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What is Crisis?

An interesting thing just happened to me. I had drafted the following note and quotation in order to provide a pithy, uplifting post on my blog.

The next time you feel overwhelmed by your circumstances, consider this quote from David Bosch in Transforming Mission:

The Japanese character for ‘crisis’ is a combination of the characters for ‘danger’ and ‘opportunity’ (or ‘promise’); crisis is therefore not the end of opportunity but in reality only its beginning…”

Koyama, K. 180. Three Mile an Hour God. Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books.

Then I launched a Google search for the image of these characters to illuminate the post, being the visual thinker that I am. Upon my search I came to this site (http://www.pinyin.info/chinese/crisis.html) which completely dismantled the quotation as an overused misconception. hmmpf!

So, now I realize that my post, instead of being a pithy pick-me-up, is actually an illustration of the deeper concept that my current PhD course is teaching. I’m in a course called Hermeneutics of Leading in Mission and we are grappling with the reality that Western society has gone through the “hermeneutical turn” in the late 20th century and we live in a hermeneutically-shaped, multi-perspectival world. Plain english, please? The are lots of people who each have their own perspective on reality and it’s hard to sort it all out.

So, the real question is this. Even if Bosch’s quote of Koyama is linguistically misguided, can it still be true? When I read the quote my spirit resonated with it because I have lived its truth in my experience. When difficult times arise, they are often occampanied by their twin sister opportunity.

Oh, well. Back to the hermeneutical spiral 🙂

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