On-line version ISSN 2309-9089
Acta theol. vol.30 n.2 Bloemfontein Dec. 2010
"Habitus" in soul care. towards "spiritual fortigenetics" (parrhesia) in a pastoral anthropology
D. J. Louw
Prof D J Louw, Faculty of Theology, 171 Dorp Street, University of Stellenbosch, Stellenbosch. E-mail: email@example.com
It is argued that habitus plays a fundamental role in both a practical theological and pastoral-anthropological approach in order to focus on the "wholeness" of the human soul (soul as a qualitative and relational entity). It is hypothesized that a spiritual understanding of fortigenetics and the emphasis on a positive growth model can help pastoral theology to develop a theological theory for the empowerment of the being functions of human beings. In this regard, the theological notion of parrhesia can play a decisive role. The article proposes a paradigm shift from pathogenic thinking to growth thinking within the parameters of hope care.
Keywords: Spiritual humanness, Spiritual fortigenetics, Spiritual noetics, Kerygmatic model.
Trefwoorde: Geestelike humaniteit, Geestelike versterking, Geestelike modus van ken, Verkondigingsmodel.
The core issue in pastoral care is without any doubt the question of how we view human beings and from which perspective we approach the human person. Within the tradition of cura animarum, pastoral care claimed to be "soul care". Immediately in theory formation, the quest for a pastoral anthropology becomes vital and fundamental. What is meant by "soul" in a pastoral anthropology? Is "soul" a substantial issue or not? Is there a difference between "soul" in psychology and "soul" in theology? These questions cannot be avoided in theory formation, which claims to be academic and scientific.
Theory formation is the main endeavour in any form of scientific research and academic enterprise1. It is the task of the academic researcher to design and produce the "tools of the mind" (paradigms and theories) necessary for scientific research and methodological questions. Inappropriate theory leads to inappropriate models, projects and ministerial practices. The reason for this assumption resides in the fact that theories are carriers and containers of the human mind in its attempt to grasp the meaning of daily living. Theories are designed to translate life experiences into patterns of thinking (rational constructions). Theories represent the rational categories of understanding (paradigms) within the scientific endeavour to schematise ideas and to link them with the realities of the existing world.
Reader (2008: 6) aptly points out that the clerical and official paradigm has dominated the field of practical theology for many decades. Since the advent of the Aufklärung (Enlightenment), the impact of positivistic and secular thinking, as well as the dominant role of the empirical model for scientific research, practical and pastoral theology has been overtaken by ideas emanating from the fields of psychology and sources of secular therapeutic knowledge. In the meantime, the "hermeneutical model of pastoral engagement" (Reader 2008: 6) surfaced and is putting new challenges before practical and pastoral theological reflection. The "monogamy of space" of the earlier modern age has been transformed into the "polygamy of space" (Reader 2008: 11), while the categories of rural and urban made room for the categories of local (integration) and global (fragmentation).
With reference to the notion of "reflexive spirituality"2, Reader (2008: 7380) probes for a self-awareness that is engaged in the issues of a global society such as "green spirituality" and the "rise of the new economy" with its paradigmatic framework based in knowledge-based information (the information technology revolution), global activities of production and consumption, and networking competition (Reader 2008: 103-104). The point is that spirituality has become an important topic3 in current practical theological reflection. One can even say that the realm of spirituality demarcates the field of pastoral theology.
How could the category of spirituality then contribute to identity formation and a sense of being affirmed and empowered within a pastoral-anthropological approach?
In terms of the tradition of pastoral care as a Christian enterprise, the concept cura animarum sets the anthropological boundaries for pastoral care as an academic endeavour. In this field, from an anthropological point of view, the object of research is the realm of the "human soul". With reference to Christian spirituality, the underlying assumption is that the functioning of the "human soul" is closely connected to the human quest for meaning. A second assumption is that Christian spirituality, as a theological category, inter alia refers to a vivid and acute awareness of the presence of God (coram Deo). This kind of awareness implies that knowledge entails more than mere rational reflection. Knowledge implies also a true discernment regarding what really counts in life and how meaning is embedded within the dynamics of relationships and the quality of human beings' commitments (the realm of faith and belief systems). The challenge in an academic approach is how to work within the healthy tension between scientia (knowledge of the mind) and sapientia (wisdom of the heart). Therefore, the academic and theological endeavour is to develop appropriate constructs and conceptual designs that are adequate to interpret the reality of existential and cultural contexts, but at the same time, to be fit and appropriate to link the human quest for meaning to the spiritual realm of life and the content of the Christian faith.
1. PSYCHOLOGICAL REDUCTIONISM: THE PSYCHOLOGIZATION OF PASTORAL CARE AND SPIRITUALITY
With the advent of the human sciences and the emphasis on empirical research and an interdisciplinary approach, pastoral care became more and more exposed to the paradigm of psychology in theory formation. It often leads to what one can call a paradigmatic reduction in pastoral care. The implication in the 19th and 20th century, i.e. the reduction of healing to the realm of the self culture, was a paradigm shift from the spiritual realm to the realm of behaviour with the emphasis in research on the living human document.
Sperry (2002: 2) refers to this process as the "psychologization of spirituality". One can even refer to this process as psychological reductionism (Sperry 2002:3), i.e. the over-reliance on and uncritical adoption of psychological constructs such as self-fulfilment and self-realisation.
According to Sperry, such theories may actually promote and reinforce individualism and spiritual narcissism. Sperry rightly points out that narcissism; pragmatism and individualism are core features of American culture. They breed self-preoccupation with self-fulfilment and narcissism. The problem in this psychological reductionism is that it does not provide for a communal perspective in theory formation. Therefore, it would be very difficult to merge such an understanding of individual solipsism with the principle of communality in ubuntu4 spirituality (I am a human being through others; for healing to take place, relationships should be healed).
It is the contention of Sperry (2002: 25) that, if pastoral care wants to shift from self-reductionism to spiritual direction, it should take self-transcendence seriously. Sperry argues for a balance between pastoral counselling and the moral domain. The challenge is to balance moral guidance with compassion and empathy (Sperry 2002: 22-23).
For an academic enterprise, the burning question is whether we can overcome the danger of a psychological reductionist approach and at the same time maintain the theological character of pastoral care and counselling. What is the unique character of pastoral theology and how does pastoral theology link to the specific scientific feature of practical theology?
The first question to be answered is how a qualitative and spiritual approach would fit into the field of practical theology. The point is that theory formation in pastoral care cannot be separated from the scientific paradigms determining the character of practical theology.
2. THEORY FORMATION IN PRACTICAL THEOLOGY: TOWARDS A PRAxEOLOGY OF HABITUS
In theory formation, the core question in pastoral care as a branch of practical theology should be "What is meant by 'theology'"? Without any doubt, in the history of Christian theological reflection, theology was deeply influenced by the paradigms derived from philosophy. In the first centuries, the philosophies of Plato and Aristotle provided the rational categories for theological reflection.
With this quest for theory formation in pastoral theology, one is engaged in one of the most difficult but also very exciting parts of doing theology. In view of the extreme complexity of the academic field of pastoral theology, the following underlying presuppositions will be used as guidelines for theoretical reflection:
Pastoral care is the expression and representation of the sensitivity and compassion of the Scripture's understanding and portrayal of God's encounter, intervention, interaction and involvement in our being human. The encounter between God and human beings takes place in the existential realm and context of everyday living.5 In traditional theology, this encounter and intervention is called the covenantal encounter between God and human beings. In terms of practical theological terminology, one can translate this covenantal encounter as the "praxis of God".
"Praxis"6 in pastoral care and in practical theology does not mean merely "practice". Practice refers to practicalities such as skill and technique (the how question). "Praxis"7 means the intention of actions as related to meaning and destiny (intentionality as the why question and for what purpose question). In theological terminology, the praxis of God refers to the will of God (divine intentionality) as focused on the meaning and destiny of life. In the Old Testament, this intentionality is expressed in wisdom thinking as represented by the Torah.
When one can accept that, in practical theology, one is involved in the "praxis of God" in one way or another, practical theology, and therefore pastoral theology as an important branch in the field of a practical theological reflection, is engaged in a form of doing theology that includes the following practical verbs:
In these "practical verbs", practical theology poses the question about the reason or intention of human actions, as well as the norms and values that direct actions and influence decisions. Browning (1991: 9-10) refers to this dimension of practical theology as the question about practical reason. Practical reasoning is embedded in patterns of thinking as expressions of human ideas and concepts, i.e. paradigmatic frameworks of the human mind. These frameworks are reasonable and rational representations of convictions and philosophies of life. They are shaped by cultural contexts, expressed in metaphors and portrayed by symbols.
In his book Religion before Dogma, Douglas McGauthey (2006: 1) points out the importance of understanding "practical" not in the sense of pragmatics but in the Kantian sense of practical reason. In his pleas for practical theology as "relational theology" (McGauthey 2006: 240-242) he refers to the fact that our experience and consciousness are determined by conceptual structures. The conceptual structures contain "ideas" about experience and behaviour and operate as a regulative a priori for human behaviour. McGauthey calls them "synthetic judgements" constituting "a set of a priori transcendental ideas" that we must assume. Therefore, "Spirit" is of paramount importance in human behaviour. Transcendental ideas function as a kind of spiritual realm within the dynamics of a relational networking. "Among these transcendental ideas are what we mean by God, freedom and the self" (McGauthey 2006: vii). Transcendental ideas accompany all experience as a priori to appearances of phenomena. Therefore, it is the task of practical theology to shed light on these "paradoxical necessities" (our experience of should). The implication of McGaughey's approach is that practical theology is involved in the creative constructions of the human mind (spirit). It is interested in deontology and the intentional realm of human actions.
Practical theology is Relational Theology, not merely pragmatics. The starting point of Relational Theology is not 'What can we know?' in order to act but rather 'What does action teach us about what we know?' (McGauthey, 2006: 240).
Spirit is the kind of freedom that involves the openness of possibilities.
Life is more than a mechanical process of ''bottom-up' causality. Spiritual experience involves the recognition that we can be who we are as individuals and communities only because of our unique situations and their horizon of possibilities (McGauhey 2006: 241).
In the context of the Christian faith, practical verbs are becoming the carriers and containers of phronesis: wisdom as the driving force within actions. They describe the qualitative dimension of the actions of religious communities. When connected to the understanding of God, the theological question about the content of the will of God immediately surfaces, i.e. the question about the intention of God's salving actions of redemption and grace for human life. In the context of theological reflection (i.e. the human attempt to express and portray the presence and will of God in such a way that meaning in life and comfort is contextually disclosed and discovered), practical theology becomes both a hermeneutic and communicative endeavour. Practical theology then becomes the science of theological, critical and hermeneutical reflection regarding the intention and meaning of human actions (habitus) as expressed in the practice of ministry and the art of faithful daily living. Meaning identification (sinduiding, Sinndeutung) can then be identified as a fundamental endeavour of practical theology.9
2.1 From religious experience (empiricism) to a hermeneutic and communicative praxis of faith (normativity)
The practical theologian, Friedrich Schleiermacher, brought about a radical change in the paradigms of theological and practical reflection and theory formation. He shifted the paradigms of practical theology from the hierarchical and clerical paradigm to the empirical dimension of human experience and religious experiences. Practical theology deals with "applied" Christianity and is "technical" in this sense; i.e. it involves the development of skills and strategies for ministry (which he calls an art).
Burkhart (1983: 56) argues that, for Schleiermacher, practical theology is the art of overcoming the distance between human life and what it is meant to be. In terms of recent developments, practical theology is viewed as an action science (Handlungswissenchaft) trying to connect the Christian faith to the praxis and context of our modern or postmodern society (Heitink 1993: 18). Communication and the empirical dimension of human actions (from the perspective of their experience of God) have become an important paradigm for practical theological reflection (Van der Ven 1990: 139).10 De Gruchy (2001: 3-4) adds the dimensions of transformation and aesthetics in human actions, i.e. our ability to transcend the visible through imagination. Browning (1991: 105) calls this the visional dimension of practical moral thinking.
Besides the aesthetic dimension in practical theology, human actions are embedded in norms and values. Ethical issues are indeed at stake in the reflection on the praxis of human actions. Therefore, according to Van der Ven (2002:23), it is a false dilemma to juxtapose an empirical approach and a normative approach and to separate them in theory formation. Without any doubt, the empirical dimension of practical theology includes a normative dimension. In Habermas's terms11 (Van der Ven 2002: 21), three normative questions should be posed in practical theology.
The first is the teleological question relating to our personal and communitarian life: Who are we? What do we consider good? What do we strive for? What do we value?
The second is a deontological question relating to our responsibility to each and everybody and to humankind as a whole: What is just? What is right? What are our obligations?
The third question is pragmatic or utilistic, relating to effectiveness and efficiency: Which action will produce the intended result?
The purpose of practical theology has become the normative, hermeneutic12 and communicative praxis of faith. Immink (2003: 19) calls this the religious praxis from the perspective of faith, i.e. praxis of faith that includes the praxis of the church (ministry). Van der Ven refers to a functional and contextual ecclesiology that one can call a practical, theological ecclesiology.13
2.2 The dynamic modes of the praxeological encounter
The theological dimension at stake in this hermeneutic and communicative praxis of faith is the question about the mode (the how) of the encounter, interaction and communication between God and human beings in terms of the different functions of our qualitative intentions in the actions of communities of faith. In a practical theological ecclesiology, several ministerial functions (modes) can be identified. They describe the different fields in theory formation with regard to a functional, practical-theological ecclesiology (ministerial praxeology).
The mode of kerygma or preaching, i.e. the subject and field of homiletics in practical theology.
The mode of catechetics and didache: conveying knowledge about the revelation of God in our history of salvation through Scripture and the confessional tradition of the church - the didactic dimension.
The mode of paraclesis: God's care and comfort for people (pastoral care) and the effect of God images on behaviour and processes of faith regarding the ensoulment of human life.
The mode of koinonia or fellowship: sharing and the interaction of believers; mutual care.
The mode of oikodomein: church growth and church development; church ministry.
The mode of marturia or witness: mission outreach to the world.
The mode of leiturgia or praise and worship: the liturgy of the church.
The mode of diakonia: the sacrificial service of the church in the world and in different social and cultural communities (community development).
In considering the way in which spiritual healing in pastoral care is related to the field of practical theology, the following principles regarding a communicative praxis of faith (as related to the praxis of understanding/ interpretation, communication/verbalising, acting, hoping, imagining and seeing) are at stake:
The principal of understanding: to understand images of God within the praxis of human suffering and pain - fides quaerens intellectum.
The principle of communication: to verbalise the meaning dimension and the comfort of the gospel in such a way that people will be consoled - fides quaerens verbum.
The principle of action and transformation/liberation: to express the vivid and actual presence of God - fides quaerens actum.
The principle of hope: to empower human beings regarding their courage to be - fides quaerens spem.
The principle of creativity and imagination: to find metaphors and symbols that can express the aesthetic dimension in liturgical rituals; faith seeking beauty, aesthetic and creative expression of the content of faith - fides quaerens imaginem. Imagination and creativity represent the dimension of aesthetics in pastoral comfort: the healing that emanates from God's grace and salvation. This consoling dimension can be related directly to the realm of the sublime in spirituality. "Sublime" is the French translation of the Greek peri hupsous, which literally means "about the elevated" (Couvée 2005: 83).14 The concept of beauty in practical theology and pastoral care refers to the dimension of healing and reconstruction of human life; it represents the urge for constructive change and the expression of meaning in life in such a way that instils hope.
The principle of vision: faith seeking visual presentations and symbolic portrayals that can comfort - fides quaerens visum.15
The above-mentioned principles shape the praxis of habitus. Ed Farley, in Practical Theology (1983: 27), argues that theologia practica is simply the habitus viewed as to its end (from the spiritual perspective of the ultimate).
Practice meant that aspect of habitus, or wisdom, in which the divine object sets requirements of obedience and life. Both reside in the single existential habitus called theology. Theory/practice is based here on what could be called a phenomenology of theology as habitus (Farley 1983: 27).
The important question to be posed is what the implication of such a practical theology of habitus is for a pastoral anthropology.
With reference to the "human soul", our basic presupposition is that with "soul" (nefesj)16 or heart (kardia) is meant a qualitative understanding of the value and meaning of human life, emanating from the spiritual awareness of the presence of God. Soul is then less a substantial category and more a relational category. In the New Testament, phronesis (see Phil. 2:5) is more or less the equivalent of nefesj. Phronesis refers to a qualitative stance in life that reflects attitude or habitus. Furthermore, the implication of our argument thus far is that "human soul" in a pastoral anthropology should be assessed as a qualitative and relational entity within the systemic realm of cultural intersubjectivity, rather than merely a substantial category. Such a qualitative approach deals with the notion of spirituality in terms of the transcendent realm of life (the quest for the ultimate) and the intentionality in human actions (the quest for meaning and destiny; teleology).
3. THREE POSSIBLE THEORETICAL APPROACHES IN THEORY FORMATION FOR PASTORAL CARE AND COUNSELLING IN AN ACADEMIC SETTING.
In the past, theory formation in pastoral theology was guided by very specific paradigms that embedded a very specific "idea" or "form" pertaining to the essence of our being human and the destiny/significance of life. The concept of paradigms means conceptual patterns of thinking as rational structures of the human mind (spirit as creative understanding and insight) of appearances (phenomena) as well as creative constructions embedded in cultural contexts.
With reference to paradigms, in the reformed tradition, the notions of human sin and the principle of proclamation were very dominant. In the more phenomenological and empirical approaches that dominated the human sciences, the human inner potentials (the living human document) and the framework of self-actualisation became the overarching framework for epistemology. I would like to argue that, within the hermeneutic paradigm with its emphasis on understanding, pastoral care should consider an integrative approach in which the spiritual dimension of interpretation (transcendent networking) is playing a decisive role.
In the history of pastoral care, and the traditional understanding of cura animarum, one can identify17 the following main paradigmatic approaches:
(a) The kerygmatic paradigm18 with its focus on the human predicament of sinfulness and the quest for forgiveness and redemption. The tendency in this model is to reduce most human and life problems to our being sinners (theological reduction). Healing is then God's grace as incarnated in Christology, and communicated within the mode of proclamation.
(b) The phenomenological paradigm, with its focus on human need fulfilment and the notion of individualistic self-realisation (the democratisation of care), promotes the self-centred culture of assertiveness. Healing is then about the satisfaction of needs and the development of inner human potential (the individual is his/her own therapist). The emphasis is away from an external locus of control to an internal locus of control. Access to the human person is through empirical analyses and the observation of human behaviour. In this regard, the affective dimension is dominant with the emphasis on empathetic counselling.
The phenomenological approach is closely related to developments in American psychology due to the impact of Anton Boisen's thesis of the living human documents with its principle of the inner human potential and Rogerian psychology.19
The human potential for self-actualization thus becomes a type of remnant and primitive condition (status integritatis) that is not affected by sin.
The following tables have been designed to explain the difference between the two paradigmatic approaches. The table offers insight into the dominating thought patterns and anthropological assumptions of each model, and highlights the interplay between an anthropology and a Christology.
The previous two models tend to reduce human problems either to sins or to human failure and a lack of self-confidence and self-insight. Both perspectives are indeed important and valid. They do not exclude each other and should be assessed as complementary and supplementary.
In terms of new developments in theological research, I would like to opt for what I would like to call a spiritual/hermeneutic model.
4. TOWARDS SPIRITUAL FORTIGENETICS IN A PASTORAL ANTHROPOLOGY
With reference to the two paradigms of kerygmatic change (with the predominant emphasis on a "homiletic approach", conversion and confession) and phenomenological self-insight (with the predominant emphasis on empathetic listening and self-change, inner potential deployment), the following question is at stake: What is the difference between the previous two paradigms and the suggestion for a hermeneutic approach with the emphasis on Christian spirituality?
The kerygmatic model focuses on conversion: the healing of a sinful and individual soul through proclamation (Biblical counselling in the mode of a prescriptive and directive approach). The phenomenological model focuses on self-development and self-healing: the healing of an autonomous and democratic, independent personality by means of inner potentials. The hermeneutical model focuses on the affirmation of people's functions of being: the healing of positions (habitus; attitudes) within the systemic network of existential and relational life issues (the reframing of constructs and meaningful goal setting). The Biblical text is used in an organic way: It discloses existential needs and connects them to fulfilled promises, e.g. the interplay between theological constructs (appropriate God images) and existential life needs. It is about the empowerment of human beings through the spiritual realm of the Christian hope in order to instil courage to be (spiritual fortigenetics as parrhesia).
Fortology represents a movement away from pathology to constructive enforcement and encouragement. Strümpfer, for example, points out the importance of fortigenesis in adult life (2006:11-36). Fortigenesis (fortis = strong) refers to a strengths perspective, which relates human wellness to the positive components in human behaviour. This approach concentrates on those components in human wellness that create strength, courage and a positive approach to life demands.
The background to a "science of strength" is to be found in the meaning dimension of life. Interpersonal flourishing and subjective well-being are closely related to each other. Research applications in the field of positive organisational behaviour are developing as part of the paradigm of fortology. Both psychofortology and positive psychology support the development of human strengths and their role in motivation and constructive performance.
The difference between psychofortology and spiritual fortology is the following: Despite the fact that both operate within the paradigm of constructive and positive human empowerment (the fortification of human dignity and meaningful living), psychofortology uses the inner psychic potential/energy of human behaviour, while spiritual fortology uses the indwelling charisma of the Spirit (fruit of the Spirit) to set free a courage to be and a spirit of hope that is not merely dependent on inner human potential but on the interplay between the Biblical text, appropriate God images and the eschatological reshaping and transformation of the being qualities of human beings (human beings as a new creation due to Christ's death on the cross and his resurrection). One can call this pneumatological empowerment and affirmation of human beings: Christian spiritual humanisation; spiritual humanness and spiritual human dignity. In terms of Christian theology, spiritual fortigenetics is inhabitational theology, i.e. the energy of the Spirit within the inner human potentials. This pneumatological inhabitation is what Paul calls in Ephesians 2:21-22 "to be built together (oikodomein) into a dwelling-place of God (katoikétérion) in (the) Spirit (Pneumati)".
In theological terms, fortology and a strengths perspective are the equivalent of what is meant by the courage to be in the language of existential theology (cf. Paul Tillich 1965).
The emphasis on strength is intended to encourage a move away from the paradigm of pathogenic thinking and to link health to a sense of coherence, personality hardness, inner potency, stamina or learned resourcefulness (Strümpher 1995: 83).
Within the paradigm of a theology of affirmation, "fortigenesis" points more in the direction of existential and ontological categories than mere inner emotional strength and positive behavioural attitudes. A theology of affirmation refers to an ontic state of being, which means that one is affirmed in one's very qualities of being by eschatology. To be a new being in Christ means to be strengthened by the charisma (fruit) of the Spirit in order to live life with courage and through a vivid hope. Spiritual fortigenesis and fortology refer to the kind of spiritual strength and courage that emanates from our new being in Christ and helps us to "perform" the movements of the human soul (see table 3).
The equivalent in Scripture for fortigenesis is parrhesia, i.e. Courage that is not a human quality but a quality that comes from God and Christ (Ps. 8; I Thess. 2:2) - a stance and ontic position in Christ due to the eschatological reality as founded by the cross and resurrection of Christ. Parrhesia is a pneumatic function as part of the fruit of the Spirit. Owing to the indwelling presence of the Spirit in our bodily existence (ensouled embodiment), inhabitation theology is about the charismatic reality of the fruits of the Spirit of God within the realm of our daily existence and life experiences. This inhabitational presence creates a "spiritual noetic" of understanding and interpreting life events.
Empowering in pastoral care as a theological endeavour is about the recognition of the quality of our being as determined by eschatology, i.e. the quality of our being and the status of our being as determined by the events of the cross end the resurrection of Christ (eschatological affirmation).
Owing to this eschatological and pneumatological understanding of human wholeness, a spiritual-hermeneutic approach does not exclude the kerygmatic model or the value of the phenomenological (client-centred) model. In a holistic approach, a spiritual-hermeneutic model converges and focus the human quest for meaning into a spiritual assessment of the value of life; i.e. life as reframed by eschatology.
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Wells, S. 2004. Improvisation. The drama of Christian ethics. Grand Rapids: BrazosPress [ Links ]
1 With the article, I want to acknowledge the contribution of Johan van Rensburg to theory formation in pastoral theology. It was his deepest concern to link practical theology and pastoral theology to the Biblical understanding of Christian spirituality and the diaconal function of the church in the current context of post modernity. In this regard, I want to thank and honour him.
2 The value of Reader's attempt to reconstruct practical theology, is that his "reflective spirituality" puts anew on the agenda of practical theology the importance of philosophical schemata of interpretation that influence existing paradigms and patterns of thinking and critical reflection.
3 In this regard, see the article of Herholdt (2008: 183-200) about wellness as an expression of spirituality. "Our practical theological praxis is informed by our notion of spirituality" (p.188).
4 For a discussion on the relationship between African philosophy and the ubuntu concept, see Gathogo 2008: 39-54. "While Ubuntu's concern of humanness is basically hospitable, African hospitality goes beyond mere concern for humanness. It is an all-embracing entity whose concerns, like African religion, address all the departments of life" (Gathogo 2008: 53).
5 In this regard, see the wisdom literature and tradition in the Old Testament as well as the function of the Torah in this regard. See also Schipani's (2003) research on the way of wisdom in pastoral counseling.
6 While praxis usually refers to the process of putting theoretical knowledge into practice, the strategic and organizational usage of the word emphasizes the need for a constant cycle of conceptualizing the meanings of what can be learned from experience in order to reframe strategic and operational models. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Praxis_ (process)).
7 Thus, for Aristotle, praxis is guided by a moral disposition to act truly and rightly; a concern to further human well-being and the good life. This is what the Greeks called phronesis and requires an understanding of other people. Practical wisdom (phronesis) involves moving between the particular and the general. The mark of a prudent man [is] to be able to deliberate rightly about what is good and what is advantageous for himself; not in particular respects, e.g. what is good for health or physical strength, but what is conducive to the good life generally (Aristotle). We can now see the full quality of praxis. It is not simply action based on reflection. It is action which embodies certain qualities. These include a commitment to human well-being and the search for truth, and respect for others. It is the action of people who are free, who are able to act for themselves. Moreover, praxis is always risky. It requires that a person "makes a wise and prudent practical judgment about how to act in this situation" We can say that word and action, action and reflection, theory and practice are all facets of the same idea. This action is not merely the doing of something, which Freire describes as activism and which Aristotle describes as poiesis. Poiesis is about acting upon, doing to: It is about working with objects. Praxis, however, is creative: It is other-seeking and dialogic (K. Smith 1999: http://www.infed.org/biblio/b-praxis.htm).
8 Imagining can refer to the power of improvisation. Reddie refers to Jesus as a jazz musician and the possibility of a jazz hermeneutics. It includes the power of improvisation. "It is the power of responding to circumstances in such a way that the 'giveness' of the context is radically re-altered and something startling and new emerges" (Reddie 2008:57). Jesus' engagement is one that straddles the tension between that which exists (the tradition of Judaism) and that which is becoming (the reinterpretation of tradition). For the role of improvisation in the drama of ethics, and for the fact that improvisation implies more than merely performance, see Wells (2004: 62-66).
9 In this regard, see the conviction of the practical theologian, W. Gräb, that practical theology as a hermeneutical endeavour should be engaged in the act of meaning identification within the realm of life; "sinnorientierendes Lebensdeutung" (2000: 42). Even the articulation of the concept "God" cannot be done without the quest for meaning (Gräb 2006: 30). His argument is that a normative-deductive approach is inappropriate in a secularised society. Thus, he opts for what he calls a "phänomenologische und kulturhermeneutische Ausrichtung der Praktischen Theologie" (Goüs 2002: 41)
10 Ganzevoort (2002: 39) sees the human praxis of faith as the first order of reflection. "It is the experiences and constructions of individuals and communities, responding to what they perceive, construct as coming from God, and their discourse about God and towards God."
11 On the implication of Habermas's perspectives on practical theology and theory formation, see De Roest (1998); on the normative perspectives of practical theology, see pp. 269-353.
12 Purves (2004: 11) refers to the hermeneutic task of practical theology. "What pastors do interprets situations in reference to the being and acts of a living God."
13 On the praxis of the church, see Van der Ven (1993: 12-13).
14 The concept of beauty is related to the struggle to come to terms with the attempt of humankind to transcend all earthly boundaries and limitations. To be connected to the sublime by means of beauty is part of spiritual healing. Sublime is a quality possessed by a work of art, which, as a result of the intention and inspiration rather than reasoned judgment, does not so much convince the viewer as it thrills or transports him (Couvée 2005: 83). Aesthetics can be related to what is called in German "das Erhabene". Rudolf Otto in "Das Heilige" argues that the sublime expresses the numinous as a sui generis, irreducible to any other factor, an irrational and non-moral aspect of holiness. The sublime also represents the dimension of light and mystery. Good examples are the Russian words vozvyshennoe (elevated, lofty), vysokoe (high, elevated), velichestvennoe (magnificence, grandeur), vostorg (rapture) and voskhishenie (ecstasy, delight) (Couvée 2005: 86).
15 The praxis principles in pastoral care as a professional and academic field in theological education, as well as within the practical theological mode of comfort, help us to gain greater clarity on the functions of pastoral care and counselling. Without going into any more detail, the following functions can be identified: healing; sustaining; guiding; reconciling; nurturing; liberating; empowering; interpreting.
16 I want to opt for the interpretation of néfésh as a qualitative principle for life indicating the stance of a human being (being function) before God. It functions as an equivalent for attitude (phronésis). The word for psyche (psuché) is derived from a root that means breath, or to breathe. The Hebrew word for soul, néfésh (Gen 2:7), means breath, exhalation, the principle of life (Seidl 1999: 751; Brown 1978: 679-680). Néfésh denotes a principle of life that turns a body, whether human or beast, into a living being. When néfésh is translated as psyché, it signifies that which is vital in a human being in the broader sense. In combination with heart (kardia) and mind (nous), soul in the New Testament describes the seat of life or even life itself. It represents the person in the broadest sense and indicates the quality of life experiences. Therefore, soul does not refer in the first place to a different anthropological category, but to a different mode of being (Harder 1978: 684). For a further discussion, see Louw (2004: 12-19).
17 Reduction implies a risk. It becomes a formal schema that can harm the different intentions with their very vibrant differences and nuances. My attempt is only to see whether one can identify broad categories and tendencies to understand the different options in care and counseling better.
18 The kerygmatic approach is dominated by the reformed view of the human being: simul justus et peccator. Guilt before God and the reality of sin make a person a sinner who is subject to God's punishment and wrath. A person can be freed from this sinful condition only through Christ's expiatory sacrifice and God's sovereign mercy. The reality of sinful brokenness and transient fallibility (death) underlies all human problems. Restoration is "beyond" the competence of humans and is found only in redemption. "Therapy" implies proclaiming forgiveness; of sins.
19 The client-centred approach uses Rogers's non-directive, client-centred therapy to introduce the theme of self-actualizing in pastoral care. Hiltner (1958: 145) confirms this focal point: "'Client-centred' was intended to show that one begins and proceeds from the best possible grasp of internals - that is, the inner frame of reference of the other person in so far as it can be grasped." Rogers's personality theory contributed to the understanding that congruency between the self and the immediate field of experience are important for any therapeutic approach in counselling. A basic point of departure for effective counselling is the fact that congruency may be increased by means of empathy. Even greater appreciation should be given to Rogers's emphasis on the basic attitude in counselling. He stresses the crucial need for "deed proclamation" in pastoral care, where love is expressed concretely in interpersonal relationships (Smit 1960: 151).