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The Pacific Way of Development and Christian Theology

Matt Tomlinson

Abstract


Since the era of national independence in the Pacific Islands, many indigenous leaders have attempted to articulate a ‘Pacific Way’ aimed at developing island states along lines true to a shared past. Drawing on emblematic regional practices held to foster communalism, dialogue, and consensus, Pacific Way advocates have argued that Oceanic cultures hold the key to their own postcolonial development by drawing on what they share with their neighbours and what distinguishes them from the Western and global. In this article, I describe how some of the most vigorous and sustained attempts to cultivate a Pacific Way – discursively, at least – have arisen in indigenous Christian theology. I ask what the articulation of a Pacific Way accomplishes for the theologians who use such a figure, and what its implications are for understanding development as a practice with an inherently spiritual aspect.

Keywords


Christianity, theology, development, Pacific Islands, Pacific Way

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.11157/sites-id428