Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Need for Contextualized Theology and Evangelism

Here's a great blog post by Allen Yeh on the need for nonwestern theology in the body of Christ, by way of Matt Stone at Glocal Christianity.  I encourage you to read it because it explains why we in the West need to hear the perspectives of our nonwestern brothers and sisters in Christ.  I think it is a great parallel to 1 Corinthians 12:12-26, where Paul explains how indispensable each part of Christ's body (the church) is to the others.

Monday, November 15, 2010

An Early Contextualization in China, Part 2

I am continuing my post from last week regrading the Nestorian/Sianfu Stele in China. The monument is 10' high by 3'4" wide, just under one foot thick and weighs two tons. It is made of a black, sub-granular oolitic limestone. The figure-head decoration of the tablet consists of an immense pearl held between two dragon-like creatures called "Lungs.” The lung is a Chinese symbol that has taken on different shades of meaning over the many centuries of China’s cultural history and continues to be a subject of much debate by scholars. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

FREE performance in WNC

For those of you in the Western North Carolina area, here's a FREE performance you might like to check out: an Indonesian Gamelan Concert at Western Carolina University on Thursday, Nov. 18th. I'm not sure if I'll be able to make it due to my work schedule, but will go if I can. Click the link above for more info.

An Early Contextualization in China, Part 1

Today I want to begin to examine a historical attempt at visual contextualization. The example is found in China and is called the Sianfu Stele (or Nestorian Stele).  It was erected in 781 A.D. by Nestorian Christians in or around Hsian-Fu, was buried in 845 due to persecution, and rediscovered in 1625.  The text on the monument is written in Chinese and Syriac, and chronicles the diffusion of Nestorianism in China, including the initial declaration of the “Law of the Messiah” to the Tang Emperor Taizong around 635. 

The large Chinese characters at the top of the monument proclaim it as the “Chinese Monument of the History of the Luminous Religion of Daqin” (the church in China referred to itself as "The Luminous Religion of Daqin", Daqin being the Chinese language term for the Roman Empire in the first and second centuries A.D., and in later eras was also used to refer to the Syriac Christian churches).

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Contexualized Dance Among Australian Aboriginals

Easter Purlapa, in Yuendumu (Yurntumu), Central Australia, 1978.
In this scene Jesus is taken by soldiers for his crucifixion.

A corroboree is a ceremonial meeting of Aboriginal Australians. The word was coined by the European settlers of Australia in imitation of the Aboriginal word caribberie. At a corroboree Aboriginal Australians interact with the Dreamtime through dance, music and costume. Many of the ceremonies are sacred and people from outside a particular community are not permitted to participate or watch. There are some women's and men's dances and songs, and those used by both men and women. Whether it be public or private, the ceremony is for invited guests. As a part of these dances members of the language would paint particular designs on their bodies to indicate the type of ceremony being held and the language group and family group performing. More on this below.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Nonwestern Art History Resource

Here's a great resource I recently discovered to learn more about nonwestern art history: iTunes U on iTunes.  Specifically, the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco has an incredible selection of lectures on Asian art history (Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim).  I've been checking out the series called Passport to Asia, but there are several other series on specific art forms.  So, download a lecture or two, and let me know what you think.