Evangelical Postcolonial Conversations
How can the church respond to issues of imperialism, race and globalization? Constructing an evangelical postcolonial theology may be the solution to dealing with these ever-growing issues. Gathering together essays presented at the 2010 Postcolonial Roundtable at Gordon College, this groundbreaking volume seeks to reconcile the ugly history of cultural dominion and colonialism with new perspectives on global society.
Rethinking and reimagining the concepts of identity, power, interpretation and historiography through the lens of Christianity, the editors provide readers with new ways of understanding and bettering the world.
"The Christian faith of the future must be a joint enterprise in which the descendants of the colonized and the descendants of the colonizers come together, reflect on the past and imagine a different and better future together," contributor Brian McLaren states. "That work will involve risks and dangers for both groups, and the contributions of both are essential. One lesson the gospel surely teaches us is this: we are all connected."
Addressing themes like nationalism, Christology and western conquest, contributors discuss reasons Christians need to be careful how they frame their conversations on global topics. The language of "mission" can be misconstrued in light of postcolonial perspectives, and the essays dig into the role of evangelicalism in modern Christian outreach to help us keep pace with what God is doing in our era.
"The contributors to Evangelical Postcolonial Conversations remind us that there is no view from nowhere. More importantly, they help western evangelicals realize how often we have confused our finite and fallible human responses to God's self-disclosure with the Word of God itself—how often we have confined God's Word to our words. What I enjoyed most about this book is the way it invited me, the reader, into an ongoing conversation that itself models how self-identifying evangelicals can better listen to the voices of those in the Majority World and on the margins in a manner that engenders humility, repentance and even our ongoing conversion to something that more closely resembles God's reign on earth as it is in heaven."
"This pioneering book charts a new direction in evangelical theology. It employs postcolonial theory to examine the evangelical legacy and offers rich insights in the reconstruction of mission and theology. Forward-looking and provocative, the book will no doubt stimulate debates in the evangelical church and beyond."
"The various 'isms' usually start outside evangelicalism. They arrive in nonevangelical packaging and may provoke questioning and anxiety, but then they may get thought through within an evangelical framework and become fruitful within evangelical thinking and commitments in a way that can be instructive for the whole church. It can take time to navigate the sequence, even though evangelicalism is related to Protestantism, and postcolonialism (as one of the contributors notes) is a protest movement. This collection is the marvelous fruit of the work of those who have reflected deeply on postcolonialism. It's neat that so many of the chapters are cowritten. And whereas terms like empire can sound as if they apply chiefly to the empire against which the American colonies rebelled, it's encouraging for a Brit to be able to note how much attention is paid to the colonial nature of thinking and action within the Americas."
"This collection is a solid, sharp contribution to the juncture of Christian studies and postcolonial studies. I have noted with delight how in recent years evangelical theology has addressed the major crises and issues of our times. This has certainly been the case with regard to migration and economics. This venture into the discourse of imperial-colonial formations and relations is thus much needed and much welcomed. I look forward to dialogue and recommend the volume highly. A job well done!"
"Christianity today is facing tremendous challenges and opportunities tied to often-overlooked flows of power in our postcolonial world. What role does faith play as suffering persists and lives are lost? The contributors to this volume join a broader theological debate, making major contributions as they reclaim the robust witness of the evangelical heritage for the common good with creativity and courage."
"I feel like Rip Van Winkle, who went to sleep and woke up in a changed world. The ways of doing missions have undergone a paradigm shift, and these writers helped me understand it."
"This volume presents a groundbreaking endeavor toward evangelical postcolonial theology, articulating the intersection between evangelical and postcolonial discourse. It challenges the theological roundtable under the dominion of the Western metanarrative of Enlightenment that keeps the colonial project and its civilizing mission intact, undertaking a constructive task for evangelical-postcolonial relevance and praxis in the face of the empire driven by globalization. This is an important contribution toward postcolonial imagination, which deepens and reinterprets evangelical theological discourse and praxis."
"Evangelical Postcolonial Conversations prophetically challenges the evangelical community to examine critically how it is complicit, historically and presently, in the colonial enterprise, while also avoiding praxis-oriented suggestions for redressing oppression. This book is essential for introductory level courses at any seminary, CUME included, as it provide a wealth of knowledge for theologians and practitioners alike to re-examine their past as they progress in their vocation. . . . For practitioners and academics alike, Evangelical Postcolonial Conversations is highly recommended for moving past that illusory enchantment to work that is truly liberating."
"A helpful reader that gives voice to postcolonial thought at a time when evangelical leaders must engage increasingly pluralistic contexts."
"There is so much to commend here. If contemporary evangelical missiology is to forge a path that is both liberating and consistent with its aim of authentically bearing witness to God's good news, then conversations such as this are essential. If the exchanges in this volume are any indication, the future of the evangelical-postcolonial conversation is an extraordinarily hopeful one."
"This book adds to the much-needed conversation in today's post-colonial, post-Christian, post-modern, neo-capitalist, and urbanized world. All the 'posts' and hyphens destroy what modern Evangelicalism attempted to wrap up so neatly, particularly from its designated position of power. The contribution of this volume helps many to take seriously their perceptions and seek God's overall wisdom in collaboration with the complication of hybridity in our world."
Introduction: Why Postcolonial Conversations Matter
Reflection on Postcolonial Friendship
Brian D. McLaren
The Importance of Postcolonial Evangelical Conversations
A Response to the Postcolonial Roundtable: Promises, Problems and Prospects
Gene L. Green
The Postcolonial Challenge to Evangelicals
Prospects and Problems for Evangelical Postcolonialisms
Robert S. Heaney
Part 1 Mission and Metanarrative: Origins and Articulations
Introduction to Part 1- L. Daniel Hawk
1. From Good: "The Only Good Indian Is a Dead Indian"; to Better: "Kill the Indian and Save the Man"; to Best: "Old Things Pass Away and All Things Become White!" An American Hermeneutic of Colonization
L. Daniel Hawk and Richard L. Twiss
2. North American Mission and Motive: Following the Markers
Gregory L. Cuéllar and Randy S. Woodley
3. Postcolonial Feminism, the Bible and the Native Indian Women
4. Converting a Colonialist Christ: Toward an African Postcolonial Christology
Victor Ifeanyi Ezigbo and Reggie L. Williams
Part 2 The Stories behind the Colonial Stories
Introduction to Part 2 - Kay Higuera Smith
5. Tracing the Metanarrative of Colonialism and Its Legacy
Teri R. Merrick
6. American Exceptionalism as Prophetic Nationalism
Kurt Anders Richardson
Part 3 Revisioning Evangelical Theology
Introduction to Part 3 - Jayachitra Lalitha
7. The Apocalypse of Colonialism: Notes Toward a Postcolonial Eschatology
Christian T. Collins Winn and Amos Yong
8. Jesus/Christ the Hybrid: Toward a Postcolonial Evangelical Christology
Joya Colon-Berezin and Peter Goodwin Heltzel
9. Recovering the Spirit of Pentecost: Canon and Catholicity in Postcolonial Perspective
Megan K. DeFranza and John R. Franke
Part 4 Transforming the Evangelical Legacy
Introduction to Part 4 - Kay Higuera Smith
10. The Problem and Promise of Praxis in Postcolonial Criticism
Federico A. Roth and Gilberto Lozano
11. Embracing the Other: A Vision for Evangelical Identity
Kay Higuera Smith
12. Healthy Leadership and Power Differences in the Postcolonial Community: Two Reflections
Nicholas Rowe and Ray Aldred
13. Christian Disciplines as Ways of Instilling God?s Shalom for Postcolonial Communities: Two Reflections
Nicholas Rowe and Safwat A. Marzouk
Part 5 Closing the Circle
Introduction to Part 5: The Evolution of the Postcolonial Roundtable
Joseph F. Duggan
14. Hosting a True Roundtable: Dialogue Across Theological and Postcolonial Divides
Gregory W. Carmer
Dr. Richard Twiss: A Remembrance
Randy S. Woodley
Name and Subject Index