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Cas Wepener and Hendrik J.C. Pieterse

Abstract

Expressions of anger can be observed all over South Africa and by individuals and groups from different social, economic and racial backgrounds. In this article the argument is advanced that such expressions of anger can be expressions of love and signs of hope showing that people still care. Therefore, anger should not be avoided, but instead be embraced and channelled for positive ends. This article furthermore develops an argument in favour of the celebration of angry liturgies and the preaching of angry sermons as an integral part of the on-going road towards reconciliation and healing after apartheid in general and in particular it reflects on sermons preached in Afrikaans Reformed churches in South Africa on the theme of anger between 2010 and 2015. By means of content analysis, and specifically Grounded Theory, the collected sermons were analysed and a homiletical theory for praxis regarding angry preaching developed. In conclusion the theory for praxis is presented as homiletical route markers for angry preaching as one way of liturgically embracing and meaningfully channelling anger.

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Sungho Choi

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This article deals with a theological approach to the issue of climate change and examines some of the misconceptions found within Christianity with regards the environment. These distortions of understanding can be traced back to the way in which salvation is articulated and perceived. In the circumstances it becomes a pressing public task to consider the key biblical conceptions of salvation. Of critical significance is how the salvific tradition is understood to be corporate rather than individualistic. That is so right from the beginning of Israel’s redemptive history and carries through the biblical material to include God’s redemptive work in Christ which is itself extended through to the rest of creation. The current mitigation measures (and their limitations) with regards to climate change are critically evaluated alongside these salvific claims.

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Clive Pearson

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Jakub Urbaniak

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Much has been already written about public theology’s prophetic role in democratic South Africa. This study seeks to offer a reality check. By probing some of Nico Koopman’s views on justice and reconciliation I draw tentative conclusions regarding the shortcomings characteristic of the prevalent discourses that have developed in South Africa under the umbrella of public theology since the mid-1990s. I seek to explain why liberation theologies—be it black, feminist or queer—may and should constructively disrupt these discourses. I also point to some promising (prophetically-loaded) insights coming from the chosen public theologians that revolve around the tension between civic spirit and public anger. Lastly, I suggest that one essential aspect of public theologians’ navigating between a populist temptation and a prophetic calling may be found in the need to rethink their theological accountability whereby grooving with people’s anger appears as a sine qua non condition for prophetic theologizing.

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Scott Cowdell

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This article reflects on political virtue in conversation with an influential manifesto from English Radical Orthodoxy: The Politics of Virtue, by John Milbank and Adrian Pabst. They see social and economic liberalism as destroying a sustaining metaphysics of communal abiding, with classical and Judaeo-Christian roots. They commend an ‘alternative modern’ version of this past, albeit through British and European political traditions and arrangements preserving elements of its ‘conservative socialism.’ Yet they undersell the spiritual capacities of secular modernity, also the political virtue of principled, non-ideological pragmatism. And they oversell the actual pacific character of that idealised past, since such closed worlds required the discrete use of violence to maintain order and boundaries. A more mainstream Christian account of political virtue today would see liberal autonomy augmented by a revived communitarianism, along with the civilizing of global capital.

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Marco Derks

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This article discusses two major ways in which sexual and religious identities are conceptualized in Dutch public discourses about homosexuality. In a secular discourse that stresses that LGBTs should be able to ‘be themselves’, certain religious identities are often ignored, subordinated or attacked, while the self that needs to be realized is rendered primarily a sexual self. A conservative Protestant (counter-)discourse on ‘being in Christ’ subordinates (homo)sexual identity to Christian identity—or even rejects it. To move beyond such (Late) Modern oppositional constructions of religion and homosexuality in terms of (religious/sexual) “identity”, this article explores the (queer) Catholic concept of sacramental characters—as an anti-identity—and suggests that it has the potential to unsettle some of the deadlocks in public discourses about homosexuality and sexual diversity.

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