Women and male power : a study of the Missional policy of the African Independent Church in Northern Zambia

Masaiti, Bridget Nonde (2018-03)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2018.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This is a missiological study about the lived experiences of Bemba women in the Mutima Church in Northern Zambia. It seeks to interrogate how these women respond to the male-formulated policy in the church. The methodology of this study was guided by the feminist narrative methods of inquiry. It adopted a qualitative approach to answer the research question: “How does the male-formulated missional policy affect ordained women’s lives and influence their functions in the Mutima Church?” To make meaning of the life experiences of the women, data were collected through in-depth interviews, participant observation and document review. The population of the study was female priests, male priests and former members of the church, comprising twenty female priests, five male priests and two former members of the church. In this study, data were analysed thematically. The study found that the Mutima Church teachings are ingrained in the minds of members. This makes them not to question the teachings of the chief priest who is the founder of the church. For example, in the process of performing their ministerial duties, some ordained female priests, who vow not to get married, conceive and give birth to children known as children of the spirit. The belief is that the children of the spirit are gifts from God, since their biological father [who is the church founder] also receives the gift of the Holy Spirit. This is a religious ideology that is ingrained in the minds of Mutima Church members. The study has also shown that the founder of the church uses both Bemba culture and Biblical scriptures to formulate the church policy. The findings also show that both holy patriarch and African [Bemba] patriarch are at work in the church founder’s teachings and formulation of the policy. These teachings and formulation of the Mutima Church policy are embedded in patriarchal ideologies, which include Biblical, cultural, policy and hegemony. In addition to the arguments by some feminist theologians in the study, I have shown that these patriarchal ideologies are power structures that interlock with each other. In the Biblical traditions, the church founder has portrayed himself as a patriarch, while in the royal Bemba tradition, he projected himself as royalty.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Dit is 'n missiologiese studie van die ervarings van Bemba-vroue in die Mutima-kerk in Noord-Zambië. Dit beoog om die vraag te beantwoord hoe hierdie vroue reageer op die man-geformuleerde beleid in die kerk. Die metodologie van hierdie studie is gelei deur die feministiese narratiewe metodes van ondersoek. Dit het 'n kwalitatiewe benadering aangeneem om die navorsingsvraag te beantwoord: "Hoe beïnvloed die manlike geformuleerde sendingbeleid die lewens van die geordende vroue en beïnvloed hulle funksies in die Mutima-kerk?" Om sin te maak van die lewenservarings van vroue, word data ingesamel deur diepte onderhoude, deelnemende waarneming en dokumentêre hersiening. Die bevolking van die studie was vroulike priesters, manlike priesters en voormalige kerklede, bestaande uit twintig vroulike priesters, vyf manlike priesters en twee voormalige kerklede. In hierdie studie is data deeglik ontleed. Die studie het bevind dat die leringe van die Mutima-kerk in die gedagtes van lede gebring is. Dit bevraagteken nie die leerstellings van die owerpriester wat die stigter van die kerk is nie. Byvoorbeeld, in die proses om hul ministeriële pligte uit te voer, is sommige voorgeskrewe vroulike priesters wat nie glo om te trou nie, geboorte gee aan kinders wat bekend staan as kinders van die heilige gees. Hulle glo dat die kinders van die gees geskenke van God is, aangesien hulle biologiese vader [wie die stigter van die kerk is] ook die gawe van die Heilige Gees ontvang. Dit is 'n religieuse ideologie wat in die gedagtes van lede van die Mutima-kerk gebring is. Die studie het ook getoon dat die stigter van die kerk beide Bemba-kultuur en Bybelse skrifte gebruik het om die kerkbeleid te formuleer. Daarbenewens wys die bevindinge dat beide die heilige patriarg en die Afrika-[Bemba] patriarg in beheer is van die kerk se stigters se leerstellings en formulering van kerkbeleid. Hierdie leerstellings en formulerings van die Mutima-kerkbeleid is ingebed in patriargale ideologieë, insluitende Bybelse, kulturele, beleid en hegemonie. Benewens die argumente van sommige feministiese teoloë in die studie het ek getoon dat hierdie patriargale ideologieë ineenstortbare strukture is. In die Bybelse tradisies het die kerk stigter homself as 'n patriarg uitgebeeld, terwyl hy in die koninklike Bemba-tradisie homself as koninkryk geprojekteer het.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/103383
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