I arrived late at our 'lunchtime theology' yesterday and had to eat my baked potato right under the nose of our speaker. Good job I know him well and he's such a decent bloke! Stephen Bevans, Catholic missiologist from the US with a great approach to thinking theologically about mission, was introducing his latest book An Introduction to Theology in Global Perspective. Get yourself a copy!
The thought which hooked me in his presentation and our discussion afterwards was about contextualised theology. We all agree that theology (at least Christian theology) has to be contextualised to make any sense. But then comes the problem. If my theology is so contextualised (expressed in my mother tongue, using my own cultural idioms, resonating with the life of my community, expressing my own inner deeply personal experience of divinity and life) then how on earth can anyone else be expected to make any sense of it! Now I undserstand why I struggle with Friedrich Schleiermacher - he was German! But more seriously this does open up a very interesting discussion about the inter-cultural dialogue of inculturated theologies.
On Pg. 187 Bevans writes, "To do theology from a global perspective, ironically, is to look to the local. ... We need ... the blossoming of theologies in every part of the world, in every historical situation , among every social group." The real challenge is then the "cross-pollination" of these theologies - in such a way as retains the integrety of each?