This workbook aims at helping diaconal organisations to develop their own diaconal profile. The book is premised on the idea that the development of a diaconal profile is a process that takes place in a mutual dialogue.
According to the “Status of Global Mission” (Bonk, 2011, p.29), widely considered as serious statistics of missionary population, in the year 2011 approximately 4,800 mission societies (“foreign-mission sending agencies”; line…
Continue ReadingReligious Self-Transformation and Faith Development of Protestant Missionaries
Abstract: This paper deals with the question of what experiences individuals do make, who aim for persuading and convincing others of their ‘own’ and how these experiences structure their everyday life and their self-image. To clarify this question a general and anthropological aspect of human being arises: the optimization and standardization of the human others under the provision of one’s own, which leads directly in the vibrant centre of modern societies in a globalized world. The idea of the ‘better man’ is best characterized by a variety of components, such as selfless service and charity to other, readiness to make sacrifices for fellow human being, self-flagellation, self-deception, and expediency of self-abandonment, which are necessary to one’s own task, especially to enforce a change, optimization, and equalization of other. Some of these strategies for alteration derive from previous theoretical considerations and reflexions on empirical research that has recently been accomplished: From the perspective of psychology of religion and culture, the current intercultural practice, the religious self and the meaning-making actions of contemporary Protestant missionaries have been investigated.As will be shown, missionary activity is rooted in both the process of the formation of experiences and the knowledge acquisition, in the course of which individuals ascertain oneself about their self by meanings and interpretations that are culture-specific and at the same time characterized by one’s own biography. Eventually, missionary activity is just one mode of a more general target-oriented human action, which aims at the improvement and perfection of other. The objective of the paper is at least twofold: both results of empirical research and new perspectives of methodological issues on inter- and transdisciplinary research in social, cultural, and religious sciences will be shown.
In a series of publication projects I focus on the question of how optimization and standardization of ‘others’ and foreigners takes place (or is supposed to take place) in the context of missionary strategies of religious persuasion. Missionary goals are inseparably connected to the Christian imagination of ‘the renewed man’. This concept of man can be characterized best by a range of elements – like e.g. improvisation by cultural adjustment, self-abandonment, willingness to make sacrifices under the banner of selfless service to the neighbor, directive or non-directive persuasive communication, self-alteration of the ‘others’ by assertion of one’s own ‘self’ – that are required to accomplish one’s own aspirations to change and optimize the others.The described strategies of persuasion and change are findings of an empirical study about the intercultural practice of Protestant missionaries. Missionary action represents a mode of purpose and goal-oriented, intentional and strategic action aiming at the ‘improvement’ and ‘perfection’ of others. Finally, the findings and reflections should lead to a ‘prototypical’ abstraction, so that a special type of action can be conceived which aims at optimization and standardization of the humane. Publications:
My current postdoc research (during Visiting Fellowshop at the Jagiellonian University and Goethe Institut in Kraków in March and April 2011) is dedicated to the critical reconsideration of the process of secularization in Europe, with special regard to the religious changes and developments in Poland.
Abstract: Secularization in Europe has become on the one hand an undeniable socio-cultural, historical and societal matter of fact. On the other hand, it is dangerous to talk of a universal development, although studies can show empirical evidence and validity for some regions and countries in Europe. In various theories of secularization it is assumed that irreligious social developments can be attributed to processes of modernization, transformation and functional differentiation as well as to rationalization and individualization of cultural life worlds (Davie, 2000). This (often ideologically disguised) hypothesis is associated with the critical wing of the European Enlightenment. As José Casanova (2003: 60) emphasized, however, the hypothesis of a secularized Europe needs to be confronted with various special cases of ‘over secularization’ (e.g. East Germany, Czech Republic and Scandinavian countries) and ‘sub-secularization’ (such as Ireland and Poland). Nevertheless, the ‘causa Polonia semper fidelis’ is exposed as an exception amongst the so-called Eastern European transition countries. In Casanova’s opinion, the secularization in Europe could be regarded as a ‘self-fulfilling prophec’ (2003: 61) that serves both as cause and consequence of the process of (religious) profanation. This means that religion becomes redundant not in itself or by losing its explicatory power, but by the conversion to the new belief of a decline of religion in human daily life and the whole of society. Since the normative theory of secularization cannot ultimately provide a general or a viable explanation for the special historical and religious developments in Poland other approaches may be imperative. Therefore, this paper aims at focusing on the question of how and what cultural, historical, socio-cultural and religious changes have resulted in today’s high percentage of committed Roman Catholic believers. It will also be necessary to undertake a re-reading (discussed in Casanova, 2003: 58) of the argument adduced by Bishop Tadeusz Pieronek (former secretary-general of the Polish bishops’ conference and rector of the Pontifical Academy in Krakow) – namely that the European integration of the ‘Catholic Poland’ is an essential ‘great apostolic assignment for the Church’ (Stadtmüller, 2000: 36).
Telling stories about ourselves becomes an integral part of our lives quite early. Individuals remember and anticipate their lives, they present and flesh out their selves in stories. These stories deal with the past, the present, and the future, with experiences and hopes, past sufferings and wished-for happiness, real events and things imagined. They recapitulate and assess what was and what is, they imagine what could and what should be. Rational reconstruction and analysis go hand in hand with emotional turmoil and complex evaluations in which thought and emotion, conscious decisions and subconscious relations form a strong liaison. However, this paper presents the analysis and results of an empirical investigation into this matter.These papers focus on how young Protestant believers thematize their own lifes and themselves in the mode of story-telling. Particular interest is given to the psychologically relevant functions of story-telling. (1). It is dealt with narrative biographies to explain and analyze the meanings of actions of thus who are doing missionary work, following a tradition influenced by the symbolic action theory and cultural psychology (2). Because “mission” can mean very different things, furthermore, the concept and reality of mission (3) shows in a culturally diverse world as ours – liberated, pluralized, and open to very individualistic life-styles – an ambiguous picture of the existence and development of religions and worldviews. Thereafter, first, rather tentative results of an empirical research are presented (4). Attention is given to some possible meanings of experiences and actions, the practices and symbolic representations of those who are doing missionary work within intercultural contexts and how important their experiences, hopes etc. are for their life stories and their selves. The paper ends with a discussion about the relationship between thus activities in question and the concept of “intercultural competence” (5).
Although the Christian religion has at all times been and is still connected with a predefined missionary assignment, the experiences of cultural difference, alienation, and otherness made by Protestant missionaries in intercultural practice, the interwoven transformations of their personal identity as well as relevant learning processes which enlarge their potential have barely been systematically analysed so far.This article aims at eliminating and compensating these deficits. By doing so, it will contribute to one of the most fascinating research projects in contemporary globalised societies, i.e. to the empirical studies of intercultural communication, cooperation, and competence of missionaries. Mission as a religious practice is a part of a long historical tradition in different “world religions”. Besides, it has a great salience in the world at the present time. It is surprising that the research in intercultural communication, cooperation and competence until now has not been paid much attention to the rich experiences and expertise of missionaries.
Publications: Straub, Jürgen/ Arnold, Maik (2007). Mission. In Straub, Jürgen/ Arne Weidemann/ Doris Weidemann (Hg.), Handbuch Interkulturelle Kommunikation und Kompetenz (S. 646 – 657). Stuttgart/ Weimar: Metzler Verlag.
I will develop an answer to the question of how can Virtual Reality be sustainably implemented into formal education. In doing this, I will present a specific didactical framework, recently developed in a project called Hotel Academy.
We will review the book “Social Work Management in the Uncertain” (H. Effinger) and draw some conclusions regarding the question of how can the current and future workforce be prepared for the management of the uncertain.