Die huishouding van God as helende en bevrydende ruimte in 'n tydperk van liminaliteit : die ontwikkeling van 'n teologiese basisteorie

Bekker, Christelle (Stellenbosch : University of Stellenbosch, 2010-12)

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The patriarchal and hetero-normative structures in the church have the potential to hurt and alienate people. According to the population census of 2001, there has been a decrease in the number of people belonging to churches within the white and colored church groups in South Africa. In the Independent African churches the numbers are growing. These churches can be described as conservative in their understanding of gender issues and sexual diversity (Jenkins 2002).The church today exists in a liminal phase as a result of globalization and availability of information, which create an opportunity for reformation. According to Castells (2004) the development of a contra-culture identity is the most consequential way of bringing about change in society, because it does not simply offer resistance against oppressive structures, but also question the ideologies at the heart of dominating structures. Throughout the ages, church structures were developed with reference to the patriarchal family, of which examples can be found in the letters to Timothy and Titus. Patriarchy is characterized by the institutionally sanctioned authority of men over women and their children. The primary relationships within the household influence all subsequent relationships – also in the church. This conjecture defines the opportunity for the household to be a key to transformation. To form an image of the household of God – which can be viewed as ideal for believers – the life and teachings of Jesus as well as the slavery-images in the New Testament, should be explored. To interpret this image for the church, the book of James is used, because James was writing to a community of believers. This community is not viewed as having been made up out of family members all familiar with their established positions, but as a family of God, cared for within households. An interwoven community such as this corresponds with the eco-feministic understanding of the interdependence of all things. The theme of friendship with God is dominant in the book of James. Within friendship relationships, people exist as equal partners – even in the household. Nobody is requested to relinquish ownership of their bodies – even in marriage. To every person room for individualization is allowed – even to children, by parents. Hospitality as central value of friendship invites the stranger to enter into joyful togetherness and mutual provision of care. Friendship with God brings completion, and liberates people from envy and competitive actions. People who have been made whole, can live in simplicity and in this way leave room for all people to have enough to satisfy their needs, as well as take responsibility for God’s recreation. The key to living in friendship relationships, is the release of awarded power. This new understanding of relationships within the church and household, can be established through the understanding of God as Mother, Lover and Friend, through “unmaking” and “merrymaking”. As the interpretation of the household as healing and liberating space, described in the letter of James, find substance in the reality of ministry, it will offer for all believers, but in particular for the oppressed and marginalized ones, a home for their faith and a place of healing.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die handhawing van patriargale en heteronormatiewe denke binne die gemeenskap van gelowiges het die potensiaal om mense te verwond en van die kerk te vervreem. In Suid-Afrika kwyn die getalle van tradisioneel blanke en bruin kerkgroepe volgens die bevolkingsensus van 2001. Hierteenoor toon Onafhanklike Afrika-kerke groei. Die groeiende Afrika-kerke word deur Jenkins (2002) beskryf as konserwatief, veral ten opsigte van gender-vraagstukke en seksuele diversiteit. Die kerk bestaan vandag as gevolg van globalisasie en inligtingsmatigheid in ’n liminale fase wat ’n geleentheid bied tot reformasie. Volgens Castells (2004) is die ontwikkeling van ’n kontra-kultuur identiteit die mees sinvolle wyse om verandering in die samelewing teweeg te bring, omdat dit nie bloot weerstand bied teen onderdrukkende strukture nie, maar die ideologie agter die heersende strukture bevra. Kerklike strukture is deur die eeue aan die hand van die patriargale gesin ontwikkel, waarvan voorbeelde in onder andere Timoteus en Titus gevind kan word. Patriargie word gekenmerk deur die institusioneel bekragtigde outoriteit van mans oor vroue en hul kinders. Die primêre verhoudings in die huishouding beïnvloed alle latere verhoudings – ook in die kerk. Hierdie gegewe maak dat die huishouding ’n sleutel tot transformasie kan wees. Om ’n beeld te vorm van die huishouding van God – wat as ideaal vir gelowiges kan dien – word daar na die leer en lewe van Jesus en die slawe-beeld in die Nuwe Testament gekyk. Om hierdie beeld vir die kerk te kan vertolk, is van die boek Jakobus gebruik gemaak. Die gemeenskap in Jakobus word nie beskou as opgebou uit gesinseenhede waar elkeen sy of haar plek ken nie, maar as familie van God wat in huishoudings versorg word. Die tema van vriendskap met God kom spesifiek op die voorgrond in Jakobus. Alhoewel eerste-eeuse vriendskapsverhoudings binne die konteks van weldoenerskap verstaan moet word, bied Jakobus ’n verdere perspektief naamlik dat mense as volwaardige vennote binne die verhoudinge verstaan kan word – ook in die huishouding! Niemand gee seggenskap op hul liggame op nie – ook in die huwelik. Aan elke mens word ruimte gegun om te individualiseer - ook aan kinders deur ouers. Gasvryheid as sentrale waarde van vriendskap nooi die vreemdeling in tot ’n vreugdevolle saamwees en wedersydse versorging. Vriendskap met God bring voltooidheid en bevry mense van afguns en kompeterende optrede. Heel mense kan in eenvoud leef en op hierdie wyse ruimte laat vir alle mense om genoeg te hê om van te leef en medeverantwoordelikheid vir God se herskepping te kan neem. Die sleutel tot die uitleef van vriendskapsverhoudings is die afstaan van toegekende mag. Hierdie nuwe verstaan van verhoudings binne die kerk en huishouding kan deur die verstaan van God as Moeder, Geliefde en Vriend deur ontdaning en viering gevestig word. As hierdie spesifieke interpretasie van Jakobus oor die huishouding van God as helende en bevrydende ruimte, in ’n bedieningspraktyk gestalte kan vind, sal dit vir alle gelowiges, maar veral die onderdruktes en gemarginaliseerdes in die samelewing, ’n geloofstuiste en herstelruimte bied.

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