A newsletter for friends of the Global Mission Institute, Luther Seminary

Global Vision - Fall 2008

View more articles in the Fall 2008 issue.
 

Meet Samuel Ngun Ling, 2008 Visiting Schiotz Professor

by Laura Kaslow, Communication Specialist

Home Country: Myanmar (Burma)

Current Position: Professor of Systematic Theology, Myanmar Institute of Theology (MIT) Director, Judson Research Center.

About Dr. Ling:

  • Grew up in a Christian family. 
  • Christians are only about six percent of the population in Myanmar.
  • Passionate about researching the encounter of Christianity and Buddhism in Southeast Asia.
  • Director of the Judson Research Center of MIT, which promotes academic researches on Christian-Buddhist relations in Myanmar.
  • Brings experience and knowledge of interfaith dialogue.

What courses will you teach while at Luther?

I teach "Confessing Christ in Asia" and "Buddhism and Christian." My main concern is to teach Luther students about the situation of the Christian church in Asia, with a particular focus on my country, Myanmar, and also bring out some issues and challenges that we have in Asian context. I hope that understanding Asian context will help Luther students reflect more interactively on theology and ministry in their own contexts.

What excites you most about the opportunity to teach here?

I was a visiting professor at Tainan Theological Seminary in Tainan, Taiwan in 2006 to teach only Asian students. This is my first time to teach English native speakers, particularly American students. So, this is a wonderful experience for me as an Asian theologian. Again, as the one who comes from a Baptist background, I am very excited to be part of the Lutheran community here. I hope to learn a lot from this community and also from students of my class. I also hope that my students will learn something from my teaching. Dialogue, questions, and suggestions from students and faculty of Luther seminary will be very helpful to my further research and teaching ministry in Myanmar.

Tell me a bit about what you hope to bring back?

One of the concerns that I have out of my ongoing theological research is that we need a theological dialogue between the South and the North, particularly between Asia and North America. Learning and sharing faith experiences of different contexts will surely enrich us, both Asians and North Americans, in doing theology in a new way for global churches today. Asia is home to many religions and cultures.  Myanmar is a Buddhist country in Southeast Asia. I feel that we Christians have a lot to learn from our Buddhist neighbors about their wisdom of life such as reverence of life, purification of mind, denial of self-centeredness, and striving for compassion. I would like students at Luther to know these values and wisdom of Asian religions so that they can also be used as part of their spiritual and academic resources for deepening their faith and theological thinking.

Quick Facts About MIT:

  • Established in 1927 with four students
  • Oldest and largest seminary in Myanmar
  • Ecumenical institution which belongs to the Myanmar Baptist Convention
  • Offers seven theological degree programs: Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies (B.A.R.S.), Master of Theological Studies (M.T.S.), Master of Divinity (M.Div.), Master of Ministry (M.Min.), Master of Theology (M.Th.), and Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.)
  • In response to the the current situation of Myanmar, the seminary opened a liberal arts program called BARS (Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies) in 2000
  • Adopts a college education program along with theological programs
  • Currently 986 students, of which 366 are theology students and 620 are liberal college students
  • For more information about MIT, go to Myanmar Institute of Theology (MIT) /ul>