Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Fiction as missiology: feedback

fictionspeaking I delivered my second paper today at the International Association Mission Studies: Fiction as missiology: a Creative “hapkas” Christology in Drusilla Modjeska’s “The Mountain.”. It was a complex piece of work: reading a fictive novel, Drusilla Modjeska’s The Mountain as a Christology. In the novel, Modjeska offers evidence of the transformation of PNG by Christianity: “Of all the applause, of all the cheers, the greatest is for the Christian missions …. ‘Jesus,’ … ‘good’ man true” … ‘He die on a tree. Very good. He die for PNG’” (The Mountain, 291). I outlined how her book offers a distinct Christology. I brought this into conversation with Walter Moberly’s The Old Testament of the Old Testament: Patriarchal Narratives and Mosaic Yahwism and Mark Brett’s, Decolonizing God: The Bible in the Tides of Empire to argue that to understand conversion missiologically requires following “‘Jesus,’ … ‘good’ man true” for the particularity of all indigenous cultures. (Here is the handout I provided, which includes key quotes and the bibliography. Fiction as theology IAMS handout.) There was a lot of energy in the room, with a great set of questions and affirmations.


1. Tell us more about the author please?

2. PNG has both patrilenial and matrilenial tribes. Is this significant?

3. If you take a reader-response position to the novel, do you also take a reader-response position to the Bible?

4. Your argument depends on the relationship between ancestors and Hebrew monotheism. How different is the ancestor understandings of PNG and the ancestor understandings of the Old Testament?

5. The concept of “half-caste” is often linked with rejection. How might you weave that into your Christology?

6. Have you considered the “half-caste” Christology you were advocating in relation to global migration flows? This makes your talk of such great significance.

7. You have offered such a creative Christology. What is your methodology?

8. How might your reading be offered as a public theology to other readers of The Mountain?


1. That was stunning. That should have been a keynote.

2. Can I have your talk. I want to translate it into Korean as an article in Korean.

3. Your talk was so moving. I cried through parts of it.

Overall, a great experience. It was daunting to have one of the conference keynote speakers, Professor Joel Robbins, from Cambridge University in the room, especially given he had conducted his research in PNG. However, I was delighted to have him ask for a copy of my talk at the end and offer some really helpful observations.

Posted by steve at 12:10 AM

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