Tag Archives: globalism

R U Global—Resources for World Leaders: Globalizing Theology

Globalizing Theology: Belief and Practice in an Era of World Christianity, edited by Craig Ott and Harold A. Netland

Reviewed by Robert Sivigny, University Librarian

Given the fact that most Christians today live in the non-Western world, what implications does this have for the Church and its theological task? This is the central focus of this thought-provoking collection of essays based on papers presented at a 2004 Trinity Seminary mission conference, “Doing Theology in a Globalizing World.” Contributors to the conference convened in honor of Dr. Paul A. Hiebert, long-time mission professor at Trinity for his contributions to missiology, included mission professors and specialists from seminaries (especially Trinity), throughout the U.S., Great Britain, and Sri Lanka.

The study is organized into three parts focusing on world Christianity and theological reflection, methodological issues, and implications of globalizing theology, with introductory and concluding essays by editors Harold Netland and Craig Ott, both mission professors at Trinity. Included at the end is an extensive bibliography and contributor bios.

From the first and second centuries, when Christianity was confronted by Gentile Christians, the church embraced cultural diversity and refined related theological issues accordingly. The history of Christian theology shows a richness and diversity largely attributed to the influence of new cultural ideas and interaction. In this manner, the history of theological inquiry has proven resilient and strong. Today, perhaps more than any other time, the church is called to embrace globalization and “…turn to the hard work of discerning new ways of seeing.” “To engage in ‘globalizing theology’ today means that we must guard the commitment to the particular and the local while taking account of the fact that we live with an intensified awareness of the global. If theology is to serve the church throughout the world, it must reflect this bifocal way of seeing; this becomes the vantage point from which we must think and revise theology conceptually, methodologically, and programmatically.”

According to Darrell Whiteman, contributor of the second essay, “Anthropological Reflections on Contextualizing Theology in a Globalizing World,” Revelation 7:9 presents a grand picture of the direction the church is headed. “After this I looked and there were before me a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb.” Whiteman observes, “If this is a picture of what will someday be, why should we not begin now, while still on earth, to work to find a way of using our diverse cultures to bring a richness to our understanding of the gospel?” Are we not called to the kingdom for such a time as this?

In the concluding essay of the book, editor Craig Ott asks, “What could demand greater love, deeper humility, and more childlike faith than the human endeavor to understand and serve the eternal, living God? To do this more faithfully, we must live and think more as a global church, interconnected and interrelated, not merely by new technologies of a globalizing world but by our common bond with our heavenly Father.”

RU Global – Resources for World Leaders: The World Is Flat

Reviewed by Leanne Hillery, Assistant Librarian

The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century, by Thomas L. Friedman

The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century is Thomas Friedman’s chronicle of the changes taking place in science and technology that have, in essence, flattened the world. By “flat,” the author means the formation of a level playing field where trade and political barriers are lowered, allowing new technologies and the digital revolution to make the world more interconnected.

The book is divided into two sections: the ten forces that flattened the world and what a flattened world means for America, developing countries, and the global political scene. The first part of the book is devoted to describing in detail the ten factors and how they have worked together to increase competition on the global scale. The second part describes the effects of flattening on the world and how countries and individuals can work to adapt to the rapid changes taking place.

Within these pages, Friedman addresses how nations can survive in the constantly changing world. He posits that survival today is based on a culture’s ability to adapt to the changing global environment. He describes this as the ability to “glocialize.” This does not mean that a culture should sacrifice its unique character and core elements, but that it should adapt to include elements of the new environment affecting it.

He also suggests that companies not promise lifetime employment, but train employees to be employable in worthwhile lifetime occupations. Friedman also states that education will continue to be one of the most important factors that determine the success of companies and individuals. He suggests focusing educational efforts on four skill sets to help young people prepare for the increased global competition for jobs they will face in the future: 1) learn how to learn; 2) develop passion and curiosity; 3) improve interpersonal skills; and 4) enhance right brain (creative) abilities.

The World Is Flat sheds light on the many different effects and results of globalization on key professions (business, economics, politics, education) as well as on the individual. Thus, there is something in this book that will be of interest to everyone. We all have a stake in the global changes that are currently affecting our world. According to Friedman, globalization is driven by individuals. We all have a part to play in the process.