Women in World Christianity: Navigating Identities
Edited by Nuam Hatzaw and Jessie Fubara-Manuel
Leading Ghanaian theologian Mercy Amba Oduyoye describes theology without the inclusion of women as a one-winged bird – hindered and unable to soar to its full potential. In her opening address at the inaugural meeting of the Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians (the Circle) in 1989, she contended that African theology needs to pay proper attention to women’s issues, experiences and theological reflections in order that it might be a two-winged theology that can take full flight. Oduyoye’s comments highlighted the pervasive omission of women’s voices within religious institutions and theological and religious studies literature. Despite women’s important and pivotal roles in these arenas, their contributions, perspectives and needs have gone consistently underplayed, or been otherwise dismissed.
A few years ago, Andrew Walls told me that he had once hoped to become a missionary to China. However, with the rise of the Chinese communist revolution, those plans were dashed, and he eventually made his way to Sierra Leone in 1957, followed by Nigeria in 1962. One wonders how the study of World Christianity would have been different if the doyen of the academic field spent his formative missionary years in China instead of Africa. Would he have had the same epiphany in Beijing or Shanghai or Wenzhou that he was ‘actually living in a second-century church’? When considering Confucianism or Daoism, would he likewise speak of the place of ‘primal religions’ in shaping the consciousness of another faith, be it Christianity or Buddhism? Both are undoubtedly possibilities. But perhaps, in this parallel universe, the area less likely to have developed would have been his recognition of the importance of oral cultures – a pervasive characteristic in his beloved Africa, but scantly recognised in China.
Professor Brian Stanley leads this discussion with Centre alumni Dr Jooseop Keum (Presbyterian University and Theological Seminary, Seoul, South Korea), Professor Esther Mombo (St. Paul’s University, Limuru, Kenya), Dr Janice McLean-Farrell (New Brunswick Theological Seminary), and Professor Timothy Tennent (Asbury Theological Seminary). As part of the 175 year anniversary of New College, the panel reflects on the place of World Christianity in New College, University of Edinburgh. They speak about how the Centre and its former staff (such as Professor Andrew Walls, Dr Jack Thompson, Professor David Kerr, Professor James Cox, and Ms Margaret Acton) nurtured a community of scholars in world Christianity.
If you are unable to access the video above from YouTube, you can also try watching it from the University of Edinburgh’s Media Hopper service.
Manoela Carpenedo is associate lecturer in religious studies at the University of Kent and an affiliated researcher at the Department of Sociology at the University of Cambridge. The following is a summary of some of her doctoral research at Cambridge, which she presented at the Centre for the Study of World Christianity’s weekly research seminar. We present it here as an example of ethnographic research in our ongoing discussion of methods in world Christianity begun with Jason Bruner’s post on 30 January 2018.
Manoela Carpenedo discusses her research on Judaising Evangelicals in Brazil at the CSWC’s research seminar on 23 January 2018.
Ritual borrowing and appropriation of Jewish religious tenets by Christians is not something new. On the contrary, it constitutes the very basis of Christian tradition itself. Yet, the current appropriation of Jewish narratives, rituals and even political anxieties by Christians is gaining more and more relevance in the religious and socio-political landscape. Continue reading →