Friday, August 31, 2007

Bits and pieces

I find myself unusually tired and busy this week. It’s Friday and I didn’t even notice it. I am teaching three hours a day and maybe I am spending the same hours in preparation. I am aware that my new job as bus driver is taking too much of my time. I am actually spending more or less 20 hours a week and it does not include the time I have been transporting people to the church and the midweek activities. Moreover, it is not that easy to drive a 21-year old van when the air-conditioning is not working without the help of power steering. Now, you may ask the question: why couldn’t I simply delegate the job to someone? The answer is simply because no driver is available. It so happen that in this community I am the only one who can drive. But Narlin and I are enjoying the company of the children who incessantly laughing, talking and singing while we are traveling the road to their homes. This is weekend, I was hoping for some free time and rest, but I know it is impossible. My works are actually doubled during the weekend.

All the same, I managed to finish a book edited by Kevin J. Vanhoozer, Everyday Theology: How to Read Cultural Texts and Interpret Trends. Here is the blurb:
Everyday theology is the reflective and practical task of living each day as faithful disciples of Jesus Christ. In other words, theology is not just for Sundays, and it's not just for professional theologians. Everyday Theology teaches all Christians how to get the theological lay of the land. It enables them to become more conscious of the culture they inhabit every day so that they can understand how it affects them and how they can affect it. If theology is the ministry of the Word to the world, everyday theologians need to know something about that world, and Everyday Theology shows them how to understand their culture make an impact on it. Engaging and full of fresh young voices, this book is the first in the new Cultural Exegesis series.
In this book, Vanhoozer teaches us the methodology on how to read and interpret popular culture in the light of biblical/theological truths. This is a good read for theologians, pastors and missionaries. The method, I believe is applicable to any culture whether traditional or contemporary. This is fast reading and I hope to return to it and post a book review.

I am currently reading Globalizing Theology: Belief and Practice in an Era of World Christianity edited by Craig Ott and Harold A. Nettland. There are lots of good essays here about contextualization and third world theologies (and other topics I have yet to read) written by theologians, missiologists and anthropologists like Kevin Vanhoozer, Andrew Walls and Paul Hiebert. I will post some interesting insights from time to time.
Description: It is no secret that globalization is one of the most powerful forces in the twenty-first century. In nearly every realm--political, economic, cultural, ethnic, and religious--traditional boundaries are disappearing and people worldwide are more interconnected than ever. Recent decades have also seen the globalization of Christianity and the accompanying shift in the center of gravity of Christianity from the West to the southern hemisphere and Asia. As these realities take deeper root, scholars, students, and church leaders must grapple with the implications for theological reflection and method, not to mention missiological practice.

It is to this set of vital and complex issues that the contributors to Globalizing Theology address themselves in this collection of original and groundbreaking essays. Contributors include M. Daniel Carroll R., Lois McKinney Douglas, Paul G. Hiebert, Eloise Hiebert Meneses, James E. Plueddemann, Robert J. Priest, Vinoth Ramachandra, Steve Strauss, David K. Strong and Cynthia A. Strong, Tite Tiénou, Charles E. Van Engen, Kevin J. Vanhoozer, Andrew F. Walls, and Darrell L. Whiteman. A foreword by Wilbert R. Shenk is also included.

This international and internationally recognized group of scholars brings a multidisciplinary approach to the questions involved, including not only theological and missiological perspectives but also insights from history, sociology, ecclesiology, and anthropology. Part one examines the challenges for theology brought about by globalization. Part two focuses on methodological issues. Part three examines the implications of a global theology on various practical issues. Here is a vital text for courses in theology, missions, and cultural studies.

Monday was a happy day once again because another thirty-two books arrived in the mail. I was not home when the books came as I was teaching at the Missions Training Center. I think all the books are now here… but God is full of surprises, there are maybe more to come. The saying: so many books so little time has never been so true in my life until today. I am still overwhelmed by the number of books that the mailman is delivering in our front door. I guess by now the mailman is wondering where on earth those books come from.

Last week, we were surprised to be visited by one of the readers. Yes, a blog reader, a Christian Englishman living in Australia. He came to Mae Sai and got in touch with us and had a nice chat over a cup of coffee. When Narlin asked him how did he come to know us, he nonchalantly replied, I read your blog. I think it's amazing.

On the other note, my family and I are rejoicing in the Lord as we experience God’s provision this month. We are not having the same problem like the previous months when I have to “beg” for our friends and family to send some money to pay for our monthly bills. As the month of September begins, we see that our bank account have enough fund to see us through. We do not know who these people are yet but we want to thank God for them.

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