For Phan, experience signifies the whole of 'Asian reality' in all its joys, sufferings and struggles. For some others, it is the religious/mystical experience that takes precedence over the Bible in their theological thinking and articulation. For example, P. Chenchiah insists on his direct experience of Christ as gaining priority over the scriptures or tradition. For him 'the central fact of Christianity thus consists in the believer coming into a direct experiential touch with Christ; we must have the anubhava of the living Christ'.23 In Chenchiah's words: 'Jesus is a cosmic fact - a crisis in creation. There can be no Christianity without this fundamental experience.'24 In the writings of Abhishiktananda, Raymond Panikkar and other Roman Catholic theologians of Asia one discovers the same emphasis on experience. More recently, the idea of experience is related more closely with the experience of the poor, women and Dalits within Asia. It is their experience of both oppression and hope that serves as the source for theology and the basis for biblical hermeneutics.
Asian theologians have been foremost in the use of folk stories, poems, paintings and other such pieces as sources for theology along with the Bible. C. S. Song's writings are highly illustrative of this method of doing theology, especially his work, Tears of Lady Meng: A Parable of People's Political Theology (Geneva: World Council of Churches, 1981). He has been involved in a Programme for the Theology and Cultures in Asia (PTCA) that encourages Asian theologians to use their histories and stories of struggle as the source for constructing Asian theologies. The works of Masao Takenaka in Japan and Jyoti Sahi in India exemplify this creative move beyond the Bible to Asian art-forms.25
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