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Verbum et Ecclesia

On-line version ISSN 2074-7705
Print version ISSN 1609-9982

Verbum Eccles. (Online) vol.33 n.1 Pretoria  2012 



A grounded theory approach to the analysis of sermons on poverty: Congregational projects as social capital



Hennie J.C. Pieterse

Department of Practical Theology, University of Pretoria, South Africa





This article reported on the second cycle (selective coding) of grounded theory research of sermons on poverty in the South African context, with Matthew 25:31-46 as the sermon text. The problem which the author was researching pertained to the question: How do congregations in the Dutch Reformed Church (Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk) and the Uniting Reformed Church handle the care for the poor in practice? A theoretical sample of congregations with outreach projects to the poor and humble was drawn. After the analysis of the sermons was conducted, the next question to be addressed was: What are the categories and properties of the projects by congregations as the how of the care for the poor? New thinking on the issue of preaching on poverty is necessary because homiletic literature in this field of preaching does not address the how question. The author therefore described a theoretical framework for the interpretation of the projects, as well as an anthropological view of the communication occurring on an equal footing, with the givers in the projects functioning as social capital and the receivers (the poor and humble) as the participants with their own responsibility and freedom. The classification of the projects in categories showed that a wide variety of different types of projects to the poor have emerged from the sermons.



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