The poor and the public : an exploration of synergies between black theology and public theologies

Tenai, Noah Kiptoo (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2010-12)

Thesis (DTh)--Stellenbosch University, 2010.


ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The title of this study is . The Poor and the Public: An Exploration of Synergies between Black Theology and Public Theologies. In Chapter One, which is the introduction, the research question is posed namely, \What is the meaning and potential of Black Theology and Public Theologies for the calling of the church to address poverty in the world?. The chapter also outlines the structure of the study. In Chapter Two (Poverty . Some Conceptual Clarifications), an investigation of poverty was made. The investigation covered the meaning of poverty, the way poverty is determined, causes and effects of poverty, globalization and poverty, measures undertaken to eradicate poverty, and poverty and blackness. It is shown that poverty entails injustice, humiliation, helplessness, powerlessness, and insecurity. It is patently demonstrated that poverty is a reality to a greater majority of humanity, particularly, those who live in Africa. The majority of the poor are black people and many of them are wedged in a poverty trap. Globalization also affects the poor in both positive and negative ways. In the third chapter (A Cursory Overview of Biblical Perspectives on Poverty), it is argued that from the perspective of the Christian Scripture, poverty is an outrage and a form of oppression. Human selfishness is a hindrance to the eradication of poverty. However, God affirms and protects the poor. Therefore, the church must respond in such a manner as to make poverty history. Chapter Four (The Place and Priority of the Poor in Black Theological Discourses) investigates the role (the place and priority) of the poor in Black Theology. The sections examine the definition of Black Theology; the development of Black Theology in both the USA and South Africa; the methods of Black Theology, which include discussions on the sources of and approaches to Black Theology; the strengths and weaknesses of Black Theology, and contemporary trends in Black Theology. An analysis of Black Theology to establish the role that the poor play in its discourses is offered. It is shown that Black Theology gives priority to the poor. It recognizes that the triune God works with the poor, as the poor learn to love themselves enough to practice their total freedom and affirm their full humanity on earth just as heaven does. Black Theology, it is further argued, employs a robust approach of dealing with poverty through prophetic speaking in various modes. In the fifth chapter (The Place and Priority of the Poor in Public Theological Discourses), an investigation is made into the role, the place and priority of the poor in Public Theologies. The discussion includes the background of Public Theologies, i.e. origin and development of Public Theologies, its similarities and differences with other forms of theology, and some definitions of Public Theologies. This is then followed by a discussion of the sources of Public Theologies and the principles of Public Theologies, i.e. creation and liberation; vocation and covenant; moral law; sin and freedom; ecclesiology and Trinity; and Christology. An analysis is carried out of two approaches to Public Theologies namely the direct public involvement of churches and the public significance of congregational practices. Finally, the role of the poor y in Public Theology is examined. It is argued that the two approaches to Public Theologies complement each other, and that Public Theologies attend to the plight of the poor from both a perspective of the impact of congregational practices on poverty, and the more direct impact on poverty through appropriate technical analysis as well as the formulation and monitoring of public policies, which, sequentially, speak to situations of poverty. Chapter Six (Some Lessons for Black and Public Theological Discourses), the final chapter, brings Black Theology into dialogue with Public Theologies. Public Theologies become good news to the poor when it begins to use tools such as imaginative thinking, storytelling, naming the devil, technical analysis, and public policy matters. It is argued that Public Theologies can learn from Black Theology in the area of prophetic speaking on poverty especially with regard to criticism, envisioning, and storytelling. Conversely, Public Theologies could enrich Black Theology and all theological attempts to address poverty because they offer solutions in the area of technical analysis and policymaking. Since most of the poor people, globally, are black and live in Africa, Black and Public Theologies need to empower the church to respond to a legacy of despair in Africa, the dependency syndrome in Africa, Africa‘s indebtedness and Unfair Trade, and to encourage good governance in Africa. Some general remarks and recommendations to Black and Public Theologies are also offered. By speaking prophetically on poverty through the modes of criticism, envisioning, and storytelling as Black Theology does, by speaking prophetically through the modes of participation in technical analysis and policy making as Public Theologies do, and by exploring the potential of congregational practices for addressing poverty, both Black Theology and Public Theologies – in dialogue and partnership - become good news to the poor.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die titel van hierdie studie is – Die Armes en die Publieke: ‘n Ondersoek na die Sinergieë tussen Swart Teologie en Publieke Teologieë. Die navorsingsvraagstuk is – Wat is die betekenis en potensiaal van Swart Teologie en Publieke Teologieë vir die kerk se roeping om armoede in die wêreld te verlig? In hoofstuk 2 (Armoede – Konseptuele Verheldering) word armoede ondersoek aan die hand van die vraag wat armoede is, hoe armoede bepaal word, oorsake en gevolge van armoede, globalisasie en armoede, maatreëls wat geneem word om armoede uit te wis, en die verband tussen arm-wees en swart-wees. Daar word aangetoon dat armoede gelykstaande is aan ongeregtigheid, vernedering, hulpeloosheid, magteloosheid en onsekerheid. Hierdie hoofstuk toon duidelik dat armoede ‘n werklikheid is waarin die oorgrote meerderheid mense, veral dié in Afrika, hulle bevind. Die meeste armes is swart mense. Baie is vasgevang in die strik van armoede. Globalisasie beïnvloed die armes op positiewe sowel as negatiewe maniere. In hoofstuk 3 (‟n Beknopte Oorsig van Bybelse Perspektiewe op Armoede) word geargumenteer dat armoede, volgens die Christelike geskrifte, ‘n wandaad is. Dit is ‘n vorm van onderdrukking. Menslike selfsug belemmer die uitwissing van armoede. God erken en beskerm egter die armes. Gevolglik moet die kerk reageer op ‘n wyse wat armoede iets van die verlede sal maak. In hoofstuk 4 (Die Plek en Voorrang van die Armes in Swart-Teologiese diskoerse), word die rol (en die plek en voorrang) van die armes in Swart Teologie ondersoek. Die ondersoek is verdeel in afdelings oor die vraag wat Swart Teologie is; die ontwikkeling van Swart Teologie beide in die VSA en in Suid-Afrika; die metodes aangewend in Swart Teologie, wat insluit besprekings van die bronne van Swart Teologie en benaderings tot Swart Teologie; sterk en swak punte van Swart Teologie, asook hedendaagse tendense in Swart Teologie. ‘n Ontleding van Swart Teologie is gemaak ten einde vas te stel wat die rol is wat armes in die diskoerse daarvan speel. Daar word geargumenteer dat Swart Teologie die voorrang van die armes beklemtoon. Swart Teologie erken dat die drie-enige God met die armes werk namate die armes leer om lief genoeg vi vir hulleself te wees dat hulle hul volkome vryheid sal beoefen en hulle volle mensheid sal bevestig op aarde – net soos dit in die hemel is. Swart Teologie, so word geargumenteer, volg ‘n robuuste benadering tot die aanspreek van armoede deur profeties te spreek in verskillende modi. In hoofstuk 5 (Die Plek en Voorrang van die Armes in Publieke Teologie-diskoerse), is die rol, die plek en die voorrang van die armes in Publieke Teologieë ondersoek. Die ondersoek is verdeel in besprekings van die agtergrond van Publieke Teologieë, d.w.s. die oorsprong en ontwikkeling van Publieke Teologieë, die ooreenkomste en verskille wat dit vertoon met ander vorme van teologie, en ‘n aantal definisies van Publieke Teologieë. Dit word opgevolg deur ‘n bespreking van die bronne van Publieke Teologieë. Die beginsels van Publieke Teologieë word bespreek: skepping en bevryding; roeping en verbond; sedewet, sonde en vryheid; ekklesiologie en Triniteit, en Christologie. Hierop volg ‘n ontleding van twee benaderings tot Publieke Teologieë, naamlik die direkte openbare betrokkenheid van kerke en, tweedens, die publieke belang van gemeentelike praktyke. Ten slotte word die rol ondersoek wat die armes in Publieke Teologie speel. Daar word geargumenteer dat die twee benaderings tot Publieke Teologieë mekaar komplementeer en dat Publieke Teologieë op die lot van die armes ingestel is vanuit die perspektief van die impak van gemeentelike praktyke op armoede sowel as vanuit die meer direkte impak op armoede deur middel van gepaste tegniese ontleding en die formulering en monitering van openbare beleidsrigtings wat gevolglik tot omstandighede van armoede spreek. Hoofstuk 6 (Enkele Lesse vir Swart- en Publiek-Teologiese diskoerse) bied ‘n slotsom aan vir hierdie studie. Die voorgestelde lesse word uitgelig deur Swart Teologie met Publieke Teologieë in gesprek te laat tree. Daar word geargumenteer dat Publieke Teologieë goeie nuus vir die armes raak wanneer dit instrumente begin gebruik soos en deelneem aan verbeeldingryke denke, strorievertelling, die uitwys van die duiwel, tegniese ontleding en openbare beleidsaangeleenthede. Daar word verder aangevoer dat Publieke Teologieë by Swart Teologie kan leer oor profetiese spreke oor armoede, veral wat betref kritiek, visionering, en storievertelling. Publieke Teologieë, word geredeneer, verryk Swart Teologieë en alle teologiese pogings om armoede te verlig omdat dit hulle die dimensies van tegniese ontleding en beleidmaking bied. Omdat die meeste armes wêreldwyd swart Afrikane is, behoort Swart en Publieke Teologieë – so word geargumenteer – die kerk bemagtig om te reageer op ‘n vii nalatenskap van wanhoop in Afrika, ‘n afhanklikheidsindroom in Afrika, Afrika se skuldlas en onbillike handelspraktyke, en om goeie regering in Afrika aan te moedig. Enkele algemene opmerkings en aanbevelings word gemaak oor Swart en Publieke Teologië. Deur profeties te spreek oor armoede in die modi van kritiek, visioenering en storievertelling (soos Swart Teologie maak), en deur profeties te spreek in die modi van deelname aan tegniese ontleding en beleidmaking (soos Publieke Teologieë maak) en deur die potensiaal van gemeentelike praktyke om armoede aan te spreek, te ondersoek kan Swart Teologie en Publieke Teologieë – in dialoog en in vennootskap – goeie nuus vir die armes word.

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