Recognizing that one-third of the world's Christians practice their faith outside Europe and North America, the fourteen essays in Mother Tongue Theologies explore how international fiction depicts Christianity's dramatic movement South and East of Jerusalem as well as North and West. Structured by geographical region, this collection captures the many ways in which people around the globe receive Christianity. It also celebrates postcolonial literature's diversity. And it highlights non-Western authors' biblical literacy, addressing how and why locally rooted Christians invoke Scripture in their pursuit of personal as well as social transformation. Featured authors include Fyodor Dostoevsky, Constantine Cavafy, Scott Cairns, Chinua Achebe, Madam Afua Kuma, Earl Lovelace, V. S. Reid, Ernesto Cardenal, Helena Parente Cunha, Arundhati Roy, Mary Martha Sherwood, Marguerite Butler, R. M. Ballantyne, Rudyard Kipling, Nora Okja Keller, Amy Tan, Albert Wendt, and Louise Erdrich.
Individual essayists rightly come to different conclusions about Christianity's global character. Some connect missionary work with colonialism as well as cultural imperialism, for example, and yet others accentuate how indigenous cultures amalgamate with Christianity's foreignness to produce mesmerizing, multiple identities. Differences notwithstanding, Mother Tongue Theologies delves into the moral and spiritual issues that arise out of the cut and thrust of native responses to Western Christian presence and pressure. Ultimately, this anthology suggests the reward of listening for and to such responses, particularly in literary art, will be a wider and deeper discernment of the merits and demerits of post-Western Christianity, especially for Christians living in the so-called post-Christian West.