Week 1: Introduction to Culture Specific Evangelism (part 1) April 12-18


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    Test Summary of my thoughts


    This is where I would then put the details of my thoughts on the work for this week.

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    We have a Facebook group for The Academy as well!


    We have created this Facebook group to connect current, past and prospective students. We can use the group as a platform for greater discussion of topics that we learn in this course with a wider audience or continued discussion after the course concludes. You can also share other questions or suggestions for future courses. Please feel free to join and share freely!


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    What are some examples of God's fingerprints in Japanese history and culture?

    Tim Wang

    I enjoyed Daniel’s short lecture on Tuesday on the fingerprints of God with peoples around the world. Because of biblical records of Paul’s missionary endeavours, I agree that contextualization and bridge building should be used in Japanese evangelization. However, I am not convinced that contextualization will necessarily lead to wide-spread acceptance, because Paul also said the gospel is foolishness to the Greeks and Jews. There may be components of the gospel message that conflicts with Japanese or Buddhist world view, and may be unpalatable to them, yet still be the truth.

    • randyloubier

      I can see that. I would add though that, because of that, it places even a greater burden on us to look for those places where they have seen God’s revelations in their culture. The Thai Buddhist example in response to John 3:16 is brilliant–it illustrates that we have to look for other ways of communicating the truth.

      Truly, in my view, western culture has far more obstacles to the Gospel than Japan. We worship ourselves, “our truth,” our insistence on being right about how we should live our lives, we have a culture of honoring the best liars (called “spin” now), we have little shame for wrongdoing left in our culture. We could go on. At least in Japan, people still value humility, compassion for others, etc.

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    Joze (Week 1) Reflection


    Big Takeaways:
    – Ridgeway paper – “Jesus chose to go to the lost in their own contexts and relate to them right where they were.” I think this is especially valuable in collectivist cultures because this is almost a non-negotiable for them. They would tend to ask, “If the Gospel is not for ‘us’ then why should it be for ‘me’?” This was evident in Guinea, West Africa, when a MBB Fulani became a follower of Jesus but not their family, it was a long solitary road for them. But when a village decides to follow Jesus (especially if the chief of the village decides) then discipleship became easier because the good things in their culture they continued to do together, and they wrestled with some of the not-so-good things in their culture (e.g. polygamy, animistic practices).

    – Ozawa paper – Thanks for this paper. I had not heard of cultural identity described in psychosocial terms. I had mostly approached it in anthropological and worldview terms. The provocative question, “How many millions of people in the world have surrendered their identities in the belief that to have spiritual validity, a person must abandon, even deny [their] cultural, historical, and traditional ways in favor of foreign cultures and ways?” really hit me for some reason. I began to weep for the First Nations peoples in Canada in particular because of the complicity of the Church in the deculturalization process and cultural genocide through the residential schools that began when Canada became a nation. And this is one of the consequences when we thoughtlessly “proclaim” the Gospel without regard to their identity as a culture and as a people.

    – Kikawa paper – Although the Bruchco chief’s comment about “how can God be in a square church” is a close second favorite, the overarching important message that “the way they [different OSs, different cultures] process information is very different” is something that I’ve come to understand as the 2nd most important thing as a missionary. The first is Jesus, the second is HOW we communicate/show Jesus interculturally. To make it simpler for me, I’ve categorized contextualization as: CONTEXTUALIZING THE MESSENGER (so that they might accept you as an insider of the community), CONTEXTUALIZING THE MESSAGE (communicating in ideas and forms that people of the culture will understand), and CONTEXTUALIZING THE COMMUNITY (allowing the people group to express their faith in culturally appropriate ways). This paper and this course seem to be geared to giving tools for the second and third. Looking forward to this!

    – If others are interested, here’s another paper with some Japanese culturally specific thing in it: http://impact.nbseminary.com/89-fear-shame-and-guilt/#ref6

    For Kikawa-sensei, sorry if this is too broad a question: how have you found the Japanese in Hawai’i retain the Japanese culture and identity in and among the “American” culture and the indigenous Hawai’ian cultures? Does it seem more like a hybrid? How have Japanese-Americans living in Hawai’i celebrate your distinctiveness as a culture? I also hope you could talk about the comparisons in culture between the Japanese in Japan and in the diaspora. Thanks for your insights and wisdom!

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    Brandalyn week 1


    I really appreciated the section on the buddhist’s potential interpretation of John 3:16. It is an eye opening example. The interpretation of “born again” is something I never would have considered. But it is a good point to consider and be aware of. It highlights for me the importance of learning the point of view and beliefs of your audience. To me the big take home message (although we feel a great urgency to share the gospel ASAP) is to listen and learn FIRST before trying to tell about God. It goes hand in hand with seeing if they already have an indigenous name or understanding of him that can be built on. What are their fears or deep needs that the Lord addresses that we can use to introduce him through? It makes me think of stories of bible translators who need to learn what a people group calls their “heart” – for some they refer to the liver as the center of emotions and being. To make a meaningful gospel, they don’t write “hide thy word in my heart” because that would have no (or inappropriate) meaning to the people. But instead they translate “hide thy word in my liver”. It takes time to learn these subtleties of a culture and language to be able to effectively share the gospel I think. We can learn much from listening and observing.