when i read the book i went through it an jotted down a bunch of quotes that i liked for my own reference. i put some of them on the blog in those first two entries but never quite finished off so here goes for some others. they highlight a range of issues in mission -
- the importance of christ being separated out from western culture in order for indians to be able to think through what the christ of the indian road might be like and mean rather than feeling that to accept christ would be to become western.
- keeping a healthy distance from church culture in mission realising how easy it is for an agenda of mission to be subverted. his tactics were often to not meet anywhere near a church building and to get his discussion evenings hosted by hindus and muslims on their turf instead. he describes his approach as follws: 1) Be frank 2) Announce that there will be no attack on anyone's religion 3) Allow questions at the close 4) Get the leading non Christians to chair the meetings 5) Christianity must be defined as Christ 6) Christ must be interpreted through experience 7) drop term Christianity from language, and Christ must be in an Indian setting, Christ of the Indian road (p26)
- looking for/identifying resonances and common ground with hinduism as a starting point for relationship and dialogue rather than looking for differences and creating opposition.
these are what i'd call his mission instincts. whenever i read stuff like this i'm always asking myself what the equivalent is in the culture(s) i'm in. what does this mean for the emerging church? anyway here are the quotes...
Have we not often in the past led India and the non Christian world to think that our type of civilization in the West is the issue? Before the Great War was not Western greatness preached as a reason for the East becoming Christian? This was a false trail and led us into many embarrassments calling for endless apologies and explanations. (p14)...
... But standing among the shadows of Western civilization India has seen a figure who has greatly attracted her. She has hesitated in regard to any allegiance to him, for India has thought that if she took one she would have to take both - Christ and Western civilization went together. Now it is dawning upon the mind of India that she can have one without the other - Christ without Western civilization. That revelation is of tremendous significance to them - and to us. "Do you mean to say" said a Hindu lawyer "that you are not here to wipe out our civilization and replace it with your own? Do you mean that your message is Christ without any implications that we must accept Western civilization? I have hated Christianity, but if Christianity is Christ, I do not see how Indians can hate it". (p17)
A friend of mine was talking to a Brahman gentleman when the Brahman turned to him and said "I don't like the Christ of your creeds and churches". My friend quietly replied "Then how would you like the Christ of the Indian road?". The Brahman thought a moment, mentally picturing the Christ of the Indian road - he saw him dressed in Sadhu garments, seated by the wayside with the crowds about him, healing blind men who felt their way to him, putting his hands upon the heads of poor unclean lepers who fell at his feet, announcing the good tidings of the Kingdom to stricken folks, staggering up a lone hill with a broken heart and dying upon a wayside cross for men, but rising triumphantly and walking on that road again. He suddenly turned to the friend and earnestly said "I could love and follow the Christ of the Indian road". (p32)
The tremendous question presses itself upon us: Will the present Christian Church be big enough, responsive enough, Christlike enough to be the organ through which Christ will come to India? For mind you, Christianity is breaking out beyond the borders of the Christian Church. Will the Christian Church be Christlike enough to be the moral and spiritual center of this overflowing Christianity? Or will many of the finest spirits and minds in India accept Christ as Lord and master of their lives but live their Christian lives apart from the Christian church? I believe in the Christian Church with all my heart and believe that in it has centered the finest moral and spiritual life of the world. , but here is a new and amazing challenge, for this outside Christianity is going straight to the heart of things and saying that to be a Christian is to be Christlike. This means nothing less than that ancient rituals and orders and power at court and correctly stated doctrine avail little if Christlikeness is not the outstanding characteristic of the people of the churches. If Christianity centers in the Christian church in the future it will be because that church is the center of the Christ-spirit. (p70)
We have had as chairmen of our meetings members of legislative councils, judges, lawyers, generals, college presidents, professors, and leading Hindus and Mohammedans of every type. We have had the meetings in the open spaces in the cool of the evenings, in Town Halls, Hindu and Christian college auditoriums, Theosophical society halls, and even in Hindu temple compounds. The reader will probably note that I have omitted Christian churches from the list. There is a real prejudice against them, so we seldom or never have meetings for Hindus and Mohammedans in them. (p89)
India can now take from Christ because she is able to disassociate him from the West but she finds it difficult to take from the Christian Church or from missionaries, for in these cases the disassociation is not easy. But even here Western missionaries may lose their Western identity so to speak and so merge their lives and endeavors with India that they are no longer part of the dominating influences but take their place as serving friends and brothers. (p109)
This Christian spirit scattered here and there in many Indian hearts must express itself in some kind of corporate relationships. Some kind of church will be the final outcome. We will put our Western corporate experience at the disposal of the forming church in India and say to her "Take as much as you find useful for your purposes but be first hand and creative and express Christ through your own genius" (p162)
In the customs and forms of Hinduism I think there are five living seeds:
1. the ultimate reality is spirit
2. the sense of unity running through things
3. there is justice at the heart of the universe
4. a passion for freedom
5. the tremendous cost of the religious life (p182)
Every nation has its peculiar contribution to make to the interpretation of Christianity. The Son of Man is too great to be expressed by any one portion of humanity. Those that differ from us most will probably contribute most to our expression of Christianity. (p204)