Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Our final morning's open discussion with the three presenters provided a fascinating opportunity to see three "philosophical" systems interact with, and challenge, one another. Colin Greene's articulate attempt to deconstruct from within much of Western philosophical thought as "intellectually neutral" is challenged by Musa Dube's concern that Western philosophers only "talk to themselves" without taking on board insights of, say, African sages and thinkers. Richard Twiss' Lakota patriarchal, warrior tradition which is just as comfortable calling God "Grandfather" as it is "Creator" or "Great Spirit" is critiqued by Musa's experience of feminist insights being so necessary. A very rich discussion indeed reminding us that, in all our "emergent discussion" having equal representation (rather than isolated "token representation") of such diverse and multicultural voices and perspectives is so important!
Next and final session will be a "where do we go from here" discussion about which I will post later.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Colin Greene, theologian/missiologist from Durham, presented on his book "Metavistas." If we no longer, in the postmodern age, have an undisputed "meta-narrative" (i.e. the Bible) or an agreed metaphysics (view of the universe), how then shall we proclaim the Gospel? Perhaps by looking forward together into the "metavista,"the open space created by the fact that we are living in the dying of one age and the new birth of another. None of us know what the church (or the world) will really look like in the next decades, but does this not invite us to be open to new possibilities for mission and ministry in the days and years to come?
His book suggests several marks of the church in these days -- (1) the sometimes volatile interplay of scripture (narrative), tradition (knowing where you come from and valuing that history), and culture (rather than "reason" or "experience"); (2) grassroots ecumenism with churches cooperating "on the ground;" (3) an interfaith context (respectful conversation between the world's religions); reform of seminary education (incorporating ecumenical perspectives, cultural studies, political science, truly biblical theology, etc. and eschewing "denominational silos"); (4) understanding the upside and downside of globalization; and (5) really being willing to live into a counter cultural lifestyle and reality.


Musa Dube -- our presenter this morning -- is a professor of New Testament in Botswana. Her passionate question? 'How do I read the Bible as a woman who has been colonized?' Even in her doctoral training, she was required to learn (in addition to her English, Hebrew, and Greek) German and French but her own language and culture was completely ignored. So many of the texts, from the Exodus narrative to the "Great Commission" are -- or have been used as -- justifications for colonization under the guise of "evangelization."
She told a powerful folk tale of "Princess Africa" as she came under the control of her "colonial masters." The decades-old struggle for African independence as transformed her into "Mama Africa," the strong black woman who was ready for the healing independence was to bring only to find that the new 'sons' of Africa began fighting among themselves. Now came the era of "new colonization" -- international aid, governments, church groups, NGOs -- which goes under name "globalization" and the "global village." This resulted in crushing, unmanageable debt. Along with this came two more blows -- AIDS and climate change. And so today Mama Africa remains sick and bleeding...and perhaps reaching out to touch the hand of the One who once said to a little girl who was already dead, "Talitha cum..."

Monday, November 1, 2010

Emergent Village Theological Conference - EVTC #1

So, the titles will be EVTC #1, 2, 3...etc.

Emergent Village Theological Conference sessions 1, 2, 3, etc.

Richard Twiss, a Lakota Sioux, who now lives in the Pacific Northwest, began by blessing us with sage incense and having a member of his team dance a healing dance. This was followed by his summarizing his book "One Church, Many Tribes" and his ongoing experience of the American (and global) church marginalizing (and much worse) Native people.

He moved from rejecting his reservation upbringing, to re-discovering his heritage and hating white people, coming to faith in Christ through evangelical churches, walking away again from his heritage, to re-re-discovering his Native culture and integrating it into his faith.

The hope is, he will help us begin to lose our "need for innocence," the unfounded conviction that we have done nothing wrong to Native people. We need to understand our nation's, and our religion's, role in the cultural genocide of the original inhabitants of this land.