Hans Morten Haugen
The growing interest in the role of faith-based organizations (FBOs) in promoting social development is welcome, but the article nevertheless questions the value of the broad term FBOs. The categorizations of FBOs do not bring adequate clarity. Four justifications for keeping the FBO term are analyzed: (i) highlighting the importance of religion and the size of FBOs; (ii) identifying characteristics of FBOs, specifically extensive networks and stronger local presence; (iii) surveillance of FBOs as potentially divisive actors; and (iv) necessary to map donations. Four justifications for scrapping the FBO term are also analyzed: (i) the term FBO might give connotations to religiously extremist movements – or to Western worldviews; (ii) the emphasis on the “devotedness” inherent in FBOs might directly and indirectly promote behavioral economics; (iii) both religion and FBOs might become “essentialized”; and (iv) research of FBOs is characterized by a lack of rigorous methodological, investigative approach.
Joseph N. Goh, Kristine C. Meneses and Donald E. Messer
Many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (LGBT), and people living with HIV (PLHIV) feel estranged from and misunderstood by their Christian communities. Churches, in turn, continue to wrestle with issues of theology and pastoral care pertaining to LGBT and PHIV. In response, this article aims to construct an ecclesiological praxis of inclusivity toward LGBT and PLHIV. Framed by Elisabeth Schüsler Fiorenza’s notion of Jesus’ basileia vision as the praxis of inclusive wholeness, we analyze, interpret and theologize narratives from elite interviews with three community leader-practitioners in Singapore and the Philippines who shared on their ministerial struggles, practices and visions. We suggest that churches can take the lead to engender an ecclesiological praxis of inclusivity by being (i) spaces of support, belonging and dignity for LGBT and PLHIV; and (ii) avenues for fostering dialogue with LGBT and PLHIV to articulate God’s inclusive love.
Frederike van Oorschot
This article examines how public theologians aim to bring their theology into the practice of the church. In the first part it analyses the references to the church in the work of contemporary public theologians from the United States and Germany and suggests four different categories for the relations explored (explicit function, implicit function, public church, church as public). In the second part, it discusses three systematic aspects of these relations. First, following Kuyper, it defines the term ‘church’ more accurately. Second, it offers insights into liturgical research in order to help to sharpen the places where and means by which the implicit shaping of individual ethical behaviour in the church takes place, as exemplified in the work of Dirk Smit. Third, it discusses the task of pastors as mediators between church and theology.
Religious violence in Indonesia has its origins mainly in factors that are external to religion. One factor in particular is the striving for political power initiated by the Ministry of Religion wherein religion and the state seek to subordinate the other. Within the Pancasila-based state religions have been enabled to live together in peace and harmony; opportunities have been created in which each religion can play an active role in the public sphere. This principle allows all religions and beliefs to function in public life. In a society like Indonesia a civil society—and how a particular religion functions—must begin with the reality of religious diversity. On this foundation a ‘public religion’ in the service of a civil society has the potential to be a transforming and liberating power necessary for democratic socio-political life.