Globalization: Challenge and Gift

Frederick Quinn, an Episcopal priest and retired diplomat who has worked in Africa, Asia, Central Europe, and the Caribbean writes about Globalization and the future of the Anglican Communion in Episcopal Life Online. He notes that globalization has been “an active historical forces at least since the 15th century” and offers some thoughts on the challenges and gifts of today.

New times demand new approaches. Global Anglicans can profit from the example of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conference (FABC), who after several decades of deliberation, produced a carefully honed concept of dialogue that includes four aspects:

1. The dialogue of life, where people strive to live in an open and neighborly spirit, sharing joys and sorrows, daily problems and preoccupations.

2. The dialogue of action, where Christians and others collaborate for the integral development, justice at a local level, and the liberation of people.

3. The dialogue of theological exchange, where specialists seek to deepen their understanding of their respective religious heritages, and to appreciate each other’s spiritual values.

4. The dialogue of religious experience, where persons, rooted in their own religious traditions, share their spiritual riches with regard to prayer and contemplation, faith, and ways of searching for God or the Absolute. (Professor Peter Phan of Georgetown University has elaborated on these aspects of dialogue in numerous publications and has provided me with this model.)

For Anglicans, our present lumpy controversies can represent a positive teaching moment. We have an opportunity to share God’s love with one another thanks to the Internet and through old and new informal global networks of individual, parish, and diocesan contacts. Such encounters of personally sharing, grace-filled experiences are life giving. Time spent in a Haitian village’s medical clinic, supporting an Argentine bishop’s work with land-deprived peasants, or helping a Myanmar diocese build an English teaching program, provide concrete examples of God’s love through witness and mission around the Anglican Communion. Through them the wider forces of globalization are transformed into moments of grace.

One way of broadening such a wider dialogue on religious globalization is to focus on a few central questions such as:

How do we understand the Reign of God in its contemporary setting. Is it an expansive or a restrictive concept?

How does it relate to the national settings in which contemporary Christians find themselves?

How do the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) relate to our understanding of New Testament mission?

How best can we listen carefully to one another, walk together rather than talk at each other, and live together compassionately, despite seemingly harsh differences

Read it all here

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