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Studying Chinese Christianity: From a Transplanted Foreign Religion to an Indigenous Chinese Religion
As we approach a well-known season in many churches liturgical calendars, we are starting a blog series focusing on different perspectives of characters in the Christmas story, holiday practices, and advent themes.
We are requesting submissions of pieces, 500-1500 words expressing the significance of Christmas or Advent within a distinct cultural perspective.
We request posts from primary sources serving in a Non-Western context as well as secondary sources with the ability to give voice to another perspective.
Some possible prompts:
Which characters of the story appear in your context? (shepherds, wise men, travelers, etc.)
What significant elements are present in your church to prepare for or celebrate the holiday?
Which scriptures are most meaningful for your community to understand the incarnation of Christ, and why?
What sermons are written in this time of year for your community?
By sharing together our perspectives of the holiday, we look forward to hearing a familiar story with fresh ears and seeing the advent of God in Christ with new eyes, initiating a kingdom that brings all people together as the children of God.
Please see our Write Page for information about contributing.
|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.
Christmas is all about a migration story. I am not referring to Santa’s Christmas Eve sleigh ride around the world—that’s travel, not migration—and it’s also not what Christmas is all about.
Even Jesus, Mary, and Joseph’s escape as refugees to Egypt just after the visit of the Magi—while certainly a formative experience in young Jesus’ life and an experience upon which we would do well to reflect upon—is not at the very center of the Christmas story. (more…)
This morning I was having a great conversation at Starbucks with Pastor Chris Coffman, the associate pastor of outreach at our church. We were talking about pastoral sin. (now THERE’S a fun topic for you!)
We talked about the tension between the need/desire for church members to know that their pastors are human, but their fear that they will be “too human”. Historically when pastors have been shown to be “too human” they are figuratively crucified and drummed out of ministry. The burden of proof in finding this balance does not lie on the lay person, however. The burden of proof (as it were) lies on the leader. He or she has the responsibility to make an effort to make the fact of his weaknesses known, without destroying her credibility among the people of the congregation.
I don’t exactly know why, but the concept of tirthankara came to my mind. (Of course, I’m sure the same thing came to YOUR mind!) (more…)
Prior to understanding Japanese Christian theology, it is important to know how the Japanese view religion in general. In Japan there are basically two distinctions when it comes to religion: the revealed and the natural religions. Buddhism, Christianity, Islam and some new religions are considered to be revealed religions, because they have specific books and scriptures to live by and upon which religious life is practiced. In contrary to revealed religions, the natural religions are more tradition and folklore-based religions, followed with few or no specific books or scriptures. Even though Shintoism does have texts and scriptures to a degree, it is considered more as a natural religion.
It is important to emphasize that in Japan, when people talk about religion, they generally mean the revealed religions, and in particular Christianity. When Japanese people mention that they are nonreligious, it means they do not commit themselves to a revealed religion or religious organization. Japanese people often see all the religions as one entity, and not separate from one another. It is often said that the Japanese are born Shinto, marry in a Christian (western) style and die Buddhist, as many Japanese are buried in the Buddhist way. Japanese do not have the urge to be committed to any particular organized religion. In Japanese, this mindset is called mushukyo, meaning “non-religion” or even “non-religious.” (more…)
Throughout our Feminist Ethics class, I have been thinking about Mary Daly’s concept of “Goddess” in her Gyn/Ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism. I don’t believe that there is any sound theological argument that the term “God” itself represents patriarchy. Theologically speaking, if we study the Bible systematically, particularly Genesis 1:27, it is unquestionable that God is associated with both feminine and masculine imagery. God is imaged as both mother and father. In contrast to this nature, Mary Daly does not merely seek to erase masculine imagery from the term “God,” but the word “God” itself. However, “Goddess” without the masculine imagery can no longer be the Perfect Goddess, just as “God” without the image of the feminine also remains imperfect.
As I see it, the problem lies not with using the term “God” itself, but how we understand and interpret God with our knowledge and languages. In short, we need not eliminate the word “God”—we need only change our traditional understanding of God.