Tuesday, June 26, 2018

CONVERSION IS REVOLUTION!


Sometimes we believe that for us, things cannot really change. Conversion is an interior revolution.

Anything less radical simply misses most of the meaning of that word. Revolution is not evolution. Itsn't a smooth transition or a peaceful, gradual, non painful, non upsetting thing.

It's an upheaval, a radical overturning. It arises precisely when people have despaired of gradual change.

Revolution becomes necessary only when the old order is hopelessly stagnant, when there is no longer any hope that peaceful, non-violent, gradual change can bring about improvements of any significance.

That is why virtually every political-social revolution in history has been followed by a blood bath.

All that is dissident is systematically eliminated. Why? Because the new guard knows that, unless this is done, it will forever live under the danger that the old guard will rise up and recapture the new.

The old guards must be killed off. As scripture puts it: "You cannot put new wine into old wineskins!"

Conversion to be effective, must be radical. It must be revolution! Aristotle said "Habits become one's second nature..."

Bad habits do become our second nature. We must all make an effort to break off these but often we find ourselves helpless. Year after year, we make resolutions we never accomplish, we break them.

What can we learn from that? Because we have been associating resolutions with something gradual, that doesn't hurt too much and doesn't disrupt our lives too much. This goes on and on and on for years.

We must accept that revolution and certain violence are necessary. Radically shake up our lives.

But most of us don't love the subversive. We try instead, year after year after year to change ourselves through good resolutions, through means that will not be dramatic, painful or disruptive.

That is why we fail and stay ever the same: mediocre, frustrated, and unable to break out of bad habits that have dominated our lives.

We allow bad habits and mediocrity to keep the upper hand. Genuine conversion and real change will come when we have the nerve to risk dramatic upheaval.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

WHEN WE HAVE TO CONFRONT THE TRUTH

Sometimes we go through a long distance to reach a point of truth with our colleagues we call friends and more so those we see as being young, healthy and with great sexual prowess upon which our culture rotates.

Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens 1835-1910), an American writer, humourist, entrepreneur, publisher and lecturer, once remarked “There is nothing wrong with the youth except that it is a shame that God chose to waste it on young people.”

Today, the youth find themselves in great boost of health and sexual prowess which is quite good and creative world of its own, because we all at a given time of our lives were once there.

The unfortunate thing is that we rarely see something beyond the young lads. We are daily regretting why we did spend well our exhausted lives when we were at the ages of our grandchildren.

We have the tendency to lock ourselves into dreamlands hence, become fragile and delicate everyday of our lives.

We tend to pin our hopes for happiness upon the young, we idolize them, we absolutize them etc.

The health, the youthfulness in the youth and the great sexual opportunities in them simply kill us to death. Why? We never made use of our sexual creativity and now we live in utter poverty of pains.

The question now should be, do we believe in the power our bodies can produce? What marvels us the attitude in which we treat our bodies and what we want to get in our bodies, whether we are old or youthful.

Our culture, here the emphasis is on modern globalised culture, promises many things to us, all its seductiveness and promises but at the bottom-line its all mud and clay, once it dries up all cracks can be seen through.

The best life our culture can give is the gift of youth, health and sexual promise. Good as they may look or want to present themselves to us, they are limited. But when we are young and healthy, we may be full of ourselves.

Who among us the old still yearn for more youthfulness in our weak and old bodies? More so when we daily keep on holding on to loneliness from the community, we used not to be in the community when we were strong, vibrate, energetic, charm, now that we are frail, we need the community, we still think that we can bridge life and hell, for others feel that such a bridge better it doesn’t exist.

When we are young and healthy, dreams come easier, there are opportunities aplenty.

But when our bones start cracking, health breaks, the sexual attractiveness fades away, the cream we used no longer stick to the body, the perfume becomes a health hazard to our respiration, we remain to face death, dreams stop, because the time of dreaming is the time when we start to wake up, our cultures we used to defend to death cant just save us from the stupid ideas we invested in them as protagonists of oppression, discrimination, pride and uncouth attitudes.

We become like dry clay, that the youths can easily see the cracks we have created in our lives. We are struggling to hang on, to get back in, but it is impossible.

Nature has its limits. Its for the young, the healthy, the taunt of flesh.

But whether our lives have a future beyond the middle years, beyond health, beyond sexual prowess, depends entirely upon our value of the body supreme. We may as well give up to the fact that all experience, after a point, is a down slope realty.

Life is too short, very fragile and in the end very slow for those who have nothing to do.

Once our bodies lose their sexual attractiveness, we will have to revamp by artificial and perverse fuel.

There will be a difficult time to let go because we grow with hatred and regrets as old people instead of changing our attitudes.

Its not that you are old in age, but your eyes have ceased to shine, and your face have a prolonged skin due to anger and stress. We have to move on to new things even at our old age.

Tagore a Bengali polymath who reshaped Bengali literature and music as well as Indian art with contextual modernism in the late 19th Cent and early 20th Cent. once remarked “Truth comes as a conqueror only to those who have lost the art of receiving it as a friend”

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Understanding Interreligious Dialogue through Pedagogy

INTRODICTION

Educational institutions play a crucial role in building and enhancing the immunity and resilience of every society in confronting external and internal voices and forces which oppose pluralism and advocate for exclusion and violence. 

Education has a profound effect on individual development and can promote or prevent prejudice and conversely promote or prevent tolerance.

Lessons learned in the classroom stay with us as we continue to grow, and our learning does not stop once we have left the classroom.

Pedagogy is about sound relationship with the world, dialogue verses education, formation of dialogue what we can call today upgrading, a line of thought that is creative, exploiting other interdisciplinary theories.

A. Bongiovanni point of departure is from (EG 250) more so in the exchange of experiences and authentic active listening to the others.

We are engaging into theological formation to know what to say out there, relational experience with others.

Dialogue is part of the church and its indispensable. Changing the system thinking what we today call upgrading so that all the life of people who enter the language of gospel, theological renewal and way of looking at the mission, with theological paradigm shift. Pedagogy of interreligious dialogue is about creating a new world to be lived in, through social transformation of the people.

This leads to aspiration for peace and development. For dialogue has to be carried out with respect and trust, its about cultivating a genuine friendship, listening well of what is being said and above all fostering love that casts out fear. J. Locke on his theory of Knowledge states:
“Since its unavoidable to the greatest part of men, if not all, to have several opinions, without certain and indubitable proofs of their truth, and it carries too great an imputation of ignorance, lightness, or folly, for men to quit and renounce their former tenets presently upon the offer of an argument which they cannot immediately answer and show the insufficiency of; it would, methinks, become all men to maintain peace and the common offices of humanity and friendship in the diversity of opinions, since we cannot reasonably expect that any one should readily and obsequiously quit his own opinion, and embrace ours with blind resignation to an authority which the understanding of man acknowledge not. For, however it may often mistakes, it can own no other guide but reason, nor blindly submit to the will and dictates of another […] We should do well to commensurate our mutual ignorance, and endeavour to remove it in all the gentle and fair ways of information, and not instantly treat others ill as obstinate and perverse because they will not renounce their own and receive our opinions, or at least those we would force upon them, when its more than probable that we are no less obstinate in not embracing some of theirs […] There is reason to think, that if men were better instructed themselves, they would be less imposing on others…We cannot know the existence of the other people, or of the physical world, for these, if they exist, are not merely ideas in my mind. Each one of us, accordingly, must so far as knowledge is concerned, be shut up in himself, and cut off from all contact with the outer world.” (Contemplation)


1.0 RESEARCH APPROACH

In this research we are going to address ourselves to the field of pedagogy as a scientific discipline of understanding interreligious dialogue.

Much of the reflections and approach will be based on the course work and new paradigm shifts created during the sessions, book launching with reference to that of professor A. Bongiovanni perspective towards the culture of dialogue, the significant role of education, with reference to Towards the Culture of Dialogue, the Significant Role of Education, in Mission Makes the Church.

This is  being grounded educationally on the reality that is not only found in the academia but through connectography.

1.1 PEDAGOGY OF INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE

Educators promote cultural and religious diversity with pedagogical features, that compromise of content of learning; structural interaction and facilitative leadership.

This has its basis on how we communicate these processes of dialogical transmission, critical analysis of reality and psychological processes that is open with identical engagement that transcends the differences where all work together to achieve the desired outcomes of intergroup understanding where relationships are built on collaboration.

This gives us a clear picture where pedagogy of interreligious is grounded on church teachings for example GS #82 states:
But we should not let false hope deceive us. For unless enmities and hatred are put away and firm, honest agreements concerning world peace are reached in the future, humanity, which already is in the middle of a grave crisis, even though it is endowed with remarkable knowledge, will perhaps be brought to that dismal hour in which it will experience no peace other than the dreadful peace of death. But, while we say this, the Church of Christ, present in the midst of the anxiety of this age, does not cease to hope most firmly. She intends to propose to our age over and over again, in season and out of season, this apostolic message: "Behold, now is the acceptable time for a change of heart; behold! now is the day of salvation."

H. Kung clearly build this in a concrete way when he says:
“No world peace without peace among religions, no peace among religions without dialogue between religious and dialogue between religions with accurate knowledge of one another” .

Today, religion has become a dividing factor in most communities, schools and use of religious symbols.

Missionary agents engaged in pedagogy of interreligious dialogue of formation have to be formed with deep interreligious understandings of future challenges.

This means understanding well the difficulties handled in the first place. Pedagogy of educational promotes awareness and understanding of these issues and obligations for interreligious practitioners to be sensitive in their approach and method of approach when dealing with other religions.

The mind may sometimes hold us back, but quite often it travels ahead of us, where the heart has not yet reached, where words are still worrying themselves in existence.

This has to transform theological consciousness and practice that is proper where believers adhere to the truth of faith positions expressed theologically, claims tested and purified though interreligious and dialogical practices.

Today, humanity is endangered and confronted with great challenges that come with radical changes with few answers to the many questions confronting modern man and woman such as terrorism, religious intolerance, religious hatred, emigrational phenomena, nuclear threats and uncertainties of tomorrow. 

Pedagogy of interreligious dialogue creates big tank thinking in forming educators to become great prophetic witnesses in their professions in approaching modern challenges that are affecting the globe.

Modern technological challenges deserve right responses that are sound and scientifically grounded, as Michel de Montaigne would state “e meglio una testa ben fatta che una testa piena”.

For its better to learn the system of thinking that is sound.  Morin insists that it is a complicated realty with global consequences that calls for a sober mind in handling issues where educational pedagogy becomes the solution to the challenges.

This can be done through solidarity, freely and just gestures founded on dialogue of life that calls for a paradigm shift in anthropological attitude of approach towards challenges of interreligious dialogue.

This calls for creativity and mind openness without any prejudice and fear. Pedagogy of interreligious dialogue is a scientific research and educational system thinking that opens the mind to discussions, conversions, changes of attitudes, free spaces in in mutual learning, dialogue of heart and soul, one is either contaminated or fertilized  in this process of pedagogy of interreligious dialogue.

Pedagogy of interreligious dialogue is a missiological response and approach towards current issues facing man and woman today.

We have to understand the other’s point of view, be good listeners, studying together our religious experiences and coming to terms with our fears and shadows.

We have to walk the talk once we get involved in pedagogical interreligious dialogue. We relearn the new language communication that is acceptable. In very dialogue there is bound to be confrontations are bound to happen.

Pedagogy of interreligious dialogue is not about controlling others way of thinking but encountering others. This in itself is a new shift of thought.

Formation is about living in the context. seminary, college, university, public institutions. Things must be done well and in a professional way.

In our pedagogical search for interdisciplinary processes is about sharing our religious experiences within interreligious dialogue.

Daily we are bound to confront issues of intolerance, religious hatred, discriminations of all types, oppression and inequality, that needs professional handling and approach on how to be authentic prophetic witnessing. We are living in a boiling pot of religious when any miscalculation can spark off a conflict and war in the name of God.

1.2.  PEDAGOGICAL FORMATION AND APPROACH

Pedagogy is a Greek word that has an origin in the form of slave assignments to take care of the master’s children more so accompanying them to school as  a guide.

This gives us a picture of what pedagogy entails. An education without pedagogy is an ideology without direction.

The reality of pedagogy of religious dialogue means that we have to be pedagogically sound, relevant and effective in all that we do.

The church has been preoccupied with education of her children, more so in her approach on missioning and evangelization.

A university is a place for preparation and passing out professionals: clergymen, the religious, lawyers, medical doctors, scientist, politicians, business leaders, teachers and many other paraprofessionals.

Quality education on all levels becomes a necessity for any person or nation that doesn’t want to live on the fringes of social and economic progress.

Education by its very nature is a great value for humans, cherished throughout human history. As St. Augustine could state “Our words speak but our examples cry out.”

Beyond knowledge, education should lead to wisdom which is the foundation of all human good and happiness.

As a missionary agent this is what pedagogical formation is all about, learning more about oneself and the other, without the purpose of desire to uncover the truth or determine who is right and who is wrong about the spiritual realm.

This can be increased through education that can create peacefulness in individuals, communities and societies. This fosters changes that makes the world a better place to live and co-exist, eliminating prejudice, encouraging tolerance, at the forefront defence of human rights, protectors of the environment against destruction and contamination.

Today many educational peace programmes around the world are directly address religious conflicts, discrimination and oppression as an issue needing resolutions for a peaceful society for all to call home. 

Cultural violence is common and rampant due to little emphasis on how handle issues in the family set up, community and the entire society.

These issues sometimes get to boiling point or out of hand hence, rendering peace makers in the conflict irrelevant.

Dialogue is meant to finding truth, interior transparency. A critical observation of other people’s opinion can be articulated in the pedagogical and educative approach leading to educative and pedagogical dialects. 

Dialogue like research is at the heart of truth, for to know the self and the culture of origin can’t make you a slave of history.

Pedagogy of interreligious is about being educated on how to critique, creativity and above all innovative skills at play.

Daily we are dialoguing with ourselves or with the other. The challenge is not to fall in excesses by doing things in the literal manner of the term but professionally.

Pedagogical-educative didactics has to put the learner in crisis so as to provoke answers in the student to start thinking about certain things proper perspective with the reality before his/her eyes.

In this context a paradigm shift in pedagogical understanding of interreligious dialogue which creates a blue print for the society and environment to adopt as far as religious conflict and resolutions are concerned.

Pedagogy of interreligious dialogue has to be a school of love and dialogue, where one enters into dialectical approaches of dialogue, in form and spirit with an ending interrogation of what is before one’s reality.

 It’s all about connectographical attitude with what one perceives to be God, the ultimate Truth in the sense of our humanness. One can’t close himself or herself in that soliloquy, lest one becomes an island, which even that is impossible, its about openness to enter a new reality, a new life, a new thought and a new horizon.

We become true humanity, new life syntonised to a frequency when we do active listening.
This is a thought Martin Buber (1879-1915) builds on I-Thou with the very wide open-ended world to rediscover not as a tool or instrument but that which presents and talks to the thou in relational angle component.

As a man encounters another man, something certainly is lost and gained at the same time in the process, creating a new reality and that is what relationship is all about, different spirits that are enriched and glorified.(fertilization)

1.4 THE CULTURE OF DIALOGUE

The question at hand is how can we connect cultural diversity with educative itineraries that lead to equity? P. Freire could pose, more so in recognizing the difference if one refuses to recognize the other as a partner.

For him identity presupposes a relationship of equality and the difference, which could be antagonistic or not.

There is only dialogue and partnership when the difference is not antagonistic. For dialogue is a relationship of unity of nonantagonistic contrary factors, between antagonistic factors there is merely conflict.

But a true pedagogy is built on an itinerary which ranges from popular culture to literature erudite culture, passing through the training of the critical consciousness, transforming the structure of teaching and extension of education to everyone.

The culture of dialogue has a foundation in education. It’s the task for all Christians and it can’t be left only to the good intentions and fortunate insights of some precursors and so-called experts.

 Ambrogio emphasises that many obstacles, prejudices and many other forms of resistance that have been forced down to people simply impoverish and renders the situation worse.

This has to reinvent itself into a work in progress only in the culture of dialogue.

This calls for all to learn to accept others and their different ways of living, thinking and speaking, as clearly stipulated in the Apostolic Exhortation EG #250
An attitude of openness in truth and in love must characterize the dialogue with the followers of non-Christian religions, in spite of various obstacles and difficulties, especially forms of fundamentalism on both sides. Interreligious dialogue is a necessary condition for peace in the world, and so it is a duty for Christians as well as other religious communities. This dialogue is in first place a conversation about human existence or simply, as the bishops of India have put it, a matter of “being open to them, sharing their joys and sorrows”.[194] In this way we learn to accept others and their different ways of living, thinking and speaking. We can then join one another in taking up the duty of serving justice and peace, which should become a basic principle of all our exchanges.

A dialogue which seeks social peace and justice is in itself, beyond all merely practical considerations, an ethical commitment which brings about a new social situation.

Efforts made in dealing with a specific theme can become a process in which, by mutual listening, both parts can be purified and enriched. These efforts, therefore, can also express love for truth.

We ought to join each other in the duty of serving justice and peace, basic principles of dialogue of life.

This has to lead us to a systematic formation, rethinking theological formation in view of the church’s missionary transformation and the church has to go forth and in clear terms and conditions.

This is not about Transmitting knowledge about the other religions, overcoming prejudice and favouring understanding that is sound.

This will call for religious and the clergy to put much emphasis and importance of dialogue more so that of pedagogy of interreligious dialogue to become a core course in formation houses and major seminary curriculum.

The educational system should incorporate intercultural formation in the students to open their world view of the current realties of what is happening around them.

The education should be open to engage and reconstruction of definition of crisis and above all a starting point of starting to get involved in dialogue of life.

This should lead to fertilization to learn to see what we did not see before, adequate preparation for listening and openness, together with certain theological and cultural preparation that will allow awareness of cultural and religious differences to grow and prepare the terrain on which the dialogue will be built. Formative process goes beyond a mere encounter between cultures.

Theology should be very grounded in such a way that the issues of interreligious dialogue have to take centre stage in their formation processes. This can be discovered in the post-synodal document Ecclesia in Asia when Ambrogio cites  #31
Only those with a mature and convinced Christian faith are qualified in genuine interreligious dialogue.

Only Christians who are deeply immersed in the mystery of Christ and who are happy in their faith community can without undue risk and with hope of positive fruit engage in interreligious dialogue.

Ambrogio places his emphasis on theological formation in its contextualization of the truths of faith and hermeneutic of the contexts from which the “the signs of transcendence” and ontological need for salvation” can emerge .

CONCLUSION

Pedagogy of interreligious dialogue is a serious investment that has to be jealously guided, and this can only be done only once the church start subjecting herself, to quality assessment and evaluation tools.

The students and mission agents should have a system thinking that is sound and value based and culturally open ended.

All those getting involved in mission mandate and vision sight should be people who can think globally but act locally.

The pedagogy is interreligious dialogue doesn’t claim to know everything but is open to new insights and discoveries, living some space for the holy Spirit.

Once the interrelationship is well polished out, there should be also some space of the Holy Spirit, just in case the what if situation arises. This calls for serious theological formation that is very relevant, effective and efficient.

 The people can know whether a missionary is very academic, down to earth or a holy man of God.

As in the gospel of John he concludes his sequela of stain the “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another (Jn 13:35.)”
On the basis of the Second Vatican Council’s teaching, formation will have to aim at forming persons who are ready to be honest and critical of their own past and others.

Hans Kung says, ‘There is no peace in the world without peace among religions, and there is no dialogue among the religions without accurate reciprocal knowledge.’ 

A person involved in dialogue should not imagine himself in another’s place or put himself in another’s shoes, but rather look for elements, symbolic forms through which, in each context, the person understand themselves.

 Ambrogio critically delves into this issue by emphasizing that It’s important to understand how others describe their own tradition rather than just reading a description from texts or hearing it from professors within the Christian tradition, for formation should take place even when and where one enters into new horizons and above all the encounter which reveals new aspects of reality
A revolutionary pedagogy of interreligious dialogue is not a challenge of unveiling reality by coming to know it critically, teasing out facts, but in the task of serious system thinking and recreating that knowledge anew (aggiornamento), where all come together and reflect of the life experiences to forge the way forward with concrete working progress, nobody should feel side-lined, for it’s a common effort solidified.

It is not one religion, pastor, bishop, cardinal, teacher, principle, president show but a serious committed involvement.

As missionary agents and prophetic witnesses in the globalised world, we come to appreciate the other when we are able to invent and re-invent, sometimes it will be tiresome and tedious, we may run out of steam and morale to continue but we need to reconcile everything back to Christ, Him being Christ the teacher in this pedagogy of interreligious dialogue of life, open to respect of the daily questions about life and death but also respecting the actions of the Holy Spirit in each one of us, relational synergy of I-Thou connectographical nexus.

BIBLIOGRAPHY


BONGIOVANNI, A., Towards the Culture of Dialogue, the Significant Role of Education, in Mission Makes the Church, 1916-October 31-2016, Pontifical Missionary Union, (ed) Fabrizio Meroni, Aracne editrice Rome 2017, 163-194.

FLORES, G, D’Arcais., in Nuovo Dizionario di Pedagogia, a cura di Giuseppe Flores d’Arcais edizioni Paoline, Roma 1982, pp. 326-335.

GADOTTI, M., Pedagogy of Praxis, A Dialectical Philosophy of Education, (Trans. J.Milton) State University of New York Press, 1996.

HARRIS I.M. (2004).“Peace education theory. Journal of Peace Education”, 1(1),5–20. , 29/05/2018


RUSSEL.B., A History of Western Philosophy, And Its Connection with Political and Social Circumstances from the Earliest Times to the Present-day, Simon and Schuster, Inc, Rockefeller Centre New York, 1945

 KUNG, H., Christianity and the World Religions: Paths of Dialogue with Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism, Fount Paperbacks, London 1987.

MANCHINI, D., Class notes on Globalization and Ethics in the Era of Complexity, LUMSA (DEF) aggiornamento 12 febbraio Roma 2018.

 SORENSEN, N - K.E. MAXWELL., “Taking a hand on” Approach to Diversity in Higher Education: A Critical Dialogical Model for Effective Intergroup Interaction, in Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, 9(1),2009 3-35













Thursday, June 7, 2018

PEDAGOGY AS A SCIENCE OF UNDERSTANDING INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE

INTRODICTION

Educational institutions play a crucial role in building and enhancing the immunity and resilience of every society in confronting external and internal voices and forces which oppose pluralism and advocate for exclusion and violence. 

Education has a profound effect on individual development and can promote or prevent prejudice and conversely promote or prevent tolerance.

Lessons learned in the classroom stay with us as we continue to grow, and our learning does not stop once we have left the classroom.

1.0 ANGLE COMPONENTS OF RESEARCH

In this research we are going to address ourselves in the field of pedagogy as a scientific discipline of understanding interreligious dialogue.

Much of the reflections and approach will be based on the course work and paradigm shifts created during the course work, conferences attended and above all exploring into the thought and sojourner of professor Ambrogio Bongiovanni perspective towards the culture of dialogue, the significant role of education.

1.1 PEDAGOGY OF INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE

Thus, educators can take on a central role in promoting cultural and religious diversity.

This involves pedagogical features, (content learning, structural interaction, facilitative leadership) communication processes (dialogical communication, critical communication) and psychological processes (openness, identity engagement and positivity across differences) all work together to achieve the desired outcomes of intergroup understanding, relationships, and collaboration.

This gives us a clear picture where pedagogy of interreligious belongs as far as dialogue among religions can be approached.

The church document Gaudium et Spes #82 states:
But we should not let false hope deceive us. For unless enmities and hatred are put away and firm, honest agreements concerning world peace are reached in the future, humanity, which already is in the middle of a grave crisis, even though it is endowed with remarkable knowledge, will perhaps be brought to that dismal hour in which it will experience no peace other than the dreadful peace of death.

But, while we say this, the Church of Christ, present in the midst of the anxiety of this age, does not cease to hope most firmly. She intends to propose to our age over and over again, in season and out of season, this apostolic message: "Behold, now is the acceptable time for a change of heart; behold! now is the day of salvation."

No world peace without peace among religions, no peace among religions without dialogue between religious and dialogue between religions with accurate knowledge of one another.

Interreligious conflicts are as old as the existence of religion as that of human history, older than many today’s major world religions.

Religion today, has become a dividing issue than uniting factor in our communities, schools, use of religious symbols, and the nation at large.

Today, the symbol of the cross has become so controversial image in the educational institutions and political intolerance in secularized states.

As missionary agents we are called to be part of the pedagogical interreligious formation team to advocate for harmony with an interreligious understanding and prevent future misunderstandings.

Pedagogy of interreligious dialogue is a discipline of paradigm shifts and system thinking in religious realms in the pluralistic global village.

This will mean a call to the need of understanding what are the difficulties we are handling in the first place.

 All this is towards improving the level of multicultural understanding, engagement and sensitivity on the part of the missionary agents.

The implications of this research include the need for further advance theoretical discourse related to Christian involvement and identity, the importance of expanding educational pedagogy seeking to promote awareness and understanding of these issues and obligations for interreligious practitioners, faculty and other higher education professionals to be more sensitive to the experiences of missionary agents with the others of different religions.

Today, humanity is greatly endangered and confronted with great challenges that come with radical changes with little attention or few answers to the many questions confronting modern man and woman. (terrorism, religious intolerance, religious hate, migrations, nuclear threats). Pedagogy of interreligious dialogue is part of this big tank thinking more so in educating educators to become great prophetic witnesses and professionals in their global approach to modern problems and challenges affecting the globe.
Modern technological challenges deserve responses which are also sound scientifically grounded, as Michel de Montaigne would state “e meglio una testa ben fatta che una testa piena.”

Meaning better to learn the system of thinking and knowledgeable that being full of notions which doesn’t meaning but empty hot words.

The entire operation at times Morin says is a very complicated and with global consequences. This will call for a sober mind in handling the issues and this is the domain of education and pedagogy.

Pedagogy of religious dialogue is the way forward of understanding what it means to know the other as a colleague, friend and brother not as an enemy but a person if interest to relate with and know what that other world means or contains.

This can only be done through solidarity, freely and in just gesture founded on dialogue of life. This will call for a paradigm shift in anthropological attitude of approach to man’s challenges of dialogue.

This will call for creativity and mind openness without any prejudice and fear.
Pedagogy of interreligious dialogue is one of the scientific research and educational instrument to launch us towards open minded discussions, conversion, change of attitude, free space in open dialogue. Dialogue is indispensable as far as interreligious dialogue is concerned.

Man has turned to be violent, intolerant and suicidal in his actions. The challenge of terrorism, religious hatred and martyrdom, migration flow of resources and manpower which has destabilized the continental peace and cultures.

One is either contaminated/fertilized  in the process of interacting with the other.

Pedagogy in interreligious dialogue is a missiological response and approach towards current issues facing man and woman today.

We are called to understand the other’s point of view, by being good listeners, by studying together our religious experiences and coming to terms with what we used to fear to address.

We walk the talk, breathe the talk and become the talk of pedagogical interreligious dialogue.

We have to relearn the language we use, the language should be acceptable, confrontations are bound to happen, but we should be aware and conscience in the way we handle issues in confrontation.

Pedagogy in interreligious dialogue is not about controlling others but encountering others. How do we live our Christian commitment towards changing the world we live it, to make it better than we found it, socially and politically? This calls for new angle components.

Formation is about living in the context. (seminary, college, university, public institutions). Things must be done well and professionally.

In pedagogical search for interdisciplinary instruments is about sharing our religious experiences within interreligious dialogue, where we are encouraged as missionary agents to critically analyse religious identity and what we attach to them.

Daily we confront issues of intolerance, religious hatred, discriminations of all types, oppression and inequality, that needs professional handling and approach on how to be authentic prophetic witnessing.

We are living in a boiling pot of religious challenges and the name of God is used to justify the evils.

1.3 PEDAGOGICAL FORMATION AND APPROACH

Pedagogy is a Greek word that has an origin of a slave who was to take the child of the master to school, an accompaniment, a guide.

This gives us a picture what we are researching on. An education without pedagogy is an ideology without direction.

The reality of pedagogy of religious dialogue means that we have to be pedagogically sound, relevant and effective in all that we do.

The church has been preoccupied with education of her children, more so in her approach on missioning and evangelization. A university is a place of preparing and crediting professionals: clergy men, religious sisters, lawyers, medical doctors, scientist, politicians, business leaders, teachers and many other paraprofessionals.

Quality education on all levels becomes a necessity for any person or nation that doesn’t want to live on the fringes of social and economic progress.

Education by its very nature is a great value for humans, cherished throughout human history. As St. Augustine could state “Our words speak but our examples cry out.”

Beyond knowledge, education should lead to wisdom which is the foundation of all human good and happiness.

As a missionary agent this is what formation into pedagogy has for us, learning more about oneself and the others, without the purpose of desire to uncover the truth or determine who is right and who is wrong about the spiritual realm.

This can be increased through education that can create peacefulness in individuals, communities and societies.

This will foster changes that will make the world a better place to live and co-existence, eliminating prejudice, being tolerant, being defenders of human rights, protectors of the environment against destruction and contamination.

Today many peace education programmes around the world, directly address religious conflicts, discrimination and oppression as an issue needing resolutions before a peaceful society can be created.

Cultural violence is common due to lack of personal thought and formation in handling issues. These issues sometimes get worked up, over boil and renders those in conflict feel irrelevant, with pedagogical formation, is the beginning of reconciling everything back to Christ.

Dialogue should be meant and encouraged to finding truth, interior transparency. A critical observation of other people’s opinion, this can be well articulated in the pedagogical, educative approach which we could put or call educative and pedagogical dialects. 

Dialogue like research should be at the heart of truth, to know the self and the culture of where one wants to be.

Pedagogy of interreligious is about being educated on how to critic, be creative and above all being innovative.

We all in one way or another in dialogue with ourselves or with others. The challenge is not to fall in excesses of doing things literally but professionally.

Pedagogical-educative didactics has to put the learner in crisis so as to provoke answers in the student to start thinking about certain things appropriately, more so how things ought to e interpreted in moments that are opportune.

In this context we would like to have a paradigm shift to pedagogy of interreligious dialogue where we have to create a blue print of creating a society and environment that produces results and if there are no results, yet we still can get back to the drawing board or back for refresher course for updates.

Pedagogy of interreligious dialogue could be called a school of dialogue, where you naturally enter into dialectical approaches of dialogue, in form and spirit with an ending interrogation of what is before one’s reality.

Its all about connectivity of the self, with God, the ultimate Truth in the sense of our humanness. One can’t close himself or herself in that soliloquy, lest one becomes an island, which even that is impossible, its about openness to enter a new reality, a new life, a new thought and a new horizon. We become true humanity, new life syntonised to a frequency of better listening.

This is a thought Martin Buber (1879-1915) which he builds on I-Thou with the very wide open-ended world to rediscover.

As a man encounters another man, something is lost and gained in the process, and never remains the same.

That is what relationship is all about, different spirits are enriched and glorified.

1.4 THE CULTURE OF DIALOGUE

Towards the culture of dialogue has its foundation in education. It’s the task for all Christians and it can’t be left only to the good intentions and fortunate insights of some precursors and so-called experts .

Ambrogio emphasises that many obstacles, prejudices and many other forms of resistance that have been forced down to people simply impoverish and renders the situation worse.

This has to reinvent itself into a work in progress only in the culture of dialogue.

This calls for all to learn to accept others and their different ways of living, thinking and speaking, as clearly stipulated in the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium #250
An attitude of openness in truth and in love must characterize the dialogue with the followers of non-Christian religions, in spite of various obstacles and difficulties, especially forms of fundamentalism on both sides. Interreligious dialogue is a necessary condition for peace in the world, and so it is a duty for Christians as well as other religious communities.

This dialogue is in first place a conversation about human existence or simply, as the bishops of India have put it, a matter of “being open to them, sharing their joys and sorrows”.[194] In this way we learn to accept others and their different ways of living, thinking and speaking.

We can then join one another in taking up the duty of serving justice and peace, which should become a basic principle of all our exchanges.

A dialogue which seeks social peace and justice is in itself, beyond all merely practical considerations, an ethical commitment which brings about a new social situation.

Efforts made in dealing with a specific theme can become a process in which, by mutual listening, both parts can be purified and enriched.

These efforts, therefore, can also express love for truth.
We ought to join each other in the duty of serving justice and peace, basic principles of dialogue of life.

This has to lead us to a systematic formation, rethinking theological formation in view of the church’s missionary transformation and the church has to go forth and in clear terms and conditions.

This is not about Transmitting knowledge about the other religions, overcoming prejudice and favouring understanding that is sound.

This will call for religious and the clergy to put much emphasis and importance of dialogue more so that of pedagogy of interreligious dialogue to become a core course in formation houses and major seminary curriculum.

The educational system should incorporate intercultural formation in the students to open their world view of the current realties of what is happening around them.

The education should be open to engage and reconstruction of definition of crisis and above all a starting point of starting to get involved in dialogue of life.

This should lead to fertilization to learn to see what we did not see before, adequate preparation for listening and openness, together with certain theological and cultural preparation that will allow awareness of cultural and religious differences to grow and prepare the terrain on which the dialogue will be built. Formative process goes beyond a mere encounter between cultures.

Theology should be very grounded in such a way that the issues of interreligious dialogue have to take centre stage in their formation processes.

This can be discovered in the post-synodal document Ecclesia in Asia when Ambrogio cites  #31
Only those with a mature and convinced Christian faith are qualified in genuine interreligious dialogue.

Only Christians who are deeply immersed in the mystery of Christ and who are happy in their faith community can without undue risk and with hope of positive fruit engage in interreligious dialogue. 

Ambrogio places his emphasis on theological formation in its contextualization of the truths of faith and hermeneutic of the contexts from which the “the signs of transcendence” and ontological need for salvation” can emerge .

CONCLUSION

Pedagogy of interreligious dialogue is a serious investment that has to be jealously guided, and this can only be done only once the church start subjecting herself, to quality assessment and evaluation tools.

The students and mission agents should have a system thinking that is sound and value based and culturally open ended.

All those getting involved in mission mandate and vision sight should be people who can think globally but act locally.

The pedagogy is interreligious dialogue doesn’t claim to know everything but is open to new insights and discoveries, living some space for the holy Spirit. Once the interrelationship is well polished out, there should be also some space of the Holy Spirit, just in case the what if situation arises.

This calls for serious theological formation that is very relevant, effective and efficient.

The people can know whether a missionary is very academic, down to earth or a holy man of God.

As in the gospel of John he concludes his sequela of stain the “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another (Jn 13:35.)”

On the basis of the Second Vatican Council’s teaching, formation will have to aim at forming persons who are ready to be honest and critical of their own past and others. Hans Kung says, ‘There is no peace in the world without peace among religions, and there is no dialogue among the religions without accurate reciprocal knowledge.’

A person involved in dialogue should not imagine himself in another’s place or put himself in another’s shoes, but rather look for elements, symbolic forms through which, in each context, the person understand themselves.

Ambrogio critically delves into this issue by emphasizing that It’s important to understand how others describe their own tradition rather than just reading a description from texts or hearing it from professors within the Christian tradition, for formation should take place even when and where one enters into new horizons and above all the encounter which reveals new aspects of reality.

BIBLIOGRAPHY


BONGIOVANNI, A., Towards the Culture of Dialogue, the Significant Role of Education, in Mission Makes the Church, 1916-October 31-2016, Pontifical Missionary Union, (ed) Fabrizio Meroni, Aracne editrice Rome 2017, 163-194.

 MANCHINI, D., Class notes on Globalization and Ethics in the Era of Complexity, LUMSA (DEF) aggiornamento 12 febbraio Roma 2018.

FLORES, G, D’Arcais., in Nuovo Dizionario di Pedagogia, a cura di Guiseppe Flores d’Arcais edizioni Paoline, Roma 1982, pp. 326-335

Harris, I.M. (2004).“Peace education theory. Journal of Peace Education”, 1(1),5–20. , 29/05/2018

, 29/05/2018

 KUNG, H., Christianity and the World Religions: Paths of Dialogue with Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism, Fount Paperbacks, London 1987.

N, SORENSEN, - K.E. MAXWELL., “Taking a hands on” Approach to Diversity in Higher Education: A Critical Dialogical Model for Effective Intergroup Interaction, in  Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, 9(1),2009 3-35
















THE PROCESS OF INCULTURATION, RIGHTS, NEW STYLES OF LIFE, ECONOMIC  ETHICS.


We are going to do some exploration of chapter six from the view point cultural translation as part and parcel of incarnational process whereby Christianity is embraced and nurtured.

The process of inculturation has do a lot with the undressing of foreign ideologies and mindsets through the redressing community experiences in a mere familiarized way in the culture of openness and in the spirit of intercultural dialogue.

As far as issues of rights, new style of life, economic ethics are concerned, man also is daily changing his attitude of global approach, global ethics, global economy and global governance, and above all in the field of environmental protection and conservation.

This therefore is going to call for a new approach in new system thinking, and paradigm shifts in the field of Christianism and interculturality.

Prof. Dotolo puts great emphasis on translation as being one of the very important and complex but necessary if we must engage in this process of inculturation.

It’s a great venture into the future of Christianity especially in the local universities and local churches making using their lived experiences and realities, where they don’t only speak but also translate what they are talking and above all to know what type of translation we will need to work on and in which method of approach.

This calls for creative entrance into the reality of the culture of inculturation.

Culture is about the way we celebrate life and eucharistic celebrations, a lived spirituality.

Being faithful to the Spirit of Christian teaching authentic lived spiritual experiences.
These cultures and processes ought to be based on pedagogical approach that is well prepared, well formed into the people’s basic understanding of their lives, languages, cultures that corresponds to the religious belief.

This is all have to be tied to the Jesus of Nazareth, the essentials that are articulated, reconstructed, as a cornerstone, firmly based on a free man called Jesus and on the hierarchical truths that have to be adhered to.

Inculturation is a vivid presence of Christian life with its true message to a  particular cultural context, in such a way that this experiences not only find expressions through proper elements to culture in question, but become principles that animates in  making, encouraging Christ’s missionary protagonists of  interculturality something  to keep learning from.

All the Gospels bear witness to the fact that Jesus was born in a specific time and place, into a particular culture and that he lived, was nurtured, worked, ministered, and died as a human being.

God became a human to redeem all humankind from the destructive power of sin ad reconcile and transforming the whole of creation. God assumed a human form of being human and divine.

The belief in incarnation raises profound questions about the nature of God in Jesus Christ. Through incarnation Jesus assumes a form of saving mankind from the power of sin through being in solidarity with man.

Prof. Dotolo quotes Hans Küng  a well-polished theologian in his research in economics and politics, whereby he stated that if economics and politics have no ethical backbone it will crawl and disastrous to many, this may take a shape of global trends, crisscrossing peoples, cultures, countries and religions.

From the statistical figures presented so far it looks very worrying because the gap differences are daily widening, where the poor are becoming poorer as the rich are becoming richer due to unchecked global market forces and bottleneck competition.

There are basic tenets, tools, quality assessment scales that should help in knowing what is truth and how it can be reached and if there is justice what is it quality assessment to know that its practiced fairly and justly? Hans Küng explains truth as unacceptability propaganda style statements of political leaders, people simply are tired of lies.

While Justice is an end to arbitrary arrests, equal and impartial law enforcement and abolition of privileges and prerogatives of the elite.

 Hans Küng’s further expands on that trajectory in a mind shift in thought by stating the moral appeal without political will the action has little value, hence useless, it has no space on the global platform.

There should be a reinforcement and confidence in the young men and women to pressurize politicians on checks and balances of governance, and global financial checks and balances of governance and accountability.

There are five pillars Hans Kung proposes: human rights and responsibility, democracy, protection of minorities, peaceful resolutions of conflict and equal treatment of different generations. Amidst all these, religion plays a big role in the life of man.

Religion has to help man arrive to global ethics accepted by all. Hans Küng states that the golden rule is clearly stated “You have to treat your fellow human being as you would like in turn to be treated.”

This is tenets are found in Christianity, Islam and Hinduism. Judaism, Buddhism, Jainism, the information about religions other than Christianity is very limited.  He explains this in detail in his book entitled HANS KÜNG., Global Responsibility, in Search of New Global ethics, with a close understanding the beliefs and practical conviction using the language of the other.

Prof. Dotolo digs into inculturation in such a way that it is on itself at a point of departure and understanding in the way in which it has developed, evolved and matured trough its theological journey of self-discovery, more so in the post conciliar revival. It’s all about accompaniment of the whole ecclesial community walking together, conscious by viewing the bigger picture to be that is encompassed in the great picture of salvation.

This will call for adaptability of some strategies towards cultural movements.

The good parts of culture can be embraced, the bad ones discarded and those not sure of further research into them but above all being keenly in reading the signs of the times that often reveal their true essence and potentiality.

This will call for a disciplined approach above all liberty of persons to live fully their commitment amidst anti systems that they confront every day.
The significance of theology has to be profound towards the interpretation of Christianism in an authentic and dignified way of living in Christ.

A theology that doesn’t open up itself to the actual reality lived is a dead theology and doesn’t deserve to be called theology.

Man has to rethink about the relevancy of religion that carries alongside it rich spiritual experiences.

The basic question should be, why does man do what he does? what is his purpose of living? Does his spirituality create oneness in God? These are fundamental questions to be asked in this process of inculturation.

The interpretation has to put in perspective the growth of community and the maturity of the community needing to be translated, the process should gear into the growth processes which eventually should produce in the long run an emancipation ad independence of thought.

The theology announces the great message of Christ in a given community. This calls for deep comprehensive understanding of the reality in all its perspective: social, cultural, scientific. Interpreting the world in the right perspective.

This process is not a one time exercise, but a long time venture and investment if the process of inculturation has to be successful. The community experiences will be the yard sticks of cultural interpretation. 

This will eventually lead to a theology of hope in actual realization of liberation projects in man and for man.

The theologians ought to keep on purifying the understanding of incarnation, the process is not to ignore the religious experience, for there is where the real incarnation of Christianity begins, where the lived life is translated into practical Christian believe and authentic religious discernment.

Building a culture comes along with the capacity of liberty, tolerance and dignity of a person. The Nazi gas chambers popped up as man’s lowest moments in history.

Man lowered himself too low in lack of hospitality and dignity against his fellow being.

The Strategy of Auschwitz/Rwanda genocide episodes are those moments man must avoid because they are not Christian values and they cannot lead us to liberation except servitude and devilish acts.

This understanding is what needs to usher us into liberation theology so as to exorcise all the evils against human dignity and liberty.

This salvation is expressed in the Paschal mystery, when we are able to speak for the voiceless in our communities and countries, getting ethical visions that result in the spirit of solidarity with the other, recognizing the marginalized amidst political and economic uncertainties.

The spirit of discernment is about quality of inculturation, that drives all participants into dialogue mode of process of inculturation appreciating the differences of individual cultures and avoiding the undermining or under looking any culture.

There should be no fear of the other but through the other we are come to know ourselves, hence, even coming up with terminologies like “fertilization” and “contamination” where fertilization gives into something new but positive, while contamination produces negative vibes, rejection of the other, the state of indifference and not recognizing the value of difference among us .

This is an approach Bongiovanni presents in his discourse on pedagogy of interreligious dialogue where acquisition of difference relating to identity that has to be equally valued.

This can be actualized in the capacity of clear insitutes with great respect of human flow and interaction.

Today, the society is in dare need for a culture of effective respect of differences in the society.

This diversity of cultural experiences produces new system think tanks. We are living in the times of serious globalization, “glocally” founded to the reality lived. This comes with multicultural operation in sense of diversity, in the construction of freedom and personal life, cultural legitimacy on issues of equality and liberty for everyone.

There should be a search into communion of fraternity as alternative options for interculturality.

In every moment of belonging there should be a culture that effectively constructs a space of rich interculturality, an infusion of cultures.

Man becomes a multiple factors of the same culture, a culture of human dignity, that leads to the eco-system within the globe, the bio-politics, connectography where everything else is  linear centred to produce a fertilization of the global ethics,  governance and Christ centred thoughts, learning to work in line with the universality of cultures with open handedness and hearts to embrace the big culture to belong to an international family that is cultured, for the good of community.

 We should not be afraid of others in a community with different people and cultures, we learn to share at the level of the universal ethics, it’s all about relearning how to share and building up the spirit of listening.

This should lead us to the culture of solidarity and fraternity. The true fundamentals of Christianity will be evaluated and assessed in the way Christianity has been planted in the understanding of the other.

Each person is responsible as a carrier of rights and fullness of liberty, solidarity should be seen in the way we receive the other in the moment of need.

The theology that frees man is that of liberation, that ability to be willing to see the point of view other without conditions.

The method and contents of fraternity should be something lived, something practical, more so that which deals with values and constitution of the land.
As we enter deep into interculturality and transculturality, we can’t avoid the issue of environmental responsibility as part and parcel of the spirituality of man.

Today, many people may not belong to a specific main stream religion but certainly they practice some spirituality, part of that spirituality should centre itself to an environment what has come to be commonly known as la casa comun (common home).

The economy of salvation calls for solidarity with the creator, for the care of the planet as proper need of dialogue with proper experience that begins with proper culture incarnated, coming up with local solutions of care of nature and involving the people into dialogue of life based on a spirituality without borders.

The process of interculturation has nothing else of emphasis on except looking into the human suffering and trying to get practical solutions of solving the challenges and not living in the yogurt culture where everything seems to be well smoothened out and nothing else to do.

There should be pride of living together as a family, with zero percentage to discrimination due to race or colour, building up a culture of beyond love, taking care of the environment, securing of true development without exploiting anyone, new force of working together, making a true resolution to work as a family of God, a world where all can call a home.


IN MEMORY OF DAVID JACOBUS BOSCH

TRANSFORMING MISSION : David Bosch- Some Personal Reflections by Willem Saaymann, Prof. Emeritus in Missiology at Unisa, Pretoria, Sout...