Michael Barnes SJ
This chapter considers Catholic theology’s response to non-Christian faiths. It argues that the ‘theology of religions’ is not a locus of theological reflection distinct from Christology or Trinitarian theology or others, but one that asks the questions in a particular context. At the same time, the theology of religions is an act of Christian discipleship, in which Christians encounter those of other faiths and reflect on how we may discern the work of the Spirit beyond the bounds of the visible Church. The chapter pursues this argument by considering the Second Vatican Council’s Nostra aetate, the relationship between dialogue and mission, the phenomenon of ‘comparative theology’, and the relationship between dialogue and discipleship.
K. K. Yeo
The chapter surveys the historical landscape of Chinese Christologies since the Tang dynasty, noting how the images of Christ relate to and impact specific cultural contexts. It also surveys four recent typological perspectives (the works of John P. Keenan, Kwok Pui-lan, Enoch Wan, and Jonathan Tan) discerning which Christology saves, and which destroys, China. Then, the chapter reconstructs, first, a distinctive Chinese Christology of Dao (way) that attempts to demonstrate the mutually transformative power between Christology and language, and, secondly, a Chinese Christology of Renren (a person who loves) that attempts to demonstrate Christ(ians) as the glorious image(s) of God. The main thesis of the chapter is that, such a biblical, contextual, and global Chinese Christology has the aspiration of ordering the world with beauty.
This chapter discusses women and ritual practice in the Christian tradition, women's ritual practices in the twentieth century, the development of feminist rituals, the globalization of feminist rituals, international networks of Christian women, and feminist activism in the Church. It argues that women creating and celebrating feminist rituals are here to stay. At the same time, of the roughly one billion Christian women around the globe, those who participate in feminist ritual practices are a distinct minority. A multitude of Christian women, however, do practice their faith in symbol, ritual, celebration, and song, and they do so—whether self-consciously or not, in an established group or alone—in gender-specific ways. Whatever the future of distinctly feminist rituals might hold, this gender-specific meaning-making of the rituals of faith will remain, at least until gender loses its defining force as a marker of difference in our world.
This chapter presents an account of what feminist theology is and how it might help us understand and engage with our globalizing world. The first section provides a non-faith-specific definition of feminist theology as an intracultural activist enterprise aimed at exploring the landscape of religious imagination from a feminist perspective, and also lays out a few of feminist theology's most distinctive “plays of imagination.” The second section turns to faith-informed, Christian feminist theology, describing it as a more narrowly focused activist enterprise that explores the landscape of the distinctly Christian theological imagination from a feminist perspective. Its distinctive “plays of mind” are delineated as well. The third section turns to the topic of globalization and maps out the central features of “the global imagination,” describing the ways in which globalization has impacted and shifted our thinking processes in recent decades, particularly in the global North. The final section returns to Christian feminist theology (and to pluralistic feminist theology as well), suggesting ways its faith imagination—its theological plays of mind—might productively engage the global imagination with the aim of improving, in new and creative ways, the lives of women everywhere.
Building on the foundations of First Wave Jewish and Christian women's activism, Jewish feminist theology has made a decisive contribution to the post-Holocaust renewal of Jewish thought. Its vision of Israel as an assembly of gendered persons whose ethical relationships with the world and with one another are witness to the love and justice of God has introduced inclusive language into the liturgy, and has expanded the linguistic and imaginal range of Jewish evocations of God. In doing so, Jewish feminist theology has established the theological terms on which to affirm the full humanity of Jewish women as subjects and agents of their own Jewish experience. This chapter begins by outlining the denominational and postdenominational contexts of Jewish feminist theology and assessing its standing in the primarily Anglophone Jewish community in which it has established itself since the second half of the 1970s. It then moves on to examine the ideas and approaches of a number of Jewish feminist theology's key practitioners, and some of the challenges it is likely to face over the coming years.
This article explores the relevance of the doctrine of the Trinity for discussions about globalization and postmodern theories of culture. It suggests that Trinitarian love infuses culture with a self-giving and teleological order that overcomes the ongoing mechanization and monetization of culture. It cites Pope John Paul II's theology of marriage and the family as an example of this renewal through self-giving love.
Christology is based on knowing Christ not just cognitively but integrally. All the great theologians have been saints. The first spirituality to emerge from the encounter with Jesus in the New Testament was a charter for monasticism. The spiritual life of the early Christians consisted in a longing to ‘bear witness’ to Christ through martyrdom. They ‘knew’ Christ by sharing in his death. In the Eastern Church of the Middle Ages, ‘knowing’ Christ came to mean contemplating Christ in the liturgy and in iconic representations of him. With the Franciscans and the Dominicans came a new sense of ‘knowing’ Christ by imitating him in a more literal way, sharing his poverty and his charism for preaching. The great flaw in how we try to ‘know Christ’ today is that the heart is separated from the head, the mind from the emotions. Only an integrated knowing can know Christ more fully.
Nestor Luiz João Beck
Lutheran immigrants encouraged interest in Luther on a popular level in late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century Latin America. Lutheran institutions have cultivated that interest at a scholarly level through translations of Luther’s works and through use of his thought in addressing pastoral and social questions of the day. A few Roman Catholic scholars have also offered analyses of the reformer’s theology and role in history, from various perspectives.
Michael J. McClymond
The term “mission” came into general use in its specifically Christian and theological sense only in the sixteenth century, when the Roman Catholic Jesuit order used the term to refer to the sending of its members to preach, instruct, serve, and win converts. The term “evangelism,” by contrast, is based on biblical vocabulary and is associated with “gospel,” “preaching of good news,” and “one who preaches good news” or “evangelist.” The word “evangelism,” despite its varied use over time, in its original sense refers to a joyful message of God's gracious and peaceable reign. It was not until the latter half of the twentieth century that reflection on mission and evangelism became a major focus within the broader field of Christian theology. Today's shared theology of mission may be associated with trinitarianism, Christology, eschatology, pneumatology, and ecclesiology. This article discusses historical patterns in the practice of mission and evangelism, as well as the Lausanne movement and contemporary evangelical mission theology.
Sung Wook Chung
Evangelicals are living in an increasingly pluralistic age, when major world religions are competing to attract adherents in all places of the world. For example, Islam has been increasingly attracting British and French citizens to the worship of Allah. Buddhism has drawn greater numbers of Americans and Canadians to the practice of Zen. Hinduism has been popularized by the spread of Yoga practice all over North America. In this context of religious pluralism, evangelical Christians should ask several questions. What attitude should evangelicals maintain toward other religions? How can we engage Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and Confucians without compromising the integrity of the gospel of Jesus Christ? This article provides biblical answers to the above questions by exploring an evangelical theology of other religions. First, it explains current options for Christian thinking about other religions, focusing on their inadequacy. Then it proposes a creatively evangelical approach that is grounded in biblical teaching, classical tradition, and evangelical theology. Finally, it applies this new approach to real situations of engagement with other religions.
María Pilar Aquino
Globalization, identity, and feminist theology have been the object of extensive academic research, and are perhaps the concepts that have had the greatest influence on our understanding of contemporary social reality and the function of religious rhetoric in today's world. In the theological field there has been a growing need to clarify the relationship between theology and identity formation in the current context of the social processes of “globalization.” This chapter explores the systematic interaction of these three concepts to bring to light the theological pertinence of a critical feminist theology of liberation for the visions and practices of social change. Such a theology develops the most appropriate analytical and hermeneutical frameworks to face the challenges raised by the current model of globalization, in the context of the social conditions created by which, a critical feminist theology functions as a religious ethical-political force of transformation for a new world of justice. The chapter is organized as follows. The first part highlights some methodological dimensions that expose the theological relevance of critical feminist liberation theology and its significance for present-day aspirations of social change. The second part addresses some key features of today's dominant model of society characterized by kyriarchal globalization, and points out their implications for feminist theological thought. The third and final part focuses on the social function of theological knowledge in the present circumstances and discusses some aspects that may shed light on possible future developments in feminist theology.
This chapter proposes a transethnic feminist theology of Asia, where one's ethnicity can be an entry point but where one moves beyond geographic, cultural, or ethnic boundaries and interests. This transethnic perspective requires a radical ecumenical spirit which adopts a very dialectical approach to race, ethnicity, and culture, and a fundamental awareness that the local, the particular, or the ethnic has always been shaped by the global and the global by the local. This transethnic perspective ought to produce not a blind universalism but a relational and dialectical universalism that promotes “shared sensibilities” across the boundaries of class, gender, race, ethnicity, ability, or orientation without sacrificing the particular situatedness of one's geopolitical and discursive location. This transethnic positionality further establishes a firm ground for the “recognition of common commitments” and will “serve as a base for solidarity and coalition” amongst those who work for the betterment of our society.