09 March 2010

Book: Constructing Irregular Theology: Bamboo and Minjung in East Asian Perspective

Quite pricey: Paul S. Chung, "Constructing Irregular Theology: Bamboo and Minjung in East Asian Perspective" (Brill, October 2009):


Publisher's description: "The project of constructing Asian irregular theology in East Asian perspective, based on life-word of Bamboo and social political reality of minjung, embraces Dr. Chung's cross-cultural existence as he develops his long-standing interest and expertise in Christian minjung theology in new ways with the image of bamboo as a symbol for the theological perspective of grass roots marginality. Using the ancient Chinese story 'The Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove,' Dr. Chung engages with Christian eschatological discourse to support an aesthetical-utopian theological ethics that is opposed to an ethics concerned with legitimation of a socio-economic status quo. In addition, Dr. Chung's develops [sic] his deep commitment to the Lutheran theology of the cross and the suffering Christ through the Buddhist concept of dukkha (suffering) to create, in the end, a genuinely East Asian contextual theology".

Endorsements: "Paul Chung once described himself as having a Confucian mind, Taoist guts, Buddhist heart, and Christian body. This book embraces Chung's whole being as he appropriates and develops the ancient Chinese story [...] of scholars who fled the accommodation of Confucian ethics in support of the tyranny and political chaos of the third century. Asian irregular theology, built on the image of bamboo and minjung, marks a new model in constructing Asian contextual theology in light of the irregularity of God's speech event and from the perspective of grass roots marginality." (Elizabeth A. Leeper, Wartburg Theological Seminary)

"Chung constructs an interpretive and irregular theology provocatively in a global context. He is a creative, original, and thought-provoking pioneer [...], making a great contribution for a contemporary discussion of inculturation and emancipation." (Wang Zhicheng, Zhejiang University)

"One of the major issues facing the Christian Church today has to do with a right understanding of the relationship between Christ and Christian faith on the one hand, and the other great world religions on the other. The tired trilogy of exclusivist, inclusivist, and pluralist is woefully inadequate, but nothing has come along to replace it. In our multi-cultural and postmodern world of many religions and worldviews, the gospel itself calls us to imagine creative, new theological proposals. The Korean-American theologian Paul S. Chung has developed such a creative theological proposal which he calls 'irregular theology,' that is, a theology of God's irregular grace which moves beyond the walls of Christendom to speak a fresh word to us in the religious wisdom of other cultures (especially Asian). This book explores and develops his proposal in several important directions. The resulting synthesis of many voices and traditions is bracing, controversial, and rewarding. The careful reader will come away with new insights and new questions." (Alan G. Padgett, Luther Seminary; all endorsements originally in italics)

Paul S. Chung is Associate Professor of Mission and World Christianity at Luther Seminary.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous12 June, 2010

    Paul Chung is a welcome voice in American theology. His insights are profound and are born of reflection on ignored voices such as Helmut Gollwitzer and F-W. Marquardt. Having studied with Chung in the past I wholeheartedly agree with Padgett's view that one leaves Chung with new, provocative questions. Thanks for the brief reviews.