Theology of Life:
Wisdom of the Whole Life as an Alternative Foundation

Dr. Kim Yong-Bock

 

Without much theoretical discussion, it is our proposal that all resources of life and reflections on it to be integrated under the whole notion of Life Study : Biosophy. This means that a paradigm of holistic integration for reflections on life should be manifest in any community of spirituality, art, wisdom, philosophy and science. This notion of life should be differentiated from the life sciences in the modern sciences.

This initiative can be introduced from every global situation, transforming and overcoming the destructive domination of the modern system of human scientific knowledge. This venture should not be understood as an anachronism to go back to the past and as romanticism of the pre-modern local community. It should be regarded as a new, whole and creative effort to make a breakthrough into the future infrastructure for the study and reflection on the life in the wholistic way. There is also a need to inter-connect and cross-fertilize the local, national, regional and global initiatives inside and outside of the existing institutions, provided their perspectives are mutually converging across the various traditional boundaries.

I. Signs of Times and Changes in the Globe: Towards Geo-politics for New Life

All the geo-political boundaries are radically broken open by recent globalization process. Asia and world should be understood multi-contextually and cross-contextually on all level. In order not to reduce everything to the global level, this complex matrix should be always asserted in all our deliberations. This calls for a forging a new geo-politics of the life in contrast to the globalization.

This is one of the fundamental geo-political shifts[1] of our thinking in the complex situation of globalization. The global marketization or globalization despite its unprecedented scientific, technological and economic progress has not resulted in the wellbeing of the people. Hunger and poverty and the consequent suffering of the peoples in Asia and in the world are intensifying, causing despair and hopelessness among the peoples. Security of life, human and social security, and cultural identity have been radically eroded in recent decades despite the enormous economic growth. This tendency will continue, unless there is a radical transformation in the world economic system of global market. Of course, the suffering of the people has been lasting throughout the millennia. But the suffering of the peoples in the world today has a distinct character in the context of globalization.

Globalization Causes the Axial Shift in the Global Geo-politics

By geo-politics we mean the shape of time and space in which the world is placed. There have been different shapes of time and space in history. In the early historical time human community, and the life, itself lived in the natural time and local space. Time and space have not been arbitrarily defined and managed.

Agrarian production, based upon the land, had been dependent upon the local space and natural time. Community was formed in this primary geo-politics, where cooperation and dependency upon the nature are essential relations. Tribal communities are examples. Politically feudalism and despotic kingdoms are dependent upon the natural geo-politics and agrarian economy. Cultural developments are also very much dependent upon the natural space and time, the agrarian economy, feudal and royal politics of despotism. Even in this natural geo-politics the imperial politics had developed in the form of empires. Locality is the center of spatial organization of the life.

Religion and culture are very much determined by the natural geo-politics. The dimension of the natural geo-politics is present in the every/local part of the earth. The life is very much based upon the natural geo-politics.

In the modern times the industrial civilization had emerged. This has shifted the shape and nature of geo-politics. This we may call the industrial geo-politics. The concept of the absolute space and absolute time has been dominant in the industrial society. Basically the world has been viewed as a machine. Here the time and space has been managed according to the needs and dictates of the industrial society. The industrial economy has been dependent upon the geo-politics of the absolute time and space. This is the core of the modernity. The thrust of the civilization has been regarded as modernization. The Western Enlightenment has dominated the philosophy of the world, and it has evolved the infrastructure of the industrial society, that is, science and technology. Already in the geo-politics, the colonialism for the market expansion had developed along with the modern nation state, which is illustrated by the Thomas Hobbs (Leviathan).

The center of the life organization has been shifted to the nation state, suppressing and overcoming the local feudal/despotic geo-political arrangements. In the industrial and modern geo-politics the ideas of the free market, the modern nation state and social Darwinism have emerged.

In this geo-politics the individual has the absolute identity; and social relations are determined according to contracts among the individuals. Culturally speaking the freedom and private property as the highest values to preserve the life. Relation of human community to the nature is one of the domination and conquering.

The basic center of power of the industrial geo-politics has been the Western industrial powers. The industrial and modern geo-politics had a character of the Western expansion to the non-Western civilizations; and in the post-colonial situation the neo-colonial penetration of the Western modernization into the pre-modern societies had took the force. The Western capital and the Western market have expanded as an integral part of the industrial and modern geo-political process.

Now due to the development of advanced sciences and high technology, the new geo-politics of cyber technetronics, in which the time and space are managed in an unlimited extent. This made possible the globalization of the capital and the market. The previous limits and boundaries of the geo-politics are being overthrown in the process of globalization. Key players in the modern geo-politics had been nation states; but in the new cyber technetronic geo-politics the key agents of power and influence have been the giant transnational corporate entities such as global corporations and transnational financial institutions.

Geo-political Interactions of the Three Civilisational Dimensions

Although the cyber technetronic geo-politics would be dominant, it will not and cannot replace the geo-politics of the modern industrial civilization and the natural geo-politics. The relationship and interaction among three geo-political horizons or dimensions are very complex. There are conflictual relations. One dominates and destroys the other. And there are value-added processes in their interactions in some situations. In any case three different dynamics of the geo-politics interact among themselves and they form different sets of relationship.

Arnold Toynbee, Alfred Northrop, Theodore van Leewen and other historians/anthropologists postulate different patterns of interactions among them. Samuel Huntington predicts "civilisational clashes" among civilizations, which have different shape of geo-politics. Historians and philosophers August Comte and Karl Marx would speak about stages of civilisational development. Toynbee speaks of the interaction in terms of challenge and response. Asian historians speak of the interaction in terms of the eastern morality (wisdom) and the Western instruments (technology).

One might conceive of the interaction of three different geo-politics in terms of cumulative, transformative and creative process as well as conflictual/ contradictory, dominating/destroying and subjugation and corroding process. Recently the post-colonial theoreticians speak of "hybridity" among civilizations or geo-politics. In any case the proper fusion and inter-linkage of different geo-politics are critically important in the present and coming globalization process.

Asian historians speak of the interaction of the Eastern civilization with the Western civilization in terms of the Eastern morality and the Western instruments. Asian intellectual leaders viewed the Western penetration as economic, political and cultural invasion, colonial and neo-colonial "missionary enterprises." Asian leaders have responded with the conservative, reformist or revolutionary perspectives, which have not always been respected by the Western powers. Samuel Huntington's thesis is merely an extension of this syndrome. However, there could be an emergence of a creative glocal perspective to forge a new paradigm of the geo-politics of the LIFE in the cosmos.

One might conceive of the interaction of three different geo-politics in terms of cumulative, transformative and creative process as well as conflictual/contradictory, dominating/destroying and subjugating and corroding process. Recently the post-colonial theorists speak of 'hybridity among civilizations or geo-politics. In any case the proper fusion and inter-linkage of different politics are critically important in the present and coming globalization process. What is sought here is that in the process of interaction, fusion and transformation there could be creative development for new civilization in order to realize the new and full life in the cosmos.

II. KAIROS OF Biblical Geo-politics in the 21st Century

Theologically speaking, it is in this situation that we begin to sense the imminence of the KAIROTIC GEO-POLITICS. We begin with the Biblical geo-politics of God's Reign, which would manifest itself in the geo-politics of globalization.

In the Bible there are two distinct geo-political configurations: One is the imperial and royal geo-politics, and the other is that of the Reign of God. The latter we call the Kairotic geo-politics. The Kairotic geo-politics makes radical interventions for the new life in the OIKOS (household) of God. The OIKOS is the abode of the life, created by God.

The geo-politics of the Egyptian, Babylonian, Assyrian, Greek and Roman imperial powers were subverted by the Kairotic geo-politics of the Messianic Reign of the new heaven and new earth in which the new and eternal life is celebrated in the new city (new Jerusalem) and in the New Garden (Rev.21 & 22). The creation of the cosmos and therein the life in the Garden is the original Kairotic act of God to overcome the forces and powers of darkness and chaos that cause to destroy the order of creation, the is, the order for the life. Christ is the decisive power of the new and eternal life. Christ has overcome the power of death to realize the Resurrection of the life. This is the Messianic Kairos. The Spirit is the ever-present power of life that renews the life and gives the power for new life in the universe and in all dimensions. The Messianic geo-politics of cosmic OIKOS in which the new and eternal full) life in the New City under the New Heaven and New Earth is celebrated is the paradigm to overcome the geo-politics that gives the power and basis to overcome the powers of death, present in the globalization process.

The Story of the People in Various Geo-political Situations in the Bible.

The stories of the people of God in the Bible are intertwined in the various local, national and imperial settings. They are interconnected among the past, the present and the future. They are never confined to any definite time. However, there are certain focal points. We might want to illustrate briefly in the following:

i. The Exodus community of the people of God had the struggle for justice and shalom of God in the covenant communities in the Canaan. Such struggle was realized to some extent to overcome the imperial slavery of the Pharaoh. As it is expressed in the Covenant Code, the Sabbath was the realization of such struggle, which would liberate the slaves in the political economy of the Imperial power. Here the focus is the local tribal community.

ii. The Stories of the People of God under the Kings' Reign
The people of Israel have had the struggle for the just reign of the kings. The ideal king was regarded as the Davidic king, who would practice the justice and shalom of God among the peoples of God. This is expressed in the prophetic messages. II Samuel: and Ezekiel 34. Historically, King David is not the ideal king; but he is the ideal in the sense that the kingship is completely under God's sovereign rule and promise for the people of God. God's covenant with David is manifested as the covenant of the king with the people of God that he would rule according to the laws of God and God would bless the people of God under the king's reign. Here the focus is the national community of Israel.

iii. The Stories of the People of God under the Imperial Reign
The people of God had apocalyptic languages as those of hope in the severely oppressive and, therefore, hopeless situation. Genesis of 1 and 2, Isaiah 11, Rev. 21 and 22 are the hopeful visions, as an integral part of the language of hope. These textual references are expressions of the hope that was practiced by the faithful among the people of God. We would regard them as manifestations of the messianic promise, or Eschatological or Kairotic hope. Here the focal point is the communities of nations under the imperial rules of the Egypt, Babylon, Greece and Rome.

The Messianic Movement of Jesus and the early Christian community has created a universal movement, connecting the local, national, global and cosmic dimensions.

i. The Reign of God to which Jesus has born witness is the foundation and ground of movement as he has proclaimed in Luke 4. Jesus as the Christ (Messiah) of the people is the direct manifestation of God's Reign. Therefore, Jesus himself and his cross and resurrection are the foundation of the movement for the life of the people of God as well as his deeds, words and ministry. The community of new covenant is that of Jesus the Messiah of the people. This is the community of faith and hope in the eternal life.

ii. The Spirit is the power and energy of imagination, which works dynamically in the life, and koinonia of the early church. The early church suffered various persecutions of "cross," just as Jesus suffered. The community has had hope in the resurrection of the Messiah, whose Spirit energizes the community for the struggle. The Messianic praxis of Jesus is manifested in the spiritual movement of the early Christian community.

Dimensions of Praxis of New Life

The historical contexts of the peoples of God shape all the different manifestations of hope in God, Christ, and the Spirit, which are dynamic, creative and concrete in the lives of the community of faith.

Faith in God, in Christ and in the Spirit provides the foundation for the Praxis of New Life among the peoples of God. Unbelief may mean the loss of hope. Therefore, belief in God is the foundation for the praxis of the New Life among the peoples. Dynamics of New Life in God, Christ and the Spirit manifest different dimensions of the praxis in the community of the people of God.

The subject of New Life is ultimately the people(s) and nations of God. The subject of the praxis of New Life is therefore the peoples. There are two foci in the notion of the people; and one is the community of faithful and the other is the general and national peoples. Often the Christendom has confused the people of God with the Christian religious people, who are culturally co-terminus with the Western Christian people. The statement that the people are the subject of hope is not an ideological statement, for the people are the partners of God. In so far as the people are partners of God in covenant, they become truly subjects of hope and of the messianic movement of hope.

Life is future-oriented. Biblical language of eschatology and eschatology-related stories and languages are all the grounds of hope for the future life of the peoples. Hope for new life involves the critical evaluation of the present and the past, and it is an act, which leaps into a new future, which is neither the continuation of the past and the present nor the worsening of the present. Kairotically thinking, the time and space should not be confined to the modern cosmology, Newtonian or Einsteinian. Hope is kairotic and eschatological dynamics; not merely chimera, romantic, fantasia, utopia or wishful thinking. It is the praxis, which involves responsibility and concrete vision for the life and destiny of the people.

This vision of new life shines as light to expose the reality of the present and the past. There is a difference of social and analytical expose of the present reality from the expose under the light of the future vision. The social scientific structural analyses have been much used to expose the structures of injustice and unjust power relations in the past decades. However, there is a growing awareness about the limits of such analyses, for they tend to be reductionist; and their final outcome emphasize the negative aspect of reality, which leads the people to pessimism and even to despair. Such structural analyses do not lead the people to hope. Even if such analyses provide some optimistic outcome, it simply is a possibility, which can provide any ground for the new life of the people in the new universe.

However, the analytical work, which presupposes the grounds, can overcome the negative analytical outcome, no matter how it is grim and even impossible. For the new life is not grounded ultimately upon the analytical work and its conclusions on the social and historical reality. In reality, the imagination for the new life should be a presupposition for such analyses, so that such analyses can lead the people not to despair and pessimism, but to courage and passion to struggle against injustice. Hope for New life and analyses should be closely inter-linked. This should be an integral part of the praxis of new life.

Hope for new life propels the imagination of the people of God into envisioning, planning and designing of the concrete future community according to the will of God. This imagination in hope brings about the specific goals to be realized. This requires the mobilization of the people with resources to realize such goals, inspired by the hope. Ways and means for the praxis of new life are total resources of the people, fully under the framework of messianic movement of the peoples of God. Churches, ethics, missions and liturgy are all the instruments for the praxis of new life.

MESSIANIC GEO-POLITICS VS EMERGENT GLOBAL GEO-POLITICS

Today the global market dominates the life on earth. The life is indeed the victim of the globalization process, which is dominated by the market forces. The residue of the despotic, feudalistic and authoritarian powers has caused the injustice and violence that destroy the life in the human community and in the universe. This dimension of injustice has been integrated in the globalization process. The modern Western industry and its corporate giants with their transnational character and symbiosis with the political powers (the so-called industrial complex) have created the global order and process in the form of colonialism and new-colonialism in the name of modernization or Westernization. This has begun to destroy the life environment and to manipulate the bio-chemical process of the life. The geo-politics of globalization with the forces of cybernetics and technetronics creates the process of the cultural injustice, the cultural desertization, and the cultural chaos, detrimental to the life in the human community and in the universe. The geo-politics of globalization with the forces of cybernetics and technetronics (the new global formation capital) is to be understood not only on the level of theories and policies; but it must be understood on the level of the victimized life in human and cosmic community. This process has vertically integrated the geo-politics of the natural and industrial geopolitics into the geo-politics of globalization, the latter dominating and fusing them under the paradigmatic conjugations of the geo-politics of the global market.

The reality of sufferings among the peoples in Asia is partly due to the objective conditions of their life in the context of globalization, and at the same time to the absence of renewal of faith as the subjective condition for life. At the present time it is discussed in the context of market optimism of the global capitalism and of the failure of socialist political economies as well as in the context of new global situation in which the peoples of the world suffer massively without hope. How is it possible for the suffering peoples to struggle for there tomorrow? It is set in the background against the futurology of liberal social sciences and the progress philosophy of the Western utopia based upon modern technocracy[2] - a regime of science and technology.

Social Biography of the People and the Life in the Universe as the Context of the Language of New Life.

The question of praxis of life should be understood and treated in the context of the social biography of the Minjung, the suffering people. The praxis of life for the people takes place in their life of suffering. The proclamation of its praxis for new life by the Christian community takes place in the same context. Biblical word comes alive in the context of the life of the people who suffer in concrete situations. Our Biblical and theological reflections take place in the story of the suffering people. This is set against the optimistic modern philosophy of history, liberal and progressive. We do not have enough space to discuss the modern idea of progress as a philosophy of history, which rejects the eschatological understanding of the world. Social biography is a comprehensive and wholistic story of the people on the cosmos in terms of their suffering and aspirations. The people tell their own stories, without being objectified by others. The people communicate their experiences through their own stories. In this sense the people are subjects of their own stories, responding to their natural, historical and social environments as well as to their spiritual heritages. The Biblical stories are in a way the social biography of the people of God in the universe, who dwell among them.

Messianic Geo-Politics for the New and Eternal (full) Life

Reading of the Bible in connection with the life of the Asian Minjung in the context of globalization gives imagination for the new messianic geo-politics for the full and eternal life.

The Kairotic geo-politics of the Messianic Reign id not determined by the limitations of the space and time, natural, modern or cyber-technetronic; but it is determined by the imminent presence of the Spirit. It is neither chronological order, which is determined by the sequence of the past, the present and the future, nor is it determined by the geo-graphical space, arbitrary or natural. The Messianic geo-politics is determined by the new and eternal life in the new cosmos.

God and New Life

Biblical view life is clear enough without any detailed discussion. We only need to refer some Biblical texts. God is the giver of life to the people of God. This means that God gives hope to the Minjung in Asia and in the world. Reality of life among the people is set in God's covenant with them in the cosmic context. This is the affirmation that God is the Creator of life and its sustainer. God as the found and giver of life cannot be limited to humanity, to Christian community, or to the Christendom. It extends to the cosmos, the whole universe. The expanse of the life is indeed cosmic.

God's act of creation is to overcome the darkness (death and evil) and the chaos (wasteland). God is at the center of the dynamic movement of the life against death. The life is the movement from death to the new life of the eternal bliss. God is at the center of the Exodus movement, in the prophetic movement and in the eschatological movement for new life in the whole cosmos.

God created the life with the Spirit (breath) and the word. This is that biblical affirmation that the origin of the life is the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God is the dynamic force for the justice, peace and shalom of God. The Spirit gives the subjectivity to the life in the cosmos. This subjectivity embraces all the dimensions of the life, natural and human.

Christ and New Life: the Messianic Feast of the Life is the Core of the Movement for the New Life

Revelations 21 and 22 show clearly the climactic and eschatological dynamics of messianic feast of life. New Heaven and New Earth, and New Community therein, which is the OIKOS of God is the geo-political locus for the Messianic feast of the life in which all nations with the whole universe participate for the eternal (full) life. The water, fruits and trees and the Spirit of the life are constituent elements on the Messianic Garden of Life. This reminds us the image of God's creative act in the books of Genesis and Isaiah.

This vision of the new life in the Bible (Revelations of John) should be seen with the background of the Roman Empire, which is expressed in the symbolic language of the Babylonian Empire. The thrust is that the KAIROS of the messianic geo-politics of new life breaks into the life of the people in the universe, which is victimized in the vortex of the globalization.

In the movement of Jesus for the Reign of God (Luke 4:) and in the movement of Jesus against the Roman Empire the eternal life is the central core which is realized in his crucifixion and resurrection to overcome the powers and principalities of death. The life and works of Jesus should be understood as integral parts of the life movement. The Jesus movement through his actions, works and teachings is to establish the movement for the eternal life in the new cosmos.

Once again the Spirit of the Messiah is the central dynamic of the movement of the new life in the universe in the context of the Messianic Reign, to which all the peoples and nations are invited for the feast of the eternal life in the new cosmos (new geo-politics.)

The Spirit in the New Life Movement

The Spirit of God is already working the God's Creation. It is the central dynamics to establish justice and shalom for the life, as it is demonstrated in the Exodus, in the Jubilee, in the Prophetic movements and in the Apocalyptic movement for the new age eschaton) for the life.

The Spirit is the agency to establish the subjectivity and the dynamics of the life-the new and eternal life. The Spirit is present over the universe; and it is present in the deep of the life, natural, community and universe. The Spirit does not have any limitations by the geo-politics, determined by the nature and by the human community.

Spirit gives the hope and imagination in the life movement in the universe.
And in his (Christ's) name the Gentiles will hope (Matthew 12:21)." To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). The messianic hope is cosmic in its scope and its inner dynamics determined by Christ's resurrection overcoming the power of death . The messianic hope invokes the messianic spirit among the people for the messianic movement to overcome the power of evil and death in the world. All the nations (oppressed) are invited to the messianic feast of life in the new OIKOS under the new heaven and on the new earth. The Holy Spirit is the Pervasive "Power" of life and hope among all the Suffering People and in the Groaning Cosmos

III. Ecumenical Praxis of Hope among Asian Peoples

Praxis of Biblical and Christian new life can take place among Asian peoples in the global context. Asian praxis cannot be separated to the Asian context alone. This is a crucial point for us. The Asian people have already wisdom and language of hope in their stories. These Asian stories of the struggle for new life may be regarded as God's gifts to the people as "natural" grace, just as the water; air and life are given to them. In Asian traditions, there are rich religious, cultural, philosophical resources of the new life for the people. Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism and many indigenous religious traditions have rich resources that give energy to the suffering people to sustain their lives. Of course, religious power structures these religions to the advantage to the rich and powerful, and they often become religious and ideological justification for the establishment of the power that causes the sufferings to the people. In this context, these religious traditions even justify the suffering of the people themselves.

Christian communities of the New Life in Asia need to link the New Life in Christ clearly and concretely with the struggles for new life of the people in their stories and in their religious, cultural and philosophical traditions. This may be a major missiological and theological tasks of Asian Christian communities for the praxis of New Life. This may be the way for Christian communities to share the wisdom in Christ with the peoples of Asia, and to inject it into the life of the people and into their aspirations, even as Christian communities share the sufferings of the Asian people.

The Western progressive thoughts often have given strong influences in the struggle of the peoples in Asia, even though generally the Western thoughts have underestimated the religious and cultural traditions of Asian peoples. Due to the Western colonial influences in Asia the Western thoughts, closely associated with the colonial, imperial and economic powers have negatively functioned to the life of Asian peoples.

Our proposal is the multi-religious, multi-cultural ecumenical methodology, including the linkage between religious and secular, for the praxis of new life. This methodology is not merely for the Asian Christian communities, but for the global Christian community indeed. For the praxis of new life should be done in the context of the globalization.

Kairotic Reading of History of Multi-religious ecumenism: Examples from the history of Christian communities in Korea and Asia.

Christian connection with Messianic Buddhism has been made throughout the history of Asian Christianity. The first evidence is found in T'ang Nestorian Christianity (635-). In this Nestorian Christian development the Christian Messianic language is closely connected Buddhist messianic language of Maitraiya Buddha. In the monument of the T'ang Nestroianism, Christianity is presented in the Chinese Buddhist language. Moreover, the language of the Maitreya Buddha, which is a messianic Buddha, is used very closely. The T'aiping Christianity is also closely related to the White Lotus Buddhist sect, which is also messianic. The most clear example is the Korean inter-religious ecumenism, which was manifest in the March 1st Independence Movement in 1919, in which Korean Christian Movement has joined with the Buddhist messianic movement in the struggle of the Korean people against the Japanese colonialism.

Christian connection with Shilhak (Realist School of Confucianism) is another clear example. Roman Catholicism gave hope to the Korean people in the 17th and 19th century Korea. Inter-religious synthesis of the Roman Catholicism and Realist School of Chosun Confucianism became the language and praxis movement for the social transformation in Chosun society. T'aiping Christian Movement in China has also used the Confucian language for the movement to transform the Chinese society in the middle of 19th Chinese society. It is often regarded that Confucianism is a kind of utopian romanticism of the past Yao Sun age, the primeval golden age. But Chung Yak Yong, a scholar of the Realist School of Korean Confucianism has used the language of the Golden Age as a messianic language of hope and social transformation.

Just as the T'aiping Christian Movement has connected itself with Chinese religious traditions, Korean Christianity has practiced its multi-religious ecumenism, joining in the Messianic religious tradition of Ch'ondokyo (the Heavenly Way) which is a synthesis of the Christian connection with Ch'ondokyo in the March 1st Independence Movement, which is the political manifestation of the Messianic movement of hope among the Korean people. Ch'ondokyo is an indigenous Korean religion that contains the Shinson folk utopian tradition, the folk apocalyptic tradition of Chungkaprok, the Messianic Buddhism as well as the Messianic Christian language.

We can find many Christian connections with Asian religious traditions such as Islam, Hinduism, and other indigenous religious traditions. This position is not merely an inter-religious dialogue. It is not merely inter-religious cooperation without touching the religious practices. When we refer to the inter-religious ecumenism, we do mean deepest connections among Asian religious traditions for the praxis of the messianic movement. Christian messianic wisdom is inclusive of all energies and resources of struggle for new life, which rises in the history and life of the peoples in Asia. The Biblical praxis of new life will be strengthened, and it will catalyze the dynamics of new life among the Asian peoples.

Christian connection with progressive social thoughts in modern times cannot be treated lightly. Although the Western secular thoughts have carried their colonial and imperial baggage along with them, they made connections with the aspirations and struggles of the peoples in Asia, and they gave a dynamic energy of hope to Asian peoples. Asian national struggles have drawn their resources from the Western progressive thoughts. In so far as they provide energy wisdom for struggle for new life to Asian peoples, Christian community needs to make connections for the praxis of new life among the Asian peoples.

The Praxis of Jubilee for the Asian Peoples in the Context of Globalization

Since the praxis of hope is a Kairotic action, or a Messianic movement of the people, we need to deal with the issue of globalization which has profoundly influencing the life, nations and peoples on earth.

We have already noted the global marketization and its impact upon the fundamental and radical geo-political shift that is taking place as the framework of globalized civilization, in which the Modern West will be dominant. Globalization of the capital makes drastic changes in the economic life of the people, victimizing the most of the peoples in the world in the midst of the global economic growth. Political institutions, national and local will be seriously weakened; and the people become more and more helpless and apathetic. The market driven competition brings about a new social Darwinism, a correlate of the Neo-liberalism, intensifying the social violence, undermining any human and life security net. The market- driven cultural life threaten cultural identity and values for individual and community, and even it is experiencing chaos in the aesthetic life of the people. Religious heritage and wisdom are eroded in the globalization process. Ecological crisis is not merely the question of the nature; but it is the question of the whole life, human and natural.

In response to the globalization the peoples in Asia and in the world are not totally in despair. They have aspirations for the better world. They suffer but at the same time they struggle. There are signs of hope every where in the world as well as in Asia. In the in this context the Christian community is called to the praxis of their hope.

Asian Praxis of New Life Must Consider Asian traditions of Messianic Movement of the People

Christian communities in Asia as well as in the world should be able to connect with Asian secular and religious traditions of messianic movements, when the Christian community brings their Biblical life kairotically to the life of the suffering people (Minjung) of Asia. We take one example of this praxis.

Confucian Tradition: Chong Yak Yong's Praxis of Life is an illustration how the primeval Yao Sun utopia is used as a ground for social transformation and vision for the people in the 19th century Korea. Similar examples can be found in China and Japan as well. Buddhist Tradition: Meitreiya Buddha as the Messiah of the Suffering People. Korean Buddhist intellectual leader used this Buddhist tradition for the national liberation struggle. Maitreya Buddha in Korea is a messianic Buddha of hope among the suffering and oppressed people, especially southwestern part of Korea. Another tradition is a new religion, Tonghak Tradition. It is a Korean Tradition( Confucian-Buddhist-Sunist-Christian Inter-religious Ecumenical Synthesis of Vision for the New Life. It played a great messianic role to transform the Korean society and to back the Korean national independence and liberation from the Japanese colonialism.

These traditions joined in the March 1st Independence Movement (1919), which is regarded as the Korean Exodus Movement. It is fundamentally the messianic movement of the Korean people. In this Movement Korean participated fully with the Biblical message of messianic hope. From this historic experience, we are drawing an ecumenical methodology for the praxis of life in Asia in the globalization context.

IV. Inter-linked Dimensions of New Life

1. The Life of Peace: Against War and Destruction of Life

Human history has been that of war among human groups and against the nature. Some has a view that the civilization has developed in the process of create weapons of the war. The 20th century has experienced the two World Wars; and now the science and technology, with its cybernetic and technetronic developments, enabled to humans to engage in the total and omni-potent wars to destroy the life, human and cosmic in its totality.

New life demands the matrix of security for the peace for the whole life, which is capable of overcoming the wars, local, national, regional, international and global. The comprehensive peace movement with all the studies and praxis on all levels are needed for the new life on earth.

Biblical vision for peace and life and its ecumenical manifestations in Asia and in the world will generate the hope and imaginations for the new and eternal life in the cosmos.

2. Just and Healthy Life: Against the Starvation, Hunger and Poverty

Economy has its historical development with mixed and paradoxical blessings for the life. OIKOS + NOMOS = OIKONOMIA is the meaning of the economy. Originally the economy is human activity to care for the life in the home in the garden. The East Asian notion of economy carries the meaning of "caring the people according to canons of the scriptures.

Due to human greed, manifested in many different forms, caused starvation, hunger and poverty as the economy has grown and developed into new stages. Riches have been amassed by the powerful in each stage of human history. Now the power of the global capital and its transnational corporate institutions dominate the emerging global market. Its monopoly of science and technology enables them to have almost unlimited power and influences beyond any control. In recent years the money, with its financial powers, victimizes the people radically. All the exchanges and dealings among the peoples are controlled by the global market agencies to meet the insatiable greed of the capital. Profit maximization and absolute control is the name of the game that they play.

New life in the cosmos demands a new economic justice. A true OIKONOMIA needed to be articulated according to the needs of the life on earth. This demands to overcome the separation of the economy from other dimensions of the life on earth. Life enhancing concept of the economy is required. The growth orientation and profit maximization of the economy should be transformed. Local communities need to have self-reliant and self-sufficient resources of their economic wellbeing and economic justice as they live in the glocal situation.

3. Life of Direct and Common Participation in Solidarity Network: Against Oppression

Political institutions have been oppressive of the people in many different ways. Nations and peoples have suffered despotism, autocratic rules, imperial domination, national totalitarianism, state dictatorships, military dictatorships, religio-political symbiosis, colonialism and ideologically rigid rules in many different forms. The Western liberal democracy has not brought about the full participation of the people. It enhanced liberal political rights such as human rights and other individual political freedoms, but it also opened a door for the powerful and the rich to dominate over the weak and the poor. Recent neo-liberal developments are sequel to the liberal political democracy. Liberal tradition has failed to control the global market as well as national markets.

Globalization has made political boundaries of nation states and national security measures obsolete in an increasing degree. Already we have experienced the domination of the super powers; and now transnational corporate powers over-ride any conceivable boundaries that inhibit their activities, new and old. The nation state no longer fully represents the people, preserving and securing the sovereignty of its people. Often it is succumbed to the powers of transnational agencies and corporate entities.

The people themselves demand direct participation and intervention of the people in the global market, as well as radical democratization of the existing political institutions. Truly the people must realize their political selfhood on the local, national, regional and global levels.

This requires a local-national-regional-global network of participation and solidarity, commensurate with the global powers and principalities, old and new. We will need new political institutions on all levels for glocal participation and solidarity across the boundaries, set by the powers and principalities. This is a new vision of ecumenical politics for new life on earth.

Radically new political process of direct participation and solidarity network is coming of age all over the world. This may be only way to control and overcome the tyranny and domination of the despotism, the military dictatorships, imperial and colonial powers, and transnational corporate powers.

4. Life of Shalom (Secure Wellbeing with Justice): Against Social Conflict and Violence

Human history is a jungle where the strong eats the weak and where the fittest alone can survive. This process as been manifested in the social relations in many different ways. Classical contradictions are between ethnic and racial, class and caste, gender and social status, which formed the vortex of the social violence. In this jungle there is no justice, no community and no cooperation and peace.

Globalization has brought a new and newly emerging social process, which is dictated by the so-called new social Darwinism. New conflicts and new contradictions, such as conflicts between information haves and have-nots, are emerging. Injustice is deepening; and intensity of the conflict is mounting to cause greater violence and their cyclical acceleration.

Social justice, social security, social peace and social reconciliation are to be redesigned in the global process in which the neo-liberal ideology makes the people worship the ideology of the competition. In ideology the victor is glorified regardless of any means and any ways used. The people need a new approach for common living in all levels of local, national and global communities.

The welfare state social security system as well as socialist state social security system must be transformed to establish a dynamic human community with justice, peace and harmony. Prerequisite for this may be people's participation in their local community as their participation is closely connected with network of common human security over the world.

5. Life of Rich Meaningfulness and Fine Beauty: Against Disertisation of the Cultural Life

Culture is the soul of the civilization. It is the art of common life. The people attain their identity, value orientation, aesthetic senses and feast of life. Culture is the art of common life in the cosmos. Culture gives the people their perceptual apparatus and orientation of understanding. Culture is the reservoir of the wisdom of the life of the people in the cosmos.

Globalization affects very much cultures of the peoples and national in the world. This globalization process has an accelerating process of technetronics and cybernetics, along with information and communication in hi-tech form.

Ethnic, national and cultural identity, which is the inner core of the life of the community in the cosmos, is radically eroding due to the impact of the globalization. The powerless and marginalised ethnic and national communities are very much affected.

The perceptions, value orientation and world-views of the people are very much affected by the hi-tech media and communication, which is dictated very much by the global market forces. Mammonism and consumerism, materialism and hedonism are rampantly spread in the minds and hearts of the peoples all over the world. The hi-tech communication and cybernetic informatics affect the market, the politics and societal processes in a most powerful way. What is beautiful is geared to the pleasure market-oriented pleasure mechanism. Knowledge is reduced to the level of technical know-how.

Culture contains the wisdom of the life in the cosmos. The culture is the spiritual home of the life. Spirituality is the vital energy of the life. This is eroded in the globalization process. Modern philosophy, science and technology reduced uprooted spiritual core of the life. The life is reduced to rationality.

Here religious dimension of the culture and therefore the very life has been eradicated from the roots. Religions are substances of civilizations and the cultures are forms in which religious truths and spirituality find expressions. Modernity has reduced the religion to the minimum of what is rational; and the spiritual mystery of the life is suppressed in the name of what is rational. Suppression of the religious vitality has been detrimental to the vitality of the life.

What is most drastic is that the global market will exchange the cultural commodities, which may occupy the main process of the market. Globalization commercializes the popular, mass and indigenous cultures into commodities in the market. This is causing several problems such as homogenization, cultural desertization, identity crisis as well as the drastic injustices in terms of cultural powers of communication and information. As information becomes commodities for market, the information gap will seriously affect the balance of power; and it will replace the economic gap between the rich and the poor.

There is a demand for new cultural movement, which is truly life enhancing in the local communities. Asian civilizations enshrine great religious truths and their manifestations, which may the wellspring of wisdom and resources of new life of the peoples in the cosmos. The Asian soil of civilization may be the nest and cradle of the new global civilization, which would counter to the current cultural process under the dictates of globalization. The cultural creativity is very much demanded for the life, not for the profit in the market.

6. Life of Vitality in the Macro- and Micro Cosmos: Against the Destruction of Life

The modernity made a fatal split of the life in the human community from the life in the nature. It also reduced the reality of life to the bio-chemical process. This is the epitome of the modern reductionism in understanding the life.

The industrial civilization, which is based upon modern science and technology, has sought the progress by conquering the natural forces. This created the current environmental destruction process. Unless the fundamental paradigm of the industrial economy and its civilisational assumptions are radically altered and transformed, there can be no solution to the problem of the ecological crisis. This fundamental attitude of modernity is also present in the life sciences. The genetic modification methodology in food production is a prime example, in which the reductionism and domination over the life is consistently executed. This process seriously threatens the life process as a whole, human and natural.

The life is the whole. The life is to be cared for in the Garden of the Life. Gardening of the life demands the respect of the life in the cosmos in its entirety and in its integrity. Enhancing of the life in the cosmos demands an entirely new paradigm of the life, which overcome the understanding and manipulation of the life. Life is to be prospered Against the Damnation of Death and Destruction.

7. Life of Bliss in Celebration: The Life of Curse and Tragedy

The peak bliss of the life is to Glorify God and enjoys it with God. The foundation of such bliss and celebration of the life is based upon the faith in God. God has made the covenant of life in Shalom. The life is the life, when it overcomes the power death. The life is the true life, when it has eternal dimension. The life is truly life, when it is fulfilled in a whole and in a full life. This is the foundation of the new life according to the Biblical teachings. This reality of the blissful life should be realized on this earth in a kairotic way. This is the beginning and the culmination of the study of the life.

We have discussed the role of the Bible and religious traditions for the new life among Asian peoples in the cosmos. Now the theology takes a central place in this deliberation as well.

Theology should be interconnected to all the studies of the life. Theology cannot be separated form all other studies. Theology is a study of new and eternal life. Theology cannot function without all the studies of the whole life in its inter-conceitedness.

V. Conclusion and Summary for Praxis of the New Life

Basic Affirmations:

  1. God is the Creator and Giver of Life to the people of God and to the whole cosmos.
  2. Messianic Celebration of the New Life in New Heaven and Earth is the Fulfillment of the Eternal Life.
  3. The Kairotic Presence of the Spirit is the Dynamic and Pervasive "Vitality" of Life among all the Suffering People/nations and in the Groaning Cosmos.

God and the Life (God's Created Life) are the Partners in the Drama of the Cosmos, in which the Garden of the Life is the centerpiece. This is the Geo-politics of God's Reign.

Notes:

  1. In our times our geo-political paradigm of the pst in time and space has been radically shifted due to the development of science and technology. Terms, such as universal and global has a different meaning today.  The local cannot be separated from the global. One context cannot be regarded as relatively independent. All contexts are inter-connected.

  2. Technocracy is a social regime in which the scientific ad technological elite and power control the center of whole of the social system. The Western corporate institutions such as transnational corporations are key agents in the technocracy, which are closely related to the government, military academic research power centers.

* [The above paper was presented at the URM "Leadership Capacity Building" training programme in Jogjakarta, Indonesia, 18 April - 2 May 2001.]