The IBIBIO concept of peace and its implications for preaching: a practical theological study within the AKWA Synod of the Presbyterian church of Nigeria

Ekong, Ivan (2014-04)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The topic of this research is the Ibibio concept of peace and its implications for preaching: A practical theological study within the Akwa Synod of the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria (PCN). Conflict and violence are phenomena that are common to every human society. It would not be an overstatement to say that conflicts, war and various forms of violence are clear indications of a lack of peace in any given society. Numerous studies have been done by scholars of peace and international relations as well as social anthropologists political scientists, etcetera on themes related to peace-making, peace negotiation, peace-building, conflict resolution, and conflict transformation, especially in terms of national and international peace. International organizations, various nations, non-governmental organizations, as well as faith-based organizations have invested so much in the way of resources and energy in the search for peace, yet, the attainment of peace in our human society remains a mirage. On a daily basis, media reports indicate that, all over the world, violence is on the increase, sending thousands of innocent people to early graves. In Africa, the story is even worse. Different approaches towards achieving peace have failed to yield the needed positive peace. Yet, little or nothing has been done in terms of searching for peace within the indigenous African context. In other words, indigenous initiatives, ideas and approaches towards peace and peace-building have been ignored in the field of scholarship. The question is: What could be the role of the Church, its theology as well as its preaching towards the development of peace initiatives that are both theological and indigenous to the Ibibio people of Nigeria, given the volume of different forms of violent conflict that the people experience daily. This study is based on the assumption that, if the Church critically examines indigenous Ibibio peace approaches, it may discover a missing link that could make this become effective in preaching peace among the Ibibio people who live in pain, hurts and poverty as a result of violence, thereby closing a gap in knowledge. Therefore, the aim of this study is to examine critically whether the PCN’s Akwa Synod and its leaders do in fact understand the Ibibio concept of peace, or not, and what the Church could draw from indigenous peace initiatives in order to make its preaching, as well as its peace-building practice, effective and relevant within the Ibibio social context. Indigenous Ibibio people, both Church and community leaders and lay members of three congregations of the PCN’s Akwa Synod were included as respondents. Using a mixed method approach, through a questionnaire, focus groups and individual interview; data under review were obtained for the study. The interdisciplinary nature of this study informed the use of both theoretical and methodological triangulation. The empirical findings of this research reveal: Firstly, Ibibio people understand peace as the absence of violence. Secondly, the lack of peace has physical, psychological, economic, social, as well as political consequences in people’s lives which, basically, result in deaths, suffering, injustice, poverty and the human person’s loss of dignity. Thirdly, justice and peace are significant elements for the well-being of society. Fourth, religiosity could influence the way the Ibibio people act and do things. Fifth, the leaders of the PCN’s Akwa Synod do understand the Ibibio concept of peace, even though the Church is yet to articulate a standardized peace-building procedure and training in a detailed document. Yet members and leaders, being mostly Ibibio natives, know what the Ibibio peace is all about. This study has offered suggestions on how the PCN could integrate indigenous peace initiatives in order to become more effective in preaching peace within the Ibibio context.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die doel van hierdie navorsing is om die Ibibio konsep van vrede en die implikasies daarvan vir die prediking te ondersoek, as ‘n prakties-teologiese studie binne die Akwa Sinode van die Presbiteriaanse Kerk van Nigerië (PCN). Konflik en geweld is verskynsels wat algemeen voorkom in alle menslike samelewings. Dit is nie oordrewe om te sê dat konflikte, oorlog en verskeie vorme van geweld duidelike tekens is van 'n gebrek aan vrede in enige gegewe samelewing nie. Kenners van internasionale betrekkinge, sowel as sosiale antropoloë en politieke wetenskaplikes, ensovoorts, het al veel oor temas verwant aan die kwessie van vrede geskryf (oor vrede-maak, vrede onderhandel, vrede-bou, konflik en konflik transformasie, ensovoorts), veral in terme van nasionale en internasionale vrede. Internasionale organisasies, nie- regeringsorganisasies, sowel as talle geloof-gebaseerde organisasies het al baie belê in terme van hulpbronne en energie in die soeke na vrede, maar tog bly die bereiking van vrede in ons menslike samelewing blykbaar 'n illusie. Op 'n daaglikse basis dui media-verslae daarop dat geweld aan die toeneem is oor die hele wêreld - geweld wat duisende, onskuldige mense te vroeg na hulle grafte stuur. In Afrika is die situasie nog erger. Verskillende benaderings tot die bereiking van vrede het misluk om die nodige positiewe vrede te lewer. In werklikheid is min, of niks, in terme van die soeke na vrede in sommige inheemse Afrika-kontekste gedoen. Met ander woorde, inheemse inisiatiewe, idees en benaderings tot vrede en vrede-bou is grootliks geïgnoreer, veral in wetenskaplike vakgebiede. Die vraag is: wat kan die rol van die kerk, die teologie, sowel as die prediking wees in die ontwikkeling van vrede-inisiatiewe wat beide teologies van aard en inheems aan die Ibibio mense van Nigerië is, gegewe die omvang van die verskillende vorme van gewelddadige konflik wat die mense daagliks ervaar. Hierdie studie is gebaseer op die aanname dat, indien die kerk kritiese ondersoek doen na die inheemse Ibibio vrede-benaderings, dit 'n vermiste skakel kan ontdek in die verkondiging van die evangelie van vrede onder die Ibibio mense, wat as gevolg van geweld in pyn, seer en armoede leef, en dat daardeur 'n gaping in kennis gevul kan word. Daarom is die doel van hierdie studie om krities te ondersoek of die PCN se Akwa Sinode en sy leiers die Ibibio konsep van vrede in werklikheid verstaan, of nie; en wat die kerk positief kan benut uit inheemse vrede-inisiatiewe om haar prosesse van preekmaak, sowel as haar vrede-bou praktyke, effektief en relevant binne die Ibibio sosiale konteks te maak. Inheemse Ibibio mense, wat kerk – en gemeenskap leiers en lidmate van drie gemeentes van die PCN se Akwa sinode ingesluit het, het gedien as respondente in die empiriese navorsing. Met behulp van 'n gemengde metode benadering, deur middel van 'n vraelys, fokus groepe en individuele onderhoude is data verkry vir die studie. Die interdissiplinêre aard van hierdie studie het die gebruik van beide teoretiese en metodologiese triangulasie genoodsaak. Die empiriese bevindinge van die navorsing het die volgende na vore laat kom: Eerstens, Ibibio mense verstaan vrede as die afwesigheid van geweld. Tweedens, die gebrek aan vrede het fisiese, psigologiese, ekonomiese, sosiale, sowel as politieke gevolge in mense se lewens, wat basies lei tot sterftes, lyding, onreg, armoede en verlies van menswaardigheid. Derdens, geregtigheid en vrede is belangrike elemente vir die welstand van die samelewing. Vierdens, godsdienstigheid kan die manier waarop die Ibibio mense optree beïnvloed. Vyfdens, die leiers van die PCN se Akwa Sinode verstaan wel die Ibibio konsep van vrede, selfs al het die Kerk nog nie hul gebrek aan 'n gestandaardiseerde vrede-bou prosedure en opleiding in 'n gedetailleerde dokument verwoord nie. Tog weet lede en leiers, wat meestal tot die Ibibio bevolking behoort, waaroor Ibibio vrede ten diepste handel. Hierdie studie bied voorstelle aan oor hoe om PCN inheemse vrede-inisiatiewe te integreer ten einde meer effektief te preek oor vrede binne die konteks van die Ibibio.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/86584
This item appears in the following collections: