Monday, February 19, 2007

Why this blog?

Given that there are so many blogs, listserves, message boards, and websites that have proliferated the web, I think that I should offer an explanation of why I feel compelled to launch yet another blog in the midst of the electronic quagmire we know as the blogosphere. As the name of this blog implies, my goal is to Do Theology from the Caribbean. But what precisely do I mean by that?

As a theological educator working in the Bahamas, one of my objectives is to help my students think theologically from within the context of their own unique culture. Put differently, I do not attempt to teach theology to my students in the same way that it was taught to me as a student in the United States. Whereas I studied at a theological seminary that primarily sought to prepare pastors and church leaders to work within the context of U.S. culture, my students are seeking to become equipped for ministry right here in the Bahamas. With that in mind, how do I immerse myself in the Afro-Bahamian worldview of my students so that I can teach theology in a manner that is consistent with the reality of Bahamian culture rather than my own culture?

Although I have spent most of my adult life in the Caribbean and, hopefully, have become somewhat sensitive to the cultural realities of this region of the world, the bottom line is that I was still born and raised as a middle-class white American male and my worldview still very much reflects that. Yet at the same time, my worldview has been significantly altered by my years of living cross-culturally. I no longer see or experience the world—either here or at home—as a typical American from my background sees and experiences it.

So on one hand, Doing Theology from the Caribbean—as defined for the purposes of this blog—simply means trying to reflect theologically from within the cultural context in which I presently live and work. Much of what I have to share along those lines will be a continuation of the kinds of questions my students and I wrestle with in the classroom. On the other hand, Doing Theology from the Caribbean also means trying to understand my birth culture anew in light of my own cross-cultural experience. To that end, many of my blog entries will reflect the questions I struggle with as I seek to understand what it means to be an expatriate American, what it means to be a human being—albeit with a social identity—made in the image of God, or more personally, what it means to be me.

First and foremost, this blog is written with a Bahamian audience in mind. I hope that my students, colleagues, and others will find this blog to be insightful and will freely post comments and questions that will contribute to an ongoing dialogue about theology and Bahamian culture. Second, I anticipate that non-Bahamians—those who are interested in questions of theology and culture—will participate, share, and learn from those of us who seek to do theology within the Bahamian context, in particular, and the Caribbean context, in general. And finally, for any Americans who might happen to be reading this blog, I hope that this will expand your understanding of what it means to live in our increasingly multicultural world, both at home and abroad.

[DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed herein are solely my own and do not necessarily reflect the official policies or viewpoints of my denomination, my mission board or its national partners, or any other organization with which I might be affiliated.]



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