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Christian mission and culture

9 October 2008

Interesting comments on Christian mission and culture from Far Outliers:

My desire to avoid areas of strong Catholic Mission influence was rather misguided, because Christianity was ubiquitous in Papua New Guinea and an integral part of the social and cultural change I intended to study. Just a few years later, in 1980, the Pacific Council of Churches would report that 85 percent of all Papua New Guineans considered themselves Christians. Catholicism was the dominant denomination in the East Sepik. German Catholic missionaries of the Society of the Divine Word entered the Sepik region in 1896, just a dozen years after the German New Guinea Company began the first sustained European effort to establish a commercial presence in the region. In Wewak itself, the mission headquarters at Wirui was a local landmark. It was the seat of the bishop of Wewak and headquarters of a diocese that covered most of the province and was staffed by approximately 227 priests, brothers, sisters, and lay personnel. Most of these mission staff were from overseas. Nevertheless, Catholicism was clearly a significant part of the local scene.

And, in another post, on Pentecostalism and feminism:

Pentecostal worship has made new space in religious life for both women and the young in other parts of the world as well. Pentecostal theology, writes Joel Robbins, “tends to downplay the importance of all identities except that of believer.” And the worship itself, as Harvey Cox points out, focuses on “breaking out of the constraints and limitations of everyday life,” including the social constraints, and communion with the Holy Spirit is typically open to all. In many parts of the world, women in particular have seized the opportunities this affords, and they are often found in the forefront of the Pentecostal movement.

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