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Urban Christian Spirituality

East Asian and Nordic Perspectives

Knut Alfsvåg and Thor Strandenæs

This book explores some of the challenges presented to church and mission from the contemporary culture of globalization and how this affects Christian spirituality in various ways. The attention is primarily focused on contemporary East Asian urban life, but from the assumption that this may not be all that different from what is experienced in urban contexts in other parts of the world. The authors all share an affiliation with institutions related to the Norwegian Mission Society and its work in East Asia.
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Christian Spirituality for People in the Metropolitan City: A Concern with Rapid Urbanization in Mainland China


This paper consists of three sections. The first is a brief elaboration on the meaning of Christian spirituality. The second addresses the common aspects of city life in many emerging metropolises in Mainland China and the challenge these pose for Christians in terms of living out their spirituality. The last section will reflect on the ways that may help Christians in the city embody an authentic Christian spirituality. Although this paper discusses the case of urbanization in Mainland China, its reflection on Christian spirituality in the city is applicable to Christians living in metropolises in other countries.

What is “Christian Spirituality”?

“Spirituality” is an elusive term. The word is frequently seen in academic conferences held in many countries, in terms such as health and spirituality, medicine and spirituality, ecology and spirituality, psychotherapy and spirituality, and so on. Books sell well when their titles contain the word “spirituality”: emotions and spirituality, positive thinking and spirituality, planting and spirituality, cooking and spirituality, etc. Although the word “spirituality” first appears in Christian literature, it is often used in a non-religious sense. There is quite an intense discussion especially in Western countries about the split between spirituality and religion. People who believe they are “spiritual” are not necessarily adherents to a specific religion. And there are more and more who would claim to belong at once to multiple religions.1 While it is understandable that “spirituality” has become fashionable today, the trend has had the effect of challenging Christians...

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