general and the United States in particular through theological reflection. It offers an overview of some decolonial perspectives with which theologians can engage, and argues for a general perspective for a decolonial theology as a possible response to modern/colonial structures and relations of power, particularly in the United States. Decolonial theory holds together a set of critical perspectives that seek the end of the modern/colonial world-system and not merely a democratization of its benefits. A decolonial theology, it is argued, critiques how the confinement of knowledge to European traditions has closed possibilities for understanding historical encounters with divinity, and thus possibilities of critical reflection. A decolonial theology reflects critically on a historical situation in light of faith in a divine reality, the understanding of which is liberated from the monopoly of modern/colonial ways of knowing, in order to catalyze social transformation.

Maria Kennedy

Abstract

This work is a sociological study of Quakers, which investigates the impact that sectarianism has had on identity construction within the Religious Society of Friends in Ireland. The research highlights individual Friends’ complex and hybrid cultural, national and theological identities, mirrored by the Society’s corporate identity. This publication focuses specifically on examples of political and theological hybridity. These hybrid identities resulted in tensions that impact on relationships between Friends and the wider organisation. How Friends negotiate and accommodate these diverse identities is explored. It is argued that Irish Quakers prioritise ‘relational unity’ and have developed a distinctive approach to complex identity management. It is asserted that in the two Irish states, ‘Quaker’ represents a meta-identity, which is counter-cultural in its non-sectarianism, although this is more problematic within the organisation. Furthermore, by modelling an alternative, non-sectarian identity, Quakers in Ireland contribute to building capacity for transformation from oppositional, binary identities to more fluid and inclusive ones.

James Ellis

Abstract

The British Empire expanded into East Asia during the early years of the Protestant Mission Movement in China, one of history’s greatest cross-cultural encounters. Anglicans, however, did not accommodate local Chinese culture when they built St. John’s Cathedral in the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong. St. John’s had a prototypical English style and was a gathering place for the colony’s political and social elites, strengthening the new social order. The Cathedral spoke a Western architectural language that local residents could not understand and many saw Christianity as a strange, imposing, foreign religion. As indigenous Chinese Christians assumed leadership of Hong Kong’s Anglican Church, ecclesial architecture took on more Chinese elements, a transition epitomized by St. Mary’s Church, a Chinese Renaissance masterpiece featuring symbols from Taoism, Buddhism, and Chinese folk religions. This essay analyzes the contextualization of Hong Kong’s Anglican architecture, which made Christian concepts more relevant to the indigenous community.

Kirsteen Kim