In search of meaning : preaching within the context of a "Post-Apartheid" South African society
Thesis (MTh (Practical Theology and Missiology))--University of Stellenbosch, 2007.
The search for meaning, as a universal human quest, seeks to answer questions pertaining to the purpose in life. Preaching, as an ecclesiastical communicative tool, should be a platform from which to address such universal concerns. But how relevant are contemporary pulpit messages in light of this ongoing search and in light of the suffering experienced by many in our South African context with its unique history and ongoing challenges? Revisiting concepts such as meaning, hope and community are foundational components in our contemporary deliberations of the intention and practice of preaching today. If the homiletical intention is to instill hope, establish community and address humanities questions related to embracing the abundance in abundant life, then the praxis thereof should demonstrate a commitment to the relevance of people’s struggles. In the context of a post-apartheid South Africa, these questions are more pronounced as people experience the ongoing effects of poverty, prejudice, injustice and are confronted with the HIV/AIDS pandemic. For preaching to remain relevant it would need to extend its boundaries from the pulpit to the community. It will need to understand the plight of its people by addressing the questions that communities are asking, rather than providing messages far removed from humanities current experiences. In order to maintain this balance of hope, it will require an evaluation of the emphasis placed on representing both the social and spiritual aspects of the gospel. Social, with its focus on following the example of Christ on earth, and Spiritual, with its emphasis on both a realized and eschatological hope. Embracing this holistic message of the gospel should inherently contribute to personal and communal transformation as it is a message of good news for physical, emotional, socio-economic, psychological and spiritual realities. The language employed in this ongoing commitment requires constant renewal in order to synchronize the needs of the people with the message of hope. A message that is needed, longed for and inherently meaningful.