A book on teaching and learning in theological education, Decolonial Futures: Intercultural and Interreligious Intelligence for Theological Education is guided by the questions, "What makes education intercultural and interreligious?" "How might we rethink and redesign spaces of learning to be hospitable to cultural and religious differences as well as to dismantle the coloniality of theological education?" "How might we subvert traditionally colonial spaces to model the engaged intercultural and interreligious world that we seek?" The book helps educators and practitioners of intercultural and interreligious learning both deconstruct and reconstruct spaces of learning by centering interreligious and intercultural intelligence through the voices, experiences, and narratives of minoritized people.
Christine J. Hong is assistant professor of educational ministry at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, GA.
Table of Contents:
Foreward: By Marcia Y. Riggs
Preface: We Will Teach
Introduction: Decolonial Futuring in Theological Education
Part 1: Deconstruction
Chapter 1: Undoing Competency
Chapter 2: Unbinding Liberation
Chapter 3: Upsetting the White, Christian, Patriarchy
Chapter 4: Uncivilizing Teaching and Learning
Part 2: Reconstruction
Chapter 5: Reclaiming Epistemologies
Chapter 6: Retelling Histories as Story and Story Formation
Chapter 7: Reframing Religious and Cultural Borderlands
Chapter 8: Restoring Genealogies of the Intangible
Conclusion: Begin Again
Decolonial Futures inspires an educational project of personal attention to decolonization. Christine Hong traces the depths and subtleties of different cultural and religious “intelligences” in ways that allow the reader to clearly identify her- or himself as a starting point for broadening the vision. Having taught in eurochristian schools of theology for some 45 years, I can recommend Hong’s book to all my eurochristian relatives who are struggling to de-center their own Whiteness and to decolonize their minds and their bodies from lifelong habits of privilege.
In Decolonial Futures we are invited on an exciting and thought-provoking journey for teaching and learning together. This insightful and creative critique of dominant types of theological education does not leave us in the despair of deconstruction, but provides ways for envisioning new futures through the rubric of reclaiming, retelling, reframing, and restoring through which new frameworks of theological education can be created. Here we are challenged to become intercultural and interreligious theological educators in diverse settings as we fulfill individual and communal callings to achieve full freedom for all and to practice holistic justice.
If you not only care about, but are also deeply committed to doing the hard yet necessary anti-colonial work that theological education requires right now, then this book is for you. Hong does not mince words in laying out how “institutions of theological education have expertly dominated, stolen from, and erased entire peoples” through perpetuating colonial systems of power. As a means of resistance Hong not only offers up frameworks that must start with deconstructing and then reconstructing teaching and learning, but she does this through her own decolonial narrative-analytical writing style. She offers narrative and story as a decolonial model, allowing the very reading of it to be a porous space making room for “nuanced difference” and complex narratives. She challenges the reader to commit to decolonial futuring, as it requires communal work, by the very decolonial act of dreaming of what can be when educators live “interculturally and interreligiously with embodied intelligence of the mind, heart, and spirit.” Hong is giving us tools for an anti-colonialist revolution in theological education…are you ready to do the work?
This book boldly imagines the future of theological education as a practice for freedom and offers practical steps to achieve it by promoting intercultural and interreligious intelligence. Combining personal narrative with scholarly analysis, the book inspires, incites, and instills hope. I highly recommend it to educators, students, and people who hope to decolonize their minds.
Through her engaging narrative and theoretical reflections, Dr. Christine Hong helps us to see, feel, and understand the urgency for decolonizing theological education. Her honest and incisive assessment imagines and strategizes the forms our joyful and tenacious anti-supremacist work might take. I am grateful for her wise and disruptive guidance of what needs to be dismantled, bound, and upset in our work together. Even more so, I am indebted to her for naming and calling into being the stories, genealogies, and epistemologies that might make our education truly liberative.
Dr. Hong heals and unbinds the mind, body, and soul from the colonial violence that undergirds theological and religious education. More than just a decolonial critique of dominant ways of knowing, Dr. Hong provides an anti-colonial strategy that recovers the narratives and traditions that were intentionally erased, and she casts a vision forward for a collective future where all of our descendants may thrive. Simply put, this is a once in a generation book. It honors our ancestors and provides a platform for future generations to dream creatively and heal our communities.
In working toward antiracism, many people (especially white people) often express a desire to know what to DO to create change, before they have done the work of understanding how their BEING plays into white supremacy and coloniality. This work of constructive practical theology by Christine J. Hong melds the DOING with the BEING to embody those minoritized people who most disturb the system, those “possessed with joy.” She shows us how to bridge the gap between who we are and who we want to be as thriving in an intercultural and interreligious world. If we were to take her invitation to freedom and liberation seriously, this work could free and reground the student, the teacher, and the institution; indeed, the church itself.
Informed at least in part by six years of teaching at two leading Presbyterian seminaries this two-part argument of deconstruction and reconstruction seeks to both name the ways in which theological education’s historical white male Christian paradigm has been marginalizing and oppressive and propose ways forward for how to correct the course. Hong invites transition from a competency-mastery-
civilizing approach characteristic of Eurocentric colonialism toward a critically and historically self-aware, narrative/story-based, embodied, border/boundary-crossing, and praxis-oriented pedagogical model that forms theological students for interreligious/ intercultural engagement and equips them to retrieve and reappropriate resources from their various ethnic and otherwise defined and understood communities.... Theological educators working in global contexts will benefit from this work and be encouraged to both analyze and reorient their own pedagogies as relevant to their own situations.