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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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On Vocation for Single Female Christians in Hong Kong

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Joining Sunday worship in one of the numerous small Chinese congregations in Hong Kong – often located in a commercial building – a European visitor inevitably notices a fairly high number of participants in their twenties or thirties. Most Christians, some 8% of the population, are first-generation-Christians who were born and raised in non-Christian families. This phenomenon can be explained with the common mission strategy of the various Chinese-speaking churches which mainly target teenagers and students through various fellowships and leisure activities. As some 50% of the secondary schools in Hong Kong are run by Christian churches or church-affiliated organizations with “Christian religion” as a mandatory subject, churches have privileged access to students. After joining Christian fellowships and congregations for some time, young Chinese people – normally between 15 and 25 years old – decide for themselves to become Christians and to get baptized.

What makes Christian missions particular to Chinese people, not only in Hong Kong but also in Mainland China and among the Chinese Diaspora in Southeast Asia (like Malaysia or Indonesia), are individual conversions, different to the tribal conversions of most other Protestant missionary approaches in Africa, Asia or Oceania. Wherever families, clans or whole tribes became Christianized, the cultural and religious identity of the local community was generally preserved.1 Though the missionaries in the 19th century – who based their own individual conversion experiences in the awakening movement – originally aimed at individual conversions of tribal people, they came to know that within a tribal setting, worship was...

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