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3133 Edition
March 12-18, 2012
Headline News

Religious groups leaders support 311 rally against nuclear energy with a joint press conference

Reported by Chiou Kuo-rong, Lin Yi-ying

Written by Lydia Ma

“We urge the government to value life and banish fear and disaster by creating a nuclear-free homeland soon!” urged leaders from various religious groups at a joint press conference on March 8, 2012. This press conference was held in preparation for the March 11 Anti-Nuclear Rally arranged to coincide with the first anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan that led to a nuclear meltdown in Fukushima.

Leaders from various religious traditions joined together to advocate a halt to the use of nuclear energy to generate electricity because of the harm nuclear wastes and accidents inflict on future generations. The press conference concluded with every delegate offering a prayer of blessing according to his religious traditions.

Religious leaders present at this press conference included Buddhist priest Shih Chao-hwei, Taoist priest Lee Yu-kun, Taipei Grand Mosque Executive Secretary Ismail Wang, Chinese Muslim Association Imam Ishaq al-Ibrahimi Ma, Yu-Shan Theological College and Seminary President Pusin Tali, and PCT Church and Society Committee Secretary Huang Che-yen (Ng Tiat-gan). They had come together to speak out on their religious stance against nuclear energy.

Pusin Tali said that Taiwan Power Company lied to Tao indigenous groups in 1974 when it told them that it planned to build a can company in Orchid Island that would create job opportunities for them and help them have greater access to canned goods. However, when nuclear wastes began to be shipped into Orchid Island, Tao residents in Orchid Island became suspicious and wondered why cans from the mainland were so big in size. When they discovered that they had been lied to, it was too late and they were forced to accept these nuclear wastes. For this reason, they have since referred to nuclear wastes as evil spirits.

 

 
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3133 Edition
March 12-18, 2012
Editorial

Editorial: A reflection on theological contextualization

Translated by Lydia Ma

When John Calvin founded the first Reformed Church college in Geneva in 1559, graduates from this college were lauded for their impeccable moral character, diligence in study, and passion for missions. In 1876, Presbyterian Church of England missionary Rev. Thomas Barclay journeyed to Taiwan and founded the first Reformed Church college in Tainan City with the goal that it would produce graduates that would be lauded for the same reasons. This college was later christened Tainan Theological College and Seminary (TTCS).

The most important aspects of theological formation is to nurture a sense of mission and a life of commitment. A Christian’s personal values should be based upon the values taught and reflected by Jesus Christ. For this reason, when our cultural values collide with these Christian values, introspection ensues and it is such introspection that makes theological formation valuable. The ultimate purpose of theological formation is to instill a sense of lifelong commitment, diligent study, impeccable character, and passion for serving people.

When TTCS installed Shoki Coe as its first Taiwanese President at the end of World War II, Coe began to actively promote contextual thinking so that the theological curricula in Taiwanese seminaries would be both ecumenical and rooted in Taiwan. As result, seminarians who studied at TTCS at that time not only played an important role in leading Taiwanese churches in the drafting of the “Statement on Our National Fate” in 1971 and the “Declaration on Human Rights” in 1977, but also became the earliest proponents of Homeland Theology. Homeland Theology is centered on Taiwanese indigenous movements and their struggle for freedom from China’s hegemonic culture. It is Taiwan’s own version of Exodus and its pilgrimage into “Canaan” – a land of blessing for all ethnic groups in Taiwan.

As we remember TTCS Sunday, it is our hope that theological formation can retain its mission of being rooted in God and Taiwan because theology that is not scrutinized under the lens of theological contextualization can easily become a tool for personal gain but such scrutiny can strengthen and deepen Christian values and theological formation.

TTCS has a long tradition of excelling in a wide array of disciplines, including contextual preaching, church music, and social ministries that support marginalized groups. If we can now stay attuned to the needs of the time and train pastors to excel in a wide array of disciplines, such as social work or church music or church archives, we will be well-equipped for the years to come as Taiwan copes with challenges such as economic fluctuations and low birth rate trends.

We are confident that the training our students have been receiving in contextualizing theology will encourage and lead Christians in Taiwan to live a committed life and also impact theological formation in the future.   

 
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3132 Edition
March 5~11, 2012
Church Ministry News

Vienna Fo-Guang Shan Monastery invites Vienna PCT minister for interreligious dialogue

Reported by Sam Lee

Written by Lydia Ma

Rev. Chen Chi-ying from Vienna Taiwanese Presbyterian Church was recently invited by Vienna Fo-Guang Shan Monastery for an interreligious dialogue. Chen, a PCT missionary pastoring Taiwanese residents in Vienna, gave an overview of the history of Christianity in Taiwan and PCT’s history, ministries, and mission strategies. This dialogue that took place on February 16, 2012, concluded with both sides agreeing to have more exchanges in the near future to further mutual understanding.

Commenting on the opportunity to dialogue with this international Chinese Mahayana Buddhist monastic order based in Taiwan, Chen said that this was the first time such a dialogue between both parties had been arranged and many monks were eager to hear him speak and learn more about Christianity.

He added that dialogue with Buddhist leaders in Europe in the future may offer a rare opportunity to understand how Buddhists do missions in societies with predominantly Christian cultures and traditions in Europe. Fo-Guang Shan Monastery has various local chapters in Austria, Germany, France and other European countries.

During this meeting, Chen and Buddhist leaders shared with each other the basic tenets of Buddhism and Christianity and their perspectives on life and social issues. Buddhist leaders also elaborated on how they applied Buddhist teachings and perspectives in their daily lives. It was a cordial and enjoyable meeting for Chen, who added that both parties expressed a desire to continue this dialogue in the future.

This exchange was made possible and arranged by Pan Sheng-yu, a youth at Chen’s church who has been attending a Christian life application course offered by the church. Pan is also interested in meditation and Buddhist sutra and he arranged this meeting in hopes that PCT pastors can get acquainted with Buddhist monks and both sides can dialogue and exchange ideas. 

 


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