Academics

The Questions of Caribbean Theology

Within just a couple of hours of being in Puerto Rico, I had the opportunity to sit with Professor Agustina Luvis in her office at the Seminario Evangelico de Puerto Rico.  Dr. Luvis teaches a broad range of courses, including Systematic Theology, courses on Pentecostalism, Feminist Theology, and Caribbean Theology.  I learned a lot in my brief time with her, and left with a lot more questions than I had gone into our meeting with – which is usually a very good sign. I asked her about some of the distinctive elements between Caribbean Theology and other Latin American theologies.  She has written an article about this in the Global Dictionary of Theology.  She told me that in Caribbean Theology, there is a stronger focus on the impacts of colonialism than in other Latin American theologies.  When she teaches her class on this topic, she helps her students methodically deconstruct […]



Nigerian Worship in London

Penn State University professor Philip Jenkins wrote what has become a very significant book for missiology, called The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity.  This book documents the shifts taking place in global Christianity – from the shrinking of the Western Church to the explosive growth taking place in the Church of the global South (i.e. Africa and Latin America).  Jenkins followed up this work with two books: The New Faces of Christianity: Believing the Bible in the Global South and God’s Continent: Christianity, Islam, and Europe’ Religious Crisis. In the former, Jenkins documents some of the theological conditions of the growing church in the global South, and how they bring a very conservative reading of scripture to bear – this has brought about some division, particularly within the Anglican denominations. In the latter book, Jenkins looks at the decline of Christianity in Europe, where it has been very […]



Dissertate this! pt. 3

O.k., so I’ve mentioned the fact that there are major movements of growth in Christianity around the world – well, except for the Western world, where Christianity is in a bit of decline lately.  I’ve mentioned that these movements are taking place at a time in which globalization is changing everything.  One interesting thing to note as a backdrop to these discussions is the fact that globalization and Christianity have gone hand in hand for hundreds of years by now. Back in pre-Reformation Christianity, when the Church of Christendom ruled the day, explorers set sail to find new trade routes and new lands in which to trade.  They typically went with the blessing (and/or military backing) of their homeland.  When they encountered new people groups, they developed “trade partnerships” with swords and spears in hand.  They colonized these places and subdued them through physical force and intimidation.  Another of the […]



Dissertate This! pt. 2

Here’s my second post taking a trip through the dissertation that kept me busy over the past few years.  In my previous post, I talked about the rapid spread of Christianity in the global South and East, even at the same time as there has been a noted downturn in Christian practice here in the Western world.  While asking questions about what “we” in the West can learn from our sisters and brothers in other contexts, I thought it was also important to address one of the essential realities of our time – globalization.  <PAUSE: I just got THE biggest guilty pleasure inserting that link for globalization – the link is to Wikipedia.  Citing Wikipedia as a source in academia is a major no-no, so I had to do it here for kicks> Thomas Friedman brought the topic of globalization to the masses in his book The World is Flat, […]



The Church You Didn't Know About

I’m not sure exactly how to go about this, but this post represents my first attempt at blogging about my dissertation.  I can’t say how many posts I’ll use to write about this, or how frequently I will do so.  I’ll start with some general framing words, though. When I began the process of research and writing, I was intrigued by the possible implications of some of the writings done by a Penn State University professor, Philip Jenkins.  I had recently read his book, The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity.  In it, he gives a lot of data that proves a surprising fact: there are currently more Christians in the non-Western world than there are in the West, which has always been considered as the home of Christianity.  The past few decades have witnessed an explosion in the number of Christians in Latin America, Africa, and Asia.  All […]



Global Missional Leadership

I had the pleasure of enjoying a couple of hours at the SeaTac airport this morning with Jason Clark, who had a layover between his flights from Portland to LAX (I know, the route doesn’t make sense, but since those flights made our little meetup possible, I’m not complaining).  Jason is a pastor from London, and a point-person in the Emergent UK conversation.  He’s also a graduate of the George Fox Seminary program that I’m set to finish up (tomorrow morning!!!). We met to conspire about a brand new program that Jason is developing with George Fox – a Doctor of Ministry in Global Missional Leadership.  It is geared toward reflective theological practice within a global context.  There are a number of things that excite me about this new program.  First, it isn’t “global” in name only – in addition to the course content and readings, there are three face-to-face […]



The twin products of apostasy

Capitalism and Marxism are the twin products of the apostasy of the European intellectuals of the eighteenth century.  They turned their backs on the Christian revolution, except as an option for the private life of the individual, and adopted a radically different faith as the public faith that would control education, government and business.  And that faith was more an ideology than a faith.  It was one that put human beings at the centre of the universe and exalted the autonomous human reason as the sole measure and motor of human advancement. Capitalism and Marxism are indeed the twin products of that apostasy.  The proposal to understand all human affairs in terms of a classification of human beings as oppressors or oppressed, and the identification of the oppressed as the bearers of meaning and hope for history, is an obvious carry-over from Marxism.  We are all, in some measure, both […]