Category: Biblical Interpretation
Many East Asian Americans suffer from a spirituality that’s oriented towards the fulfillment of duty. The Confucian heritage is organized in terms of duty fulfillment. If you want to be a good parent and not bring shame upon yourself and your family, you fulfill your duty by sacrificing for your children. If you want to be a good child and not bring shame upon yourself and your family, you fulfill your duty by sacrificing for your parents. Parental sacrifice is reciprocated with filial piety. Since the version of Confucian culture that people are familiar with is an informal, populist one, fulfilling our duty is considered good regardless of our inner disposition.
Think of the immigrant parent who says View full article »
In this excerpt of “Living Buddha, Living Christ,” Thich Nhat Hanh explains how we can impact the world by changing the way in which we understand and practice peace.
We often think of peace as the absence of war– [we think] that if the powerful countries would reduce their weapons arsenals, we could have peace. But if we look deeply into the weapons, we see our own minds– our prejudices, fears, and ignorance. Even if we transport all the bombs to the moon, the roots of war and the roots of the bombs are still here, in our hearts and minds, and sooner or later we will make new bombs.
To work for peace is to uproot war from ourselves and from the hearts of men and women. To prepare for war– to give millions of men and women the opportunity to practice killing day and night in their hearts– is to plant millions of seeds of violence, anger, frustration, and fear that will be passed on for generations to come.
(pp. 76-77) View full article »
|Jesus’ Life on Earth|
One year ago I wrote a post about Tibetan thangkas and mentioned therein a Christian ministry that was selling Christian thangkas, though at the time I didn’t know anything more about how they were being used. In today’s post, I am excited to provide some more information about them.
Back in 2001, some expatriate workers in the Himalayas puzzled over the repeated lack of effectiveness of more common approaches to reach Tibetan Buddhists for Christ, so they began to seek alternative ways of presenting the Gospel that would connect more directly with Tibetan Buddhists. They formed a group called The Tibetan Storytelling Project (TSP) to address this concern. The group eventually decided to produce an evangelistic DVD which would utilize traditional Tibetan art, songs, choreography and rhythmic speech in presenting the Gospel.
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When I was in Chinese school around fourteen years old or so, me, my brother, and a friend pulled a prank. I remember that the principal lectured me in front of the whole class. It was humiliating and I remember I felt ashamed and very angry. There is nothing like the searing pain of public humiliation. For many in the Asian community, this is possibly the worst pain we could ever feel and we live in fear. Public humiliation is not very common in the United States, but that’s not the case in Asia. I remember visiting a high school in northern Thailand which began with a general assembly with all the students standing in rows. Announcements were made and then a group of students were brought to the front and slapped with sticks in front of everyone there. Apparently, they had stayed out late the night before.. Far worse than the physical punishment was the humiliation and shame of having to be punished in front the whole school. Shame is huge motivator in Asian cultures and it is no less true today for Asian Americans.
In the trial of Jesus and the adulterous woman in John 7:53 – 8:11, we see a type of public shaming and how Jesus responds to vulnerability and those who would shame another. View full article »
It seems strange that despite the strong place Christianity has in the Philippines, there is little real Filipino theology (within orthodox Christianity at least). In the past, there has been some original theology done by Catholic theologians in the Philippines, especially linked to martial law, but not much since. Most theology in the Philippines (again, not counting heterodox works) simply borrows from outsider works. Innovation seems to be more in line with switching who one borrows from. I am not Filipino, so it is not my place to say what good Filipino theology should be. But here are some things to think about. First think about a couple of other theologies… View full article »
How do cultural issues within the context of scripture affect the reading of the New Testament by those who are unfamiliar with the broader, cultural context? The Dao from Indonesia offer insight to Ephesians 2 as an example of non-western Biblical interpretation.
The early church faced several cross-cultural issues, primary among them the incorporation of Jewish-background believers and Gentile-backround believers together. As the church spread, these issues would threaten to overrun the community of faith and have continued to be pertinent to the self-identification of the church, even as the cultural definitions have changed. View full article »