Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Stellenbosch Theological Journal]]> vol. 7 num. 2 lang. pt <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>The practice of ritual sacrifice and the role of religion in development. A South African practical theological exploration</b>]]> The practice of ritual sacrifice within the South African context is explored in the light of the emerging global discussion regarding religion and development. Firstly, some aspects of the theory of René Girard on sacrifice is discussed, as well as African theories pertaining to sacrifice and modern ways in which sacrifice/offering enters language. The following section presents three case studies pertaining to sacrifice from South Africa: one from fiction, one from fieldwork done in an African independent church and a description of a recent sacrifice conducted on a beach in Cape Town. In a succeeding section, the data presented in the empirical part is interpreted in the light of the preceding theories. In the concluding section a thesis is advanced regarding the possible meaning and significance of sacrifice for an African understanding of development. <![CDATA[<b>Clements Kadalie, the trade unionist, and prophet Shepherd Bushiri: A case study of their personality and influence in Southern Africa</b>]]> The gold rush in South Africa required many workers, both skilled and unskilled, to work on the surface and underground in the recently discovered gold deposits on the Witwatersrand. Mining companies ventured to lure such labour across South(ern) Africa. As such, in the past century, trade union leadership and religious leadership in South Africa shared similar objectives. Clements Kadalie is one of those workers who reached South Africa to offer cheap labour and ended as a union leader. The post 1994 South African democratic dispensation attracted many people to pursue better economic opportunities. Shepherd Bushiri is one of them. This article engages in some theological reflections on these two leaders and their influence among the poor and destitute in South Africa, and by employing case study analysis. <![CDATA[<b>The phenomenon of divorce and its challenge to the black African communities: A need for pastoral and indigenous African marital therapy</b>]]> Divorce is a painful and traumatic experience that disrupts the lives of people. Research has shown that the phenomenon of divorce among black South Africans is escalating on a yearly basis. This is accompanied by emotional, spiritual, and psychological effects which impact on the well-being of people. Furthermore, divorce is understood as a disruption of normal life and it also threatens the stability and sustainability of social institutions. As the article is written from a context of pastoral therapy, it acknowledges the existence of other forms of care beyond the boundaries of the Christian ministry of healing. The indigenous African marital therapy plays a vital role in black African communities in strengthening marital bonds and its longevity. Even though this African model has been disrupted by the wave of industrialisation and urbanisation, the article argues that its methods of healing, counselling and mediatory role are necessary for African people and in response to the collapse of the institution of marriage. <![CDATA[<b>Rethinking religion, theology, and what really matters: the ultimate concerns of essential work</b>]]> The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown new light on the nature of inequality as a global problem and highlighted the importance of essential work. This has implications for reassessing what really matters in people's lives, related to what systematic and constructive theologians, following Paul Tillich, have called matters of "ultimate concern." What do such reassessments mean for rethinking the role and function of religion, with a view towards what religion can contribute to the formation of feasible alternatives? The article concludes by spelling out some vital lessons for the work of theology and related fields. <![CDATA[<b>As we live, so we believe, so we worship together: a liturgical exploration into the causal interrelationships between <i>lex orandi, lex credendi, lex (con)vivendi</i></b>]]> The adage lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi (or lex (con)vivendi) denotes causal interrelationships between worship, belief and life. Simply one affects the others as this adage forms the foundation of doctrine and/or a moral life. However, if there are true causal relationships between "as we worship" (lex orandi), "so we believe" (lex credendi), "so we live" (lex vivendi) then the adage can also be understood as: "as we live" (lex vivendi), "so we believe" (lex credendi), "so we worship" (lex orandi). This leads to the question: how does popular art and music in the lived experience (lex vivendi) influence/affect belief and therefore worship? In terms of promoting acceptance in the church this investigation begins by using two examples from popular music by Taylor Swift and two examples from British rapper Stormzy with the supposition that the artists intend to provoke a change in thinking that encourages an ethical acceptance of difference across society. This article is from a paper that was presented at the 2021 Societas Liturgica Conference hosted by University of Notre Dame. <![CDATA[<b>Discerning the essence and mission of the church in the midst of COVID-19</b>]]> This article reflects on how the COVID-19 pandemic gives the church an opportunity to reconsider what the centre of God's mission is for the congregation. It will engage on the implications of its reflections for public practical theology and congregational development. Spurred by an electronic opinion poll carried out by the author on six focus groups on WhatsApp platforms, averaging 200 participants each, during the lockdown days in Ghana, the question was put, "What one thing do you miss about church during the lock down period?" Majority of respondents mentioned communal fellowship (Konoinia) as the most missed aspect of congregational life. This article reflects on suggestions engendered by this observation and how it helps congregations to discern what makes them relevant to their members. Thus, helping congregations to envision the future, invoke dreams of a new creation where a return to normality will birth a world in which the church would take a new shape, presenting a fresh sense of missional community able to bring God to the people of our day.