The Art of Indigenous Inculturation
By: Antonio Sison | Foreword by Stephen B. Bevans, SVD
“It is with this conviction that Antonio Sison embarks on a quest to ‘midwife’ the ‘indigenous inculturation’ present in a triptych of images from the ‘folk Catholic imaginary’ in Nairobi in Kenya, Chicago in the United States, and Manila in the Philippines. His purpose is, with a rich hermeneutic of suspicion, generosity, and serendipity, to bring the edges of theologizing to the center. In doing so, however, he reveals to us that, instead of a new theological hegemony (marginal replacing the center), the edges are actually the center.”—From the Foreword
"As we embark upon a synodal process of the Church inspired by Pope Francis, this particular approach to inculturation is of utmost importance since it restores agency and voice to people on the margins whose expressions of the faith have long been ignored and discounted. It also serves as an important compliment to other ways to engage in liturgical inculturation by broadening the intercultural scope of this activity beyond a tokenism that often advocates adopting “exotic” elements into the liturgy without sufficient respect for and input from the very people who worship." -Rev. Mark R. Francis, Englewood Books
Antonio Sison takes readers on an enthralling aesthetic odyssey and hermeneutical rendezvous with the authentic craftspeople of a liberating indigenous theological imagination on three continents of the Global South. His book is a fascinating tale told by a proficient storyteller who regales readers with riveting narratives, interpretations, and insights. ―Agbonkhianmeghe E. Orobator, SJ, President, Jesuit Conference of Africa and Madagascar
Richly sourced and organically grounded, Sison’s work exemplifies a well-constructed reversal of power. Using an ‘aesthetics of liberation,’ he reveals how faith is re-imagined, re-imaged, and re-invigorated in cultures discriminatorily dismissed as ‘other.’ ―Cecilia González-Andrieu, author, Bridge to Wonder: Art as a Gospel of Beauty
With an artist’s eye and an insider's perspective, Filipino theologian Antonio Sison has further enhanced the craft of inculturation. His masterful interweaving of the hermeneutics of suspicion, appreciation, and serendipity with illuminating examples has enriched its theological method. ―José M. de Mesa, author, Why Theology is Never Far from Home
Antonio Sison has advanced both our understanding and our practice of inculturation with this remarkable book. By focusing upon Indigenous genius, and by revealing 'serendipity'—that epiphany of surprise and sagacity—as the nexus of the divine-human encounter, he has brought us to a new place in doing theology in the World Church. Robert J. Schreiter, author, Constructing Local Theologies
This breathtakingly beautiful, scholarly, and thought-provoking book is basically about one thing: doing justice to the incarnation. It is the doctrine that confesses not only that God became human, but that God became flesh, became material, thereby signifying the holiness of all God’s creation.
Antonio Sison is associate professor of systematic theology, and chair of the department of Historical and Doctrinal Studies at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. He received his PhD at the Catholic University in Nijmegen, Netherlands. His previous books include The Sacred Foodways of Film (Wipf and Stock); World Cinema, Theology, and the Human (Routledge); and Screening Schillebeeckx: Theology and Third Cinema in Dialogue (Palgrave Macmillan).