DMINLGP

DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

For Such A Time As This

Written by: on October 29, 2015

Could LGP6 have existed in 1955; or is it for such a time as this?

Contemporary Social Theory: An Introduction is a survey of social theory, including and addressing older and newer social theories. The book seeks to answer the question: “What is society?” Its topics bring into focus the realities of how globalization has affected societies around the world.

My impression is that a D Min studying Leadership and Global Perspectives is more relevant and pertinent now than ever before. My life-experiences in my home town as well as in Hong Kong and many other countries support the notion that we truly have become a global community, with significant cross-cultural influence for any society that engages with those outside their own social grouping.

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“Globalization” is a key term in contemporary social theory. I have seen globalization in many ways. I stood one evening in the entryway of my church in Corvallis and could hear English, Spanish, and Korean being spoken by three different churches having meetings in our building. Last Sunday I preached in a Spanish-language church and may have been standing in the sanctuary of a corner church in Corvallis, OR, but during the two hour worship service I was not in the U.S.A. as I know it.

The world is increasing in globalization. Personally, I have been in 38 foreign countries and think nothing of getting onto an airplane and flying half way around the world. As a child/adolescent in the 1950’s and 1960’s this would have been unthinkable.

As the book addresses a number of different schools of thought that seek to analyze and critique culture, it becomes apparent that how we understand societies is changing. Structuralsim, feminism, and a number of other approaches to social theory affect society and are affected by society. The reality of complex society is quiet clear.

Contemporary Social Theory is both intriguing and irritating. Social theory, as a discipline, is fascinating, but by the time I reached chapter three, I thought that if I read the words “oppression” or “repression” one more time I would scream. That the Frankfurt School has philosophical ties to Marxism seems blatantly obvious. As a non-social-theorist my impression is that the social theories presented are too heavily weighted toward seeing society through the lense of issues related to authority and repression and controlling behaviors. This seems to be a rather monolithic world view.

However I found helpful aspects of this book.

Dr. Elliott writes, “The term ‘globalization’ has been social theory’s most famed recent reply to the complexities of people’s lives today. Again, social theorists have invented new terms to capture, and indeed define our new global times…’global transformations,’… ‘borderless world,’… and ‘glocalization.’” [1]

This quotation establishes the value of a course entitled “Leadership and Global Perspectives.” It is because of the societal phenomenon described by Dr. Elliott and the scholars he quotes that we see the necessity of our D. Min studies. If we are going to provide quality Christian leadership in our inter-connected world, studying these issues has great value.

As I look to my D Min project of developing ministry training for the global community that is on our doorstep in Corvallis, my current semester research focus is developing Cultural Intelligence. Developing Cultural Intelligence would be, in part, to gain a little working knowledge of social and linguistic cues in other cultures. For example, a friend helped me learn a couple of years ago (as she stopped me as I tried to extend my hand) that as an American male I should not shake hands with a middle-eastern woman.

Reading of the diversity of social systems and thinking toward Cultural Intelligence I am trying to determine the kinds of questions I can ask international students in order to relate leadership principles to them in culturally understandable ways. As I read Contemporary Social Theory, possible interview questions formed in my mind:

-How are individuals influenced by other people in your culture?
-How do leaders most effectively influence people and groups?
-What is similar living in the United States to your life at home? What is different?
(Yesterday I attended a weekly lunch for international students. I asked a graduate student from Nepal, “What is different…?” He replied, “Everything.”)

As I read I also began to wonder how much social structures affect my behaviors. It is risky, but I asked myself the question, “Why do I honor my marriage covenant?” If I am honest, the reality is there are at least four reasons.
1. I love my wife.
2. Fear of the Lord – in terms of respect, reverence, and belief that obedience to God is good.
3. The institution of marriage is still esteemed in our society, and I want to avoid the shame of breaking this social convention.
4. Realizing the damage caused to parishioners and Kingdom work by a pastor breaking the marriage covenant, I strive to honor my vocation.

# 1 and 2 are internal values and commitments.
# 3 and 4 are the influence of social structures

As life plays out, there may be days that # 1 and 2 keep me motivated. On other days, #3 and 4 may hold more power.

As I read this book, I also reflected on the movie/book “The Help.” In that story we see small white children cared for by African-American maids employed by wealthy white families. It is apparent that these small children deeply love the maids. I asked myself, “How can children be so loved and influenced by black maids/nannies when they are very young, and yet grow up to be so racist? What are the societal influencers that override the influence and quality of care they experienced as children?”

Contemporary Social Theory has been a helpful book because it caused me to ask personal questions, American society questions, and it showed the value and relevance of our D Min studies. Because life has become so globalized, Leadership and Global Perspectives is more needed and relevant today than any time in history.

[1] p. 8

About the Author

mm

Marc Andresen

I have a B. A. in Music from San Diego State University and received an M. Div. from Fuller Theological Seminary in 1977. July 1 2015 I retired after 38 years in pastoral ministry. The passion and calling that developed in the last 20 years is leadership training in cross-cultural contexts, as my wife and I have had many opportunities to teach in Eastern Europe and Africa. I have been married for 38 years and have two adult children, one daughter-in-law and a beautiful granddaughter. My hobbies are photography and British sports cars.

8 responses to “For Such A Time As This”

  1. Claire Appiah says:

    Marc,
    Thanks for your excellent blog! It is a fact of life globalization is here to stay and will continue to take on new forms and structures as it moves along at an ever faster and faster pace. Unlike you I have not yet determined specifically how the information in Elliott’s book on globalization will impact my LGP6 program because I am still ruminating over certain aspects of it. I do know that Elliott speaks truthfully about, “the myriad ways in which the forces of globalism impact upon both the personal and social aspects of everyday life . . . for anyone wanting to understand these changes, it is necessary to get grips with what globalization is, with what it is doing to our societies, and with the profound consequences it carries for our personal and emotional lives. (334).

  2. mm Rose Anding says:

    Thanks Marc, for the globalization perspective of the contemporary social theory.

    We live in a world of globalization; because communication between the people of different countries is essential. This communication must not try to cause a melting pot of cultures but rather be a sharing of various cultures. I have noticed in some of my research, concerning the world system theory , how the theories of social life in the modern day society, globalization and contemporary social theory seem to be pair together in reflecting the social change that are experienced in the current world whereby there is massive integration of activities, people, and the telecommunication sector.
    One of Contemporary social theory theme is how social changes that take place almost in everyday life such as globalization, information technologies, techno industrialization of war .I believe the impact of technological advancement has contributed to shrinking the world into a small town. Does mass communication technology means that time and space boundaries are permeable and could enables us to easy cross different types of boundaries so that we can travel around the world when we are completely motionless.
    It appears that contemporary globalization processes have many faces or dimension such as religious, culture, technology, politics and economy; but how it all fits together I am not really sure, you seem have a better take on this one. A great blog and hope you are getting a chance to enjoy your granddaughter!
    Thanks for a great blog. Rose Maria

    • mm Marc Andresen says:

      Rose,

      I’m not at all sure I have a better take on the globalization dynamics. I feel fortunate to have had opportunities to observe it.

      The technology side we see in our cohort, such as with Glenn W giving faculty advising from Australia.

      There’s no globalization yet with my granddaughter – since she lives very close by. Yes it’s fun with her.

  3. Hi Mark. Great Blog!
    Interesting you brought up The Help. My daughter is currently reading it so we have been discussing it around the house. I agree with your question. I think it is especially appropriate to ask given that these white children grow up and consider themselves Christian. How does that work? I think sociology can help here. As much as we as Christians want to be perfect as our heavenly father is perfect, we all still fall short.

  4. mm Marc Andresen says:

    Aaron,

    One of the unsolvable mysteries of this life is how anyone claims Christian faith and is still a racist. I just don’t get it.

    As we have discussed thinking critically and thinking theologically, I’ve seen far too many instances of alleged Christians basing their values and making their choices based on their sociology and politics rather than based on hard-worked theology.

  5. Great job, Marc!

    Relevance is greater than our message – it’s the measurement of our influence. How are our words, actions, interactions and platform affecting the globe? Relevance creates disciples who are willing to step out of our doors and into the world. Relevance reveals Christ. Are our ministries relevant or have they become stagnant? You see, in order to affect the nations, we must learn to interpret our audience’s language. What are their needs? What is their voice? Do we care to listen?

    I attended a church years ago, where the pastor spoke with authority, but ignored the audience. He had been a minster for over 20 years and had recycled sermon-after-sermon throughout his journey as a pastor. He was a wonderful speaker, but he failed to understand his audience. His message was egocentric. The audience was attentive but unaffected. Kristeva argues that, “While language is the realm of meaning and its encounters with the rules of social interaction, the dynamism of self and society is sustained and nourished by deeper emotional forces” (Elliott, 228). Relevance must seek to understand the emotional reaction of language and approach the message from the audience’s standpoint.

  6. mm Marc Andresen says:

    Coleen,

    That’s a wonderful statement: “Relevance is…the measurement of our influence.” That really cuts to the point.

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