Skribentarkiv

New pictures on Flickr

Jeg har lagt nye billeder ind på vores Flickr album. Nedenfor er en lille forsmag. Klik her for at se resten.

I have uploadet new pictures to our Flickr album. You can find a small preview below. Click here to the rest.

28

Four sisters in red, celebrating Njeri’s graduation.

85

The NEGST student blocks.

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Charlotte and I together with my Matthew teacher and his wife at graduation banquet.

Reklamer

juli 17, 2009 at 1:55 am 2 kommentarer

I kirke i World Harvest International v/ Apostel Ssuna

Vi er på vej til kirke. Ikke som på en normal søndag, for denne gang skal vi helt ind til midtbyen. På førte sal i en stor bygning ligger World Harvest International (WHI). Det er en AIC (African Initiated Church) ledt af Apostel Ssuna. Jeg ved ikke hvad den beskrivelse bringer af forventninger, men lad være med at tænke på en traditionel afrikansk mand som havde man samlet ham op i en landsby iført traditionelt tøj og med en landbobefolkning. Næhnej, World Harvest International er placeret i hjertet af Nairobis business kvarter. Når man først kommer ind i bygningen er det første man møder en stor stand med et billede af Ssuna med foldede hænder. På vejen op ad trapperne møder man flotte blomsterdekorationer og bibelvers, og når man når første sal er der stiller borde frem med merchandise fra apostel Ssuna. Da vi går ind i det smukt dekorererede kirkelokale bliver vi mødt af smartklædte mænd og kvinder og bliver ledt hen til en ledig plads.

Gudstjenesten er allerede i gang. En ung fyr synger og rapper til backup-musik som var han taget ud af en musikvideo fra MTV. Publikum (føler jeg med rette kan kalde dem det!) hujer og klapper mens han ivrigt forsøger at få folk med.

Apostel Ssuna var tiil en konference i Uganda, så hjælpepræsten leder gudstjenesten i dag. “Hvis du ved at du er i Herrens hus, så ved du også at du bør give”, siger han, hvorefter indsamlingen begynder. Alle får en kovolut som man kan give (mere…)

juni 8, 2009 at 12:46 pm 7 kommentarer

The right doctrine from the wrong texts? – fulfilment in Matthew’s Gospel

Ever wondered why the New Testament sometimes quotes seemingly obscure texts from the Old Testament and claims that Jesus fulfilled them? Or wondered why the quotations in the New Testament are not giving the exact words of the Old Testament passage which it quotes? In what sense did Jesus in fact fulfil the Old Testament prophecies?

I’ve never really grasped this. I always had a feeling that I got it all wrong, biased by my 2oth century understanding of prophecy. I’ve done a bit of studies in this area which resulted in the paper found below. It tries to understand the quotations in Matthew in light of contemporary Jewish principles of interpretation (i.e. ‘hermeneutics). I’ve not fully grasped it but I think I’m getting closer to understading what in the world is going on in Matthew’s Gospel. Read the paper if you are a nerd – or out of curiosity 😉

I’m writing a final paper which is related to this one. It’ll be a detailed word study on the verb “to fulfil” in the Gospel of Matthew. Let’s see what that brings of new insights …

Matthew’s use of Scripture in Matthew 2:15 and 2:23

Introduction

Matthew’s formula quotations[1] have been a considerable challenge for modern scholarship leading commentators to remarkably diverse conclusions. This fact is due to the fundamental nature of the subject, for it touches at the heart of Jewish hermeneutics and of the early Christian understanding of prophecy and fulfilment.

(mere…)

juni 4, 2009 at 12:23 am 7 kommentarer

John Mbiti kommer til NEGST

Yeah!!! Har lige fået nyheden om at John Mbiti er hovedtaleren til graduation ceremonien i starten af juli måned. For dem af jer der ikke ved hvem Mbiti er, til jer er der kun at sige: der er noget galt i jeres opdragelse. John Mbiti er for kristendom i Kenya (faktisk for hele Afrika) hvad Grundtvig er for Danmark. Tror jeg oprigtigt kan sige at han var den største teolog i Afrika i det 20. århundrede.

Efter de afrikanske nationers uafhængighed var han den person som repræsenterede afrikansk teologi. Dengang var det en ny tanke for kristne at se afrikanske traditionelle religioner i et positivt lys, men via Mbitis antropologiske og teologiske forskning viste han at det bibelske semitiske verdensbillede er tættere på traditionelle afrikanske kulturer end på vestlige kulturer. Hans værdsættelse af afrikanske kulturer var derfor en vigtig faktor for udviklingen af en sand afrikansk kristendom.

Med annonceringen i dag kom en lille introduktion af hans teologiske karriere:

Born in Kenya, Mbiti studied in Uganda and the United States, taking his doctorate in 1963 at the University of Cambridge, UK. He taught religion and theology in Makerere University, Uganda from 1964 to 1974 and was subsequently director of the World Council of ChurchesEcumenical Institute in Bogis-Bossey, Switzerland.

 Nogen der er misundelige? Jeg ser i hvert fald frem til at møde ham 🙂

maj 29, 2009 at 2:07 pm 1 kommentar

Katolsk-karismatisk messe i Afrika

Solen skinner og vi er på vej til kirke. Vi kender ikke starttidspunktet for gudstjenesten, så vi satser: er man der kl 10 kan man da ikke tage helt fejl. Da vi ankommer er der propfyldt i kirken og sangen runger fra kirken på Kiswahili altimens kirkegængerne klapper i takt og ivrigt skrålere med. Vi er ved at være bange for at der slet ikke er plads, men en kirketjener hjælper os med at finde plads – helt oppe på de forreste rækker.

Min sidekammerat synger forfærdeligt, men han er ganske ivrig. Under sangen rokker han med til sangens rytme og strækker hænderne i vejret, og han kan liturgien på fingerspidserne. Ganske tydeligt en garvet kirkegænger.

Vi er i den katolske kirke i Karen, Our Lady Queen Church. Kirken lader til at være ret velbesøgt, for der holdes messe 6 gange hver søndag. Præsten træder frem og hilser menigheden, og alle svarer, akkompagneret af en hvid kvinde ved det lille keyboard oppe foran. Der er dog ikke nogen elektronisk trommemaskine på, men der står to conga-trommer, som dog ikke blev brugt i dag.

Søndagens tekster bliver læst af unge fra menigheden og imellem teksterne synges der ivrigt med på sangene der består af en blanding af katolsk salmetradition og afrikanske rytmer, tilsat musik fra det uautentiske, elektroniske orgel.

Så kommer prædikenen. Præsten er en midaldrende herre med et stort venlig smil. Han indøver dele af kirkens katekisme og engagerer menigheden ved hjælp af spørgsmål. På et af spørgsmålene må han gå hele vejen ned gennem midtergangen fordi en lille pige har rakt hånden i vejret for at svare på et spørgsmål. Præsten har tydeligvis øje for den enkelte. Efter introduktionen fortsætter han over i dagens prædiken – uden manuskript. Han hæver stemmen i ivrighed og taler engageret for at nå ud til sine menighed med budskabet. Han bevæger sig på gulvet nede foran og bruger kropssproget i sin kommunikation. Prædikenen handler om at bruge en mulighed i stedet for at spilde den. Selvom apostlen Peter fejlede så gav han ikke op. Judas derimod, gav op da han havde forrådt Jesus.

Efter prædikenen begynder forberedelserne til nadveren. Små afrikanske drenge (mon de var diakoner?) hjælper til med forberedelserne og den yngste har fået til opgave at ringe med klokken (der hvor brødet og vinen bliver forvandlet til Jesus legeme og blod). Efter liturgiske tekster, bønner og indstiftelsesord, kommer menigheden op en efter en. Underligt nok er det kun ca 1/4 der kommer op og modtager nadveren. Jeg troede det var det centrale element i den katolske messe!

Henimod slutningen af messen bliver der givet informationer for den kommende uge. Folk opfordres til at bede om Helligåndens gaver som forberedelse til pinsen i næste weekend. Til slut får alle en opfordring med hjem om at komme næste uge: “Næste uge er det pinse, så der kommer Helligånden og så skal vi tale i tunger. Forbered dig til det og kom og vær med på næste søndag.”

Så var det jeg tænkte: Størsteparten af den katolske kirke findes i tredjeverdenslande, og størstedelen af de katolske kirker ligner garanteret denne mere end  de ligner en middelalderlig europæisk kirke. Hvad siger det om katolicismen på verdensplan? Måske vi skulle til at ændre vores billede af hvad en katolik er? Det er ikke usandsynligt at vi, når vi skal forestille os en gennemsnitlig katolik, skal tænke på en kvinde i den tredje verden, en der taler i tunger, en der danser under sangene og klapper i takt, en for hvem nadveren ikke nødvendigvis er centrum, og hvor en karismatisk præst prædiker fra gulvet på en ualmindeligt uautoritær måde.

Hvornår får vi den første afrikanske pave?

maj 26, 2009 at 12:55 am 4 kommentarer

Nye billeder i online fotoalbum

Så er der kommet en bunke nye billeder (90 stk) i vores online fotoalbum. Det er blandede billeder fra de sidste 4-5 måneder af vores liv her i Kenya. Du kan klikke på linket i menuen til højre eller klikke HER.

I have uploadet 90 new pictures to our online photo album. They are from the last 4-5 months of our life here in Kenya. You can click on the link in the menu at the right side or you can click HERE.

maj 23, 2009 at 3:04 pm 2 kommentarer

Nietzsche, Lars von Trier, and Antichrist

It fascinates me that a person can have so much influence. On one hand his ideas are awful, terrible, rejected, despised by the established western world. On the other hand there is something fascinating by him, something that draws you towards him, something new and original, something which you cannot refuse to give attention. It is even more fascinating that this man saw it coming so far in advance that almost no-one understood it when he proclaimed it. He was like a prophet, not in the traditional sense of being divinely inspired, but in the sense of being an oracle of what is to come through an analysis of the season of time. He knew it by intuition, he could feel it, and he gave expression to it. Another feature of his prophetic ministry is the fact that he never saw the impact of his message. He died, but his ideas are flourishing.

Of course the only person I could possibly have in mind in the above is Friedrich Nietzsche.

In popular thinking this is also known as postmodernism even though it is difficult to describe this phenomenon as a unified movement. There are many variances of postmodernism, but I still think it is fair to say that there are common features. One of them is that they can all be traced back to Nietzsche’s philosophy a century (!) ago. It is simply fascinating that a person who lived a century ago can have such an all-encompassing influence on society and popular belief.

I have not seen Lars von Trier’s movie and I don’t think I’ll get the opportunity in the nearby future. I doubt that anyone here in Kenya would understand the movie, even less that they would show it in the cinemas or sell it in the stores. But I can tell from the descriptions, reviews, and interviews what to expect. This is postmodernism in is extreme form.

I was immersed into my own cultural and philosophical milieu. I’m a product of my own time, hence I cannot deny that I’m truly fascinated when I read about the movie. Rejection of relativism and embracement of relativism is a popular trend, but few have been ready to go all the way. At certain points, particularly times of crisis, the popular understanding is inherently unstable because it lacks consistency. Most people display evidence of an absolute foundation when it counts, either Christian, humanistic/atheistic, Muslim, Eastern religious, etc. Denying that an unsupported, presuppositional foundation exists is therefore to live in a state of denial.

Nietzsche – and Lars von Trier – take the postmodern critique of the Cartesian (i.e. from René Descartes) philosophy to its logical and necessary conclusion: nihilism. I can tell from the reactions on the movie that this point has been reached, both through the descriptions of it, but also by the very fact that some people walked out in protest against it. The philosophical conclusion was simply unbearable to them. It was too outspoken. It offended them.

It is not a surprise that von Trier received inspiration for the movie from his own depression. The romantic denial of fear, anger, lust and desire, is replaced with acceptance, indeed fascination and promovation of these elements, for they are essential parts of what it means to be human. His philosophical world is guided by themes about the cosmos, the ur-person, the foundational desires and feelings – the “Antichrist”! In the art of making movies such expressions can be caught by means of extreme slowmotion. By so doing, he is able to create a sense of static sorrow, static anxiety, static paranoia (“statisk sorg, statisk angst, statisk paranoia”, interview with Lars von Trier).

Now, I have lived in a different culture than my own for some years now and as an outsider I can see how people have difficulties in distinguishing between culture and Christianity. They claim (sometimes American) cultural elements to be Christian because their cultural identity is so much mixed up with their Christian identity. This is true of Christianity in every culture. Why would we then claim that it is any different in the West? However, Lars von Trier opposes all religion as evil:

I have always seen Protestatism as the great brute, but religion is some crap altogether, I’m sure about that (Jeg har jo altid set protestantismen som det store udyr, men religion er i det hele taget noget lort, det er jeg sikker på). Interview with Lars von Trier.

I think I understand him quite well (apart from his absolute certainty!). In this he is not any different from Nietzsche, his great inspirator:

I have had Nietzsche’s Antichrist on my table since I was 12. You know, this is his great encounter with Christianity (Jeg har haft Nietzsches Antichrist liggen på mit bord, siden jeg var 12. Det er jo hans store opgør med kristendommen). Interview with Lars von Trier.

I’m have sympathy for his intention, but, as I have written elsewhere on this weblog,  he and Nietzsche fail to distinguish culture from Christianity.

What Descartes was for modernism, Nietzsche wasa for postmodernism. In his famous parable, The Madman, the Madman was not claiming responsibility for killing God, but prophesied the inevitable outcome of what the philosophical establishment had done implicitly and unknowingly. Enlightenment Christianity had erroneously maintained that the infinite God can be comprehended by finite human reasoning. Such a claim, however, is blasphemy and idolatry, because it rejects the qualitative difference between Creator and created humans. What Nietzsche did not realize was that his proclamation was not directed towards Christianity per se, but towards the Cartesian paradigm, two systems which at that time were inextricably bound together (Postmodern Christian Theology).

Lars von Trier’s attack on Christianity is, as is Nietzsche’s, misplaced because it assumes that the culture of modernity is itself Christianity. But that’s a faulty claim. Therefore, I do not as a postmodern Christian feel attacked by him.

I must say that Lars von Trier is fascinating. Whether you like it or not, at least he is closer to being consistent than pop-philosophical, shallow claims that will not last when seriously challenged. I would have loved to watch the movie, not so much because I think I fully agree with him – though I think much of it would resonate within me – but rather because I sense that this is the final test for me to see if I really understand and feel postmodernism.

If you want to explore further on Christian postmodernism, you can see my earlier post on postmodern Christian theology HERE (though dealing mostly with it from a philosohical/epistemological/theological perspective). You can read about the movie HERE (in Danish) and interviews HERE (some in Danish, some in English).

maj 18, 2009 at 2:45 pm 8 kommentarer

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