An Asian Perspective on Marketplace Ministry
By Paul Ng, Singapore
- EMPOWERMENT FROM AN ASIAN VIEWPOINT
Even as the marketplace believer grapples with the new paradigm required to fulfil his call in life and as institutions of learning and churches deal with issues like new methodologies and content, another major area has to be looked into. This is the area relating to contextual issues. Even with new content and methodologies, the way that we view our world has a tremendous impact on how we empower believers for ministry. Hwa Yung deals with the quest for an authentic Asian Christian Theology in his book, “Mangoes or Bananas.”
From the various issues raised in Hwa Yung’s book, I have opted to look at five of these and how it relates to the marketplace. Due to the great diversity within Asia, I will review these five issues mainly from the perspective of the Chinese because much of East Asia eg Japan and Korea share a similar belief system to that of the Chinese with roots in Confucianism and Buddhism. These five are the Supernatural, Family and Group Solidarity, Filial Piety, Authority and Leadership and Ethics. I will also look at the effect that culture has upon the workplace.
 Haw Yung, Mangoes or Bananas?: The Quest for an Authentic Asian Christian Theology. Regnum Studies in Mission (Oxford, Akropung, Buenos Aires, Irvine,CA, New Delhi: Regnum Books International, reprint 2000. Original 1997), 71-96 (page references are to the reprint edition). While he demonstrates how Asian theologians have yet to break out of Western captivity, he has also suggested two themes by which we can perform further theological reflections on contextualization. These are firstly the various types of literary genres required to fully express theological reflection in Asia and secondly the concerns that must be taken into consideration in this process. Under the first theme he considers biblical exegesis, Christian apologetics, systematic theology, ethics and theology for and from the grassroots. For the second theme he suggests unearthing hidden presuppositions, in-depth studies of Asian Cultures and Traditions, Dialogue with Asian Religions, insights from Cultural Anthropology, addressing the challenge of ‘Power Encounters’ in Asian Christianity and Learning from Western Christians.