Culture and Christianity

“FAITHFUL TO HIS PROMISES”: GOD’S CALLING OF STARRY HASMATALI AS AN HISTORIC INDO-TRINIDADIAN MEMBER OF THE CHURCH OF GOD IN TRINIDAD AND CANADA

Author
Duane Sterling Sims M.A.
Abstract
This paper is concerned with the case story of Starry Hasmatali, who was raised in Trinidad and immigrated to Canada: first to Toronto and then to Moose Jaw. I have decided to interview her in particular, because she was an integral member of an historic Indo-Pentecostal family in the Church of God (Cleveland TN), in Trinidad. With her late husband, Edward D. Hasmatali, they brought the Church of God (CoG) to the island, and were deeply involved in leadership training and church planting.

Indo-Trinidadian Pentecostalism seems to be somewhat of an overlooked area of academic study, thus in interviewing Starry, I will seek to uncover their experiences in ministry in Trinidad and Canada, particularly in relation to their historic connection to the Church of God. I have also chosen to concentrate upon Indo- Trinidadian Pentecostals, since they comprise a significant section of the population of that country.

The Legacy of Hope - Moving Beyond Boundaries

Author
Temaki Carr D.Min.
Abstract
The Legacy of Hope stares into the future, a future that seems riddled with change and transition, and ponders how best to serve a transforming community. Mt. Hope Baptist Church is a historically African American church nestled in a moderately rural Virginia community, which is in the midst of an enormous population, socioeconomic, and demographic transition. How will this community transition impact Mt. Hope? The purpose of the research was to determine what effect, if any, a relational meeting campaign and two multicultural, multiracial Christian education classes would have on incorporating multicultural, nonblack attendees into the life of Mt. Hope Baptist Church. The research determined that the threshold to incorporate multicultural, nonblack attendees into the life of Mt. Hope Baptist church has been traversed. The formal and informal relational meeting campaign with key leaders and nonblack worship attendees as well as two Christian education classes influenced the five measurement protocols towards a propensity of acceptance to multicultural ministry.

"DOCTRINE DIVIDES, SERVICE UNITES": EFFECTIVE THEOLOGICAL METHODS OF INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE FOR ACHIEVING PEACEFUL CO-EXISTENCE IN MYANMAR CONTEXT

Author
Ar Naing D.Min.
Abstract
This thesis examines a practical application for effective interreligious dialogue in Myanmar. The country exists deeply rooted in religious tension and ethnic conflict. In these unstable times, some of the religious leaders and politicians are barriers to democratic transition and peaceful coexistence. In response, this thesis explores a prophetic witness of social justice in the light of the Praxis Model, a theological method of Professor Stephen B. Bevans. First, the conditions of social-religious-political injustices are examined to explain what led the country into chaos, corruption, and civil war. Then, this thesis proposes using effective, practical methods for moral and social transformation. Rather than promoting interreligious dialogue focused on doctrines that have divided people, this thesis recommends uniting people through involvement in social service activities that create common understanding and mutuality. A just and peaceful society can be created through the cooperation of Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, and Hindu religious groups by cultivating the practice of prophetic interreligious dialogue.

Language for Effective Preaching: Practical Guide for Fidei Donum Priests in the Belleville Diocese

Author
Urban Chidi Osuji D.Min.
Abstract
ABSTRACT

LANGUAGE FOR EFFECTIVE PREACHING
PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR FIDEI DONUM PRIESTS
IN THE BELLEVILLE DIOCESE

Urban Osuji, Aquinas Institute of Theology, St. Louis, Missouri.

Culture is an inherited conception that has to do with what a person learns from the parents, others, and the society about what it means to be a human being. As a child grows in the society, the child learns the culture’s general assumptions about family relations, relations between men and women, attitude towards life and death. A child learns these assumptions from parents and caregivers. There are other cultural expressions including table manners and the distribution of chores. Of all these inherited conceptions, language is the most symbolic of them all.
Language as an essential part of preaching is the subject of this thesis. The hypothesis is that Fidei Donum Priests can be effective Preachers by attending to the linguistic idioms, imageries, phrases, and sentence construction of the local congregation. The language of preaching is the concrete language of everyday life. Preaching language is the language that the children hear and understand and when they do not understand, their mothers offer a simpler understanding of the language with stories and imageries. Stories and imageries create and leave impressions on the emotional life of the people. When Priests use stories, imageries, and metaphors in preaching, listeners identify God’s presence in their midst. And that is why concrete imageries are the best tools for preaching.
But the use of concrete language in preaching does not come easy to the missionaries. Therefore, Fidei Donum Priests must immerse themselves by taking time to go to the people, live among them, share their lives and learn their language, including imageries, metaphors, and stories that have significant value for them.

The Unity Process and Its Effectiveness In Decreasing Cross-Cultural Divisions In Society Due to Racism

Author
Pamela Y Fields D.Min.
Abstract
This case study dealt with determining the usefulness of The Unity Process as a tool in combatting the racial divisions in the Dallas area. Research tools included pre- and post-surveys and interviews. The results were compared with The Unity Process. The three major findings from the research are the reality of the systemic nature of racism became apparent as well as the lived realities of minorities. From this awareness and understanding, participants became able to engage with others from different races and cultures. Finally, participants felt more competent and willing to engage and be an active advocate for minorities in America.

Work Perspectives, The Sacred/Secular Divide, and Workplace-Related Preaching, Equipping, and Church Support

Author
Joy P. Dahl D.Min.
Abstract
This study explored perspectives of work and workers, as well as potential connections between these perspectives and a lack of workplace-related preaching, equipping, and support provided by the church to congregants. This research, founded on a biblical theology of work, identifies implications for understanding church dynamics, and for dismantling beliefs and practices upholding the unbiblical sacred/secular divide.

The research engaged two groups within one church: pastors/paid church staff and congregants. The survey focused on: (1) value of work inside versus outside the church; (2) value of workers inside versus outside the church; (3) importance of work-related topics for preaching, equipping, and support within the church; and (4) adequacy of pastor/staff understanding of non-church workplaces and their ability to help congregants address workplace issues. This Doctor of Ministry project represents a unique study which evaluates perspectives of church workers and non-church workers within one church body regarding a primary area of everyday life often unaddressed or under-addressed by the church.

Two descriptive surveys, one for each group, garnered a 69.01% response rate from 71 pastors/staff, and a 9.62% response rate from 5,113 congregants. The surveys gathered quantitative responses, except for two qualitative responses regarding workplace demographics (for congregants only) which assisted the church in understanding the makeup of its non-church workers. The results of the surveys revealed that both pastors/staff and congregants within this church placed similar, high value on church and non-church work and workers. However, these perspectives did not translate into pastors/staff attributing high importance to work-related topics within church practices when compared to other topics. Additionally, both groups affirmed an inadequate understanding by pastors/staff of non-church workplaces and the daily issues congregants face.

The final chapter includes conclusions of the study and implications for future research. It also provides recommendations of potential next steps for the church.

THE NECESSITY OF GOSPEL-CENTERED PREACHING IN KOREAN CHURCHES: THE PROBLEM OF CONFUCIANISM AMONG KOREAN CHRISTIANS

Author
Samuel No Cheol Park D.Min.
Abstract
The Korean Church is experiencing a very sudden and serious collapse. There can be many sound reasons for its collapse, however, the most critical problem is Confucianism that is deeply rooted in the Korean Church from the beginning to today. All the power that the church needs comes from the true gospel, but Confucianism in the Korean Church hindered the true Gospel to be the Gospel. Therefore, this major project defines the biblical meaning of the true gospel and danger of changing gospel to other gospel just like what happened in the Galatian Church in Paul’s day. To identify the validity of the assertion of the project, the author chose three influential preachers in the Korean Church and received their answers for the five questions that the author carefully made up; and also received one sermon from each preacher to present criteria about the gospel-centered sermon along with author’s three sermons. As a result, it is true that Confucianism has been infiltrated into the Korean Church from the beginning of its history and created a legalistic atmosphere and brought the absence of the power of the true gospel. All three preachers agreed with the author that Confucianism must be eradicated from the Korean Church, and Korean preachers must start to preach the true gospel to bring the life of Christ abundant in the Korean Church.

Believing God in a Chinese context : a practice of promoting the deeper mutual understanding between Christian faith and Chinese traditional culture

Author
Jungang Wang
Abstract
Most Chinese people, within whom traditional culture is deeply embedded, reject Christianity because they see only conflict between the values of the culture they cherish and the Christian faith. After the author lays out the biblical-theological foundations for the lecture series by analyzing the biblical resources, this dissertation explains the practical process of this research project including the survey before the lectures themselves, the observation description of the lectures, and the communications after the lectures. The analysis suggests that the lecture series is an effective way to remove misunderstanding of young adults in the Beijing Nankou Church. It not only benefits young adults but also the whole congregation.

[Note about entry: Abstract submitted to the Atla RIM database on behalf of the author. The text appears in its entirety as it does in the original abstract page of the author’s project paper. Neither words nor content have been edited.]

"We are all patrons": how artists receive patronage in support of their work for the common good

Author
Erik Bonkovsky
Abstract
Many artists feel alone and under-supported to the detriment of both themselves and their communities. The purpose of this study was to explore how artists receive support for their work through patronage. This study focused on three areas of Christian theological heritage: common grace, imago Dei, and patronage. The study followed a qualitative research design relying on semi­ structured interviews of artists working for the common good. The study identified three potential areas of support: material support, relational support, and intellectual support. By recognizing and leveraging its resources, the church could provide patronage in support of artists working for the common good.

Proclaiming the gospel from Old Testament war narratives

Author
Eli H. Dowell
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to examine how preachers proclaim the Gospel from Old Testament war narratives. The study utilized a basic qualitative design using semi-structured interviews with six Gospel-centered preachers. Four research questions guided the data analysis, addressing challenges presented by culture and theology and what methods preachers use to overcome these challenges. The findings of the study show that Old Testament war narratives are essential components of the meta-narrative of Scripture, culminating in the person and work of Jesus Christ. The study concluded with several examples of Gospel-centered interpretations of select passages from the book of Joshua.
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