Sandy writes from his own personal experiences of peace issues and peace education, inviting readers to also dialogue into asking the pertinent questions and answers towards issues that involve the everyday lives of ordinary people. Sandy seeks questions and answers that focus on issues surrounding our perceptions of injustice and powerlessness when global catastrophe and the need for violence is highlighted by societies in advance social and political situations. The introduction challenges us to realise the disparity between the global arena and our own personal experiences, justified by the feeling of powerlessness in the face and threat of a nuclear war. Peace education operates at a personal and face to face level, so that the limitations of what can be achieved at this level need to be consciously addressed. The primary focus of this book is the threat of global thermonuclear war and out personal responses to this threat (Chapter 1). Sandy believes that any resolution to the nuclear arms race is possible without the creation of a new global sense of identity, achieving more co-operative political, cultural and economic structures.
“Women all over Asia and the Pacific are denied recognition of their full dignity and equality with men… class, race, religion and caste…. Women of lower class suffer double oppression; those who also belong to a race which is discriminated against suffer triple oppression….” This book is a product of the World Student Christian Federation who saw the need to publish the stories of women who have been tortured, raped, abused and forced to live secondary to men according to race, class, religion and caste. The WSCF AP have also expressed that the church has not been innocent towards the oppression of women over the years in the Asian and Pacific regions and subsequently in the entire world. In the Chapter ‘Christian responses’, a discussion on Feminist Theologians, Karen Campbell-Nelson, presents a workshop on understanding structures, images and theologies from feminist perspective as a tool of reinterpreting scripture and church liturgy. This reinterpreting tool helps both men and women live in community with each other based on respect, responsibility and nurture. Karen also admits that herself and Theologian Rosemary Radford Ruether write and theologise from a White Middle Class perspective but their motive is to show support and solidarity to all women of class, race, religion and culture who have been oppressed on differing social levels.
What does the bible say about other faiths? Wesley encourages Christians to view this question from another perspective and view point to avoid getting caught up in various misconceptions of other faiths, which crosses cultural and various social models of life according to people of different faiths. The first point that Wesley stresses is that we must understand that even if the bible does not indicated any teaching of inter-faith dialogue it does mean that inter-faith dialogue and discourses are nonexistent within biblical text. The second point that he stresses is that unless we interpret and read biblical text in its entirety we will limit our understanding of what the bible says about the various religious and cultural interactions that happen in Biblical times. ‘Towards a theology of dialogue’ Chapter 7 speaks of ‘Theocentric’ as the theological approach that Wesley encourages us to understand to enable an opening to inter faith dialogue among people of different religions. Many of the Protestant inability to deal with religious pluralism is based on their selective treatment of scriptures that Christ is the ‘full’, ‘final’, and ‘decisive’ revelation of God. He later states that God is then pushed to the periphery, and according to Protestant missionary activity provides no grounds for inter faith dialogue.
‘The willing sacrifice of the innocent is the most powerful answer to insolent tyranny that has yet been conceived by God and man.’ The arrival statement of Benigno S. Aquino, Jr., 21st August 1983. (p 3). Cariño recaptures the build up to the assassination and subsequent after affects of the popular opposition leader in Filipino politics during the early 80s, Benigno S. Aquino otherwise known by most people as Ninoy. Whatever reasons for Ninoy’s return back to the Philippines, regarded as foolish, or an act of martyrdom, or because he truly though he could establish some justice among the current volatile Marcos dictatorship, there still remained a sense of strength of popularity among the people he so wished to serve. Amidst the unstable and unsettled politics the most important aspect of this book is Cariño’s analysis that Politics and the Church serve each other to gain the establishment of a Christian civilised society according to the measures that Marcos ‘The First Family’ were able to portray. Church liturgy alongside political rhetoric was the most important feature of public campaigning when seeking the peoples vote to establish or re-establish the ‘First Family’ back into the seat of power. Cariño suggest that the theological reflection must be done in praxis by putting into action the Christian principles of challenging the needs for social justice among the innocent and casualties of political dictatorship.
‘The Image of God in Minorities’ is a book about people’s struggles to find meaning in their deprived living conditions because of several factors that oppress them for example the caste system in India, Japanese Patriarchal Structures, to the Maori who are struggling for their own sovereignty under British Colonialism. The emphasis of these collected stories, from the Praxis Journal, is to demonstrate how the Image of God is found in the struggles of the oppressed that have suffered. People who are disenfranchised from their land, culture and sovereignty and the right to govern their own lives among a predominantly western society that has changed the social structures all indigenous cultures. Each story expresses the need to challenge, critique and bring about an image of God that is pro active in restoring a living giving theology among minority groups who have suffered under oppression by people who have economic, political, and religious power.
This book is in three parts that are based on both David’s lived experiences as a Christian among a society that is driven by a dictatorship ideology and missionary desiccation of culture. David was a professor of Philosophy and Theology at Ewha Woman’s University from 1968 to 1980, he was then forced to resign because of his involvement with student movement groups and his belief in the Minjung struggle. David polarises two types of theologies, ideologies and cultural understandings of Korean people who have been influenced by dictatorship policies and western missionary fundamentalism. As a political detainee David was made to write about what is Minjung theology and justify this with his work with student movements as a Christian. This book also illustrates the conflict that traditional Korean Shamanism has had with Western Christian Fundamentalism, as well as Buddhist and Taoist beliefs, especially when Mudangs (priest of Shamanism) are usually known to be women who are gifted in mediation between the spirit world. Therefore David goes on to add that minjung in this case are the Mudangs who are oppressed by society and the church because of their gifts and therefore the minjung in general associate themselves as part of the Mudangs.
Chris writes from his experiences as an advocate for the various levels of youth issues from around the world, from the ‘World Council of Churches Youth Working Group’ held in Geneva to the ‘New People’s Army’ in the Philippines in the early 80s. He also discusses at an in-depth analysis the political lobbying from the Ecumenical Churches around the world that consolidates similar oppressive policies to that of secular state politics. Although the church tries to operate out of the square of political oppression to its secular counterparts Chris’ analysis shows a somewhat different view that portrays the Church and State Politics of oppression work in the same arena. This of course is very difficult to fully understand and see when the very arena that nurtures our spirituality is also involved in the advocacy of military regimes, corrupt politics and the increasing poverty of a nation. Therefore the message in this book is to encourage critical systems of analysis for Youth, but more importantly to generate conscious minds that needs to articulate the social problems of the communities that effect young people, from the racial issues of Maori and Pakeha to the Militia oppression.
The dominance of alien values in the vast melting pot of Asia has become a problem to a society that is based on a rich sense of pluralism of culture, religion, spirituality and political systems. This book is a collection of theological reflections that are based on the experiences and perspectives of SCMs within the Asian and Pacific basin. Therefore these reflections reflect the experiences of people who are involved in a new vision of hope among the alien values of colonialism/neo colonialism and the decimation of values that break down family, community and relationship building within the diverse societies of Asia. The struggles of Asian people is a struggle to rebuild their identity from these external factors that usually have another motive based on exploitation of people and ecological resources. Therefore each chapter is based on the experiences and struggles within the Asian context: 1) Christian Mission and the Peoples of Asia by D. Preman Niles. 2) How to respond theologically to the Human Condition in Asia Today, by Kim Yong-Bock. 3) Concerns of ‘Living Theology’ in Asia, by Feliciano V. Cariño. 4) Development, Traditional Values and Christian Responsibility, by Paulose Mar Paulose.