Scielo RSS <![CDATA[HTS Theological Studies]]> vol. 72 num. 2 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Is poverty a matter of perspective? Significance of Amartya Sen for the church's response to poverty: A public practical theological reflection</b>]]> Poverty continues to present an enormous challenge to the well-being of humanity. Different frameworks on poverty tend to identify different persons as poor, impacting on efforts to fight poverty. The church as a role player in the public domain needs a framework that can assist it in its task of working for salvation and liberation in the face of overwhelming poverty. A combined framework, from Amartya Sen's entitlement approach and capability approach, is amalgamated and suggested as an integrated framework that could act as a lens or a viewpoint from which the church could venture to conceptualise, quantify and respond to instances of poverty. <![CDATA[<b>'BIG, HARD and UP!' A healthy creed for men to live by?</b>]]> The social construction of reality is influenced extensively by the mass media. Commercialised images of masculinity, including discourses to interpret it, are continuously reflected and/or created by sources of mass media, in a myriad of ways. These images are subjectively loaded, but still effectively communicate to us, and even entice and persuade us. It furthermore wields extensive power over men - especially over their self-images, passions, and egos. In this article, dominating images and discourses concerning manhood and male identity - particularly those displayed in men's health magazines (MHM) - were critically examined. This was done through a thematic analysis of 123 issues (spanning more than 10 years) of MHM cover pages. The investigation showed that MHM is infused with traditional masculine ideology. Moreover, MHM fails to confront discourses that endorse hegemonic masculinity, for the sake of holistic health. It was suggested that a sober, precautionary, health strategy should challenge men to critically engage with MHM's reigning creed: 'big, hard and up'. This creed incites a utilitarian view of sexuality within a culture of performance-driven masculinity, which subsequently fuels anxieties that can lead to unhealthy issues, such as body image dissatisfaction. From a pastoral care perspective, it was asserted that (specifically) Christian men need to search for alternative ways to instigate their capacity to experience and facilitate authentic intimacy, in order to work toward the social construction of more balanced and healthy discourses on male identity. <![CDATA[<b>The refugee dilemma and migrant crisis: 'Charity begins at Home' or 'Being Home to the Homeless'? The paradoxical stance in pastoral caregiving and the infiltration and perichoresis of compassion</b>]]> The current refugee and migrant crisis is revealing on a deeper 'spiritual level' a crisis of meaning and habitus (attitudinal crisis). Because of prejudice, xenophobia reveals a crisis of compassion and diaconic outreach. How should local communities and communities of faith display hospitality (xenophilia) to the other (stranger, foreigner, outsider) in cases where one's own life is threatened by those you are supposed to care for? Is it true that charity begins at home, or is charity, as determined by the Christian notions of ḥesed and oiktirmos, an inclusive concept that should or could start with the homeless, the outcast and the outsider as well? This question points to the danger of selective compassion. It is argued that pastoral caregiving, within the refugee and migrant dilemma, should apply a hermeneutics of complexity and paradox. In this regard the theological paradox of the passion (pathē) of Christ should be implied in order to make room (perichoresis) for displaced and homeless people. The theological argument is based on the following presupposition: the passio dei defines 'practice' in pastoral theology as compassionate hospitality, as a mode of being-with, that eventually should infiltrate and penetrate the systemic paranoia of prejudice, as well as the networking dynamics of human relationships, irrespective of race, class and gender distinctions. <![CDATA[<b>The simple living of Leo Tolstoy and the slippery slope of consumerism in a context of poverty: A pastoral guide</b>]]> The nature of consumerism, which manifests in the belief that excessive accumulation of material goods represents a fuller and more meaningful life, is a growing global phenomenon, and has an effect on both the 'haves' and the 'have-nots'. In addition, poverty levels globally and in Kenya in particular, remain unacceptably high. The situation of poverty in Kenya is partly worsened by the trapping effects of consumerism. The life of a wealthy and prosperous writer, Leo Tolstoy, who succumbed to depression in spite of his fame and material wealth, is examined with a view to establish how he overcame his depression and found meaning in life. The lessons he learnt from turning to a study of the peasantry are extrapolated and proposed for the churches' response to the challenge of consumerism in contexts of poverty. <![CDATA[<b>Die mens geaffekteer deur kanker: Voorlopige bakens geidentifiseer met die oog op die prediking na aanleiding van Jesus se afskeidsgesprek in die Johannes-evangelie</b>]]> The life of a person affected by cancer becomes a confusion of emotions, experiences and tumultuous events. This takes place with immediate effect and can be summarised in one word 'havoc'. The question that comes to mind in this article is: In which way can preaching guide the person affected by cancer, to equip this person to find both sense and meaning in this life. The farewell speech of Jesus in the Gospel of John will serve as departure for the stipulation of the beacons for the preaching in the guidance of the person affected with cancer. The aim of this article is firstly to show that the person affected by cancer has specific needs concerning preaching, secondly that the farewell speech of Jesus in the Gospel of John assists the preaching with certain beacons and thirdly to motivate that the metaphor of a 'second' is the most suitable for this kind of preaching. The purpose with this article is that the researcher wants to emphasise that the person affected by cancer can still experience sense and meaning in this life. <![CDATA[<b>Virtual leadership? The echurch as a South African case in point</b>]]> One of the most basic understandings of leadership relates to the fact that it is seen as the involvement of a person, group or organisation that influences and empowers enough people to follow and to bring about change in that area of life (Yukl 2010). A basic assumption in this understanding of leadership is that this kind of influencing and empowerment takes place in real-life situations and face-to-face contact between leaders and followers. The question that the article probes is, taking into account these basic assumptions about leadership, whether one can speak of 'virtual leadership' where there is not necessarily face-to-face contact between the leaders and the followers. I argue that it is indeed possible to speak of some kind of leadership and endeavour to investigate the so-called echurch as a case in point. An interview with the leader of the echurch in South Africa, Stephan Joubert, was published recently in the newspaper Die Kerkbode. It was this article that initiated the interest of the researcher to do some further exploration into this practical-theological phenomenon. <![CDATA[<b>Pastoral care and healing in Africa: Towards an Adamic Christological practical theology imagination for pastoral healing</b>]]> This article argues that the challenge and need for relevant ministry models is critical for effective Christian ministry and pastoral ministry as practical life ministry. It establishes an Adamic Christological model as a paradigm that provides a practical effective ministerial approach in Africa, particularly within the context of pastoral care and healing. This framework reveals Christ's complete identification with African Christians in their contextual sufferings as the New Adam without compromising authentic gospel reality. In employing the Adamic Christological framework as the anchor for African pastoral and healing ministry, a model for African Christians' daily response to their various contextual sufferings is constructed. This responsive model bridges the gap between the ascension of Christ and the interim period of Christianity by instituting God's ongoing personal presence in believers' suffering through the Holy Spirit (pneumatology) as an encouraging and comforting reality that should enable Christians to cope in their suffering. It is argued that this Adamic Christological framework provides a practical theological model that contributes to healing and hope in pastoral care through practical knowing that impacts and imparts meaning in life. <![CDATA[<b>Attitude change through understanding (cognition) of the influence of the persuasive language of liturgy</b>]]> The aim of this article is to argue that the use of language in liturgy during worship services should be meaningful to contribute to persuasion in the lives of the participants in liturgy. Language is a prominent medium to convey meaning. In fact, the essence of liturgy that has to lead to the liturgy of life is in itself a meaningful act. The question regarding the meaning of worship services that people often raise is another reason why research on the influence of liturgy is crucial. This investigation is anchored in research on the importance of cognition in persuasive language use to promote attitude change. The research gathers insights from the fields of language philosophy and cognitive psychology. It is clear that the meaning of words in language can never be separated from people's understanding of the meaning of language. Communication and communion are not opposites. In the normative phase of this investigation, perspectives from Romans 12 are offered. The renewal of the mind that leads to discernment of God's will must also lead to a new cognition (understanding or phronesis) of each believer's place within the Body of Christ. The insights gained from language philosophy, cognitive psychology and the normative grounding make it evident that people always try to make sense of what they are experiencing and of what they are observing. The attempt to understand necessitates further reflection on the importance of cognition. Finally, practical theological perspectives are offered to indicate that cognition is important to create a meaningful liturgy. This cognition is anchored in God's presence during worship services and, therefore, it requires meaningful words from liturgists. <![CDATA[<b>An other-typological illustration of the Exodus story according to Dr King's perception of universal reconciliation in his sermon on Exodus 14:30</b>]]> The article contends that Dr King makes an other-typological illustrative use of the Exodus story in his preaching - one of the most significant biblical narratives that the Black church in the US holds dear. This peculiar use of the Exodus story differentiates itself from the conventional typological understanding and use of the same story in the Black church's history. While in the latter the Exodus story has a symbolic meaning of the irreconcilable conflict between the oppressed and the oppressing reality, in the former the same story contains a spiritual lesson that what is really hoped for in the midst of the seemingly irreconcilable racial and social conflict is compassion, liberation, and reconciliation for both parties involved. This article, by examining a representative sermon of Dr King on the Exodus story, shows that his other-typological illustrative approach originates from his fundamental theological ideal of universal reconciliation. <![CDATA[<b>A proposition for an integrated church and community intervention to adolescent and youth sexual reproductive health challenges</b>]]> Adolescents and youth in South Africa comprise about 30% of the total population. This phenomenon is referred to as a youth bubble. Research shows that 52% of young people have had full penetrative sex by age 17, and yet 35% of teenagers who have sex say they only sometimes wear a condom, while 32% who have sex say they never wear a condom. Furthermore, studies show that more than half (52%) of parents of teenagers and youth are unaware of their children's sexual experiences. This situation is insignificantly different between the youth who frequently attend church and those who do not go to church. Responses by churches to the situation have ranged from denialism and hence only maintaining an abstinence stance to superficial youth sexuality discussions that only scratch on the surface. Data indicate that many adolescents seldom have an opportunity to discuss issues of sexual and reproductive health with a caring, knowledgeable adult and are often confronted with unresponsive health services. In response to the situation, there is growing awareness of the important role that religious communities play in adolescents and youth sexual health. The National Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Framework Strategy (2014-2019) encourage parents and faith-based organisations to bridge this gap by empowering adolescents and youth regarding sexuality issues. The fourth priority of the strategy advocates for a strengthening and scaling up of community networks aimed at supporting adolescents. The churches, however, are caught in a dilemma where on the one hand they have to uphold (teaching) the biblical moral values of abstinence and at the same time respond to the realities of youth who are engaging in sex. With the church being a subsystem of society, a question that is posed is: how should a constructive engagement between church and society regarding youth sexual reproductive health be done? A practical theological response of the church to adolescents and youth sexual reproductive health (AYSRH) that is dialectic and juxtaposes the church and its distinctive values and at the same time practically responding to realities of the needs of adolescents and youth is proposed. In such a model, an engagement that upholds the sacredness of the church while observing the public role of the church as a community institution is advanced. <![CDATA[<b>Bishop Paul Verryn's pastoral response towards unaccompanied refugee minors</b>]]> Bishop Paul Verryn is a South African Methodist Church liberation theologian known for his concern for human rights and human dignity. In this article, I acknowledge his response to children and youth migrants in practical theology, general mission studies and pastoral care. I conceptualise Bishop Verryn's response towards Unaccompanied Refugee Minors (URMs) and explore how he weaves pastoral care into the mission of the church. The study from which this article draws followed an exploratory design. Data were collected through structured in-depth interviews, informal conversations with Bishop Verryn and observations. Written from a contextual theology perspective, the findings indicate that Bishop Verryn's pastoral care approach towards URMs is worthy to be developed and recognised as a form of pastoral care and mission work for the broader church's pastoral ministry towards URMs in Africa and abroad. <![CDATA[<b>The use of the term 'DNA' as a missiological metaphor in contemporary Church narratives</b>]]> Missiologists propose that the Church and mission are inseparable as the Church has its very being because there is mission, and it is the Missio Dei which constitutes the Church. In recent history the Anglican Church has interpreted this as the essential 'DNA' of the local church which is to be a missional community. The church's mission therefore is presented as the gift of participating through the Holy Spirit in the Son's mission from the Father to the world. In other words, it is proposed that the Church is both the fruit of God's mission and the agent of His mission. But, in order to communicate this relationship between Church and mission in a postmodern context, the use of new metaphors and new terminologies, which are derived from our contemporary context, is shaping new ways of thinking. An exploration of the development of missional churches considers the significance of developing and embedding what has become referred to as missional DNA or mDNA at every level of the organisation of the Church. This mDNA is the outward model of missional behaviour that compels the whole church to reach a lost world. It can be seen from evidence-based, case study research amongst large churches in the UK that there is consistency in the adoption and use of the term DNA by its leadership in reference to the local church's values and its attitude towards mission. This article explores the hypothesis that the term DNA is commonly accepted amongst local churches as a contributor to a contemporary language that forms the narrative of the Church and explores its feasibility and shortcomings as an adopted missiological metaphor. <![CDATA[<b>A practical-theological reflection on the usage of symbols and metaphors in intercultural pastoral care in South Africa</b>]]> The African continent is associated with a variety of problems. Irrespective of having achieved a new democracy more than two decades ago, South Africa still seems to suffer the same fate as the rest of the continent because of the inability to solve its innate challenges. However, at grass roots level South Africans are desperately seeking ways of moving away from this problem-focused paradigm to a more constructive and assertive paradigm where South Africans can truly be reconciled as a 'rainbow nation' despite the different cultures. Scholars who have written about this intercultural challenge are of the opinion that intercultural hermeneutics no longer works with a split between Christ and culture, but rather with the interconnectedness between Christ and culture, without the sacrifice of the culture's uniqueness. One cannot understand religion, faith and spirituality without understanding culture. This article investigates the church's responsibility to provide pastoral care to the people of South Africa within an intercultural paradigm by using different symbols and metaphors. The research question concentrates on the interconnectedness of the Christian faith and the different cultures in South Africa. It examines how a pastoral approach, using symbols and metaphors, could contribute to the avoidance of the mere 'Christianisation' of the culture, resulting in an approach where Christ is the authentic transformer of culture. <![CDATA[<b>Preaching as art (imaging the unseen) and art as homiletics (verbalising the unseen): Towards the aesthetics of iconic thinking and poetic communication in homiletics</b>]]> The article investigates the hypothesis that preaching implies more than merely verbalising, proclaiming and rhetoric reasoning. Preaching is fundamentally the art of poetic seeing; an aesthetic event on an ontic and spiritual level; that is, it provides vocabulary and images in order to help people to discover meaning in life (preaching as the art of foolishness). In this regard, preaching should provide God-images that open up the dimension of aesthetics and provide vistas of the 'unseen'. The iconic dimension of preaching is about symbols and metaphors that help people to 'see' in everyday life (a poetic gaze) the presence of God in such a way that tragic events, the awareness of death and the anguish about the fear for loss and rejection become events for signifying life and for healing (the quest for wholeness). It is argued that practical theology should be about a liturgy of life. In this regard, the 'ugliness of God' becomes an aesthetic category in a Christian spiritual approach to iconography. In order to do this a critical approach to praxis thinking should probe into the realm of paradigms, especially paradigms that describe the 'power of God'. Due to the assumption that the depiction of God's power was predominantly influenced by the Serapis, Zeus and Roman cult (Emperor mystique), a paradigm shift from omni-categories (pantokrator) to bowel categories (passio Dei) in the homiletic depiction of God is proposed. <![CDATA[<b>Identity, race and faith: The role of faith in post-Apartheid South Africa</b>]]> South Africa has experienced an unprecedented influx of migrants in the 21st century. Immigration and race have contributed to the raising of important questions of identity and social inclusion. Immigration and race are two crucial phenomena for the church in South Africa because the overwhelming majority of immigrants to South Africa are affiliated to Christianity and active participants in worshipping communities. This article is an attempt to critically engage with the complex phenomena of immigration and race for the role of Christianity in identity. I will attempt to show how mainstream Christianity as an open-ended narrative and can provide the space for creative tension between the 'host' and 'stranger' for identity formation. I will use the theoretical framework of Don Browning's correlational approach to demonstrate how the experience of immigrants and minority race groups creates identity of self and the constructive other.