Essays in Contextual Theology is a collection of essays that reflect on the doing of contextual theology from several perspectives. After a general introductory essay, subsequent essays reflect on topics such as contextual theology and prophetic dialogue, criteria for orthodoxy, the nature of tradition, the role of culture, the dynamics of conversion, and the way theology is being done in world Christianity. The collection closes with an autobiographical essay tracing the author’s journey to becoming a “global theologian.”
(Re)Configuring Faith and the Cultural
In Christianity, Empire and The Spirit, Néstor Medina uncovers the cultural processes that play a crucial role in influencing how people understand reality, express the Christian faith, and think about God. He uses decolonial thinking, Latina/o theology, and Pentecostal theology to show how the cultural dimension is a central feature in the biblical text; was the force that coopted Christianity from the imperial era of Constantine onwards; and undergirded Western European colonialism and the missionary project. He engages with Protestant and Catholic articulations on “culture” and demonstrates how most theologians perpetuate Eurocentric frames for considering the relation between Christianity and the cultural dimension. Alternatively, he offers a theological proposal that recognizes the Spirit at work in the phenomena of cultures.
Religion and Techno-Politics in Asia
The Mission of Development interrogates the complex relationships between Christian mission and international development in Asia from the 19th century to the new millennium. Through historically and ethnographically grounded case studies, contributors examine how missionaries have adapted to and shaped the age of development and processes of ‘technocratisation’, as well as how mission and development have sometimes come to be cast in opposition. The volume takes up an increasingly prominent strand in contemporary research that reverses the prior occlusion of the entanglements between religion and development. It breaks new ground through its analysis of the techno-politics of both development and mission, and by focusing on the importance of engagements and encounters in the field in Asia.
Constructions of an Emerging Discourse
Studying Christianity in China introduces an emerging academic trend in contemporary Chinese scholarship. Through qualitative interviews with leading experts in Chinese Christian studies, Naomi Thurston has investigated the ongoing conversation between China and Christianity. Since the 1980s, this conversation has given rise to an interdisciplinary academic field that is quickly gaining traction as a cutting-edge, cross-cultural discourse. The Chinese intellectuals driving this field are encountered as unique transmitters of cultural knowledge: they are cultural mediators working in a range of humanities and social science disciplines who are not only re-interpreting Western theology, but are also lending a new voice to Chinese expressions of the Christian faith. As such, they are at the forefront of a novel force in World Christianity.
Chinese Homecoming and the Relationship with Jesus Christ
In A Dialogue between Haizi’s Poetry and the Gospel of Luke Xiaoli Yang offers a conversation between the Chinese soul-searching found in Haizi’s (1964–1989) poetry and the gospel of Jesus Christ through Luke’s testimony. It creates a unique contextual poetic lens that appreciates a generation of the Chinese homecoming journey through Haizi’s poetry, and explores its relationship with Jesus Christ. As the dialogical journey, it names four stages of homecoming—roots, vision, journey and arrival. By taking an interdisciplinary approach—literary study, inter-cultural dialogue and comparative theology, Xiaoli Yang convincingly demonstrates that the common language between the poet Haizi and the Lukan Jesus provides a crucial and rich source of data for an ongoing table conversation between culture and faith.
Ronnie Po-Chia Hsia
A survey of the latest scholarship on Catholic missions between the 16th and 18th centuries, this collection of fourteen essays by historians from eight countries offers not only a global view of the organization, finances, personnel, and history of Catholic missions to the Americas, Africa, and Asia, but also the complex political, cultural, and religious contexts of the missionary fields. The conquests and colonization of the Americas presented a different stage for the drama of evangelization in contrast to that of Africa and Asia: the inhospitable landscape of Africa, the implacable Islamic societies of the Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal empires, and the self-assured regimes of Ming-Qing China, Nguyen dynasty Vietnam, and Tokugawa Japan. Contributors are Tara Alberts, Mark Z. Christensen, Dominique Deslandres, R. Po-chia Hsia, Aliocha Maldavsky, Anne McGinness, Christoph Nebgen, Adina Ruiu, Alan Strathern, M. Antoni J. Üçerler, Fred Vermote, Guillermo Wilde, Christian Windler, and Ines Zupanov.