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Calvin Dieter Ullrich

Abstract

This article seeks to offer insights into what is called a radical public theology. Such a theology views contemporary religious uncertainty as an opportunity rather than as a site for apologetic resistance. The article sketches the linguistic-hermeneutic turn, before reflecting on an example of a new proposal of faith from the philosopher Simon Critchley. In conversation with the prominent radical theologian, John D. Caputo, the article argues that Critchley’s (ir)religious faith can be read idiomatically as a radical theology. This reading carves a space for a public theological reflection, which is ‘public’ because it engages and is responsive to the call of ‘the least of these’ in society. Finally, it is argued that a radical public theology offers resources toward the notion of ‘meontological communities,’ functioning to deepen theological reflection on the public nature of faith and life of the church.

Rudolf von Sinner and Euler Renato Westphal

Abstract

According to recent data there has been a considerable increase in lethal violence in Brazil as well as evidence of a growing brutality. Such data bears witness to the wide perception of impunity and the apparent commonality, even an acceptance of killing. The general political and economic insecurity reinforces a sense of abandonment among the population. The affluent hire private security services. The poor, with no alternative option, become victims of crime and drug trafficking wars. The police are often a part of organized crime rather than combatting such. They are understaffed and underequipped. The prison system is unfit to promote resocialization. What can the churches, theology and the state do to establish and foster justice worthy of the name? The purpose of this article is to analyse the situation in Brazil, referring to acclaimed interpreters as historian Sérgio Buarque de Holanda, to ponder possible reasons for violence using the sociological theory of resonance by Hartmut Rosa, and to reflect on a theology of justice that, rather than revenge, emphasises transformation, forgiveness and reconciliation. Through reference to Jürgen Moltmann, it seeks to show how a public theology can contribute to such transformation.

D. Etienne de Villiers

Abstract

During the last decade there has been an intense public debate in the South African society on the issue of ‘whiteness’ or ‘whiteliness’. In this article the challenges whiteness and the debate surrounding it pose for practitioners of public theology in South Africa are explored. In the first part some of the origins of the debate on whiteness, as well as some of the main features of whiteness researchers identify, are traced. In the second part a brief sketch is provided of two different kinds of critical response to whiteness in the present South African society, namely critical responses to structural whiteness and critical responses of a more personal nature. In the third part the challenges the present debate on whiteness pose to public theology in South Africa are identified and discussed.

David N. Field

Abstract

In the context of a rising populism and the othering of migrating minorities this article proposes that a reconstruction of the public identity of a minority Church (The United Methodist Church) provides an important disruptive element directed toward a more just and inclusive democracy. The article draws on biblical and traditional resources, particularly those from within the Methodism to develop an alternative vision of the church. These resources are then brought into dialogue with the Swiss concept of an Eidegenossenschaft in order to propose an image of the church as God’s Eidgenossenschaft as contextually relevant and potentially fruitful way of imagining the church.

Christine Schliesser

Abstract

How can a public theology advance the task of democracy in order to bring forth justice for all? This article focuses on post-genocide Rwanda as a current example of a country’s quest for justice, reconciliation and democratization after severe violent conflict. The first part traces the historical background of the Rwandan genocide with specific attention on the lack of just and democratic structures in pre-genocide Rwanda and the roles of the Christian churches therein. The second part explores the Christian churches’ involvement in the country’s current reconciliation process. Here, the Presbyterian Church of Rwanda (EPR) serves as a case study. The third part critically assesses the churches’ contribution to reconciliation with regards to how it serves to enhance—or hinder—the implementation of just and democratic structures.