Sunday, 29 June 2008

Writing (Christian) history again

The “consciousness of place” element that flows from old Christendom ideas of South America as a Catholic domain, and modern American ideas of Latin America as its hegemonic backyard are subtexts that remain in the English world’s conceptualization of history.

(from the multi-authored final chapter, ‘The Ongoing Task: Agenda for a Work in Progress’ in W. Shenk, ed. Enlarging the Story: Perspectives on Writing World Christian History [Maryknoll: Orbis, 2002], p.123)

Well, this particular resident of the English world is quite happy to upset the consciousness of place when it conflicts with the freedom to share the gospel of Christ. Labelling certain nations or regions as one religion or another seems rather defeatist to me! Such ideas of place may be there in the academy and in the minds of politicians and journalists, but hopefully not in the minds of those who are concerned with the Great Commission.

And do those subtexts remain only in the English world’s conceptualization of history? Consciousness of place (mixed with ‘race’) looms pretty large in the Islamic conceptualization of history.

(That was an English understatement, btw.)