SALT is a scholarly, Orthodox journal of Cross-Cultural Theology, Dialogue and Mission
The world of the 3rd Millennium is becoming ever smaller; the “ends of the world” are no longer remote. All peoples are our “neighbours,” both in a theological, sociological and ecological sense. The triune God, the God of our fathers, our God of infinite love, is still working through the Holy Spirit for the salvation and liberation of the whole creation. We humans and in particular people of faith are labourers in the vineyard of our Lord.
A new awareness of mission has emerged gradually among the Orthodox over the past two centuries, and today mission is a reality of the Church worldwide, shaping its very identity in the course of history. Nevertheless, scholarly reflection in the area of mission is still largely neglected by theological institutions, or inadequately and poorly served. Yet, steps have been taken and Missiology is now taught at Universities and other Institutions, and has been sporadically introduced at post-graduate level. In the future, this will to some extent address the question of the adequacy, quality and expertise of the teachers in the mission and/or Missiology field.
Still, further steps need to be taken to promote international cooperation and sharing. Very important structures have been established at the ecumenical level, and wisdom and expertise is being shared worldwide, increasing and enriching our experience in the field. Yet among the Orthodox, it was only recently that a Missiology Group was established, under the aegis of IOTA, where Orthodox scholars can meet with their peers. Collaboration is of the utmost necessity when it comes to larger projects that exceed the capacity of individuals or small groups of people. Besides, a reflection on the practical and daily achievements in the mission field is vital in order to avoid grave methodological mistakes and to enrich and inspire.
The Church embraces the world in different contexts. As an act of love, solidarity, justice and liberation, it shares with all humanity the salvific reality of the Resurrection and the Kingdom of God, already present and yet to come. If we wish to embrace the world in its richness and variety, we should also work for a plurality of aspects and viewpoints in our theological scholarship. One has to understand that mission is not a one way endeavour. Peoples and cultures welcomed into the Church have their own valuable background, and they should also have the possibility to make their voice heard, meet with the others, increase in self-awareness and enrich the Orthodox Church with the gift of their civilisation, language, art, customs and culture which are their own particular offering to Christ our God.
There are already many periodicals and even more websites promoting mission, disseminating news and requesting funds. This is all very good, yet something that is missing is reflection. In addition, there are aspects of missionary reality that never come to light, because to raise them would put a less than optimistic construction on a supposedly flourishing missionary situation.
We are a group of expert scholars in the fields of Missiology, Interfaith Dialogue, Cultural Anthropology, History and Religious Studies. We wish to serve scholarly research on mission and we think an academic journal on Orthodox Mission is greatly needed. It should be letting in the freshness and variety of the world and bring together experts in the field, as well as initiating cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary exchange in relation to mission and dialogue. Keeping in mind Mt 5:13 and reflecting the desire for Christians to enhance the ‘savour’ and beauty of the world we cherish and live in, we call it Salt: Crossroads of Religions and Cultures.
This is a project that took shape during the Inaugural IOTA Conference on Conciliarity, being felt as a need by members of the Missiology Group Steering Committee.
The IOTA Missiology Group Vision Statement includes a description of a vision of mission that we share:
“Responding to these [21st Century] challenges, Orthodox understanding of the ‘economy of the Holy Spirit’ has impacted inter-faith dialogue, while the concept of the ‘liturgy after the liturgy’ has challenged Christians to reflect on how Eucharistic worship can be lived out in the context of daily life. The term ‘witness’ (martyria) has contributed to an understanding of Christian mission as dialogue and reconciliation rather than one-sided proselytism. Orthodox theologians have contributed to a renewed awareness of mission as something vital to the very nature of the Church as it participates in the mission of the Triune God, while their holistic understanding of salvation has challenged Christians to expand the scope of their witness to engagement with global economic, social and environmental issues. […] This reflection on the missionary dimension of the Orthodox Church in the contemporary world needs to take place alongside a re-articulation of her missionary heritage throughout history. While an incarnational understanding of the Church’s task has frequently led to commitment to use of local languages, indigenous leadership and sensitive approaches to local cultures, the close identification of Orthodox faith and national culture means that missionary work in the context of empire has at times involved cultural imperialism and violence. The rediscovery and critical reassessment of both the strengths and shortcomings of the Orthodox Church’s missionary history would both inform and enrich contemporary missional vision, vocation and practice, thus promoting the renewal of the Church.”
Salt is a Journal published by Maistros Publications, Athens, Greece.
It is planned as a biannual journal in printed and electronic form. Issue Nr. 1 is planned for autumn 2020.
In between the biannual period, there is a possibility of publishing some articles on line in a Salt in-Between electronic issue.
See our Guidelines for Authors.
Salt will also assist, facilitate and encourage regional or global meetings of experts in the field of Missiology and related areas of interest.
See Who we are.