FULLER dialogues: Global Arts and Witness

“Music and the arts contribute to a greater engagement with the local context and move people toward identity formation. . . . They show us the way forward to engage with communities that have experienced a loss of dignity and hope. They help us negotiate and express shifting identities that we all possess as we negotiate tradition and innovation.”

+ Sooi Ling Tan, adjunct assistant professor, lecturing on the role of the performing arts in helping Asian churches integrate Christian faith in a cultural context. Watch her lecture and others on the intersections of art and multicultural contexts below. Click here to explore additional responses and discussions or listen to the full playlist below. The Fuller Missiology Lectures is an Sitar (missiology conference)annual conference held by the School of Intercultural Studies. Its 2018 theme, “Global Arts and Witness in Multifaith Contexts,” explored the role of the arts—song, dance, drama, narratives, and visual arts—as a means for cross-cultural understanding and new opportunities for Christian witness in multifaith contexts. The conference was hosted by Roberta R. King, Professor of Communication and Ethnomusicology; William A. Dyrness, Senior Professor of Theology and Culture and Dean Emeritus; and Amos Yong, Professor of Theology and Mission and Director of the Center for Missiological Research. Pictured: a sitar from one of many musical offerings during the conference.

+ Sooi Ling Tan, adjunct assistant professor at Fuller Seminary, lectures on the role of the performing arts in helping Asian churches integrate Christian faith in a cultural context wary of Western cultural influences.

+ James Krabill, senior mission advocate of the Mennonite Mission Network, explores historic approaches of Western missionaries to indigenous art and culture, the emergence of vibrant indigenous faith communities, and how churches today have responded to these complex issues

+ Joyce Lee, assistant professor of digital media at Marist College, lectures on the growing contemporary art world in China, the complex commercial and political forces that have shaped it, and implications for the Christian church.

+ Ruth Illman, director of the Donner Institute for Research in Religious and Cultural History and associate professor of comparative religion at Åbo Akademi University, suggests that music and the arts can create “nuanced dialogical spaces” of their own where the whole self—intellectual and emotional, cognitive and embodied—can engage in interfaith conversations.

+ Michelle Voss Roberts, professor of theology at Emmanuel College of Victoria University in the University of Toronto, and Demi “Day” McCoy, hip hop artist and project coordinator at the Anna Julia Cooper Center at Wake Forest University, use Dalit spirituality and the Hindu aesthetic concept of “rasa” to explore the interreligious connections happening through hip hop and a gospel of liberation that is being “redefined by the people.”

+ Ruth Marie Stone, professor emerita of ethnomusicology and African studies at Indiana University, lectures on the role of Christian music and hymnody to mobilize and offer hope to communities during Liberia’s protracted civil war.

+ Megan Meyers, adjunct professor of global arts and world religions at Fuller Seminary, lectures on the emergence of Hip Hop in African youth culture, the example of Ibraimo, a Christian rapper in Beira, Mozambique, and how local churches employ music for witness and discipleship.

+ Jean Ngoya Kidula, professor of music (ethnomusicology) and chair of ethnomusicology at Hugh Hodgson School of Music, University of Georgia, explores the explosive growth of the Christian music industry in many African countries, and how many Christian musicians are altering the soundscape by drawing on previously rejected indigenous cultural styles and tones.

+ Scholars from the Missiology Lectures offer final reflections on the themes of the conference. Click here to explore additional responses and discussions.

Missiology Worship (Global Art and Witness)