(photo credit – Albin Hillert)
It Might Get Loud II
One of the key characteristics of the conference is that it is “an African conference.” Well, they nailed the volume part of Africa. As in, it is way too loud for me. This morning the Bible study presentation made me feel like I was being aurally assaulted. I felt near concussed, not by the content of the speaker’s words but by the volume. I’m typing this in the plenary making a decision about leaving or not because the warm up is super loud. When did I get this old? Can they turn it down?
There are four Presbyterian Church in Canada delegates here: me, Rev. Dr. Ross Lockhart, Rev. Paulette Brown, and Rev. Dr. Esther Acolatse. Today I got to have lunch with Ross and Esther and then go to my workshop with Esther. Esther teaches at Knox College (Toronto School of Theology) and is, like me, a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary. Two things endear her to me: she has an irreverent sense of humour and she has done a bunch of good work on African pastoral practices especially as they relate to particular African contextual factors not commonly addressed in the West. To be less cryptic, Esther thinks theologically about the spirit world that the majority of Africans believe in and how it plays out in ministry. As I am about to teach a Practical Theology course her two books are extremely helpful: For Freedom or Bondage? and Powers, Principalities, and the Spirit: Biblical Realism in Africa and the West. You should buy them.
Prophetism and Evangelism in Africa, Emancipation or Servitude?
I went to a workshop led by Christian Tsekpoe, a Ghanian Pentecostal Pastor. For the most part the paper rehearsed a general understanding of prophetism in the African context but especially West Africa. In particular though it was insightful and his experience was well informed. I was looking forward to this presentation with some trepidation. That fear was ill founded; he did a great job and I’m looking forward to continuing the conversation.
I was pleasantly surprised to run into a former PTS student Will Whitmore, who has been attending the GETI 2018 gathering. Was good to sit down with him, catch up, find out about his life and about his work. While not the subject of his dissertation, Will knows more about Popes and Yankee Stadium than anyone should. The GETI 2018 participants made a presentation tonight. In discussions at my table two things emerged. One was that Malawians and evangelicals of any nation would have found very little in the presentation that they could identify with. That is, there was a great deal of the West and ideological reflection but little African context or substantive theological reflection. Two, that there was a great deal of creativity present and hopefully though a deep engagement with Africans and evangelicals (including a large number of Pentecostals and charismatics) these young scholars can address this disconnect.