What thresholds of theology would we cross if we engage the aches and despairs, wisdoms, and hopes in and of Aotearoa New Zealand and the neighboring sea of islands? What thresholds need to be jarred or moved (threshold as opening), probed and raised (threshold as limit)? This book engages these questions in two parts: “(re)Locating Theological Studies” contains essays that interrogate the purposes of theological studies (locally and globally), identify gaps due to the Western heritage and blind spots of “traditional theology,” and provide examples of how those gaps may be bridged when local concerns are engaged; “Nativizing Theological Studies” contains essays that present and engage the heritage and wisdom of tangata whenua (indigenous, native people) of Aotearoa and Pasifika. These essays reaffirm the “native” rhetoric with pride. This collection of essays affirms that theological studies have a future, and that there is a role for theologians in and from Aotearoa New Zealand and Pasifika to play in navigating (into) that future.
Jione Havea is research fellow with Trinity Methodist Theological College (Aotearoa New Zealand) and with the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture (Charles Sturt University, Australia).
Emily Colgan is senior lecturer in biblical studies at Trinity Methodist Theological College in Auckland, New Zealand.
Nāsili Vaka’uta is the current Principal and Ranston Lecturer in Biblical Studies, Trinity Methodist Theological College, Auckland, New Zealand.
1. Nau mai, Haere mai: Welcome
Jione Havea, Emily Colgan, Nāsili Vaka‘uta
(re)Locating theological studies
2. Margins as Thresholds
3. Early Christian Networking and Overcoming Isolation and Competition in Theological Studies in Aotearoa
4. Gift exchange and pae nekeneke: Learnings for theological education from the history of becoming Presbyterian in Aoteoroa New Zealand
5. Whakawhanaungatanga (doing right relationship), Beyond a Failure of Nerve and Imagination
Kathleen P. Rushton
6. Tough Conversations: Engaging with Biblical “Texts of Terror” in Aotearoa New Zealand
Emily Colgan and Caroline Blyth
7. Asking the Right Questions: Noticing and Naming Sexual Abuse
8. Thresholds of Alternatives: Re-imagining the Vocation of Theological Educators
9. Digital Technologies and Theological Education
Nativizing theological studies
10. Māori Theology: Unavoidable, Priority
11. Biculturalism and Democratic Decision-making: Models for Theological Education
12. Once was Colonised: Jesus Christ
Te Aroha Rountree
13. Taniwha, Guardians in Creation: Thresholds for Māori Theology
14. Wheiao, a Threshold: Where Māori and Pākehā meet
Beverly Moana Hall-Smith and Rosemary Dewerse
15. Moana and Qoheleth: Futility in Diaspora?
Brian Fiu Kolia
16. Calling for CONversion
Theologies that have been formed and nurtured beyond colonial confines are key to the relevance of theology. This collection, “from a thickly contextual perspective” (as the editors put it), sets Māori, Pasifika, and Pākehā voices at the thresholds of theology. In the global south, the threshold of homes, buildings, and all entrances, are sacred places that welcome, greet and include all—stranger and friend. In such places, excluded or ignored theological voices find affirmation and freedom of expression. This collection is such a place!
Theology as Threshold is a whāriki (tapestry) that weaves together the voices and rich insights of Māori, Pasifika and Pākehā theologians based in Aotearoa New Zealand. The volume showcases some of the reflections and concrete practices of theologians who are grappling with the complex, open-ended work of decolonising theological education. All of us who teach in seminaries and universities in Oceania (and elsewhere) need to read and learn from these essays!
When theologians from Aotearoa (New Zealand) and Pasifika (Oceania) re-envision theology as space and threshold, the world needs to listen up—not because of prevalent commitments to diversity and inclusion but because our collective survival on this planet depends on it.
This exciting volume invites creative imagination about the thresholds of theology by showcasing the works of Aotearoa and Pasifika scholars. This symphony of voices includes storytelling, rereading the Bible and theology, and critique of theological education. I highly recommend it.