Monday, March 17, 2014

About Popular Culture

I am doing some reading about popular culture and found these quotes in Popologetics: Pop culture in Christian  Perspective, by Ted Turnau

If "religion is the opiate of the people", then immersive multiplayer 3D virtual worlds are hard-core Afghani heroin. (Bruce Stirling)

Anyway, I stopped going to churches and got into a different kind of religion. Don't laugh. That's what being in a rock 'n' roll band is. Showbiz is shamanism, music is worship. Whether it's worship of women or the designer, the world or its destroyer, whether from that ancient place we call soul or simply the spinal cortex, whether the prayers are on fire with a dumb rage or dove-like desire, the smoke goes upwards to God or something you replace God with--usually yourself. (Bono)

What does this mean for Christian mission in the West?

Monday, March 10, 2014

Global Theology or World Theologies

As you may know my major interest professional interest is in mission and theology. I have been writing a module called "Methods and Models of Contextual Theology" and time and again the issue has been raised in my mind over whether we should be talking about Global Theology or World Theologies. 

Evangelicals have tended to talk in terms of the unity of theologies and therefore Global Theology (sing.). See Jeffrey P. Greenman and Gene L. Green (eds.) Global Theology in Evangelical Perspective: Exploring the Contextual Nature of Theology and Mission (Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2012) or the older Craig Ott and Harold Netland (eds.) Globalizing Theology: Belief and Practice in an era of World Christianity (Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2007). The danger, which both of these books seek to avoid is homogenization of theology. The globalizating power of economic, social and cultural forces are slipping into church life and theology.

Is a way to combate this to emphasise diversity of theologies. A good Evangelical example is A. Scott Moreau's Contextualization in World Missions: Mapping and Assessing Evangelical Models (Grand Rapids: Kregal, 2013). The fear for most Evangelicals is how do assess this diversity in theologies? The other related fear how do we maintain orthodoxy and avoid syncretism? The question that lies behind both of these is "how do we assess world theologies"?

José Míguez Bonino suggested the way forward is to move beyond dialogue to mutual accountability. He proposes that mutual accountability should be applied at both international and ecumenical levels in the context of a ‘disciplined, continuous and committed conversation at each level of life and thought in the worldwide Christian community’. There should be accountability in three areas; ‘our hermeneutical approach and our understanding of the authority of scripture, the way theology is related to the ‘manifold tradition of the church,’ and in interpretation of reality ‘as an economically, socially and politically structured system’.

Monday, March 3, 2014

What does a Missional Church look like?

Yesterday I preached at my home church from Acts 11.19-30 and Acts 12.25-13.3. Here we see how there is a geographical change in mission sending. Jerusalem had been the main sending church but now we see how Antioch has been added as a sending base. Antioch in Syria (ironically in Turkey today) was on three major trading routes and was an important city; rivaling even Alexandria at one point. 

What was the church at Antioch like? This is what I drew from the passage. 

·       Acts 11.19-20 – a Multi-cultural church.

·       Acts 11.21 a Spirit filled, Evangelistic and growing Church; cf. 11.26 and 13.2

·       Acts 11.26 a learning church who were identified as Christians

·       Acts 11.27-30 a compassionate and generous Church

·       Acts 12.25-13.1 a talented Church – Prophets and Teachers

·       Acts 13.2 a worshipping church

·       Acts 13.2 a Spirit filled church

·       Acts 13.3 an obedient church

Where are we? How do we shape up in comparison?