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The churches, with Archbishop Desmond Tutu in the forefront, played a remarkable role in the liberation of South Africa. This book offers a scholarly analysis of a selection of Tutu's sermons, speeches and statements over a period of fifteen years. The structure of argumentation in his sermons and speeches is explained, the striking dialogical style of communication of his prophetic preaching is displayed, and his success in motivating oppressed people to keep on hoping and to act in a peaceful way for liberation is discussed. Tutu has shown, by preaching in a prophetic mode during the dark days of apartheid, that the Christian religion is, indeed, a major motivational force for liberation. This analysis yields a handful of practical theological insights for the communication of the gospel.

Abstract

South African society is engaged in an intensive process of transformation and change. This transformation is an extremely complex and difficult process in the light of the enormous social and economic problems of the South African population. In this unique context practical theology is practised as an academic theological discipline with a view on the role of religious praxis in the transformation process. The South African approach to practical theology has the following characteristics. It is a critical, contextual theology of a liberational, transformative nature that works with a communicative theory of action based in a critical hermeneutical framework. It takes the concrete practical situation seriously and is therefore empirically oriented.

In: Religion and Theology
In: Journal of Empirical Theology
The Complex Relationship between Human Rights and Religion: A South African Case
This volume deals with historical, systematic and empirical questions with regard to the complex relationship between human rights and religion. It focuses on the place and function of human rights in democracies in modern society. Moreover it elaborates on the problems which are implied in the complex relationship between human rights and religion from the beginning. Lastly it investigates the positive, negative and ambivalent empirical effects of religious attitudes on human rights attitudes among some youth in South Africa.

Abstract

This article seeks to answer the following question: to what extent does the interpretation of violence as evil contribute – positively, negatively or not at all – to a human rights culture among some 2000 grade 11 students at private (Catholic and Anglican) schools and Afrikaans medium public schools in the Johannesburg/Pretoria region on the basis of surveys conducted in 1995/1996 and 2000/2001? The regression analyses show that on a number of population characteristics controlled hamartiological interpretations of violence as evil have a mainly positive effect, especially those couched in terms of the divine apocalypse, provided it is construed in its positive dimension ('the new Jerusalem') rather than its negative dimension ('the last judgment'); this also applies to interpretations couched in terms of the institutional transmission of evil contributing to the world of evil. The other interpretations have a predominantly or purely negative effect, especially those relating to a primordial dualistic struggle between good and evil forces, divine retribution and intergeneration transmission of evil. Some population characteristics appear to be more powerful than the hamartiological interpretations, especially gender (female students are more in favour of human rights) and political and cultural attitudes.

In: Religion and Theology
In: Journal of Empirical Theology

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.

In: International Journal of Public Theology