Friday, July 22, 2016

Ministering in a Globalised World

The renewal program participants with Fr. Bonaventure Kamuli

The Module “Ministering in a globalized World was facilitated by Fr Bonaventure KAMULI from the Archdiocese of MWANZA, Tanzania. At the beginning he pointed out that our focus would be on Globalization and Ministry. 

Of course, he noted that, each of the participants is involved in one ministry or another as we all try our best to fulfil the mandate the Church has received from our Lord Jesus Christ: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”Matthew 28: 19. In fact our various ministries are carried out in our world more and more in a globalized way that we could not help focusing a lot on Globalization. Moreover, as each of us ministers we feel as though living in a world with a shrinking space and time, a global society in which folks are linked or connected together. The whole of humanity depend on each other in such a way that all are overwhelmed by the progress in new technologies. We have never experienced the use of new tools before as it is today. And, the whole world is subdued by the rule of the new economy and the culture of consumerism with new Actors like the World Trade Organization, the Multinational Corporations and a global networks of Non-Governmental Organisations. 

Fr. Bonaventure Kamuli giving the workshop

Fr. KAMULI remarked that ministering in this world is possible if we try to give some meaning to Globalization. He recalled that Globalization can be viewed in different dimensions. Nevertheless, we can overrule nowadays the clash of civilizations which brings the rise of Anti-Globalization Movements and the strengthening of Identities against Globalisation. 

The meaning of Globalisation

After brain storming on what globalization could mean to each one of us, Fr KAMULI was quick to observe that it was not easy to define the globalization. Thus, he exposed what globalization could mean to different scholars politically, sociologically, economically, and culturally among others. Still he noted that Globalization should be viewed as “a process of intensification (even speeding), stretching or extension of human activities, relations and networks across the globe. Of course, when we try to define globalization we can’t overrule the fact that it is a process as it is mentioned by renowned Scholars like Martin ALBROW, Anthony GIDDENS, Roland ROBERTSON, Eduardo ANINAT, and Hans-Henrik HOLM and Georg SORENSEN in their definition of Globalisation.

Some characteristics of Globalisation

 After all, Globalization contains some characteristics such as a set of processes bringing about social changes at one hand and speeding up or stretching, expending, or intensifying human activities, relations, networks across the globe at the other hand. Therefore, Fr KAMULI admitted that globalization has some driving force that make it irreversible like the impact of information and the communication technologies, the Economic factors, the world economy or the Capitalism with its free market policies, and the political changes, issues or mechanism. 

The driving forces of globalisation

So, all these features and driving forces and important factors of the globalization have helped us to focus on three dimensions of globalization: the economical, the political and the cultural dimensions. Indeed, the economical dimension has highlighted globalization as the increasing interdependence of National economies in the world. As a result we talk more about international economy, economic integration, the global marketplace and foreign resources, corporations, liberalization of Capital and deregulation, neo-liberalism, free market, rules of free trade among many other issues. 

The dimensions of globalisation

As for the political globalization, it brings to light the concepts of ‘state-nation’ and ‘sovereignty’. Quickly, Fr. KAMULI admitted that globalization is a threat to the ‘nation-state’ and the ‘sovereignty’ of the countries. Thus with the advent of the globalization, States can’t pursue their policies autonomously. With the migrants, and the new social movements national societies lack stability. The growing interest in international human rights coupled with the power of global or transnational organizations, as well as the terrorism threaten the autonomy of the Nation-State.
In fact the cultural globalization refers to the impact or the extensiveness of cultural flows across the globe. Therefore the cultures of the world’s most powerful societies flow into weak and marginalized societies. This is possible because of the powerful role the Media. This power is seen in the communication networks and in the extensive transnational transmission or exchange of cultural products. The impact of the cultural globalization can be measured through the cultural differentialism and the cultural hybridization or convergence. Thus the cultures of the West challenge the cultures of the South and prevail on them. As matter of fact, there emerges first the cultural Hybridization which is the mixing of cultures, some unique combinations difficult to capture called glocalization. And secondary we have the cultural convergence whereas powerful cultures sweep away weaker cultures.

The Globalization and the Identity

At this junction, Fr KAMULI observed that the issue of Identity in globalization rises a great deal.  Of course it is easy to refer identity to nationalism in the context of the state-nation. But in this era of globalization, we can have a large scale nationalism which refers to a ‘macro social identification’ or a collective identity or pluralization of identities. So shall we be worried about the feat of the national identity?

 Yes!  Therefore Fr KAMULI advanced that the National Identity has been the source of some mysterious force of the social cohesion. It has also been the source of legitimacy, loyalty, trust and sovereignty. Yet the globalization is becoming a threat for the national distinctiveness or uniqueness. At the end Fr KAMULI is foreseeing two (2) phenomena: the perspective of the state-nations which affirm their cultural distinctiveness or the rise of micro-nations at one side (China & Saudi Arabia) and the growth of some other type of macro-nations ‘above’ states like European Union or Arab League on the other side. The latter has some other corollaries as it grooms some pluralization of identities greater in a subtle way. These non-territorial identities are seen in Humanity (Humanitarian Operations), environmental issues and climate change, legitimated military engagements, Transworld human rights, solidarity around development, racial consciousness, gender inequalities, and religion among many.  Definitively, we can exclude some amalgamations that can highlight what Samuel HUNTINGTON called the clash of Civilisations. 

The clash of civilisations

Fr KAMULI dwelt on the works of Samuel HUNTINGTON who admitted that at the end of the Cold War, with the change of the world order and the advent of globalization, the cultural differences gave birth to the clash of civilizations: Western civilization against Arab civilization for instance. This clash emerges from the cultural fault lines separating the eight (8) Major civilizations (Western, Japanese, Chinese, Oriental, Islamic, African, Hindu, and Latino-American) from one another. It is a fact that these civilizations differ from each other in terms of political ideologies that each of them supports. So there will be clash because of the increase of interactions between these civilizations. The clash can also come from the economic integration and social changes. The conflict between secularization and the un-secularization can lead to that clash. So the world religions can also be the source of this clash. And the increase of economic regionalism with its civilizations, consciousness can finally enable this clash. In all, there is a longstanding clash between the Western Civilization and the Rest of the world.  From this clash, we have the anti-globalization movements among others  
The anti-globalisation Movements

The anti-globalization Movements, according to Fr KAMULI, arises from the folks’ skepticism about the resolution of States and International Institutions to solve long standing and important problems like the global poverty, climate change, etc. The Advocates/Activists of these movements are against the neo-liberal globalization and excessive power of the International Institutions like the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Trade Organization among others. They are also opposed to the free trade and the exploitations of workers. But they support the participative democracy, good Labor conditions, sustainable development for poor countries across the world, and environmental issues/concern among others. Finally, these movement are anti-debt, and anti-war. And they struggle to enhance human security as they militate for Human rights, arms control, conflict management, ecology security, debt relief, reduction in social inequalities and democracy in the world. The question is where is the Church at this junction?

Ministering in a globalised world

Conclusively, we can see the importance of this module as we are all called to think about how to fulfill our mandate in our globalized world. Of course, the focus of the interests of the anti-globalization movements are appealing. They are ‘the vanguards’ of the dignity of humankind. Yet the church doesn’t share their skepticism in front of globalization. The church admits that globalization is irreversible. In fact Leopold SEDAR SENGHOR has talked not about the clash of the civilizations but the universal civilization. And if the mandate of the church is to reunite the Creation under Christ Jesus then, the church sees globalization as a source of many opportunities. Therefore, the church thinks that there are many fields to evangelize in this globalized world. Thus ministering in this globalized world is challenging but amazing!