Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
Prayer understood as a form of communication and communion with the Deity is a nearly universal human activity and a core Christian practice. Christian prayer may take many shapes including colloquial, petitionary, ritual, and meditative, and may be practiced alone or with others. Prayer regarding forgiveness is both the example and command of Jesus, yet forgiveness is multidimensional, complex, and culturally conditioned in addition to being difficult because it involves change in self identity.
The question of whether the language of prayer matters for bilinguals, specifically Japanese/English speaking bilinguals, has not been researched. Neither has the area of bilingual prayer around forgiveness. However, for bilinguals, there is evidence that choice of language variably affects encoding and accessing of memories of experiences and processing of information. Language is also intimately related to identity. Although not all prayer actively employs language, prayer for and about forgiveness may engage emotion, memory, and identity, all of which are intertwined with language for most humans. Some Japanese/English bilinguals may practice their faith through primarily only one language for a variety of contextual, personal, or social reasons. However, due to the embodied nature of language, language choice seems to engage language specific cultural frames that affect experiences of individual and corporate prayer around forgiveness in first language(s) L1 and additional languages (LX) . In particular, these frames seem to affect images of God, image of self, and the construct of forgiveness.
The Relational Spirituality Paradigm is employed to examine the developmental processes and goals of Christian Spiritual Formation, summarized as increasing capacity for mature love of God, self, and other. Contemplative prayer is considered as a means of healing the operative image(s) of God and self, and exploring and engaging the additional dimensions of forgiveness that a bilingual perspective on forgiveness can offer.
Johnson, Andrea Lundquist, "Praying about Forgiveness in Japanese, English, and beyond Words: Bilingualism as an Underexplored Resource for Christian Spiritual Formation" (2017). Doctor of Ministry. 226.