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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Future of Global theology notes

Well I still never asked anyone what a symposium is but I experienced one. My experience says it is when professors write papers on a particular topic, share their thoughts and other professors respond to them. So this one was on the topic of global theology and also was connected to the publishing of the Global Dictionary of Theology. I couldn't afford it even with the 40% discount but it sounds great.

So here are my key observations:

Global theology is not a universal theology or a theology of sameness or homogeneity.

It is not just adding more voices but adding more voices to the conversation. When these voices are added then helpful critiques and contributions will result.

Dr. Ogbu Kalu of Mccormick Theological Seminary of Chicago presented on the issue of violence is a major issue in Africa and for the world. In Africa it is connected intimately with religion. A friend and I were just talking about this issue yesterday in light of the Ethiopian context where Pentecostal Protestant Christians are persecuted by Ethiopian Orthodox Christians and Muslims. Clearly religous violence is not a theological matter but a matter of identity and social justice.

Simon Chan of Trinity Theological College in Singapore presented on global theology as opposed to the mainline protestant theology. He talked about how global theology particularly in asian and african contexts has something to contribute to the non-western world particularly in the areas of primal spirituality, veneration of ancestors, and sacramental theology.

Primal spirituality=How does this emphasis on primal spirituality help us speak to the other spiritualities of North America i.e. New Age

Veneration of ancestors=How does this inform our understanding of the communion of the saints (our connection to the body of Christ around the world and throughout time)?

Sacramental theology=How does this inform our worship where most of the world uses the physical in their spirituality (beads, prayer cloths, holy water, holy oil)?

He also offered a critique of the Evangelical Manifesto saying it basically was an attempt to gain recognition and respect from those outside the church. He said that it was an example of a lack of nerve. I have not read the evangelical manifesto but you can check it out here Evangelical Manifesto

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