The aim of this article is to explore the hermeneutics of identity and otherness and then to propose some methodological ways of how a Christian should rethink his or her identity and the identity of the other. This article takes the Trinitarian nature of personal diversity and one divine communion identity as paradigms for addressing the identity of the Christian communion and the human communion with cultural otherness. Finally, the article examines a mutual transformation of thicker identity as the telos of a critical engagement and mutual embrace between Christians and the other in a pluralistic world.
The Protestant Christian existence in Myanmar can be characterized by three significant phases: the first phase led by foreign missionaries; the second led by foreign missionary-trained local pastors; and the current third phase in which the local Christian churches need to be theologically and missiologically rooted. Despite its two hundred years of existence in the nation (since Adoniram Judson’s mission in 1813), Christianity remains alienated in society, primarily because of Christians’ exclusion from the national religion, Buddhism. Taking the third phase as a major concern for a theology of mission in the twenty-first century in Myanmar’s pluralistic context, where the churches exist in the midst of the Buddhist pagodas, I will propose a theology of embrace as a missiological response to the problem of exclusion.
The purpose of this paper is to study Kosuke Koyama (1929-2009), one of the foremost Asian Christian theologians of the 20th century. His theology and missiology are narratively rooted in the Biblical soils and contextually flowered in the Asian fields. Therefore, this article is written in great appreciation for the missionary labours and theological thoughts he had done with joy. The paper is divided into three parts. In the first part, I examine Koyama’s biographical backgrounds. In the second part, I explore his key hermeneutics of a theology of the cross and how he employed it for a missiological interpretation of hospitality in a hostile context. Finally, I evaluate Koyama’s theological position through the contemporary lens of a religiously pluralistic world.
Theravada Buddhism is a national religion of the Burman majorities, whereas Christianity is an alienated religion of the ethnic minorities in Myanmar. Failing to embrace one another, ethnic Christians and Burman Buddhists built boundaries of mutual exclusion and hostility. This paper will argue that wrongs are on both sides — for instance, Buddhism becomes an ‘analogy’1 of Judaism in terms of its nationalistic imperialism, whereas Christianity as an analogy of Hellenism in terms of its religious supersessionism. I will employ the idea of embrace as a theological response to the problem of exclusion. In particular, I will explore the boundary breaking of Jesus and the bridge building of Paul in a Greco-Roman context as the contextual models for Myanmar.
This paper will read Jn 20.21–22 as a missional text of Johannine Trinitarian Missiology. It will argue that mission is proper first to the being and the act of the Trinity, and secondarily a concept in the church—the witness of the Trinity. The aim of this paper is threefold. First, it will explore the nature of the Trinity as a missionary God who sent the Son/incarnate Word and the Spirit/the cosmic Breath into the world. Secondly, it will examine how Christ as the Word and witness of the Father moves from the sent to the caller and sender of apostles into the world through the power of the Spirit. Third, seeing the world as the scope of the mission of Christ and apostles, this paper will study Christ’s boundary-crossing mission of incarnation and reconciliation as a model of the Church’s boundary-crossing mission witness in a pluralistic and Spirit-present world.
This article examines the contrasts found in the Lukan banquet parable (Lk. 14.12–24). While most scholars tend to focus on the role of the banquet host or on the role of the guests, many interpreters forget the role of the servant in the parable. This article re-considers the equally important roles of the inviting host, the invited guests, and the sent servant for a paradigmatic relation between a trinitarian theological paradigm of hospitality and a trinitarian church’s hospitable identity and vocation in a contemporary world of hostility. It is argued that a trinitarian church must embody the Trinity in its twofold inseparable move of reaching out to the other by crossing their cultures as a metaphorical reflection of external Trinity and of receiving them in by making a hospitable space for the other as a reflection of internal Trinity.
Myanmar is a country of both the majority Burmans who represent the majority of Buddhism and the minority ethnic groups who represent the majority of Christianity. However, the minority ethnic groups experience discrimination and alienation in their native land. In response to the problem of Burman domination and ethnic discrimination, I would argue that the minority ethnic groups have a twofold task. One is the minority ethnic group’s responsibility of postcolonial resistance to Burmanization, and the other alternative is their vision of struggle for a reconciling co-existence with Burmans as their fellow citizens in the same nation.