An African Tree of Life demonstrates how mission involves not only a ""bringing-to"" a people, but a ""discovering-of"" those deep symbols in human culture and God's creation that, in the light of the gospel, draw humanity to Christ. This book, in a scholarly yet intriguing way, explores the stories and rituals of the Gbaya people of the Cameroon and the Central African Republic. These deep symbols are typically centered not in the esoteric or exotic but in the familiar and everyday. Christensen focuses on the especial importance of the peace-bringing tree of life--the sore tree--central to the lives and worship of the Gbaya. ""Gbaya Christians,"" says Christensen, ""offer to North American Christians fresh and hope-filled images, rich metaphors, new and yet familiar to us."" Thus, An African Tree of Life is an important book not only for theologians, missiologists, and Africanists but for all those concerned with issues of contextualization and seeking life-giving symbols in the quest to communicate the gospel message. ""Shows how a single root metaphor--the sore tree--branches forth into elegant philosophies of salvation. By tracing the ramifications of this creative image into daily affairs, Christensen leads readers into an understanding of a life that is fully Christian and fully African. His meditations pose important questions for theologians and historians of religion about the role that cultural diversity plays in Christian revelation and that cultural contact with Christianity plays in revitalizing religious traditions."" --Lawrence E. Sullivan, University of Chicago ""A valuable work of ethnography . . . which] engages in a detailed and anthropologically informed way with the complexities of Gbaya religious belief and conveys a clear picture of Gbaya Christians' interpretation of the Christian message using symbols drawn from their own culture."" --Philip Burnham, University College, London ""How do the local cultural riches bring us newly into connection with the universal? . . . An African Tree of Life] works out a methodology and provides brilliant and moving examples which could enrich the whole church and not just the Gbaya church."" --Gordon W. Lathrop, Lutheran Theological Seminary ""Particularly valuable] to people who may be preparing themselves for service in a cross-cultural or multicultural milieu."" --Paul Nostbakken, Division for World Mission, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada ""Important not only for those interested in current African theology, but also for anyone who wants to see how the very best of contextual theologies are being developed today."" --Robert J. Schreiter, author, Constructing Local Theologies Thomas G. Christensen has a teaching ministry in West Africa. He is Director of the Ecole de Theologie, Meiganga, Cameroon.