Theology. David Ford suggests that “(t)heology at its broadest is thinking about questions raised by and about the religions.”  Grenz and Olson narrow that definition down to “any reflection on the ultimate questions of life that point toward God.”  I might narrow it further to be man’s attempt to understand God. That definition itself raises an quandary: how can man, in our finite and limited context, understand God who is (based on some descriptions of God) infinite and not limited to context? How does the physical explain the supernatural which cannot be measured nor proven using our known methodologies?
From the beginning, theology is complicated.
Man lives in context. Our context includes our physical environment (where we live, where we are from), our social environment (our family, our work, our social status, our educational background), and our cultural environment (our collective values, beliefs, practices and traditions). Our individual contexts are familiar to us. The place where we grew up, the family into which we were born, and the traditions of our culture, inform our understanding of the world. And God. Sometimes, what is so familiar, becomes interpreted as correct, and not just a reflection of our context.
It is into this realm that Simon Chan suggests we should delve further. Chan suggests that in order to understand the Asian church and theology (in the most broad sense) one must also understand the cultural context. Chan also notes the challenge of this.
The brief foregoing consideration of Asia’s multireligious contexts shows that there is no one theology of God that suits every situation. Each religious context has its own set of issues that Christians must address. This does not, however, mean that the Christian view of God should change to suit each religious context. 
Chan compares what he refers to as elitist Asian theology, that grounded in the academy and more likely to be influenced by traditional Christian theology, to grassroots theology, that is what the local church actually practices as a living out of theology.
At times while reading, I found myself frustrated. Chan gives a thorough overview of many theologians and perspectives. But I got hung up on what I consider “the littles”: the minor nuances of human interpretation. In reality, I am simply frustrated by the finite attempting to define the infinite. Our words are too small; our understanding is too limited. All of our attempts will always fall short because the mind of man simply cannot grasp the mind of God.
Does this mean that we should not attempt to describe God, man’s relationship to Him, and our meaning and purpose? By all means no. Once I move past this, I begin to see how gaining a perspective from a cultural context other than my own can only increase my understanding of who God might be. The familiar creates a box. The unfamiliar, if I can allow myself to consider it, opens new insights and possibilities.
For example, I became particularly thoughtful when considering the perspective of a “shame and honor” culture regarding sin and humanity. The western perspective considers the individual, and our individual relationship with God. We enter into a personal relationship with Him when we become Christians. When we sin, we discuss this as being personally guilty. However, the impact of our sin is often seen solely in our personal experience. In Asian cultures that are more shame and honor oriented, my sin causes harm to another, namely God, and takes away both His and my own honor. Human beings tend to become more conscientious when they recognize how their behavior impacts others. Regarding sin:
We have dishonored the Triune God, brought shame on ourselves, and caused a breach in the divine-human relationship. As we become aware of God’s righteousness and our sinfulness, it should be experienced not only as an internal realization of guilt, but also as an increased awareness that we collectively stand ashamed before God. In other words, God’s righteousness not only declares us forensically guilty, it also places us as relationally distanced and shamed before the presence of the Triune God. 
Conversely, when God forgives us, He restores our honor. His relational gift is what allows us to forgive ourselves and move away from a life of shame and isolation. This perspective is perhaps far more healing and restorative than a perspective that focuses solely on the individual.
Chan intentionally sets the elitist theologians against or in contrast to grassroots theology. While at times I think he got a little stuck in the details, at the same time, I began to draw another important insight. I, personally, am not much of a denominationalist. But I respect and value what I believe is God’s command to be part of the church. “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:23-25). The concept of the church in the early days, was new and unfamiliar. But believers were encouraged to assemble together for teaching, shared worship, and community building. The church provides structure and accountability for human beings who, left to our own devices, have a tendency to wander. While I may not agree with every theological point or doctrine of any one denomination, the church is God’s chosen bride. How we live, collectively, communicates the gospel of Christ, that of love, forgiveness and reconciliation. How we live as the church communicates our living theology, or understanding of God. Being a part of the church means releasing part of my individual identity – and personal theological “littles” – to identify with Christ and His Church. This is certainly not always easy, but I don’t believe that it was intended to be. I believe that it was intended to transform us.
 David Ford, Theology: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999, p. 3.
 Stanley J. Grenz and Roger E. Olson, Who Needs Theology? An Invitation to the Study of God, Downers Grove, Il: InterVarsity Press, 1996, p. 13.
 Simon Chan, Grassroots Asian Theology: Thinking About Faith from the Ground Up, Downers Grove Il: IVP Academic, 2014, p. 65.
 Timothy Tennent, as cited by Simon Chan, Grassroots Asian Theology: Thinking About Faith from the Ground Up, Downers Grove Il: IVP Academic, 2014, p. 87.