Wednesday, December 14, 2005

voxpop: towards globaletheia

Voxpop,[1] or “voice of the people”, is British slang. It is a term used to reference the collision of high culture and folk culture. It is the creation of pop culture. Voxpop is both a deconstruction and a combination of class division. Bono singing with Frank Sinatra, and Baz Lurhman’s offbeat take on Romeo and Juliet, are cultural examples of the increasing prevalence of voxpop in our world and we’re only going to see more of it as the globe shrinks. And the smaller the world gets, the easier it is to get around, and the more we get around the more we learn an unalterable truth about our small world: travel affects us.
Whether it’s Gulliver on the island of Lilliput, Alexander entering India, or the British occupation of Hong Kong, humanity is altered when confronted by another, alternate humanity; and, sometimes, it is within those alterations that we learn what is common about man, and what is uncommon.
So it is with faith.
Whether it began with ancient Hebrew proselitization, or the missionary travels of the Apostle Paul, and, later, David Livingston, or the unfettered zeal of the Crusades, the journey of Christian faith around the globe has both pruned and funded the growth of faith itself. It is the preferences and spice of other cultures that temper the iron of western militarism, and the language and devotion of new worlds that have sweetened the expression of an Anglo-Germanic faith long taught and transmitted hierarchically. It is the beauty of Eastern mystery and myth that warms the intellect of the West and its mind for capital.
Having traveled extensively, it has become increasingly apparent to me that a truly global church must not merely be a collection of different ethnicities and nationalities, but a representation of all people before the very God who dwells within them. To this end, I have begun a collection of foreign figures of speech and transliterations that I believe are a beginning – only a beginning – towards a world theology. This globaletheia[2] lives beneath the surface of the 21st Century, but stretches backwards for thousands of years.
On the one hand, these words and phrases are just words and phrases, but on the other hand they are so much more. These are representations of cultural milieu, of shared history and journey, of a search for the divine across the globe and across time. These words and phrases are like icebergs, showing a little text to represent a giant, hidden truth. We must learn to incorporate such truth in our search to approach God as one people.
I have chosen seven examples of voxpop for this text. Each have been chosen from a different region, each expressing a different perspective on faith and ecclesiology, and each one leading us towards the new rites and rituals of our global village and worship of the Creator.

[1] It is also one of the terms I have rejected [see Appendix A] for use in this paper, as I felt it was too “Anglophonic” and “western” to be of use in this specific context.

[2] From globe and Gr. “aletheia”, which means truth. Cf. Strongs’ # 225.

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