Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

“Behold I make all things new . . .” – Globalization and the Reign of God

Written by: on September 27, 2012

“Woman of Pakistani origin is Norwegian Culture Minister”, screamed one of India’s top dailies in its front page headlines on the 25th of September.  Hadia Tajik”is the first Muslim and the youngest Minister ever in Norwegian political history”.  The news article further closes with this very remarkable statement by the Prime Minister of Norway who is also Ms. Tajik’s former professor, “Hadia is not a foreigner.  She was born here, on the West coast of Norway in a small village or district which is home to 600 people.  She might have done degrees from Oslo and from the U.K. but she remains very rooted and even speaks the West Country dialect from Strand.  We hope she will be a peacemaker, especially during the troubled times we are currently witnessing” (Naravane 2012). This news isn’t really uncommon in today’s world.  ‘Indian origin Sikh elected mayor of U.S. City’, ‘Indian origin Muslim elected mayor of U.K. city’ and of course, man of Japanese origin President of Peru, the list goes on. They are the underpinnings of globalization and visible marks of an increasing form of ‘cosmopolitanism’ or ‘internationalism’ as expressed by Ulrich Beck and cited by Elliot. (Elliot 2008)

However, reading this news item alongside Elliot’s pages on Globalization was like an epiphany for me.   I have carried a somewhat negative attitude toward Globalization holding the view of many critics that Elliot describes as, “advanced capitalism in its broadest sense and thus by implication the term has come to revolve around Americanization” (Elliot 2008). This reading has placed me on a different and higher vantage point that is giving me a wider and better perspective.  It is helping me to understand both the positive and the negative side to this issue.  Coming from a developing country and having given my life to the uplifting of people at the grassroots, it has been difficult for me to see some of the negative consequences of Globalization and its effects on the masses of poverty stricken people.

I am now coming to grips with a few realities.  First of all, the fact that Globalization has spread its tentacles everywhere.  They are nudging their way into every nook and corner of community and individual lives all over the world.  Globalization is here to stay. It is permeating our lives consciously and unconsciously.  It cannot be wished away; neither can it be fought down and controlled.  I am learning to embrace this reality not with an ‘if you can’t win them, join them’ attitude, but more with a positive outlook on how as a Christian leader this unstoppable force can be harnessed and directed for the Kingdom and for the Glory of God.

Secondly,  my Faith teaches me that the ‘Good News’  is all about God creating a global community that is to be inclusive of all of humanity embracing all of its diversity.   Again, with all of the economic and political ramifications of Globalization and its consequences in terms of issues relating to democracy, cosmopolitanism, social justice, militarism and terrorism along with Ulrich Beck’s descriptions of the emerging ‘global risks’ of ‘xenophobic nationalisms, religious fundamentalism, multinational monopolies’,  I am led to still agree with Professor Goudzwaard that “the intrinsic worth of creation means that we cannot demonize what God has given us, and globalization can be an appropriate use of God’s good gifts”. (Hill, 2001)  In one sense it can be said that globalization has always been a part of human history.  But now we are seeing and experiencing it in an unprecedented scope and velocity.

The question, now for me is not whether as a Christian leader I should be for or against globalization. Instead, the question is, ‘What kind of globalization should I be supporting and leading and influencing others to move towards?’   I believe with Goudzwaard that economic life under the control of God can be redemptive in that it can “honor the worldwide diversity of God’s good creation and prefigure the reign of the coming Lord” (Hill 2001).  In this present process of globalization I also see a great potential for the spreading of God’s Kingdom and its values.

Jesus said, “I have come to preach and proclaim the Kingdom of God”.  I have learnt from history that Hellenism in the first century led to the rapid spread of the Gospel and the message of Jesus immediately after His time on this earth.   Would present Globalization lead to that day and time of which the prophet Isaiah spoke about centuries ago saying :  “ The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together …  for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”?(Is.11:6-9 NIV)

This present historic ‘Kairos’ moment is definitely leading humanity toward the eschatological hope and vision that I have as a Christian. The Apostle John saw it in his visions on the island of Patmos and wrote:  “I saw a New Heaven and a New Earth”.   This is the vision I want to keep before me moving forward as I lead.   The following words of John come to me with a deeper meaning now than ever: “He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Rev. 21:5 NIV)

Elliot, Anthony. Contemporary Social Theory: An Introduction. Kindle. New York, NY: Taylor and Francis, 2008.                                                                                                                                       

Hill, Peter J. Religion and Liberty. Vers. Volume 11 Number 6. December 2001.

http://www.acton.org/about/people/peter-j-hill (accessed September 26th, 2012).

 Naravane, Vaiju. “Woman of Pakistani origin is Norwegian Culture Minister.” The Hindu.Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu: The Hindu, September 25th, 2012. 1.

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