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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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Folk Religious Spirituality in Hong Kong: Its Relational and Utilitarian Aspects – a Challenge for the Christian Church


1. Introduction

In the following I shall be dealing with two main characteristics of folk religious spirituality in Hong Kong and their bearings on Christian spirituality there. Before turning to these characteristics there is a need for defining spirituality in a folk religious context and for briefly describing the context of Chinese Hong Kong in which folk religious spirituality can be found.

2. Spirituality in the Folk Religious Context

Spirituality, when defined widely, encompasses both the normative and the folk religious spirituality, Christian as well as non-Christian. Textbooks on Christian spirituality tend to reflect a common dilemma: Whereas one may easily agree on a general definition, the term spirituality “is resistant to precise definition, partly due to the variety of senses in which the term is used, and partly due to controversy within the community of scholars specializing in the field over the manner in which the term ought to be used.”1 In his book Christian Spirituality, Alister E. McGrath gives the following general definition of spirituality:

Spirituality concerns the quest for a fulfilled and authentic religious life, involving the bringing together of the ideas of that religion and the whole experience of living on the basis of and within the scope of that religion.2

His definition implies that the term spirituality cannot be restricted to mean the spirituality of adherents of historic, normative religion but must include the spirituality of the adherents of folk religion as...

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