News of the extended network of faculty, alumni, students, visiting researchers, and mission partners is regularly updated, and some of the big ideas or major events in Global Christianity are covered in the CGCM News.
New Book Release: Portraits of Global Christianity
Postdoctoral Workshop Applications
CALL FOR APPLICATIONS FOR AN INTERNATIONAL POSTDOCTORAL WORKSHOP
ON THE HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY IN EAST ASIA
AT BOSTON COLLEGE, MASSACHUSETTS, U.S.A.
The Ricci Institute for Chinese-Western Cultural History at Boston College will hold a four-day international workshop in Boston, Massachusetts, from October 22 through 26, 2023. Please note that the working language of the workshop will be English.
All participants will be expected to arrive by Sunday, October 22, and depart on Friday, October 27, 2023. They are required to attend all workshop-related activities and sessions.
Located in a newly renovated building on the Brighton Campus of Boston College, the Ricci Institute is inviting post-doctoral level scholars and junior faculty members whose research focuses on Christianity in East Asia and who are currently preparing a book manuscript for publication to apply. Entitled “Historical Legacies of Christianity in East Asia: Bridging a New Generation of Scholars and Scholarship”, this workshop is administered by the Ricci Institute.
For more info: Call for Applications for the Boston International Workshop 2023
CGCM Notes: March 2023
Legend has it that for years the Association for Asian Studies steadfastly refused any public conversations about Christianity in China because Christianity was Western not Asian. A stalwart of the AAS, historian Kathleen Lodwick of Pennsylvania State University, continued to lobby for the importance of Christianity in modern China, and ultimately gained permission to form the China Missions Group in 1983. Later renamed the China Christianity Studies Group, this collection of scholars has helped move the study of Christianity in China out of its foreign religious ghetto and into larger conversations about its role in Chinese society, politics, culture, economics, science, and more. No one doubts the importance of Christianity in China any longer, and it is hard to describe it still as a foreign import when, in fact, China’s 100 million Christians have turned their faith into an export, sending their own missionaries across Asia, Africa, Europe, North and South America, and Oceania.
This month, the China Christianity Studies Group will celebrate its 40th anniversary at Boston University. Its parent organization, the AAS will hold its annual conference just a mile down the road, so the Center for Global Christianity and Mission invited the CCSG to use space on campus to host its annual gathering. Separated from Boston’s Convention Center, this event is now free and open to all interested in Christianity in China. You can join us in person on March 18th at 7 pm EST, or you can participate online. This is an opportunity to hear how the study of Christianity in China has become a flourishing field.
Other significant opportunities to hear about Christianity in China are available this month. On March 21st, Boston’s various theological schools will collaborate to present “Christianity in China Today,” an event that will bring together scholars, students, and missioners to reflect on the rapidly changing religious landscape in China. One week later, Eugenio Menegon will offer an online workshop about the Chinese documents available in Archive of the Congregation of the “Propaganda Fide” in Rome.
The Center for Global Christianity and Mission has prioritized China as one of its research foci. This month is an opportunity to expose yourself to what that means and discover what the China Christian Studies Group knew four decades ago: Christianity is vital for understanding China, and now also for grasping the dynamism of World Christianity.
CGCM, Associate Director
Dr. Kyama Mugambi’s Upcoming Lecture
As part of the CGCM Spring Lecture series, Dr. Kyama Mugambi, Assistant Professor of World Christianity, Yale Divinity School, will lecture on "Kenyan Pentecostalism" on April 4, 2023, at 3.30 pm at the Boston University College of General Studies, Room 421.
More Universal than Catholicism?
This conference, organized by The Centre for Marian Studies, will touch on essential issues related to Marian devotions across contemporary Asia, religious boundaries, inter-religious dialogue, etc. More info here: https://www.isac-research.org/asianmary2023
CGCM Notes: February 2023
In 2001, Marthinus L. Daneel and I founded the Center for Global Christianity and Mission. One of its key purposes at the time was to support a Theological Education by Extension program connected with the religiously-based tree-planting and environmental movement the Zimbabwean Institute of Religious Research and Ecological Conservation (ZIRRCON). Our TEE program not only taught such traditional subjects as biblical studies and contextual theology, but we also conducted reflection on ecological ethics with members of African Initiated Churches in rural Masvingo Province, Zimbabwe. The TEE program accompanied an innovative earthkeeping movement that included tree-planting Eucharists with Christians, ancestral veneration tree-planting ceremonies for Traditionalists, gully reclamation projects, women’s earth care groups, and arbor days at public schools. Over a fifteen-year period, we grew and planted hundreds of thousands of trees each year.
Since the 1990s, when Prof. Daneel’s two books on African Earthkeepers were published, commitment to earth care has proliferated in multiple directions, including as a priority for Christian mission. The Center has sustained its interest in African earthkeeping through our website Old and New in Shona Religion and through the innovative scholarship of Visiting Researcher the Rev. Dr. Kapya Kaoma. 2023 is proving to be a watershed year for conferences on mission, world Christianity, and ecology. Conferences on World Christianity at Princeton Theological Seminary, the Yale-Edinburgh Group, and the Korean Global Mission Leaders’ Forum (KGMLF) under the leadership of Research Professor Jonathan Bonk all concern climate change and World Christianity, mission and ecology, and similar urgent global issues.
Center faculty, researchers, and students will be represented at all three conferences. We look forward to a stimulating year of research on World Christianity, ecology, and mission, an intersection of priorities that was a founding vision for the Center for Global Christianity and Mission over twenty years ago.
Dana L. Robert
CGCM Notes: January 2023
As we look out over 2023, an exciting year of teaching and research lie ahead. The spring term always welcomes the annual Costas Consultation, an ecumenical gathering of faculty and students from the Boston Theological Interreligious Consortium, to reflect on important issues related to Christian mission and ecumenism. This year the consultation will be on March 21, at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, on the topic “Christianity in China Today.” Speakers will include Prof. Xiyi Kevin Yao, Dr. Xiaoli Yang, and Dr. Rob Carbonneau, C.P.
The Costas Consultation has been held annually for over 30 years. It is named after the former dean of Andover-Newton Theological School, Dr. Orlando E. Costas (1942-1987). Dean Costas was an active member of the BTI Faculty Mission and Ecumenism Committee. He and I both came to Boston in 1984, he to become the first Hispanic dean of a North American Seminary, and I as a young mission professor at the Boston University School of Theology. As fellow missiologists, we soon became colleagues and friends. Orlando sent ANTS students to BUSTH for courses in world Christianity and mission history, and I encouraged STH students to study mission theology with him. After Dr. Costas tragically died of stomach cancer, subsequently the committee named our annual consultation after him. His insights about mission originating “outside the gates” prefigured the contemporary focus on “mission from the margins” as both a source of vitality and of liberation. As a Puerto Rican, Orlando Costas built bridges between Anglo and Latino cultures. With Spanish the #1 Christian language in the world, the efforts of Dr. Costas to link linguistic communities remains a key priority for mission today.
In addition to the annual Costas Consultation, another exciting pedagogical opportunity is the speaker series connected with the class in Global Christianity I am co-teaching with Professor Todd Johnson of Gordon Conwell Theological School. Our class on Tuesday afternoons will combine Dr. Johnson’s expertise in demography and contemporary trends with my historical frameworks and interest in mission as public theology. Guest speakers will include Dr. Paul Cha, author of Balancing Communities: Nation, State, and Protestant Christianity in Korea, 1884-1942; Dr. Kyama Mugambi, author of A Spirit of Revitalization: Urban Pentecostalism in Kenya; Tajik linguist and expert in Sogdian Christianity Dr. Barakatullo Ashurov; and Romanian Orthodox ecumenical peace activist Dr. Marian Simion.
We welcome an engaging and exciting semester of teaching and research here at the Boston University School of Theology. Please join us!
Dana L. Robert
Newest volume of “The Future of Mission Cooperation” to be released
Mustafa Akyol’s Upcoming Lecture
Mustafa Akyol is a Turkish journalist, author, public speaker, and senior fellow at the CATO Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity in Washington, D.C. His TED talk on “Faith versus Tradition in Islam” has been watched by more than 1.2 million viewers. We are excited to host him this Tuesday, March 14, at 3.30 pm.
Spreading the Gospel: Christian Posters in Early 20th Century China
Between 1919 and 1949, posters were the most common Christian visual imagery in China. They were printed by the millions and hung in tea rooms, on city walls, and on temple gates. Posters were put up in houses and churches; they were unfolded for street evangelism. They were extremely popular because they were aesthetically pleasing, symbolically rich, yet easy to understand. Unlike theological treatises written by Chinese theologians, these images were designed by laypeople and intended for popular consumption. In this lecture, Daryl Ireland (Boston University) will showcase some of the 700 Chinese Protestant and Catholic posters he has located, and explain why they are changing the way we think about Chinese Christianity.
This event will be in-person. Light refreshments will be served following the lecture.
Livestream will be available.
Daryl Ireland is a Research Assistant Professor of Mission at Boston University, where he focuses on the history of Christianity in Asia, as well as the intersection of International Development and Faith. He is the author of John Song: Modern Chinese Christianity and the Making of a New Man (2020). His book, Visions of Salvation: Chinese Christian Posters in an Age of Revolution will be published in April.
To reserve a spot, click here.