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#deltaδmovement: Hong Kong’s Lay Theologies in the Making (Digitally)

Author: Ann Gillian Chu

Ann Gillian Chu (2023) Journal of Asian American Theological Forum (AATF) 10, no. 1-2.

Our world is constantly reshaping as our daily lives move further online through our interactions on social media, messaging, and gaming platforms. In this contemporary context, how do Hong Kong Christians creatively imagine their expressions of faith? The decentralized nature of the Hong Kong protests (2014-2020) has spilled over to Hong Kong Christian communities, where average lay Christians are able to lead the trend rather than simply be represented by star pastors or Christian leaders. Hong Kong Christians creatively imagine a decentralized, collaborative, bottom-up, “priesthood of all believers”-style Protestant Christian community through a hashtag movement: #deltaδmovement. Hong Kong lay Christians began posting with #deltaδmovement in April 2020, starting a digital trail of Hong Kong Christians’ lay theologies. This hashtag movement continues to be self-initiated, creating narratives not controlled by just a few Christian leaders. Such a born-digital record of Hong Kong Christianities’ development provides researchers the opportunity to observe theologies of the laity in their own words and expressions.

In this paper, I analyze Instagram and Facebook posts and comments related to #deltaδmovement from 2020 to 2023. Through this analysis, I articulate how Hong Kong Christians portray their faith and engage with others online, and how such engagements and forms of expressions shape their theologies. Moreover, in previous generations of migration, Hong Kong Christians tended to export their theologies to their diasporic
communities. With technological advancements that enable social media interactions, theologies in Hong Kong and the diaspora have now become mutually transformative. In this paper, I also explore how diasporic communities interact and cross-pollinate theologies with Hong Kong communities within Hong Kong and beyond, especially through social media engagements.

Ann Gillian Chu, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong, China