HTS : Theological Studies - Volume 70, Issue 3, 2014
Volume 70, Issue 3, 2014
Author Nadine F. Bowers Du ToitSource: HTS : Theological Studies 70, pp 1 –7 (2014) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v70i3.2727More Less
One of the most pressing issues in the urban ghettos of the Cape Flats is that of gangsterism and the discourse of power and powerlessness that is its lifeblood. Media coverage over the past two years was littered with news on gangsterism as the City of Cape Town struggles to contain what some labelled a pandemic. It is a pandemic that is closely tied to a deprivation trap of poverty, marginalisation, isolation, unemployment and, ultimately, powerlessness. The latter concept of powerlessness and its interplay with these factors constituted the main thrust of this article as it explores the concept of power (and powerlessness) as deeply relational with the economic, psycho-social and spiritual dimensions. It is proposed that Kingdom power challenges the status quo within such contexts and offers the church an alternative framework within which to engage prophetically.
Discerning the role of faith communities in responding to urban youth marginalisation : original researchAuthor Reginald W. NelSource: HTS : Theological Studies 70, pp 1 –8 (2014) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v70i3.2743More Less
Urban youth marginalisation became a key consideration in scholarly and policy literature in the 1990s. This entailed a shift from an emphasis on youth in relation to activism in the struggle to overcome colonial racism - popularly known as 'the struggle against apartheid' - to an emphasis on youth as the object of social inquiry and social welfare programmes. Irrespective of how we evaluate this shift, the question in this article is how urban faith communities and youth ministry research are to respond to the agency of youth as dialogue partners - with a focus on social cohesion. This article explores this shift in scholarship on urban youth movements, especially for the period since 1994. It draws from the perspectives of my recent doctoral studies (Nel 2013) in constructing a creative dialogue with youth movements. The ultimate aim of this article is to provide a grounded basis for constructing a methodology for a postcolonial urban theology. In addition, it aims to inform the ongoing Youth at the Margins (YOMA) comparative study on the contribution of faith-based organisations to social cohesion in South Africa and Nordic Europe, with the Riverlea community, in Johannesburg, as one of the case studies.
Author Johannes N.J. KritzingerSource: HTS : Theological Studies 70, pp 1 –12 (2014) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v70i3.2782More Less
This article reflects on a number of liturgical innovations in the worship of Melodi ya Tshwane, an inner-city congregation of the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa (URCSA). The focus of the innovations was to implement the understanding of justice in Article 4 of the Confession of Belhar, a confessional standard of the URCSA. The basic contention of the article is that well designed liturgies that facilitate experiences of beauty can nurture a concrete spirituality to mobilise urban church members for a justice-seeking lifestyle. After exploring the message of Article 4 of Belhar, the article analyses eight liturgical features of Melodi ya Tshwane, showing how beauty and justice interact in those acts of worship.
Source: HTS : Theological Studies 70, pp 1 –9 (2014) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v70i3.2768More Less
Theologians speak of the silence of churches' prophetic voice in the 'new' South Africa, whilst the country features amongst the socio-economically most unequal countries in the world, and the urban areas in particular continue to be characterised by segregation. In this context I ask: where is liberation theology? I spell out my reading of some of the recent voices in the liberationist discourse. In dialogue with these scholars I, firstly, argue for the faith community to be made a conscious centre of liberationist debates and praxis. Secondly, I do this by suggesting two theoretical building blocks (i.e. critical deconstruction and radical friendship) for local faith communities that wish to grow in a liberationist fashion.
Living in the townships : an appraisal of Pentecostal social ministry in Tshwane : original researchAuthor Victor MolobiSource: HTS : Theological Studies 70, pp 1 –9 (2014) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v70i3.2791More Less
This article offers an appraisal of the social ministry of Pentecostal churches through fellowship, healing and livelihood creation in the township communities of the city of Tshwane. In meeting this aim the discussion advances a thesis of these churches as agents of social support and survival of the downcast. In particular, the article attempts to show how these churches exert themselves towards establishing not only moral responsibility, but also a context where the weakest and the least privileged can learn how to survive. The squatter camp people are unique with the special challenges requiring distinctive consideration. Pentecostal churches believe that the lost people matter to God and are of importance to their congregations as well. The backyard Bible study ministries and mutual cooperation strategies are employed for mutual support. Making use of the existing empirical research data and available literature will show how Pentecostal churches in the townships support the laity and community in times of need.
Informal community-based early childhood development as a focus for urban public theology in South Africa : original researchSource: HTS : Theological Studies 70, pp 1 –16 (2014) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v70i3.2769More Less
This article highlights important dimensions of public theology and shows how the identified dimensions are relevant to the specific situation of informal early childhood development (ECD) facilities in a South African urban setting. The article considers the contributions and challenges of informal community-based ECD on the basis of research conducted in the Rustenburg/Phokeng area of the North West province of South Africa. It critically discusses the sociocultural discourses and legislation regulating ECD centres, by focusing on the constraints put on informal ECD service providers. It concludes by considering ways in which urban public theology should act to serve, strengthen and advocate this vitally important, yet informal, sector.
Jesus in the Dumping Sites : doing theology in the overlaps of human and material waste : original researchAuthor Stephan De BeerSource: HTS : Theological Studies 70, pp 1 –8 (2014) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v70i3.2724More Less
Jesus' option for the poor should be reclaimed in a clear theological and ecclesial option for the dumping sites of our cities and towns. That is the basic proposal of this article. Reflecting upon three different dumping sites - different in size, age and history - this article will explore the central thread of material and human waste, often dealt with almost as synonymous, concentrated and overlapping in these marginal spaces. It will additionally explore the theological and ecclesial challenges, but also possible opportunities, visions and gifts presented by them. The paradoxical (and sometimes toxic) interconnectedness between waste management and sanitised cities will be considered, as well as its relation to mediating or denying human dignity. The stories of Smokey Mountain in Manila, the Zabbaleen community in Mokattam Village, Cairo, and the Hulene Dump in Maputo, will be presented as part of this reflection. They will be read as mirrors to the proliferation of similar dumping sites on the fringes of South African cities. An outline is offered for a theological-ecclesial praxis emerging from the dumping sites, as well as a retrieval of possible contributions from these sites to the broader urban public theological reflection.
Your sister in Babylon sends her love : towards prophetic solidarity in post-apartheid South Africa : original researchAuthor Maarman S. TshehlaSource: HTS : Theological Studies 70, pp 1 –6 (2014) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v70i3.2789More Less
How does a self-respecting Christian from Galilee who now finds himself based near the seat of empire relate to power in light of his faith? How are his admonishments, especially those which relate to the public arena, to be appropriated by those living on the periphery of the empire? I reflect on these questions from the vantage point of a South Africa in which on the one hand erstwhile prophets are being haunted by the vagaries of power and on the other the Church is apparently as powerless as never before.
Structural transformation and democratic public spaces : reflections on Habermas and the 2014 Tshwane State of the Capital City Address : original researchAuthor Wessel BentleySource: HTS : Theological Studies 70, pp 1 –8 (2014) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v70i3.2755More Less
Judging by the immense global academic interaction with his work, Jürgen Habermas's social theory, with particular reference to structural transformation of the public sphere and democracy, is one of the most constructive models for understanding the role and function of citizens in forming healthy societies. This article investigates the recent 2014 Tshwane State of the City Address in light of Habermas's theory. Is Habermas's theory relevant to the South African urban context? Do African cities like Tshwane subscribe to the Habermasean social formula or does it understand the public sphere in ways that require an amended interpretation of what Habermas conveys? This article provides a theological-ethical perspective on this Habermasean investigation of the 2014 Tshwane 'State of the Capital City Address'.
Author Vuyani S. VellemSource: HTS : Theological Studies 70, pp 1 –6 (2014) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v70i3.2728More Less
Twenty years after the demise of apartheid, a typical South African city remains bifurcated. The mushrooming of squatter camps, mekhukhu, in our big cities, symptomises a history that defined the majority of South Africans as sojourners and vagabonds in their motherland. Destined to die in the rural reserves after the extraction of their labour and confined to 'locations' in-between the 'city' and the rural 'home', black experience in the post-1994 city continues to be a manifestation of a life disintegrated from an integrated vision of ikhaya (oikos) - household - and urban life in democratic South Africa. By critiquing the policies of the post-1994 government on urbanisation, the article argues that for inclusion in the city, the colonial and apartheid polis is not adequate redress to the black experience of urbanisation in South Africa. The quest for the transformation of a city in order for an integrated city in the post-1994 South Africa to be achieved is ostensibly the best starting point, this article argues.
Author Annalet Van SchalkwykSource: HTS : Theological Studies 70, pp 1 –13 (2014) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v70i3.2767More Less
The basic motivation for this article is to explore the critical, yet hopeful vision which urban theologians - and specifically ecofeminist urban theologians - have for justice, reconciliation and abundance of life in urban Gauteng. This requires that urban spatiality, with its conflicting sides in a rampantly capitalist Gauteng, needs to be understood. It also requires an understanding of how urbanity and ecology may - yet so often do not - overlap. According to ecofeminist theologian Anne Primavesi, space and place needs to be understood in relation to the earth as the body of God - a web of interrelated and interconnected subjects and living beings which constitute the earth with its various ecosystems. This belies the established understanding that space and place is created mostly through the anthropocentric activity and mastery of people. Such an ecological understanding of space, place and urbanity leads to my exploration of a missiology of space as the manifestation of the presence of God in the spaces of nature and human civilisation. I conclude by proposing the practice of urban mission as making the liturgical and sacramental links between ecology, space, and the reclamation of urban space as sacred by Christian and other agents of urban activism.
Author Johann-Albrecht MeylahnSource: HTS : Theological Studies 70, pp 1 –6 (2014) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v70i3.2723More Less
'My city of ruins' is the title of a song by Bruce Springsteen and will accompany a public theological reflection of imagining alternative cities. A city of ruins is either a city of ruins in the sense that it is a city in ruins. Alternatively it is a city of ruins in the sense that it is a city that is built from ruins, like a phoenix rising from the ashes. The article will reflect on the second alternative namely the poiesis of a habitable, sustainable and political space (polis) in a time when all the meta-discourses of constructing and social engineering lie in ruins (have been deconstructed). The article will focus on Derrida's ideas of deconstruction and the hope and prayer of perhaps. Springsteen's song includes the prayer: 'come on, come on, rise up!' A city of ruins prayed into existence, rising up by the call (prayer) of those longing for a liveable, sustainable city to rise up from the ruins of too many empty promises of the various political agendas. Creating and imagining a city of prayer, which involves the prayers for justice incarnate in the broken language (ruined language) of revolutions, and transformations and political construction, thus calls a city of promise into existence.
Mission as local economic development in the City of Tshwane : towards fostering a grass roots, 'glocal' alternative vision, with specific reference to Luke 16:19-31 : original researchAuthor Lukwikilu C. MangayiSource: HTS : Theological Studies 70, pp 1 –9 (2014) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v70i3.2744More Less
This article analyses and reflects missiologically on the City of Tshwane's economy, in terms of its priorities and strategies. It points out that it is to the detriment of local communities that Tshwane's economy has become a replica of the national economy which is essentially growth-focused and structured to service the global market. It also discusses possibilities for the urban church to be involved in addressing this situation as it wrestles with the question: What role can the church play towards fostering a grass roots, 'glocal' alternative vision to the current local economic system? Responding to this question, this article argues that the church, drawing from theological/missiological resources and hermeneutic insights on biblical texts, such as Luke 16:19-31, and on the concept of God's economy, can steer such an alternative vision for the economy of the City of Tshwane. It ends by demonstrating how the church can engage the issues of local economic development in a practical way, which will lead to an alternative reality where shared prosperity and inclusion are attained.
Back to where it all began...? Reflections on injecting the (spiritual) ethos of the Early Town Planning Movement into Planning, Planners and Plans in post-1994 South Africa : original researchAuthor Mark OranjeSource: HTS : Theological Studies 70, pp 1 –10 (2014) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v70i3.2781More Less
Recent developments in South Africa in the field of planning, the domain of plans, and the world of planners, would suggest that planning and plans are viewed in a positive light, the local planning profession is in good shape, and these instruments and actors can play a meaningful role in the development and transformation of the country. In this article, these assumptions were explored through the lens of the attributes and convictions that gave birth to and drove the early 'town planning movement' in the industrial cities of North America and Western Europe. A key theme in this analysis was the role played in the early town planning movement by compassion, passion and care for progressive change, and the conviction that it was possible to do so through the application of reason, technical ability and ingenuity. Based on this analysis, the argument was put forward that, while planning, plans and planners in South Africa could potentially play a crucial part in the crafting of a different country, a number of crucial changes would need to be made. The challenges associated with effecting these changes were subsequently explored, and the article concluded with a proposal for doing so by tapping into the metaphors as deployed, and the drive and passion as displayed by those in the early town planning movement.
Towards a fusion of horizons : thematic contours for an urban public theological praxis-agenda in South Africa : original researchSource: HTS : Theological Studies 70, pp 1 –9 (2014) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v70i3.2812More Less
This article proposes a 'fusion of horizons' in constructing urban public theologies in South Africa. This is done through the introduction of five interrelated themes that have emerged from the on-going knowledge and idea production by a distinguishable counterpoint in contemporary scholarly, intellectual and activist engagement with the urban, in the authors' own South African context but also wider internationally. In advancing a praxis-agenda for urban public theology, the authors subsequently identify the following, albeit not exhaustive, themes: southern urbanisms and the factor of unprecedented urban migration; 'right to the city' and urbanisation from below; a reclaiming of the commons; the making of 'good cities'; and actors of faith in relation to urban social life.
Source: HTS : Theological Studies 70, pp 1 –14 (2014) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v70i3.2811More Less
This article serves as the introductory, first contribution to a special collection of articles on the theme, 'Doing urban public theology in South Africa: Visions, approaches, themes and practices towards a new agenda'. The aim of the article is to set the conceptual and hermeneutical framework for undertaking urban public theology as a very intentional, new agenda in South African theological scholarship. The authors assert that public theology in South Africa has, despite its established position today, not embedded itself in, or intentionally engaged itself with, the contextual challenges of South African cities and urban environments by and large. This assertion leads them to pay attention to the urban as a distinctive but contested development concern in present-day South Africa, to the way in which current public theological practice is lacking behind in engaging itself with this development concern, and to the important hermeneutical question of what it would entail to make an authentic, theological contribution towards meeting the challenges of the urban in South Africa in response to the current neglect. Although by no means intended as exhaustive and all-encompassing in terms of the subject matter, the authors end by appreciating the rest of the articles in the special collection as a first offer to the anticipated urban public theological agenda that they have started to identify in this article.
Author Wim A. DreyerSource: HTS : Theological Studies 70, pp 1 –5 (2014) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v70i3.2094More Less
Conversio ad docelitam: John Calvin on conversion and being a Christian.
This contribution describes John Calvin's understanding of what it means to be a Christian. When Calvin 'converted' to the Reformation in the early 1530s, the term 'Protestant' did not exist. There was no systematic body of doctrine or a confession you could put your signature under. So Calvin became a 'lover of Christ'. The unity with Christ was a central part of his theology but also his personal spirituality. Calvin also understood his own conversion as a 'conversio subita ad docelitam', a conversion to a 'teachable frame of mind'. Calvin's love for Christ, his love for the Word of God and a teachable frame of mind not only defined his theology, but also his piety and spirituality.