What is glocal Christianity?

I thought it was time to revisit why I named this blog Glocal Christianity. I am sure many of you wonder what the heck I mean by ‘glocal’ and what that has to do with my style of Christianity, so here goes.

Glocalization

The word ‘glocalization’ is a portmanteau of the words ‘glocal’ and ‘local’. It’s basically short for ‘localized globalization’, and unpacks the fact that the globalization of the local (macro-localization) and the localization of the global (micro-globalization) are often intertwined.

To give some examples, who doesn’t know what a vuvuzela is now? The infliction of vuvuzela’s on the world by South African soccer fans is a classic example of macro-localization, of the universalization of the particular. Conversely, who’s heard of the expression, “The world is at your doorstep”? The existance of 45 language groups in a school near me in western Sydney is a classic example of micro-globalization, of the particularization of the universal. These are some of the experiences and truths I seek to grapple with in this blog.

Some locales more globalized than others

Now, the truth of the matter is that some locales are more globalized than others. By and large, towns are not as glocalized as cities, small cities are not as glocalized as large cities, and even within large cities some suburbs are not as glocalized as others. Of course there are exceptions, but that’s the general rule of thumb.

My interest is born of the fact that I just happen to live in one of the most multicultural suburbs in one of the most multicultural cities in the Southern Hemisphere. Glocalization is rampant. So I wonder, what does a glocalized Christianity look like?

What does glocalized Christianity look like?

First, I tell you what it doesn’t look like, at least for me. It doesn’t look like celtic revivalist Christianity, for celtic nostalgia is only one influence amongst many. It doesn’t look like triumphalist civic Christianity, for Christianity is becoming increasingly marginalized in this religious melieu. It doesn’t look like a managerie of neotribal Christianities, for we’ve got far more subcultures than Christians. It doesn’t look like emerging expressions of Christianity in less globalized locales. It has far more diversity to grapple with.

So, what will a glocalized Christianity look like? That’s what I’ve been exploring and what I hope to explore in even greater depth as my own understanding expands. As I have expressed in my blog description, at the very least I think it involves exploring what it means to follow Jesus in a multireligious, multicultural, multimedia world. And I differentiate between multireligious and multicultural quite deliberately. I think it’s equally important to explore how we disciple western Hindus and eastern Christians. In fact, I am continually challenged to do both without walking more than 20 meters from my front door. A glocalized Christianity is a Christianity adapted for contexts of extreme cultural and religious diversity. That’s what this is about, both the conversations and the art.

The web as globalized locale

Now, of course extreme cultural and religious diversity may not be your local experience. Diversity is distributed unevenly and by virtue of that we are each going to have different experiences. But, I’m gathering if you’re here that you’ve experienced at least some of the ripple effects of glocalization. And I’m gathering you probably recognize that the web itself is a globalized locale, albeit a nonphysical one. So I’m glad you’re interested in joining me in this journey of discovery, of exploring what it looks like to follow Jesus in a multireligious, multicultural, multimedia world.

 

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