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’?
‘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
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
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
Culture in the postmodern context is seen not as ‘static, homogenous, closed, ordered and territorial’ but ‘ever-changing, fragmented, porous, chaotic, and translocal.’ Culture in postmodernity is: …a pattern of meanings encased in a network of symbols, myths, narratives and rituals, created by individuals and subdivisions, as they struggle to respond to the competitive pressures of power and limited resources in a rapidly globalizing and fragmented world, and instructing its adherents about what is considered to be the correct way to feel, think and behave. Do you agree with the above?  Arbuckle, G.A. (2010) Culture, Inculturation, and Theologians: A Postmodern Critique (Liturgical Press), xxi, … Continue reading How do you define Culture Today?
People today often identify themselves as spiritual but not religious. Of course much can be said of the actual definitions of being ‘spiritual’ and ‘religious’, but in general, people take that by being spiritual but not religious means they do not need to associate themselves with an organised religious body. My reading of various sources seem to cause me to conclude that this is a necessary reaction towards the religious institution or organised religion in the postmodern age, by people who reject the institution due to their ‘modern’ outlook and modus operandi. Like many others, I have become convicted that … Continue reading Spiritual but not Religious?
I wrote about the challenge of the church in the postmodern age. One of the key changes in the postmodern age is the increase of interest in spirituality and the reluctance to be limited by organised religion. Other reports have confirmed this: Over one-third of churchgoers attend services in more than one church. One in four attends services in different faiths, according to another Pew survey. More than one in five Christians believe in astrology, reincarnation, and spiritual energy in trees and nature. Seventeen percent believe in in the “evil eye” (casting curses on others). Over the last twenty years, … Continue reading Could the Increase of Interest in Spirituality erode the Church?
An Atheist Church – Atheistic Culture Coming of Age I heard about this new Atheist Church in Britain a few days ago and wondered how would a Christian feel when attending the assembly. My questions are answered by this post, which is an actual account of a person experiencing it on one Sunday. There are two things mentioned in the post which strike me. First, the talk by a physicist, which reminds me of how my little venture into science years ago actually brought me closer to God. So if the report of the above blog post is accurate, the … Continue reading An Atheist Church?
This clip is not only hilarious it should also serve as good material for studies of inculturation. ‘Get down’ of a car is a proper Chinese expression (下车), as in Chinese one does not get ‘out’ of a car but get ‘down’ from it. In fact the word ‘car’ means a whole range of vehicles – from the ancient chariot (马车, which literally means horse-car) to the automobile (汽车). So naturally, when a Malaysian Chinese thinks of getting out of the car, his Chinese mind directs him to the literal meaning in Chinese, which translates ‘get down’. Of course this … Continue reading Malaysian English – A Case of Inculturation
The standard explanation for the meaning of inculturation is from the REDEMPTORIS MISSIO: Incarnating the Gospel in Peoples’ Culture 52. As she carries out missionary activity among the nations, the Church encounters different cultures and becomes involved in the process of inculturation. The need for such involvement has marked the Church’s pilgrimage throughout her history, but today it is particularly urgent. The process of the Church’s insertion into peoples’ cultures is a lengthy one. It is not a matter of purely external adaptation, for inculturation “means the intimate transformation of authentic cultural values through their integration in Christianity and the … Continue reading Inculturation Explained
I have finally come to understand why some Muslim in Malaysia are so against the use of ‘Allah’ by other religions, especially the Christians. One of the reasons, of course, has to do with theology. The Islamic faith has no notion of incarnation and hence, no idea of contextualisation or inculturation. The expansion of the Islamic faith is a socio-political-cultural expansion, and has always been geographical. Wherever it spreads to it brings along a set of cultural practices which is more or less fixed – the way of life, worship and rituals. On the other hand, the Christian faith has … Continue reading Is ‘Allah’ a Translation?
Excerpt from my MA dissertation: [Today,] the culture has changed so much that while the world in general has abandoned or reacted toward over-rationalised ways of thinking and lifestyle, the highly rationalised church, which Drane considers an example of being successfully contextualised to the previously dominant rationalised worldview, is left behind and finds it hard to follow the change.1 The following paragraphs will serve to depict the severely ‘modernised’ church. By applying the concept of ‘McDonaldization’ on the church, Drane laments the over-rationalisation of the church which makes the church no more than just another modern system that adhere … Continue reading Why is Modern Church in the Postmodern World Declining