Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

Teaching Global Theologies, Power & Praxis

Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

Teaching Global Theologies, Power & Praxis

Article excerpt

Teaching Global Theologies, Power & Praxis, Editors Kwok Pui-lan, Cecelia González-Andrieu, Dwight N. Hopkins, (Waco, Texas: Baylor University Press, 2015, Pp. 216. $34.95.)

Kwok Pui-lan is perhaps the Episcopal Church's leading figure teaching and writing about comparative religious systems and religious pluralism. Born in Hong Kong and teaching at Episcopal Divinity School, she is past president of the American Academy of Religion and the author or editor of major publications on globalization, gender, Asian feminist theologies, and women and Christianity. She envisions a world where Buddhists and Muslims can sit at the same table as indigenous Roman Catholic and Protestant Pentecostals, where Confucian and Hindu texts will be respected as avenues to truth equally valid as classical Christian ones. Clearly the times they are a-changin', as Bob Dylan once sang. This book originates from a 2009 University of Chicago Divinity School conference and later gatherings at Fuller Theological Seminary, Santa Clara University, and workshops of the American Academy of Religion on "Teaching Global Theologies." The ten individual essays are free from the traditional European and EuroAmerican schools of theology writing, and suggest successful examples of best contemporary practices to teach emerging theology in a global setting. Names like Peter Phan, Andrew Walls, Keith Ward, and Mercy Oduyoye crowd the shelf with Karl Barth, John Hick, and Paul Tillich. It will be of immediate use to seminarians and college teachers preparing courses in religion and politics, and globalization. A cautionary note: within the academy interest in "world religions" has diminished, focusing almost exclusively on the spread of terrorism clothed in religious language. And even in the best of settings, reduced funding for theological education is a continuing reality. One seminary dean wept after sorting through several hundred grant applications from overseas, and only being able to offer funding to six candidates.

Kwok Pui-lan's introductory essay describes a 2012 course in liberation theology she taught to a Cambridge, Massachusetts, class of about twenty students from various Asian and African countries. The setting was vastly different from what it might have been a decade ago. "Today the internet and social media allow real-time interconnection and affordable and fast communication across the globe . . . globalization has broken down national and territorial boundaries and compressed time and space" (12). Numbers are daunting: while in 1980, eighty-three percent of the world's Christians were in Europe and North America, at present the largest concentration of world Christians live in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, and their numbers increase. …

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