The overwhelming majority of people are not convinced. It's a stone when we asked for bread. Just the same old wine in recycled wineskins. We need something genuinely new. I recently visited the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. The centrepiece is a massive circular war memorial with two group sculptures.
Each of them shows muddied and frightened figures gently bearing away a dead and naked man from the battlefield. A school party was there and one of the children asked her teacher, 'Is that Jesus'? The answer, of course, is 'Yes'.
Mission in the Pakistani Context
Th at's how Jesus still lives, as we find that his human story echoes our own. That's the Way I try to follow. I value the Christian past. I find Christian history endlessly fascinating and probably know as much about the Bible as most clergy! This is my heritage and I am not ashamed of it. I don't want it to die. But it will, unless it changes. Christianity has never come to terms with the new view of the world that came with science, Darwin etc.
It still asks us to believe in a God who is now unbelievable. We're still waiting for a theological revolution to match the astronomical one after Copernicus! So let's say something different before it's too late! Simplistic 'answers' to life's questions just don't work anymore. Or they don't last. Cathedrals are showing increased attendance because they offer such a range of more thoughtful activities and styles of spirituality.
For me, the music is a metaphor. The faith journey should be like great music, with a variety of ideas and insights alongside each other. It can be challenging at times. But w e need to enjoy the harmony, not expect everyone to sing in unison, or no-one else will listen. Make a loan. Change a life. Support small businesses in developing countries with microloans. Then, when the loan is repaid, you can lend the same money again!
Can Christianity and its central figure mean anything to those who are not convinced that conventional ideas of 'God' and religion take us where we need to go as modern, thoughtful human beings?
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Can faith be radical, rational and inclusive? It represents our collective insights from research, teaching, and consulting over the past 15 years in the areas of race and gender relations, diversity, and organizational change. It also incorporates findings from our research with Learning as Leadership, a San Rafael, California—based leadership development organization, in whose seminars we have observed dozens of managers and executives grappling with unproductive behavior patterns and experimenting with new ones.
Applying our insights about these processes to classic diversity-related dilemmas, we have developed the following principles to guide people seeking a healthy approach to the tensions that commonly arise over difference:. These five principles require that all parties adopt a learning orientation in cross-cultural interactions. In this article, we spell out the challenges—and opportunities—of adopting such an orientation and offer some guidelines for leaders.
Offense at a perceived slight may or may not be well-founded, but an attempt to discuss the possible insult risks, for example, the charge that one is overly sensitive. Such assaults occur on the flip side as well, as when members of majority groups are accused of being prejudiced or of treating others unfairly. Because they often have meant no harm, they tend to respond defensively, upset by any suggestion that their moral goodness is being questioned.
These experiences produce what we call identity abrasions for people on both sides of the interaction. Identity abrasions cause people to burrow into their own camps, attend only to information that confirms their positions, and demonize the other side.
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The overall result is a number of negative dynamics, with costs both to individuals and to organizations. Below, we offer several classic examples; these and others throughout the article are real cases, but with the names changed. As the meeting is coming to a close, a white regional manager, who is married to a Japanese-American woman, openly voices his distress at the remark, though expresses his appreciation that the VP recognized his gaffe and apologized. The following day, everyone in the firm knows about the incident. Some people feel that the regional manager has inappropriately shamed Tom.
That evening, more employees gather to recount numerous similar incidents from the past. The next day, some staff members call for the company to create a forum for educating employees; others conclude that race is too hot to touch in any company forum and vow to assiduously avoid the topic. Sophia, an African-American, is a newly appointed member of the board of a regional bank.
In the first few meetings, she is relatively silent, but when the agenda during one meeting turns to her area of expertise, she joins the conversation confidently and with a well-informed point of view. The board chair interrupts while Sophia is talking, urging members to be brief so that they can get through the agenda. Sophia notes to herself that the chair never makes such comments when any of her white colleagues are speaking. It takes too much out of me. I just need to move on.
Rob, a white partner at a management consultancy, has always been sensitive to the lack of diversity at his firm and would like to do his part to help women and other minorities succeed. He mentors Iris, a young Latina associate who is competent, energetic, and well liked but is not doing enough to generate business. Rob thinks these concerns may have some merit but is reluctant to share them with Iris. He fears that hearing the feedback would convince her that the partnership is simply not ready to promote a woman of color.
Julie, an engineer, wants to prove to her overwhelmingly male colleagues that women are as good at engineering as men are.
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As a result, she isolates herself from potential sources of support, works harder and less efficiently than she needs to, develops skills more slowly, and contributes less to her firm than she otherwise might. From then on, communication between them is minimal. Bill, a black associate in a consulting firm, consistently receives mediocre ratings from his white clients.
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He wonders whether these ratings reflect a racial bias and raises the issue with his white boss. She balks, insisting that their clients are not biased. Bill is not convinced. He searches for evidence to bolster his claim, but the evidence is ambiguous, so he does not share it. He feels increasingly angry, resentful, and hopeless about his prospects at the firm. When we feel judged, it cuts to the core of our self-image as being good, competent, and worthy.
To counter such identity abrasions, we deny our experiences, avoid difficult conversations, react angrily, and seek advice only to confirm our innocence. These behaviors have only one goal: self-protection. While we have outlined these dynamics as they occur in the United States, we believe that the impulse to protect oneself manifests similarly in all interactions among members of groups that are marked by a history of prejudice, discrimination, or misunderstanding. Short-circuiting these emotional reactions is not easy, but our research suggests that when people replace their need to defend themselves with a desire to learn, the possibilities for constructive cross-cultural interactions increase enormously.
Learning requires people to acknowledge their limitations and to suspend their need to be right or to prove their competence. Of course, those who consciously hold and defend their prejudices offer little opportunity for constructive engagement. Nevertheless, we have seen that far too often people draw conclusions about others prematurely, missing crucial opportunities for advancing mutually held goals. The five principles that follow are not sequential steps. When we experience a threat to our identity, our first response is a negative emotion such as anger.
We react by casting blame and judgment, which most often incites defensiveness in others. Taking time—even a few moments—to identify our feelings and consider our responses will help us to respond more effectively. Consider the case of Mary, a year veteran of a large and venerable law firm in which she was partner. In learning to step back and recenter herself when irritants arose, Mary found she could be more effective by drawing people in rather than pushing them away. When a male colleague told an off-color joke about women and others laughed, Mary felt her anger rising.
Yet instead of lecturing her colleagues on the errors of their ways, as she might have done earlier in her career, she paused and took several deep breaths. She then checked her anger and jettisoned her sense of self-righteousness. Mary recognized her anger as a signal, not as a springboard for reaction. Her feelings told her to be careful, that she was about to interpret reality in a way that might not be fully accurate or that might lead her to react in ways that would not serve her larger goals. Rather than admonishing her colleagues when she was offended by their remarks, she stepped back, calmed herself down, and refocused on what was important to her.
This response enabled her to enact the next principle.
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When we experience an identity abrasion, our impulse is to focus inward, to justify, explain, and defend ourselves. Goals such as these connect us with others by infusing our lives with meaning. Meaningful goals remind us of what is at stake in a given situation, giving us a reason to engage with others even if we feel threatened. Mary, for example, learned to replace a defensive goal demonstrating her moral superiority with a generative one making the law firm a place where women could more easily advance to partner.
She was then able to see more clearly what was at stake in her interactions with her male colleagues.
She could either alienate them or connect with them by focusing on a goal that mattered more to her than being right. Our intentions shape how we come across to others and influence how they, in turn, respond. When we enter into an interaction from a stance of anger or defensiveness, we are likely to deepen the fissure in the relationship.
In contrast, when we approach that interaction with the intention of broadening our understanding—whether of ourselves, the other person, the relationship, or the task—we are far more likely to repair the fissure and to move forward productively with our work. Mary demonstrated her intention to learn in the partner meeting. So, in the moments following the joke, she reflected: What experiences underlie their dispar-aging humor about women? Her story was not a diatribe; her intention was not to teach or to blame but to engage and inquire.
She then asked the men: What had it been like for them when women entered the firm? What did they feel they had lost? What might they have gained? The conversation went to a whole different level as people opened up. In the course of it, Mary was able to explain the range of feelings and judgments that come up for her—and that she has to work hard to suppress—when a well-meaning colleague tells an off-color joke.
Dzobo classifies Ghanaian indigenous symbols into six categories based on their usage. These are Adinkra symbols, stool symbols, linguist symbols, linguist staff symbols, religious symbols, ritual symbols, and literary symbols. Varying positions are held with regards to the origin of the Adinkra symbols. Rattray expresses the view that the Ashantis borrowed the Adinkra designs from Mohammedans from North Africa and gave them names and meanings to suit their own needs.
In some instances, they are incorporated into the architectural designs and liturgical art of the churches. The Emmanuel Church in Labadi was formally opened on the 9 August They were later joined by dynamic members in the vicinity. Foreign symbols displayed on the ceiling of St Peter's Basilica Cathedral, Kumasi [Colour figure can be viewed at wileyonlinelibrary.
The Adinkra motifs along one side of the wall which could be seen both from within and outside the church [Colour figure can be viewed at wileyonlinelibrary. According to Quarcoo, the symbols were used in such a sequence as to form a type of sentence. Apart from the Emmanuel Methodist Church, which has the Adinkra symbols arranged on a side of the wall to form a sentence, the concepts of the Adinkra symbols in the other churches, though beautifully arranged, can only be interpreted in isolation.
Ten Adinkra symbols were introduced into the liturgical art of Holy Spirit Cathedral in Accra in when the cathedral was renovated see Figure 3. A picture of the Adinkra symbols at the Sanctuary of the Holy Spirit Cathedral, Accra [Colour figure can be viewed at wileyonlinelibrary. The idea of incorporating the symbols was mooted by Fr Fred Hahn SVD , who thought there should be symbols that communicate the idea of God in the Ghanaian context.
He was a German missionary and the financial administrator of the Accra Diocese, at the time under the leadership of Archbishop Andoh. A total of 26 Adinkra symbols were incorporated into the liturgical art of the Ashiaman Methodist Church in see Figure 4. They are located at the front of the gallery and sanctuary around the communion rail. A few symbols are also embossed on the floor of the chapel.
This was introduced by the Rt Rev. He asserts that the Christian faith will gain deep roots when it engages with the cultural and philosophical views of the people. His intention for incorporating the Adinkra symbols was to relate the religious and ethical messages they carry in his homilies. During the renovation, he incorporated Ashanti symbols into the liturgical art of the cathedral which can be found on the windows and furniture at the sanctuary , but retained part of the mosaic or European symbols to express the universality or catholicity of the church.
According to Sarpong, stained glass formed part of the liturgical aspect of the cathedral all telling stories and expressing liturgical convictions and ideas. In the course of time, artistic and aesthetic designs of altars, copulas, designed doors, and stained glass windows were all borrowed and introduced into the liturgical art of the church depending on the places the church found itself to aid the worship life of the believers.
Therefore, he proposed the idea and introduced the Adinkra symbols as a replica of the foreign symbols that he thought the Asantes could better relate to see Figure 5. Adinkra symbols displayed on the windows of both sides of St Peter's Basilica Cathedral [Colour figure can be viewed at wileyonlinelibrary. This section discusses five Adinkra symbols incorporated into Christian worship in the light of the biblical tradition and the impact of this innovation on the faith community. Fihankra has been explained variously as a fortified house, 40 compound house, 41 and complete circuit house or enclosed dwelling.
Enclosed houses also enhance the cordial relationship of its inhabitants. He relates these virtues to Matthew and Psalm , which admonish Christian believers to live in love, peace, and harmony. Quarcoo further explains that the sign of the household is a reminder of the universal brotherhood. This is again the message of the church, which is also a Ghanaian value expressed visually.
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Christian theology underlines this same idea: the sons of God are marked out by love for one another as expressed in the parable of the Good Samaritan Luke Quarcoo sums it up: A synthesis of the idea depicted by the signs in the minds of those who enter the chapel should be a great means of impressing on them the reality of the God they seek to worship. The curtain is raised and the disillusion that often comes to the Ghanaian Christian in times of crisis may also be mitigated.
Gye Nyame has been explained as Except God or God is the answer. Acheampong posits that the omniscience of God is that attribute by which God knows all things past, present, and future. He is eternal, hence the spirit of man is eternal. Although, He died, He lives and the Atonement makes man alive. As long as God exists man lives, and it is He alone who has final jurisdiction over the spiritual self of man. Acheampong identifies a correlation in the qualities of God with regards to his providence and care as demonstrated by the Gye Nyame symbol and Matthew , 31— It is a symbol of expectation and hope in God's providence.
He buttresses this assertion with the following texts: 1 Corinthians ; Hebrews ; Jeremiah ; and 1 Peter —5. With him that feareth the Lord, it shall go well … and in the days of his death, he shall be blessed. Mmusuyide has been explained to mean a sacrificial item. The number three, it will be recalled, is a sacred number in Akan.
The idea of purification is deeply rooted in the instincts of humanity and in various religious traditions. Acheampong juxtaposes the Old and the New Testaments and draws attention to the difference between the idea of purification and sacrifice.
While he associates ritual washing as a form of purification to the old covenant Heb. This symbol has been explained variously as meaning unity in diversity, common destiny, 63 democracy, and unity of purpose.