Date of Completion
Interdisciplinary Studies - 21st Century (Youth & Media) Ministry
Dr. Jonathan Singleton
Dr. James L. Huff
Background: The doctrine of the incarnation and the “scandal of particularity” are central to Christian theology – that the transcendent God became immanent within time and space. Likewise, the church, being the contemporary expression of God, incarnates within and reflects the culture around it. How this incarnation happens is not always clear or acknowledged.
Purpose: I conceptualize the process of incarnation as the hybridization of various streams of influence. I examined the lived experiences of hybridized spirituality among Singaporean Christians.
Method: I conducted semi-structured interviews with six Singaporean Christians from the same congregation in Singapore. I used thematic analysis, informed by an ethnographic lens and insights from critical theory, to explore their lived experiences.
Findings: There were four themes revolving around the notion of duty. First, participants define their identities using the language of duty, expectations, and social obligations. Second, this duty is hybridized from two main sources, one local-secular and the other Western-religious. Third, participants experience points of alignment between these two duties when they converge. This alignment results in a nuanced expression of both Singaporean identity and Christian identity as they mutually influence each other. Fourth, participants also experienced points of tension where their twofold duties contained opposing elements. Ultimately, the negotiating of these tensions becomes the clearest expression of a hybridized identity where difficulties and differences are not eliminated but held together in creative tension.
Discussion: The findings demonstrate that the unique cultural context of Singapore profoundly yet subtly nuances the understanding of that Singaporean Christian spiritual identity. It is an identity that never fully stabilizes but dynamically and continuously negotiates the various streams of influence that create and inform it.
Lim, John, "Hybridized Spirituality in Singaporean Christians" (2021). Honors Theses. 1.