Friday, June 06, 2008

Regent post 2

So today I narrowly avoided a near death experience by looking the wrong way when crossing the road and walking in front of a car. I realised in time so no harm done!

I am loving the fellowship and teaching at Regent! Today I had lunch with some of this years new students (A swede, a Canadian and an Australian) and heard their reflections on life at Regent and how they've found studying. Everyone is so friendly, it's great!

Today's class provided more food for thought:

We reflected on the experience off some of the 19th century missionaries to India and how what they thought were Theological statements (e.g. "Your sacred texts are not divine in origin") were heard as insults (e.g. "you are abusing our religion"). I had been taught similar things in Thailand, what Buddhists think we mean when we use the phrase "born again" (i.e. reincarnation) is very different from what Christians mean by it. It is stating the obvious to a degree but thought we may speak the same language as other people, we cannot assume the words we use carry the meaning we intend to all those who are listening - especially when working cross-culturally.

The other interesting reflection of the day was on how the word "religion" has pretty much become a dirty word associated with oppression, lack of openness, boring institutions and ritualism. The word "spiritual" on the other hand has become far more popular and associated with freedom, flexibility, openness, and personal experience. Which leaves me with question of should I describe myself as a spiritual persons? Using the term "religion" when talking about Christianity has carried negative connotations for a while so has stopped being used by many and I can understand why. But I am not comfortable with what it means to be "spiritual" either. I recognise that there is definitely a place for creativity and that we will spend the rest of our lives exploring what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. But there are boundaries between being a "spiritual person" as the rest of the world seems to define it and being a Christian. But I suspect there is much discussion to be had as to where those boundaries lie. Praise God that He didn't leave us in the dark but gave us the bible, His Spirit, and each other as we explore these kinds of issues.

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