Asian Christian Blog Surfing

Care to join me in some multilingual blog surfing?

When I suggest that we need to more seriously engage with non-western Christians I am seriously committed to doing that myself. It is a dream of mine that one day we will genuinely be able to speak of a world Christian conversation that will include Asian, Africa and Latin American Christians along with Australian, European and North American Christians. But the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. It begins with me, it begins with you.

Given my proximity to Asia, that is where I feel I have a particular responsibility. So towards that end I have been surfing Asian Christian blogs this week. This is a somewhat cumbersome task as my Mandarin is limited to what I picked up in a six months course some years back, my Japanese is limited to what I picked up in martial arts movies and my Korean is non-existent. Nevertheless I am giving it a go with the help of online language translators.

Here is what I have learned. I am finding what yields some results is to find a site like babelfish.yahoo.com and type in key words like “Jesus” or “Christianity” then translate them into another language, like say, Korean. The next step is to go to blogsearch.google.com.au and use the translated text as a search term. After selecting a site from the incomprehensible list that comes up, the final step is to reverse the process by feeding the URL back into the translation site, this time converting from the foreign language back into English.

Here is one example: seejesus.kr

Now, these translation programs aren’t perfect so communication can still be difficult, but it’s a way of breaking out of the world wide web baulkanization that language imposes.

Another alternative I have found useful is to search keywords in combination with country domain extensions (for example: .kr for Korean, .jp for Japan, .sg for Singapore, .my for Malasia, .cn for China, .in for india, .id for indonesia, .lk for Sri Lanka, .ph for philippines). I used that to find www.christianhub.com.sg and in the process also came across www.missionary-blogs.com

If you are willing to give this a go and find any good ones be sure to let me know too.

11 Comments

  1. Good on you for checking this stuff out. Usually we English speakers expect everyone to come to us.
    At my previous church (www.go.asn.au) there is a Korean congregation, and I would often read the pastor’s blog using Babelfish (which does well between Euro languages, but struggles between Asian & Eng). I never learnt any Korean except for the alphabet (quite an easy one), and that allowed me to work out a few words that Babelfish choked on, like proper nouns.
    Every month or two there is a combined worship gathering which is mostly in English, but we sang songs that are known in both languages (I was often the one running powerpoint, and had a challenge making the verses line up).
    One thing that surprised me is that despite the Church in S Korea being stronger than that of the Anglophone world, most of their songs were translated from ours (whether old hymns, Hillsong or in between). They even had pictures on their literature of Jesus with white skin, brown hair & white dress.

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  2. Eric, yes I am conscious that a ‘you come to us’ stance is not particularly compatable with a missional one. Babelfish does seem to struggle more with Asian languages I agree but I do feel the need to make the effort. I am aware that contextualization is sometimes limited to nothing more than language translation. What I am particularly searching for are the churches that have taken that further, but I also welcome conversations with those who have not, simply to understand where they are coming from. How comfortable are South Korea’s with Hillsong for instance? Does it reasonate with them or does it grate to some extent? Do they long for something more indigenous or is sharing in a global network more important to them? These are some of the questions I have.

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  3. The S Korean experience is probably very different from other Asian countries. They didn’t mind a Western-style Christianity, because westerners were doing a lot of good in the country, and it was a rejection of the Japanese. I got the feeling that postmodernity hadn’t arrived yet, and the church at large hasn’t felt the need to rethink things the way we have this decade. Give them another decade.
    I was asking why there is so much energy put into reaching Muslims compared to Hindus, and I was led to the idea that the Indians in Australia are part of a global elite, while most Muslims in Aust are not part of the mainstream. Likewise, Koreans here are almost exclusively from backgrounds of advantage, and although they retain their culture, they are connected to the mainstream. Spending time in an English speaking country is seen as a way to be near the top of the ladder when one goes home.
    I wish I could have talked in more depth with the Koreans at church. Many were around uni age, many were here only temporarily, some were enamoured with western pop culture. The younger members were fans of Hillsong while the older ones prefered old hymns, though they all loved to sing anything.
    Most other Asian countries are not so Western-friendly, and in those, the church has had to work harder at indigenising the Gospel.

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  4. While I am still learning the lay of the land in terms of the caste of the local Hindus it is worth noting that many of the ones near me are Sri Lankan not Indian and came to escape the war. I gather they are still elite in the sense they could afford to look for a better life elsewhere but the situation seems complex.
    As for the disparity of attention that Muslims get, I get the impression much of that stems from grass roots ignorance as to the difference between global realities and local realities. Hinduism and Buddhism are both growing faster than Islam in Australia but most Australians don’t know it because its Muslims who are on the TV news each week and who wear highly distinctive head dresses in the street. Their growth, while much less, is more visible. The sad reality is most Christians, even most Christian leaders, aren’t all that culturally aware.

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  5. Hinduism and Buddhism are faster growing religion in Australia ,but it does not matter ,but what matters is whether they are really satisfied by that transformation or not, the only thing people try to interchange their religion is because they want to have truth and real peace in that religion, but after changing their religion really how many people are truly satisfied by that change……………………………….
    Abel
    Christian Drug Rehab
    http://www.christian-drug-rehab.org

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