Thursday, October 14, 2004

Water Buffalo Theology: Chapter 5

Water Buffalo Theology by Kosuke Koyama on Amazon

Part II: Rooting the Gospel

Chapter 5: Bangkok and Wittenberg

water buffalo theology coverThe Luther story is especially arresting in the context of the "vernacular" we've been discussing. The picture in my head/stereotype of Luther includes immense passion, tremendous guilt and sometimes overpowering distress. Earlier, Koyama says the woman who anointed Jesus is a snapshot of the way God acts in human history: countercultural in terms of all the humanly respectable religious, economic, social and political establishments, but that event also clearly shows God reaches out to people where they are at that moment, and it reveals God's preference for the position of those who are marginalized and outcast from respectability. Back to Dr. Luther! Of course Luther interpreted that scripture text vis-à-vis his own experience with both the "in spite of" of faith and grace and the "because of" of faith and grace, which we read as very Pauline. Isn't the Canaanite woman's story also Luther's story? Our author says, "...the amazing power and capacity of faith itself."

Koyama's reaction that Luther's interpretation had to be the correct one is fascinating! He refers to "the overwhelming giant, Luther" and interpretations by persons like church parents and the Reformers and well-known contemporary theologians often do tend to overpower and overshadow our own scriptural interpretations. Sometimes I'll find myself feeling a little guilty when I disagree with them - just like Prof. Koyama felt.

Again returning to Luther - to quote Koyama, "My audience went home with the impression that some kind of neurosis constitutes the vital part of the Christian faith." And I reply, "Some kind of neurosis? Well, Martin Luther..."

Page 55: "In the relationship between God and humans, that is, in the believing situation, our 'because of'must be assaulted by God's new situation in which we are confronted by 'in spite of.'"

Does this speak to the idea of a universal factor erasing political, social, cultural, religious demarcations?

Since I've already read Chapter 6, "Aristotelian Pepper and Buddhist Salt," which gets into basic theological vocabulary and it really gets into what might be called "translating" Christianese into Buddhism's native tongue without losing the essential meaning of our kerygma.

Romans 10:13-15a
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent?
But this question is about faith rather than evangelism?


We've been mentioning our God's "slowness." Scripture says we're created in God's image, an image we usually interpret as love, creativity, free will or community. Seems as if "SLOWNESS" also needs to be part of who we are if we're going to resemble God!

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