Living Mission Interculturally: Faith, Culture, and the Renewal of Praxis

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9780814683187: Living Mission Interculturally: Faith, Culture, and the Renewal of Praxis
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Our globalized world increasingly brings together people of many different cultures, though not always harmoniously. In recent decades, multinational companies have sought more efficient strategies for authentic intercultural collaboration. But in today's multicultural world-church, faith communities too—from local parishes to international religious communities—are faced with the challenge of intercultural living. The social sciences have developed some constructive approaches, but people of faith also need to build their endeavors on a sound biblical and theological foundation. Living Mission Interculturally integrates sociology/anthropology with practical theology, reminds us that good will alone is not enough to effect change, and points to a way of intercultural living underpinned by faith, virtue, and a range of new and appropriate skills.

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About the Author:

Anthony J. Gittins is an ordained member of the Spiritan missionary Congregation who served for a decade in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Trained in social anthropology, he subsequently taught theology and anthropology for thirty years in London and Chicago. He also worked with and among homeless women and as a hospital chaplain. Currently emeritus professor of theology and culture (Catholic Theological Union, Chicago), he offers workshops, seminars, and retreats nationally and internationally. He has written books on culture and theology, mission, spirituality, and discipleship.

Review:

"Living Mission Interculturally is a must-read for anyone who wants to live more fully and deeply our call as church and global citizens. Anthony Gittins's book comes out of years of engaging theologically and living practically the invitation, challenges, and possibilities of intercultural community living. Gittins explains with great examples the dimensions required to move us toward living mission interculturally, whether as religious congregations or as parish communities. He both gives us an understanding of what we mean by intercultural community and shows us how to open ourselves to growth in very pragmatic ways. In the midst of all this, he reminds us that thinking and acting differently require a radical conversion, which God longs to live in us. This book is for everyone who wants to participate in building the reign of God here and now!"
Maria Cimperman, RSCJ, PhD, Director, Center for the Study of Consecrated Life, Associate Professor of Theological Ethics, Catholic Theological Union

"Living Mission Interculturally: Faith, Culture, and the Renewal of Praxis is a treasure and seminal work on intercultural living as an expression of mission, an actual participation in God's mission. This book is essential reading for international congregations committed to intercultural living and willing to "do the work" necessary to make this a lived reality. The inclusion of questions for personal and communal reflection after each chapter and the appendices challenge the reader to move beyond the text and enter into a process that can lead to transformation. The freedom and openness to engage in a critique of culture is essential for the creation of a community of "radical welcome." The actual formation of intercultural community is crucial for the unfolding of religious life in a global context. Gittin's experience, wisdom, and profound insights are both gift and blessing for religious life and the Church. This is not reading for the fainthearted."
Joan Marie Steadman, CSC, Executive Director, Leadership Conference of Women Religious

"In Living Mission Interculturally, Fr. Gittins provides the most comprehensive resource to date integrating the gifts from sociology, cultural anthropology (intercultural studies), and theology as they apply to religious communities. In his multidimensional approach to the topic, he guides his readers on a multifaceted journey with clarity of definitions, on the one hand, and landmarks for personal and community commitment and transformation, on the other. If the complexity of intercultural living is like a sphere, then each chapter of this book is like a slice of the sphere offering opportunities for deeper understanding and exploration of what it means and what it takes to be a faithful missional intercultural community."
Eric H. F. Law, Executive Director of the Kaleidoscope Institute, Author of The Wolf Shall Dwell with the Lamb

"Religious life has always had a prophetic role. In this book Gittins points out how it can maintain its prophetic edge by modeling how we can live fully and interculturally in an age of unprecedented migration. In almost every country we are in the birth pangs of a new way of being human. But migration and intercultural living are full of pain and possibilities. Living happily and productively in the future will involve learning not only how to respect cultural difference but the ability to enjoy living with difference. Gittins outlines the missionary and prophetic role religion can play and gives practical insights into culture, marginalization, and mission and the skills and attitudes required to live in such communities."
Noel Connolly, SSC, Columban Mission Institute

"Many of us in religious communities, dioceses, and parishes are looking for advice and resources to address the growing challenges and opportunities of intercultural living today. Living Mission Interculturally is an excellent resource for practitioners. Drawing on his social-science background and in-depth knowledge of the actual situations of mission/ministry, Anthony Gittins provides a very fine tool with relevant information and practical exercises that can be used by groups and individuals. And he does this with an insightful, concise, and clear writing style that we know well and appreciate from his other writing. In his own words, Gittins "attempts to offer ways of approaching the 'otherness' of other people and to stimulate readers into remembering their own 'otherness' in relation to those among whom they live and work" (xv). He has achieved this goal and left us with an excellent resource to respond to real-life situations."
Roger Schroeder, SVD, Louis J. Luzbetak, SVD, Professor of Mission and Culture, Professor of Intercultural Studies and Ministry, Catholic Theological Union at Chicago

"Gittins's mission-driven exploration of intercultural living is immensely practical, challenging, and solidly based on scholarship, lived commitment, wide dialogue, and prayerful reflection. Gittins has given us a great gift and incentive to live our unity in diversity from a stance of radical faith and heightened cultural awareness. I am eager to share this gift with my whole international community and all of our partners in mission."
Mary Ann Buckley, SHCJ, American Providence Leader, Society of the Holy Child Jesus

"Intercultural living represents a challenge wherever pursued, demanding self-awareness, patience, openness to new experiences, and willingness to endure discomfort. For those willing to embrace in faith the process of first adjusting to disturbingly different assumptions about time, leadership, communication, or myriad other taken-for-granted aspects of culture, and then incorporating them in more complete ways to live the Christian faith with missional integrity, Living Mission Interculturally represents a sterling resource."Paul Kollman, Mission Studies

"If you wish to know why and how intercultural living is an act of faith, this is the bookyou should start with. A gracious invitation to grapple with the fundamental theological significance of culture and intercultural living. I heartily recommend it to students, pastors, and scholars alike."Abraham M. Antony, SDB, Mission Today

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