Global Diasporas and Mission
by Chandler H. Im & Amos Yong, eds.
Cascade Books. 2014.
—Reviewed by Tenny Li Farnen, of Chinese descent, born and grew up in the Philippines and migrated to the USA.
Global diasporas and migration are God’s ways of facilitating the accomplishment of the Great Commission for Christians around the world. As mentioned in the introduction by Chandler Im and Tereso Casino, God is the master and orchestrator of global diaspora and migration since the beginning of creation to the present time.
Global Diasporas and Mission is published as part of the Regnum Edinburgh Centenary Series on Christian mission for the twenty-first century. It is divided into three major sections. The first four chapters offer a historical, theological, and biblical foundation of this reality. The next nine chapters focus on this movement in various places around the world—among Chinese, Filipinos, Japanese, Southern Asians, Polish, and Africans—and study the diaspora situations in host countries like Korea, USA, Canada, Germany, and Britain. The mix of authors from evangelical, ecumenical, and Catholic traditions offers a wide spectrum of theological and missiological perspectives.
The book concludes with six chapters on the impacts of diaspora and migration concerning Christian mission. This reflects other diaspora studies done on ministry to, ministry through, ministry by, and beyond diaspora.
This book serves as a wakeup call to the Church to rise up and face the challenges God has brought before us. It provides a lens for missiologists and practitioners in which to revise mission approaches and strategies and realize that borders have been moved around, redefined, and even become fuzzy. Christians need to see that it is God who brought these diaspora to our neighborhood for us to love.
Learning to love our neighbors requires a proper understanding of who our new neighbors are: where they are coming from geographically, ethnically, politically, religiously, vocationally, etc. It includes a proper understanding of their plights and predicaments and their worldviews, issues, concerns, challenges, and aspirations. These can include learning a new language in order to survive, adapting to the new culture, finding a job, identity crisis, maintaining their heritage, family issues, and psychological and emotional challenges.
This understanding comes about as the Church listens to their marginal voices and brings their concerns to the table. It calls for an understanding of the transnational migration not merely in its religious aspects, but how it intertwines with the economic, political, social, and cultural aspects. With the rise of mosques and temples throughout Christendom, and the development of various cyber communities, the Church needs to reflect on how we can cross these religious and ideological borders right in our neighborhoods.
These transnational diaspora, if evangelized properly, can help us accomplish our mission easier and faster. May the Church respond properly to these changes so that the Kingdom of God can be seen right within our communities.
Check these titles:
Coward, Harold, John Hinnells, and Raymond Brady Williams, eds. 2000. The South Asian Religious Diaspora in Britain, Canada, and the United States. New York: SUNY.
Galtung, Johan et al. 2012. “The Muslim Diaspora in Europe and The USA.” Text available at: www.transcend.org.
Bonnerjee, Jayani et al. 2012. Connected Communities: Diaspora and Transnationality. Queen Mary: University of London.
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EMQ, Vol. 51, No. 3 pp. 344-345. Copyright © 2015 Billy Graham Center for Evangelism. All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced or copied in any form without written permission from EMQ editors.