Theological Reflection: Culture
Genuine Christian living is always transcultural. In Christ, Jew and Gentile are called upon to eat together breaking centuries of division and hostility. Andrew Walls points out that the letter to the Ephesians ‘is a celebration of the union of irreconcilable entities, the breaking down of the wall of partition, brought about by Christ’s death (Eph. 2:13-18).’
The walls we put up offer security so that communities, as Bishop Alfred Reid described, have “a tendency to be insular, introverted and isolated.” Christ breaks down the walls separating humanity. Max Warren said ‘Only the whole world knows the whole truth.’ It is not that there are multiple truths, but that one culture in one time and one place cannot adequately describe that truth. The Christian community is constantly challenged to engage with a biblical worldview always in tension with its own cultural context. A number of the papers written for Continuing Indaba describe this tension.
Transcultural experiences challenge the claims of universal truth constructed in single worldview communities. They are transformational in that they enable people to see the world and the Scriptures in a different way. They encounter Christian communities faithful to Scripture, but interpreting it from a very different perspective. As the 1997 Virginia report describes:
The characteristic Anglican way of living with a constant dynamic interplay of Scripture, tradition and reason means that the mind of God has constantly to be discerned afresh, not only in every age, but in each and every context.
Cultures in Conversation
A number of the papers below invite us into a conversation with a culture different from our own. The subjects vary greatly and include insights into not only what view is held on topics but the context for that view. None of the papers listed below are presented to the reader as the definitive work on a topic but as windows into different contexts around the Anglican Communion.
In From the Margins: The Struggle for Equal Rights for Dalits and Tribals in the Church of North India – Rt. Rev. Probal Kanto Dutta; India
Local vs. Global Church – Fr. George Okoth; Tanzania
Njung’wa Theology: A Kikuyu System for Conversation and Healing of Community – Ven. Dr. Ndung’u Ikenye; Kenya
Religious Fundamentalism and Christian Witness in a Pluralistic Context – Rev. Dr. Mani Chacko; Bangalore, India
Homosexuality: An Indian Issue in Church and State – Pratap C. Gine, Ph.D.; India
Conflict and African Spirituality: Agīkūyū Perspective – Rev. Dr. Sammy Githuku; Kenya
Indaba: A Southern African Concept – Bishop Ebenezer Ntlali; South Africa
Conflict Resolution Approach, Ghana – Rt. Rev. Matthias K. Medadues-Bodahu; Ghana
The “Old Lady” Model of Dispute Resolution – Ven. Paul Shaibu Katampu; Ghana
The Church of North India: Unity’s Fruit in a Struggle Unfinished – Rev. Sunil Michael Caleb; CNI.
Harmony, “He” [和] Theology – Frankie Lee; Hong Kong
Ordinary “Readers” versus Academic Interpretations of Scripture: Interpreting the Bible in a Context of Polygamy in Tanzania – Rev. Mote P. Magomba; Tanzania
Living Church After the Fall: A Canadian Case Study – Rev. Dr. Wendy Fletcher; Canada
Under the Banyan Tree: Indian Analogues to Indaba – Ms. Sushma Ramswami; India
The Struggle for the Equal Rights of Women in the Church of North India – Rev. Sonal Christian; CNI.
Liturgy and Inculturation in the Caribbean – Canon Dr. Knolly D. Clarke; Trinidad and Tobago.