Studies in World Christianity, Issue 23.2

Chinese Identity, Christian Identity

Studies in World Christianity

Readers of Studies in World Christianity will be well acquainted with the parable of the Professor of Comparative Inter-Planetary Religions.1 As narrated by Andrew Walls, this long-living, scholarly space visitor travels to Earth on a number of occasions to conduct field research related to the religion known as ‘Christianity’, from the Council of Jerusalem to the Council of Nicaea, from the seventh century in Ireland to the 1840s in London and the 1980s in Lagos, Nigeria. What would differ if our space visitor were to narrow the scope of his research to a particular subgrouping of the human species, such as to those with some affiliation with the descriptor ‘Chinese’? Would Walls’ ‘indigenising’ principle have to be envisioned differently if we were to speak of a more unified understanding of ‘culture’? Or, perhaps, would ‘Chinese culture’ need to be re-evaluated as embodying manifold meanings, especially when ‘Chinese’ is not limited to a given time or locale? Does Walls’ ‘pilgrim’ principle, which speaks of the universalising factor of Christianity, add to or take away from Chinese culture? Continue reading

Spousal Violence in a Confucian-Christian Context

This article was originally posted here.

Last Tuesday, Elizabeth Koepping gave a valedictory paper at the weekly World Christianity seminar here in the School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh.1  Prof. Brian Stanley responded to her paper by saying that it was ‘truly disturbing… in a good way’, in that it exposed the problem of spousal violence that exists amongst Christians, validated by the Bible, and often ignored or hidden by church leadership.  Her field and documentary research was conducted in multiple contexts: Taiwan, Australia, Ghana, etc. – and Scotland.  But the underlying reality was the same: domestic violence is pervasive, within and without the church.  Moreover, she suggested that theologically the church must reclaim the understanding of the Imago Dei in both man and woman in order to combat these atrocities. Continue reading