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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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We live in a global world where borders related to geography and culture appear to be increasingly porous. This does not cause local variations to vanish, but they appear in a new light; old differences disappear and new ones develop according to different sets of criteria. Travelling to a new culture, one may feel immediately at home in a group with which one shares important beliefs and convictions; the feeling of alienation may be much stronger in relation to the neighbour across the street at home.

For the Christian church, which from the outset understood herself as a gathering of people from every nation and all tribes and languages, the challenges posed by this process are both old and new. They are old, because the challenge of bridging cultural differences had already presented itself for the generation who wrote the New Testament. Then also new, because this challenge appears in a new light when geographical and cultural borders disappear, only to be replaced by others and probably less familiar ones. The culture of globalization is therefore for the church both a familiar territory and a field which requires us to newly orient ourselves.

This book is an attempt at exploring some of the challenges posed by this situation. The attention is primarily focused on contemporary East Asian urban life, but this is done working from the assumption that what is experienced, both by Christians and adherents of other faiths in this particular context, may...

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