Whimsical, witty, and down-right just good, Kosuke Koyama is truly a one-of-a-kind theologian. Koyama is, along with Jung Young Lee and C.S. Song, a trail-blazer and an inspiration to young, aspiring theologians like me — an Asian American. Though Western trained (Princeton and Union Theological Seminary), Koyama is unapologetic of use of Buddhism, Japanese heritage and history, Southeastern folk wisdom, and more. This unique blend of sources makes him a creative theologian and always, always fun to read — he even draws pictures!
Three Mile An Hour God is a collection of biblical-theological reflections that loosely centers around the theme of the slow, Christian God. In short, God is slow, so slow to the point of a ‘full stop’ — ‘nailed down’ — at the cross! Koyama claims the fastest God goes is three miles an hour, or the average walking speed. Indeed, God walks with us, not ahead of us.
Three Mile An Hour God is broken up into four parts: personal spirituality, global reflections, national-level reflections, and call to social justice. Again, each centers around the slow God: how does the slow God meet us in our most present needs, concerns, and aliments?
Koyama confronts both the West and the East of their obsession with technology — especially its convenience and the idol of efficiency at the expense of others. He is both moral and spiritual in his call to action. He names the evil within our idolatrous thinking and lifestyles — like a good Lutheran! He is sharp yet not inaccessible — in fact, his writing is surprisingly accessible for English as his second language.
Kosuke Koyama has quickly grown to be one of my favorite theologians — certainly one of the most formative theologians. He takes the best and most malleable parts, or makes them malleable, of Western theology — mostly Lutheran — and blends them with his context: Thailand, Buddhism, folk wisdom, and more. This, again, makes him a creative theologian, but not syncretic, at least I don’t think. He is undoubtedly Christocentric: Jesus Christ is Lord over all. Christ is the judging standard of Koyama’s theology, but Christ is, according to Koyama, more gracious than we might have expected him to be. I look forward to reading more of his work and, perhaps, writing a longer post on him, his works, and his influence.