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Open Access Stanley Hauerwas and ‘Chan Tai-man’: an analysis of Hong Kong laypeople's lived theology and Hong Kong theologians’ engagement with Stanley Hauerwas's political theology from a practical theology perspective

This article is Open Access under the terms of the Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND licence.

Hong Kong Christian communities often draw upon theological resources from the West. But can Western theological sources be meaningfully applied to Hong Kong? Western theological sources stem from Western epistemologies, which may not necessarily resonate with the values or cultural assumptions of Hong Kong Christians. The lived experiences of ‘Chan Tai-man,’ a placeholder name for average Hong Kong Christians, can be a source for exploring Hong Kong Christian epistemologies. ‘Chan's’ lived theology has significance for the field of practical theology in considering how majority world epistemologies can impact the Western world, especially regarding Christianity in individualistic societies. This paper analyses Hong Kong theologians’ engagement with Stanley Hauerwas's theological convictions and makes a critical comparison to ‘Chan's’ lived theology. First, the article will address (1) why Hauerwasian theology resonates with Hong Kong theologians and (2) why Hong Kong Hauerwasians think Hauerwas's ideas would be useful in the Hong Kong context. Second, after explaining the author's ethnographic research methods, the article will illustrate ‘Chan's’ lived theology, followed by a comparison between the two approaches. In conclusion, while Hong Kong theologians’ engagement with Hauerwas makes an adequate start, Hong Kong Christian communities’ understanding of political theology will eventually have to be broadened through a critical self-reflection of Hong Kong lived theology.

Keywords: Ethnography; Hong Kong studies; Lived theology; Political theology; Stanley Hauerwas

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Philosophy, Religion, and History of Science, Centre of Religion and Public Life, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK

Publication date: March 4, 2023

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