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Author’s Name, “Title of Essay,” Religion and Globalization, Edited by Ronald A. Simkins and Zachary Smith, Journal of Religion & Society Supplement 16 (2018), Pages of the essay [URL of this page].
Despite their central importance for Ignatius of Loyola and the early generations of the Society of Jesus, sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Jesuit missions in Ethiopia are largely unknown in comparison to Jesuit encounters in China, Japan, India, Canada, and South America. This article offers a brief historical overview of these Jesuit Ethiopian missions between 1555 and 1640. The author also highlights six resonances between this early modern story of cross-cultural encounter and twenty-first-century mission and globalization. These include the imagination of a global Islamic menace; the dangers to Christian mission posed by political power and elitist paternalism; the need to envision catholicity as unity in diversity rather than unity in uniformity; the resurgence of religious and cultural traditionalism in the face of cosmopolitan globalization; and the importance to mission of long-term presence.
Worship at the Mexico City cathedral from the 1840s to the 1890s was intentionally local, national, and universal. Canons actively promoted holy figures to convey messages of defiance to a reforming state, global Catholic solidarity, constancy under persecution, loyalty to the papacy, and solace to parishioners. The Roman Curia, too, demonstrated special consideration for afflicted Mexican parishioners by authorizing an unusually large number of devotional privileges. When radical liberals prevailed after fifty years of internecine wars, prelates proposed to win the peace by constructing an expiatory temple dedicated to San Felipe de Jesús, where the country might atone for sins committed in the violence of the nineteenth century.
How should theology respond to sexual abuse of migrant women? An appropriate theological and ethical response must account for the role of both personal actions and social structures in perpetuating these abuses. Beginning with an exploration of Catholic feminist appropriation of social Trinitarian thinking as the basis for the ethical formulation on justice and social solidarity, this essay engages theological concerns about the risk of subordinating particular persons within communities with special attention to accounts of surrogate suffering. Reasserting emphases on analogy and self-gift in Trinitarian doctrine, the essay offers practical responses to the sexual abuse of migrant women.
Drawing on a case study of resettled Karenni refugees from Myanmar in Omaha, in the American Midwest, this article explores the role, function, and potential of refugees' identification with a religious belief and value system and membership in a religious organization for successful resettlement, and discusses the suitability of a common social science concept - social capital - to further our understanding of religions' role, function, and potential for refugee resettlement. The article argues that resettlement agencies that are engaging with religious organizations as their partners can increase refugees' access to social support, associated with identifying with a religious belief system and belonging to a religious organization, and the likelihood for successful resettlement.
The Roman imperial Stoics were familiar with exile. This paper argues that the Stoics' view of being a refugee differed sharply from their view of what is owed to refugees. A Stoic adopts the perspective of a cosmopolitēs, a "citizen of the world," a rational being everywhere at home in the universe. Virtue can be cultivated and practiced in any locale, so being a refugee is an "indifferent" that poses no obstacle to happiness. Other people are our fellow cosmic citizens, however, regardless of their language, race, ethnicity, customs, or country of origin. Our natural affinity and shared sociability with all people require us to help refugees and embrace them as welcome neighbors. Failure to do so violates our common reason, justice, and the gods' cosmic law.
Our global communities are divided, in part, by an individualistic economic paradigm that blames the impoverished for their poverty and champions bottom-line profits as a standard upon which good economic practice is judged. A prominent economic ethos in the Bible, however, holds to a different set of values. Despite the diversity of texts on economic ethics in the Hebrew Bible and Testament, an ethos of community responsibility for the wellbeing of the individual can be found in laws, oracles, and stories that are separated by authorship, location, and time. This article considers the value of such an ethos in confronting the abuses and excesses of international capitalism.
This article compares the historical transformation of the prohibition of usury in Christianity and the current disagreement in Islam over what forms of finance are forbidden by the prohibition of riba, now often interpreted to mean interest. It first sketches the controversy over riba in Islamic banking and economics. It then describes how the Christian understanding of usury evolved from any profit returned on a loan to merely exploitative lending. This article then identifies and considers divergences and correspondences between the substance, prompting causes, tenor, and method of development of these two debates. It concludes by suggesting some reasons scholars of religion and religious ethics may find this comparison useful, both when studying these specific traditions, and when reflecting on moral issues arising in modern finance.
Pope Francis has introduced the idea of a "globalization of indifference" into Catholic social teaching. He imputes indifference to "people who close their hearts to the needs of others, who close their eyes to what is happening around them, who turn aside to avoid encountering other people's problems." The globalization of indifference has moved beyond personal indifference and has taken on broader dimensions, which is often manifested in structural sin that violates human dignity. This essay develops in three cumulative sections. First, it explains Pope Francis's globalization of indifference and the threat this indifference poses to the call to discipleship and solidarity. Second, it defines the virtue of solidarity in its various dimensions. Finally, it explores the theological foundations of solidarity grounded in the biblical identification of God and God's Christ with the poor and the Christian moral imperative to confront the globalization of indifference.
With the development of niche construction theory, a recent expansion of evolutionary theory, evolutionary anthropologists describe human beings as fundamentally relational organisms, affected by our environmental niches while at the same time actively constructing them. Niche construction theory can function as a framework to foreground the relevance of traditional Catholic theological anthropologies in a context of climate change. By placing niche construction theory and Edward Schillebeeckx's theological anthropology in dialogue, I argue that the humanum presses us to create the conditions for a livable human niche and resiliently adapt to the pressures that our environment exerts upon us.
Lynn White, Jr., laid out an intellectual framework that continues to dominate the relationship between religion and environment. White's thesis that a religion's cosmology and worldview is decisive in the human treatment of the environment is evident in the work of scholars in the fields of Religion and Ecology and Bible and Ecology. This paper challenges this view by arguing that religion cannot solve the environmental crisis because, contrary to White, the crisis is not straightforwardly a religious problem, that the focus of much of religion's contribution to environmental concern has been inadequate, and that religion's relevance to the environmental crisis is tied to its influence in economic affairs.
Evidence from Earth system science suggests that we have forced the earth system out of the relatively stable conditions of the Holocene into a new geological epic. Among the implications of this evidence is that human beings have become a geological force whose influence will be detected thousands to millions of years from now. Our social and cultural imagination, however, has become reduced more and more to the present. This paper develops theological foundations through systematic and philosophical theology, in dialogue with the natural sciences, for opening our imaginations to the deep future so that we can grasp our responsibility for the effects of our actions that will extend for thousands to millions of years. As such it will offer theological foundations for an ethic of the deep future.
Previous research on continued religiosity in children of Jewish-Christian parents has provided mixed results. Most research indicates decreased religiosity, while recent research suggests a reverse of that trend among millennials. Through anecdotal evidence, we surmised that Jews raised in the Midwest by interfaith parents did not leave religion at the same rates as they do in other parts of the country. This paper reports the results of that research, suggesting that there is comparatively decreased religiosity among Jews raised in the Midwest by interfaith parents. While our conclusions are tentative because of a low response, we explore five case studies that help contextualize the competing trend lines from other research by outlining individual response sets.
Analyzing the current reality of contemporary international mission trips reveals deep problems with the way participants are formed, oriented, educated, and engaged as they navigate cultural, social, political, and economic differences. A growing body of literature argues that many overseas mission, service, and education trips do more harm than good. By way of response, best practices in community-based service-learning as well as resources from the Society of Jesus can be utilized to respond to the dominance of the current model. Current international trips for purposes as varied as mission or service usually include little or no preparation, minimal expectations for language engagement, little or no knowledge of the host community, a lack of reflection on site, and no follow-up upon return to process and integrate what was witnessed. A better approach would include orienting participants to engage host communities with respect; emphasizing trust through relationships; encouraging accompaniment rather than doing for; ensuring research, reflection, accountability, and sustainability; and educating participants about structures that cause poverty. It is possible to salvage the contemporary focus on short-term trips, but such salvaging requires better planning, deeper investment in formation, authentic engagement with the host community, and honest, reflective integration upon return.