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Thursday, November 03, 2005

Inculturation

The Christmas stamps this year have managed to offend Hindus. I suppose one can see their point; after all, I would find it unsettling to see a picture of a habited nun, say, venerating Ganesh. (And I suppose, sadly, there probably are photos somewhere of clergy who've taken inculturation into the realms of syncretism and are doing Hindu or Buddhist things; I'm sure I've read about such developments, alas.) On the other hand, the picture is, it seems, a genuine fruit of inculturation, not some awful made-up self-consciously multi-cultural image. (Bit of an excess of hyphens there...) It is within a set of stamps which precisely aims to show representations of the Madonna and Child within different cultures (though sadly not, it seems, including one of the beautiful Chinese versions). I think it would therefore not be ill-mannered to retain the stamp; but suspect that in concluding this I am influenced by a) thinking it's very pretty and wanting to post stuff with it on; and b) desiring to point out that people can convert to Christianity, and that one is not strait-jacketed within a culture as liberal multi-cultural-ists seem to think. More articulate opinions, anyone?