Monday, 26 October 2009

Doing public theology in Singapore

SBC Ichthus Research Centre organised its latest seminar today entitled "Doing Public Theology in Singapore," presented by Dr Kwa Kiem Kiok.

After a brief introduction of public theology, Dr Kwa explored the religious and public scene in Singapore, and the need for Christians to have a theology of engagement, before proposing a theological framework for engagement based on the parables on the kingdom of God. She also went on to discuss doing public theology and posed 3 strategic questions (derived from game theory) to consider in engagement.

Notable quotes from her paper:
Public theology, broadly defined, is theology that is practiced, exercised and done outside the church.
Public theology is a highly contextualized theology because how Christians and the church engage depends on that context.
And we do need to engage because there is a public dimension to Christian life.
What is needed is to be wise about the forums where we share those views and the language we use.
Christians should engage where ever they can and to all peoples they can, regardless of the perceived outcomes.
Local churches, small groups and Christians should be much more aware of the public dimension of the Christian faith, seek to live that out, and engage in the public square.
When Christians consider the task of engagement, they need to be wise about with whom they are engaging, and the agendas and tactics of other parties in the public square.
3 strategic questions (derived from game theory - a game has players and strategies and moves which will result in winning the game):
  1. Which games shall we engage in?
  2. What does it take to win the game?
  3. With whom are we engaging?
See related article
Religion and politics (Blogpastor, 23 Aug 09)

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At Sun Nov 01, 10:57:00 pm 2009 , Anonymous Hedonese said...

perhaps another question for public theology is how it can be both 'win-win' rather than win-lose :)

At Sun Nov 01, 11:34:00 pm 2009 , Blogger blogpastor said...

There is wisdom here about picking the right battles. Would it have prevented the AWARE setback?

At Mon Nov 02, 10:31:00 pm 2009 , Blogger Timothy P said...

Thanks Dave. Yes, I believe that was the sentiments of Dr Kwa, that we seek out mutual understandings and common ground in public debates and theology. Another question to add, which was raised during the Q&A, would be how we can prepare players to play the game e.g. in the church?

At Mon Nov 02, 10:35:00 pm 2009 , Blogger Timothy P said...

Thanks Ps Kenny. Dr Kwa mentioned a very interesting perspective, linked to the 2nd question, what does it take to win? In other words, the end-goals or results that we want to see?

In the case of AWARE, if the end-goal was for the government and public to be mindful of what is being taught in sexuality education in schools, then perhaps they did win in the end. Perhaps they could have even issued a statement at the end to thank the government for looking into the matter, and how they could be part of that process.

At Tue Nov 03, 11:56:00 pm 2009 , Anonymous Hedonese said...

While they are not perfect Focus on the Family has lots of good model in some ways of how to mobilise people. Another model if getting church folks interested is what these guys at are doing. I think a near Spore equivalent would be Dave Geisler's ministry

At Thu Nov 05, 10:19:00 pm 2009 , Blogger Timothy P said...

Dave was at Dr Kwa's seminar. I was in his "Practical Apologetics" module when I was at SBC. I'm actually involved with him this year in developing a working model for training youths in evangelism in reaching a post-modern generation based on his new book "Conversational Evangelism".


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