Church – quit admonishing the world and start engaging!


One of my favourite authors and renowned historian, John Dickson, was interviewed by Marshall Shelley and Drew Dyck recently. The interview, which is titled, ‘The Church in Secular Culture – Moving from a stance of admonition to mission’ is available in the Leadership Journal. Below is the excerpt of a section of interview which I think speaks for itself: — What advice do you have for church leaders in America about how to engage the broader culture effectively? I think the very first thing is to do is adopt a stance of mission instead of admonition toward the world. Here’s an example. … Continue reading Church – quit admonishing the world and start engaging!

Useful Resources for Mission at the International Bulletin of Missionary Research


The April version of the International Bulletin of Missionary Research has a number of interesting articles. Articles are available for free at the website after your subscribe to its email newsletter. Among articles which are relevant to faith, culture and mission in the postmodern context are: 1. Emerging Adults and the Future of Missions by Rick Richardson In his introduction: Several recent studies have focused on emerging adults in the United States, considering the spiritual and religious lives of high school teens (ages 14–18)[1] or of twenty-somethings (ages 19–29).[2] Two works helpfully draw out the implications of this research for … Continue reading Useful Resources for Mission at the International Bulletin of Missionary Research

The Pope who Stunned the World


There is a post at the Read the Spirit site entitled ‘Rediscover John XXIII, a Pope who stunned the world!‘  Many have thought that the new pope, Francis I, brings a refreshing aura with him into the office. So it would be natural for one to look back curiously for past popes with similar ‘aura of change’. John XXIII was one of them. He was the pope whom brought the Roman Catholic Church and the world a revolutionary change through the initiative of Vatican II. Excerpt from the above post: MORE THAN 1 BILLION CATHOLICSaround the world are wondering: Can a … Continue reading The Pope who Stunned the World

The Difference between Contextualization and Inculturation


From my MA Dissertation: Inculturation is centred on culture. This marks the primary difference between inculturation and contextualisation. Most Protestants consider inculturation as a subset of contextualisation. Bosch for example, placed inculturation under contextualisation together with liberation theology; with inculturation the primary concern is the relationship between faith and culture, while liberation theology includes the larger context, namely the socio-political situation.[1] So although there remains close ties between culture and the socio-political context, when inculturation is in question, the focus should always be ‘culture’. [1] Bosch, Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission (American Society of Missiology Series) 1991, 420ff. By … Continue reading The Difference between Contextualization and Inculturation

Cultural Anthropology Course Material Made Available Online


Cultural Anthropology is now a necessity for mission studies. Surely no student of inculturation would want to miss out course material on cultural anthropology, especially if is in good quality and produced by a top university. The good news is MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) has just a course like this. Under its Open Courseware, MIT has since make the undergraduate (and some graduate) level Anthropology Courses available online. The emphasis of some of these courses are on Cultural Anthropology. The Introduction to Anthropology, for example, gives students a good basic grasp of Anthropology from the cultural perspectives. Amongst the courses … Continue reading Cultural Anthropology Course Material Made Available Online

Understand the Context to Better Understand the Message


In the end, most of us would agree that life is not all that easy to understand, that the messages we receive from within and from others and from God are not always clear. As the Apostle Paul famously said; ‘Now we see in a mirror dimly (one translation has ‘in a riddle’)’, always remembering that mirrors in the ancient world gave a very distorted image. It is partly that all our messages are filtered through to us by our language and culture, but even more because we are fallible and sinful creatures. This last compounds the situation. Our proneness … Continue reading Understand the Context to Better Understand the Message

Should Christians do the ‘Harlem Shake’?


I suppose we all heard of ‘Harlem Shake’. Now that some Christians are doing it, people start to wonder if it is wrong for Christians to follow suit. They are especially concerned with the fact that Christians seem to copy the meme without thinking much about the origin of the dance and why they are doing it. Shellnutt points out that this a phenomenon called ‘the Commodification of Culture’: The “Harlem Shake,” like most memes, has become a commodity, so easily replicated that we use it for our own ends and move on. We happily hijack the setup, then post our versions on … Continue reading Should Christians do the ‘Harlem Shake’?

Discipleship as the Means to counter the Culture of Consumerism


‘If we don’t disciple, the culture sure will, and it’s doing a good job of it.’ Jesus took twelve and that seems to work quite well! I have referred to books by Alan Hirsch during my research and they have been very helpful and easy to read. Below are two of them: Continue reading Discipleship as the Means to counter the Culture of Consumerism

The Beards of Ministry


From: Out of Ur: The Beards of Ministry. These types are familiar to those of us in the Christian circle. I am not sure if this would ring a bell for others who are not in this ‘culture’. It is obvious that Christians in general has created for themselves a certain common understanding, which forms certain identifiable cultural tracks, and one of those is this!   Continue reading The Beards of Ministry

Missiology and Homiletics – Preaching and Context


Much has been said about contextualisation and the contribution of anthropology and social studies to the work and theology of mission. In this post, Dr. Priest argued that these disciplines should be incorporated into the art of preaching. According to him, such contextual preaching has been around for a while, in the example of Billy Graham: People around the world are human in variable ways, shaped by variable cultural discourses, confronting diverse realities. Billy Graham, like John Stott, recognizes late in life that effective preaching requires both an understanding of the world of scripture AND an understanding of the human … Continue reading Missiology and Homiletics – Preaching and Context

Reframing the Story


Originally posted on Theologically Speaking…:
As the spring semester begins tonight at The John Leland Center, new courses will commence, new questions will be asked, new books will be read, new friendships will be made, and hopefully each one of us will experience God in new ways as our eyes open to new colors and textures and our ears pick up on new sounds and tones. For many, with each new semester it isn’t hard to get swept up in a fresh excitement to study, learn, grow, and think. Yet, once the semester is well on its way, we can… Continue reading Reframing the Story