Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Verbum et Ecclesia]]> vol. 38 num. 3 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Foreword</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Racism and xenophobia: The role of the Church in South Africa</b>]]> Racism and xenophobia have become a worldwide issue and challenge. The recent flood of immigrants and refugees into Europe and America has put this matter on the world map. In South Africa racism and xenophobia have, in recent times, reached explosive proportions and have greatly intensified the need for the Church to get more deeply involved in the creation of racial harmony and peace as it works towards the fullness of life for all people. This chapter explored the challenges of racism and xenophobia in South Africa and concluded by discussing the role of the Church in combating these realities. <![CDATA[<b>Bonhoeffer and costly reconciliation in South Africa - through the lens of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission</b>]]> Dietrich Bonhoeffer never visited South Africa, and he probably did not know a great deal about the country. But the relevance of the German theologian for South Africa was never in doubt. In the struggle against apartheid his message and his theology served to guide theologians, church leaders as well as lay Christians alike. His life and his death served to inspire many during their darkest hours. Theologians, with John de Gruchy in the lead, studied his works extensively. Heroes from the struggle against apartheid, Beyers Naudé, Desmond Tutu and Steve Biko, among others, were hailed as latter-day Bonhoeffers. Nelson Mandela's famous 'Speech from the dock' before his conviction and imprisonment at the Rivonia Trial was compared to Bonhoeffer's essay on The structure of responsible life (1995). At ecumenical gatherings, his name and his teachings were often invoked, whenever protest was lodged against the injustices of apartheid. But it was especially in the aftermath of apartheid, when the very serious challenges of reconciliation and nation building, of healing and forgiveness, as well as of amnesty for perpetrators weighed against the demands of justice to the victims were at stake, that many turned to Bonhoeffer for guidance. The author who served with Archbishop Desmond Tutu on the TRC, discusses the prerequisites for reconciliation in South Africa against the backdrop of the TRC experience, emphasising the real need for South Africans, following in the footsteps of Bonhoeffer, to look for 'costly reconciliation'. <![CDATA[<b>Ecodomy: Taking risks and overstepping boundaries in the Book of Ruth</b>]]> This chapter examined the concept of 'Ecodomy' - life in its fullness - as it unfolds in the Book of Ruth. The book is dated to the post-exilic period in the history of Israel, and is read as narrative critique against the Moabite paragraph in Deuteronomy 23:3-5, and against the way that this text is interpreted and implemented in the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah. Naomi, Ruth and Boaz, the protagonists in the narrative, become paradigmatic of the situation in post-exilic Israel. Their stories, dealing with loss and the actions they take in order to heal the brokenness become indicative for the post-exilic community. As the narrative plot develops, the chapter aims to indicate how 'life in its emptiness' is changed into 'life in its fullness' by the courage and creative initiative of individuals, even if it meant overstepping boundaries and challenging the social conventions of the time. Against the exclusivist policy of Ezra and Nehemiah, the Book of Ruth argues that foreigners may be included in the community of YHWH and that their solidarity with Israel is to the benefit of all the people. The point that the chapter wishes to make, is that life in its fullness cannot be taken for granted, but requires effort. <![CDATA[<b>Prophetic dialogue: The quest for religious leaders seeking reconciliation</b>]]> The TRC re-enactment consultation18 afforded the opportunity to reflect on the leadership of religious leaders during the apartheid era, and in the years that followed. This chapter is particularly interested in the prophetic leadership provided by religious leaders during apartheid, and 20 years following the transition by engaging with some normative thoughts on prophetic dialogue. The findings on the leadership provided during the post-TRC are reflected upon in terms of reconciliation through the hermeneutical lens of the Belgian scholar Valarie Rosoux. Hereby, this chapter seeked to contribute to reconciliation and national unity in the current South African context with some strategic conclusions to ensure that the process of reconciliation becomes a priority for all faith communities across the nation. <![CDATA[<b>Voicing God: Theological Injunction to economic issues</b>]]> Taking a socio-historical approach, this chapter traces history from World War II (WWII) and illustrates the various instances in which economics and politics intersect with theological themes. After WWII the dominant paradigm in theology tilted towards a moral economy by focusing on issues of fairness, justice and peace. This chapter argues that, in view of the triumph of global capitalism since 1989, the future and relevance of theology is located within spaces that provide ethical and moral influence towards fairness and justice, thus agreeing with the central message of Jesus of Nazareth. <![CDATA[<b>A postfoundational ubuntu accepts the unwelcomed (by way of 'process' transversality)</b>]]> This examination of ubuntu is engaged in a conversation with the speculative philosophy of organism ('process') to acquire an extended tool by which to engage within its ontology the widest possible range of human interaction. The engagement by ubuntu's relational doctrine of the speculative philosophical cosmology of A.N. Whitehead placed portions of the latter's constructs at the service of ubuntu's transversal capacity to examine and apply the deepest understanding of its own etymology. It has been a challenge to understand occasions of injustice and suffering which have manifested within the same African culture which has given to the world the language and concept of ubuntu. It has been commonplace to isolate the utopian relational ontology implicit in the aphorism from occasions of the worst of human nature. It was the premise of this study that an understanding of an ubuntu which excludes dystopian occasions has done a disservice to the breadth, depth and height of what is to be fully human - including occasions of suffering and anti-social behaviours. <![CDATA[<b>A contribution from Proverbs and Daniel to reflection on Ecodomy</b>]]> Ecodomy studies need heuristic models to inform Christians how to cope with their world. The Bible presents different appropriate models. These models are to be read in conjunction with each other. The models presented by the sapiential literature in Proverbs and the apocalyptic literature in Daniel are studied in this chapter. The Books of Proverbs and Daniel seem to present opposite viewpoints on what life should be. Proverbs propagates a life of faith, wisdom and participation in the orderly world God created. Daniel's advice is to wait upon God in this chaotic world. It is proposed that these seemingly opposing viewpoints are to be read in dialogue with each other. Their juxtaposition presents a lifestyle that is optimistic as well as realistic, trusting God's superior reign.21 <![CDATA[<b>Versoening en die Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk: Die <i>Algemene Sinode van 1994 </i>as baken vir 'n lewe van volheid</b>]]> The Faculty of Theology at the University of Pretoria chose oikodome as a Faculty Research Theme (FRT) in 2014. This term refers to life in its fullness. The Dutch Reformed Church, as one of the partners of the Faculty, contributed to life in its fullness through the important role it played in the reconciliation in South Africa since 1986. One of the beacons on this road of reconciliation was the General Synod of 1994. It became known as the 'Synod of reconciliation' as a result of the visits of Mr Nelson Mandela, Prof. B.J. Marais and Dr Beyers Naudé, and the important decisions that the meeting took. It was however, not only the visits of these important roleplayers in history which made the meeting a beacon on the road to reconciliation. This chapter shows that it was imbedded in a much larger context of reconciliation in South Africa in which the Dutch Reformed Church played an important role. By participating in the process of reconcilation in the country, the Dutch Reformed Church contributed to oikodome - life in its fullness for all. <![CDATA[<b>Let us play: (un)shackling liaisons, (un)masking games and (un)hindered dialogue in the arena where theology takes place</b>]]> This contribution is a political-theological and hermeneutical reflection on the origin, nature, intention and contribution of a research theme identified within the dynamics of an institutional space, by taking a critical look at the 'rules' and the 'game' of university academia. Specific reference is made to institutional and faculty research themes, namely 'reconciling diversity' and 'Ecodomy - life in its fullness'. The institutional academic space is compared to a Hunger Games-style panopticon, with its 'rules' and 'play'. It is argued that these research themes can only make an authentic contribution if the 'play' and 'game' of the space in which these themes originate, are deconstructed. If this deconstruction can take place, there might be an authentic chance for unhindered dialogue towards the transformation of the academic space and the greater community it serves. <![CDATA[<b>Life in its unfullness: Revisiting </b><b>άναίδειαν</b><b> (Lk 11:8) in the light of papyrological evidence</b>]]> The aim of this chapter is twofold. Firstly, the chapter presents a comprehensive study of the meaning of the term άναίδειαν in extant papyrological evidence. The conclusion reached is that the term, as is the case in early Jewish and patristic writings, the LXX, Graeco-Roman literature and in early Christian writings, always carries a negative and pejorative meaning. This meaning of the term is then used to interpret the occurrence of άναίδειαν in the parable of the Friend at Midnight. Secondly, as part of a publication that celebrates the centenary of the Faculty of Theology at the University of Pretoria, a few remarks are made with regard to the Faculty of Theology's Faculty Research Theme (Oikodome - Life in its fullness) and the attitude of άναίδειαν as depicted in the parable.