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Urban Christian Spirituality

East Asian and Nordic Perspectives

Edited By 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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Christ the City and the Way of Tea

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I should like to start my presentation with a particular image of God. That image is discussed in the writings of Charles Williams, an original Christian thinker and writer, not popularly known but deeply appreciated in his own circles during the first half of the 20th century. Williams allegedly loved London, and he gave a reason for this. The city, or any city for that matter, is for him the closest image that man can have of God. Why? For him God created, and still creates, the world in his own image, therefore what governs life is none other but the law of the Trinity. The Father is in the Son, and the Son in the Father. Likewise with the Holy Spirit. The three Persons of the Trinity dwell within each other. And that is true with us also. We are created to dwell within each other, to be inherently interrelated. No one lives from himself or for himself; we live from others and for others. We are all ontologically connected. There is no other way to live, like it or not. That is the spiritual law of creation. That law runs through all the ladders of existence, a tiny seed growing into a big tree, a loving couple absorbed in romance or complicated international relationships.

In Williams’ words, all created beings exist in an infinite web of “exchange and substitution”. We are constantly engaged in some sort of exchange, be it in daily work or...

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