5. Mission from Colombus

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Text of 5. Mission from Colombus

  • 1. MISSION FROM COLUMBUS TO THE FALL OF THE BERLIN WALL (1492-1989) Prophets, Jesuits, Missionary Societies, and New Approaches

2. MISSION IN THE AGE OF DISCOVERY (1492-1773): CONQUISTADORS, PROPHETS, AND JESUITS

  • Spain and Portugal opened new trade routes to the Americas.Dispute over control of lands.
  • Pope drew dividing line from north to south: placing Brazil, Africa, and Asia under Portugal control; the rest of the Americas and the Philippines under Spanish control.
  • Pope created a patronage agreement that gave the two royal governments the rights and responsibilities for mission.
  • Back home Spain and Portugal succeeded in removing the foothold of Muslim control.
  • There was the creation of a massive trans-Atlantic slave trade.

3. BARTOLOM DE LAS CASAS: PROPHET IN THE AMERICAS

  • Spaniards moved to the Americas and conquered Aztecs, Mayans, and Incan empires.
  • Spaniards established a plantation system(encomienda)whereby the settler had the responsibility for teaching the faith to the indigenous people under their control as indentured laborers.
  • Father Antonio Montecinos a Dominican missionary spoke out against terrible treatment of the Indigenous.Bartolom de las Casas experienced a deep conversion when he heard about the prophetic stance of the Dominicans.
  • He ceased being a plantation owner, joined the Dominican order, and asserted that the indigenous were fully human beings.
  • He influenced Pope Paul III to write a statement on the fundamental human dignity of the Indians and King Charles V to write new laws to eliminate major abuses.
  • Bartolom de Las Casas became bishop in the area of Chiapas in Southern Mexico.

4. FRANCIS XAVIER: MISSIONARY TO ASIA

  • Portugal lacked finances for expansion in Asia.China and Japan were able to resist extensive foreign intrusion.
  • Missionaries in Asia were not absorbed in sweeping conquest.
  • The Jesuits were initially the main missionaries to go to Asia.Their positive attitude toward human nature and non-Western cultures led to creative approaches to mission.
  • Francis Xaviers passion for mission carried him by land and sea over ten thousand miles in ten years.
  • Xavier began his missionary work in India and extended it to Malaysia and Japan.
  • Xavier realized that God was somehow already present in the Japanese people.He accommodated the gospel to the culture.
  • Because Xavier was respectful of their culture, Japanese converts participated very soon in mission work among their own people.

5. MISSION IN THE AGE OF PROGRESS (1792-1914): CIVILIZERS, EVANGELIZERS, AND VOLUNTEER SOCIETIES

  • After 1773 the state of mission in the Catholic Church was dismal.France became the leading Catholic nation.
  • The French Revolution put a stranglehold on the French church.Religious Orders were suppressed.
  • Protestantism became the dominant player in mission during this period.
  • Colonialism expanded to Africa: Christianity, commerce, and civilization.

6. SAMUEL AJAYI CROWTHER: AFRICAN MISSIONARY TO AFRICANS

  • Crowther was captured in Nigeria and brought to the Americas as a slave, but rescued from the slave ship and taken to Freetown in 1822.
  • He became a teacher and an Anglican priest.He introduced the use of the local language Yoruba and took the lead in translating the bible.
  • He became a voice against slavery and developed a good working relationship with the Muslims.
  • When Africa was divided by Europe, new missionaries came and did not support Crowther.They eventually pushed him aside and replaced him with a European bishop.

7. DANIEL COMBONI: REGENERATION OF AFRICA BY AFRICANS

  • Daniel Camboni went to the Sudan as a missionary through the Mazza Institute in Verona.
  • In 1864 he drew up a Plan for the Regeneration of Africa which included establishing centers in Africa for training both Europeans and Africans for mission work.
  • The institute Comboni founded to carry out this vision led to the foundation of two missionary congregations of men and women.
  • Comboni worked tirelessly to promote his plan for Europeans and Africans to do mission together.He defended the human dignity and ability of Africans especially when imperialism and racism became strong.
  • Comboni was named a bishop and vicar apostolic of Central Africa en 1877.

8. MISSION IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY (1919-1989): THE EMERGENCE OF WORLD CHRISTIANITY

  • By 1989 and the fall of the Berlin Wall, Christianity had become a world phenomenon: the majority of Christians lived in Africa, Latin America, and Asia.
  • The Catholic Church accounted for half of the worlds Christians, but Christianitys geographical location had shifted from North to South.
  • Both Catholicism and Christianity were being shaped by non-Western Christians: numbers, vital faith, ethical values, worship styles, global social justice, etc.
  • Mother Teresa and Dorothy Day are icons of this age.They incarnated Gods mission of love.
  • Mother Teresa focused on responding to the people in front of her by loving one person who is considered unlovable.
  • Dorothy Day focused on both underlying social issues and attending to immediate needs through the houses of hospitality.

9. QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION

  • What person, movement, or image is inspiriting and enriching for your personal understanding of mission?
  • What did you find more surprising and/or most challenging in this chapter?