Goal of the CDC:  Making understandable the complexity of present-day Christianity by clarifying the contextual character of Christian theological views, practices and movements through history and cultures.

RATIONALE AND TEMPLATE for ENTRIES # 1, N & R 

NATIONAL or  REGIONAL CONTEXTUAL ENTRIES

8/1/2003

 

Topic:  Contemporary characteristics of Christianity in a given nation or region of the world as rooted in its longer or shorter history and a particular social, cultural, and religious or secular life-context.

 

Audience:  It is to be written for ¡°curious and bright undergraduate students¡± (beginning university students whom we nicknamed ¡°curious Georgia¡±) and yet must be informative enough to be a solid quick reference article for Christian clergy, professors and students in Christian seminaries and religious studies departments throughout the world.   These readers might not know anything about Christianity and about Christianity in your region – your self-contained entry should give them sufficient information to give them the assurance they know the essential about it – yet they will have access to the rest of the dictionary for surveys of the history of Christianity in the world and in each region, as well as for explanations of concepts, Christian practices, events, history of Christian movements and denominations, and entries on women and men who are representatives of all of these..

 

Type of Entry and its Goal:   the presentation is to be concise, writing with very broad strokes, yet be informative by clarifying the distinctive features of Christianity in this nation or a larger cultural context.  It is designed to promote the cross-cultural comparison with Christianity in other contexts. 

The CDC is committed to ¡°self representation,¡± allowing contributors to emphasize the features of Christianity that are most significant in their context.  Yet, at the same time these entries must  remain descriptive.  In other words, the contributors are asked to avoid apologetic statements and absolute claims (non- falsifiable statements), for instance by making explicit that ¡°X (a particular group or a person) believes that¡¦¡± or ¡°X reports.¡±

 

The following classifications are to be used to facilitate the cross-cultural comparison of Christianity in diverse contexts: (The order may vary; categories may be re-grouped, but all must be considered in preparing an entry.  A fair representation of Christianity in a nation should account for the fact that at least 50% of Christians are women.)   

 

TEMPLATE for ENTRIES # 1, Nation & Region

(To insure consistency for the CDC, please include the following [[Phrases  Between Brackets]] in your draft B to  be subsequently removed by the editor. The order of the points is to be determined in each case by the author.)

 

INTRODUCTION :  One or two sentences pointing to a few key characteristics of Christianity in this nation (suggesting some tension between different groups or features):

Examples;  Sweden ¡°The development of Christianity in Sweden and that of the Swedish nation are closely intertwined.¡±   Singapore:  ¡°For many young and well-educated people in Singapore, Christianity is modern, rational, and English-based by comparison with their parents¡¯ religions, namely a combination of Buddhism,* Taoism* and ancestor* worship, which they see as illogical and superstitious.¡±

[[HISTORY]] SIGNIFICANT ASPECTS OF THE HISTORY of Christianity in this context (including in the history of this nation)

-- How and when Christianity was introduced into this nation (2 or 3 most important events and persons);

-- Denominations (plurality of denominations is to be represented. Also include ¡°Independent¡± churches; and types of independent churches;

-- The 2 or 3 most significant  events of the history of Christianity in this nation (how and when there has been a particularization of Christianity in this context; the central issues in these events or transformations; the 2 or 3   women and men  with most important roles in these events);

[[DISTINCTIVE FEATURES]] OF CHRISTIANITY  IN THIS CONTEXT (or, Distinctive Features of the different denominations, independent churches, movements  in this context)

                                                 ¡°Distinctive¡± = because of this context; and because of relation to the above history. 

- -  Christian [[Ritual Practices]]

 rituals (include rites of passage), worship services; festivals, prayer, sacred places, sacred times;

- - Christian [[Community Practices]]

a)  life as a Christian community; structure of authority in the community, different offices, relationship between laity and clergy;  monastic and secular orders; role of women; any aspect of life as community;   b) Theological Education (or ministerial education; or Christian Higher Education) as preparation of clergy;  institutions of theological education (seminaries, theological schools, etc); teaching staff (size; from where; how trained; gender);  student bodies (size; requirement for entrance, gender); curriculum; relationship with churches.

- - Christian Authoritative [[Bases for Beliefs and Actions]]

scriptural canon, creeds, traditions, encyclicals, etc;  teaching and example of seminal women and men; religious experiences, seminal events.

- - Christian [[Practices in Society]]

Involvement of Christian women and men in economic, social, political, cultural dimensions of life in society. Include here creation of schools and general education.

- - Christianity¡¯s [[Interactions with Other Religions or Ideologies]]

relationships to each of the major religions in this context (dialogue, cooperation, confrontations, missions, wars with them);  include here relationship with secular ideologies

 CONCLUSIONS:  [[THEOLOGICAL AND ETHICAL ISSUES RAISED]]

Theological and ethical issues raised by these distinctive features of Christianity in this context; assessing the positives and negatives regarding Christianity in this national or regional context.  Consider both positive (constructive, liberating) and negative (destructive, oppressive) aspects of Christianity in this nation or region.

APPENDIX:  [[STATISTIC OVERVIEW]] (to be printed in a different, smaller font; in telegraphic, list style;  much can be said in a few words):  statistic of  the different forms of Christianity at present in this context.   Statistics limited to: a) Overall population (2004; UN statistics); b) Christians in 1970:  00 M, 00%; c) Christians in 2000,  00M 00% (listing of Christian denominations statistics in 2000, includes independent churches and number of  Charismatics); d) 2000 statistics on other religions and ideologies (atheist; secularist)   (the statistics of the World Christian Encyclopedia (2001) are available for each country on our Web Site  http://www.vanderbilt.edu/AnS/religious_studies/CDC/nations.html; the use of other statistics—e.g. governmental or church statistics—to complement, update, or check these statistics is encouraged)

Example:  VIETNAM:  Overall population (2000): 80 million;  Christians in 1970: 3.1M, 7.3%; in 2000 6.6M 8.2% (Catholics, 5.3M; Independents, 0.6M; Protestants, 0.6M; including 0.8M Charismatics) in a country where the majority of the population is Buddhist, 39,5M; 49.5% , atheist/non-religionists 16.4M, 20.5%, New-religionists 9M and Ethno- and Folk-religionists, 6,6M,  8.5%. (World Christian Encyclopedia, 2001)

[[RELATED ENTRIES]] or sub-entries presupposed:  These should be signaled in the body of the entry with an *  after the word designating the entry.  A few essential cross references may be listed at the end of the entry between parentheses:   ¡°(see also xxxxx).¡± 

SHORT BIBLIOGRAPHY (not included in the word-count):  List the main resources for further studies of this topic to be included in the Bibliography of the Cambridge Dictionary of Christianity on a web-site that will be regularly up-dated.  Usually not more than 5 to 10 titles with full biographical data (see style sheet  at http://www.vanderbilt.edu/AnS/religious_studies/CDC/  ).