The Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology
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GNPT Consultation 2016http://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=3140GNPT Consultation 2016GNPT<h2 style="text-align:center;">Call for papers for the consultation</h2><h1 style="text-align:center;">"DEMOCRACY AND SOCIAL JUSTICE IN GLOCAL CONTEXTS"</h1><h3>24-26 October 2016</h3><h3>Stellenbosch University, South Africa</h3><p style="text-align:justify;">​</p><p>Dear Colleagues</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The local organising committee is pleased to announce the fourth triennial consultation on <em>Democracy and social justice in glocal contexts</em> which will be held in Stellenbosch, South Africa from Monday 24 to Wednesday 26 October 2016.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Proposals regarding this theme, as well as themes highlighted below, are welcomed.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">One way to describe Public Theology is to argue that Public Theology addresses three sets of interdependent themes, namely the inherent public contents of faith, the inherent public rationality and reasonability of faith and the inherent public meaning, significance, implications, impact of faith.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Various public theologians emphasise some of these sets of questions more than others. Others attempt to attend to all three questions simultaneously. It is also possible that we emphasise one theme at a point and another one in a different context. For some it is even not possible to distinguish among these sets of themes, let alone separating it.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The distinction above might guide our discussion about a public challenge like justice. The question of justice could be discussed in terms of the public contents, the public rationality and the public impact of Christian faith.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Broad themes like the following might surface when we focus upon the public contents of Christian faith:</p><ul><li>Old Testamentic perspectives on justice;</li><li>New Testamentic perspectives on justice;</li><li>Justice in a church historical perspective;</li><li>Justice in a comprehensive Trinitarian (theological, Christological, pneumatological) perspective; </li><li>Justice in a missiological perspective;</li><li>Justice and ecclesial practices like <em>leitourgia</em>, <em>diakonia</em>, <em>marturia </em>and <em>koinonia</em>.  </li></ul><p style="text-align:justify;">The question can also be addressed in terms of the rationality, reasonability and intellectual accessibility of the Christian faith.  With an emphasis on intra-disciplinarity amongst theological disciplines, interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity various justice theories, systems and models might be freshly explored.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The theme could also be unpacked in terms of the meaning of the Christian faith for specific justice challenges in the world, amongst others ecocide, poverty, unemployment, inequality, oppression, violence, racism, classism, sexism, homophobia, ageism, handicappism, afropessimism, and xenophobia.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The notion of glocal in the theme of the conference refers to the impact of global developments on local life, as well as the importance of local initiatives for the transformation of global perspectives. The focus upon justice will hopefully enable members of the Global Network for Public Theology to learn from each other's contextual discussions, and to rediscover the indispensable wealth of the Christian tradition as we face the threatening forces of injustice and dehumanization in various forms in different parts of the world.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">These discussions will take place within the framework of democracy in societies. The guiding question will be whether democracies succeed in delivering the promise of the democratic vision, namely a life of dignity and justice, freedom and peace for all. With regard to democracy's role in justice, themes like the following deserve special attention:</p><ul><li>The issue of minorities (religious, racial, linguistic or ethnic) and the problem of 'majoritarianism' in a democratic state. How can Public Theology support minority groups and challenge government policies?</li><li>At a global level, responses to climate change, terrorism, refugees, and (religious) 'militantism' are challenges to all the citizens in general and religious communities in particular.</li><li>In what way does Public Theology enhance the democratic values of equality, freedom, and rule of law and at the same time critique government policies when they are not compatible with democratic values and scriptural teachings?</li><li>How does Public Theology support the democratic state from various threats, amongst others from the market? What could be the contours for a state theology as part of Public Theology?</li><li>How can Public Theology advance the task of democracy to bring forth justice for all?</li></ul><p style="text-align:justify;">We hereby invite all scholars interested in the study of Public Theology to submit proposals of no more than 300 words by June 2016. These can be submitted electronically to <a href="mailto:maritasnyman@sun.ac.za">maritasnyman@sun.ac.za</a>.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Please remember to add a title (or provisional title) to your abstract.  The presentation language will be English – please inform us should you require any translation services.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Registration for attendance will open on 1 February 2016 and can be found on the following website: <a href="/bnc">www.sun.ac.za/bnc</a>. Please feel free to distribute this call for papers to other interested parties.</p><p>For further enquiries kindly contact Marita Snyman at <a href="mailto:maritasnyman@sun.ac.za">maritasnyman@sun.ac.za</a>.</p><p>Sincerely, <em>in verbondenheid</em></p><p>Prof Nico Koopman</p><p>Chair: GNPT Executive Committee</p><p>Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology</p><p>Faculty of Theology</p><p>Stellenbosch University</p><p>Stellenbosch 7600</p><p>South Africa</p>
Digitisation project underwayhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=3145Digitisation project underwayMarita Snyman<p>​Once the scanning process is completed, the collection of Oom Bey's sermons and lectures will be available on the Stellenbosch University's hosting platform, <strong>SunDigital</strong>. This collection was kindly donated to the Beyers Naudé ​Centre by Naudé's late wife, Ilse. What makes this collection so unique, is that these documents are all handwritten!</p>
From Stellenbosch to Bamberg - handing over leadership of the Global Network for Public Theology http://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=4988From Stellenbosch to Bamberg - handing over leadership of the Global Network for Public Theology Marita Snyman<p>​<span style="font-size:11pt;line-height:107%;font-family:calibri, sans-serif;color:black;">Prof Wabel will serve as the hosting chair of the next Global Network for Public Theology Consultation that will take place in Bamberg in 2019. Dr Dion Forster who served as the acting host Chair, on behalf of Prof Dr Nico Koopman, received the Indonesian batik cloth, a symbol of the GNPT since the inception of the network in 2007, from Prof Koopman in March 2017. At a Public Lecture, where Dr Forster presented a paper entitled 'The (im)possibility of forgiveness? Nelson Mandela and the politics of forgiveness in South Africa', the cloth was ceremonially handed to Prof Wabel. It marked a symbolic 'passing of the baton' of service from the Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology to the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Institute for Public Theology. Numerous academics and interested parties, as well as the President of the Otto Friedrich Universität, Prof Ruppert, attended the event. Prof Ruppert pledged his support to the work of the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Institute for Public Theology, and expressed how pleased he was that the GNPT would be hosted in Bamberg. Prof Wabel spoke of the importance of this next meeting, and how the contextual location in Europe, would inform some of the planning and thinking about Public Theologies from various global contexts. He expressed thanks to the Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology (BNC), Prof Koopman and Dr Forster, for their work in hosting the GNPT Consultation in Stellenbosch in 2016. As soon as specific details about the dates for the next GNPT meeting in Bamberg are finalised it shall be posted on the BNC website.</span> <br></p><p>Main photo: Dr Dion Forster and Prof Thomas Wabel</p><p>Photo below: Dr Dion Forster and Prof Nico Koopman<br></p><p><img src="/english/faculty/theology/bnc/PublishingImages/news-archive/Nico%20Koopman%20and%20Dion%20Forster%20Batik%20GNPT.JPG" alt="" style="margin:5px;width:400px;height:305px;" /> <br></p>
Engaging "radical economic transformation" and land ownership in South Africahttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5601Engaging "radical economic transformation" and land ownership in South AfricaMarita Snyman<p>​The Faculty of Theology commemorated the beginning of theological education in Stellenbosch when the first classes were conducted on 3<sup> </sup>November 1859. The BNC facilitated a short but rigorous discussion of a topic that is relevant for our society as a whole and that will assist in focusing, challenging and informing the Faculty's Public Theology. Keynote speakers included Ms Bokang Mpeta, lecturer in Economics, Stellenbosch University and Dr Aninka Claassens, Director: Land and Accountability Research Centre, University of Cape Town.<br><br></p><p>Photo: Dr Dion Forster; Dr Aninka Claassens; Ms Bokang Mpeta; Prof Reggie Nel; Prof Hendrik Bosman<br></p>
Be mindful of the next seven generations – US indigenous leaderhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5172Be mindful of the next seven generations – US indigenous leaderDeborah Hendriks and Zenzile Khoisan<h2 style="text-align:center;">Be mindful of the next seven generations <br></h2><p><strong>Pearl Means</strong>, a writer, producer and indigenous rights activist in the United States, struck a raw nerve with the audience at the University of Stellenbosch on 21 September 2017, when she recalled the terrifying experiences that Native Americans had to endure. She shared how, despite relatively small numbers, they were putting up a valiant defense against US corporations and government putting an oil pipeline through Indian land and sacred sites. <br></p><p>Means delivered the keynote address at the 2017 annual Institute for the Healing of Memories lecture, jointly sponsored by the Institute and the Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology at Stellenbosch University. She observed, “The Native American is like the miner's canary" sending out a distress signal in a world, where failure to take action against injustice could imperil the future of the next seven generations. <br></p><p>“We are here today because of a painful past, one that the invader made certain no one would know about, and we are almost gone. There is one percent of us left in America, the most powerful nation in the world. This country knows nothing about us, therefore, is able to commit the atrocities, the genocide that continues today through their policies," Means stated.</p><p>She celebrated the power of activism to stop corporate greed and government policies that lead to war, plunder and the undermining of the environment. <br></p><p>Indigenous activists in America recently stopped the completion of the 1 886 km Dakota oil pipeline that would transport nearly half a million barrels of oil a day from the border of Canada, through five states to the holding and distribution centre in Illinois. The mass campaign at the Standing Rock reservation in South Dakota successfully resisted attempts by energy companies to drill and install the pipeline under Lake Oahe, a reservoir on the Missouri River that the indigenous peoples proclaim as a sensitive heritage area. The contention of the indigenous peoples, she noted, was that the water sources of the indigenous clans could become poisonous.</p><p>“We are under attack, with our lifeline, our water and the desecration of our sacred ancestral burial sites," Means claimed, explaining that the current violations were part of a pattern of historic abuse, reaching back to colonial times. <br></p><p>Means called for urgent action to secure future generations a sustainable legacy: “If we do nothing we will be charged with the next seven generations. We are all part of the human family and we need to preserve life. We made a stand with four women and one man, set up a camp a year and a half ago and said no more. What we didn't realise is that we would have the solidarity and support of over 10 000 people from all over the world – 500 members of the clergy came and stood with us and in a ceremony burnt the Doctrine of Discovery to show their solidarity. Over 400 indigenous nations came and stood with us: from the Maoris of New Zealand to the Amazonian indigenous of Ecuador. They filled our hearts with pride, with love." <br></p><p>“We have over 500 years' experience with the invader. We have no choice. We followed the mandate of our Creator. We know our time here is that of a drop in the bucket in comparison to the lifetime of a rock," Means added. <br></p><p>The indigenous leader noted that the current violations of indigenous rights and sovereignty stemmed from pronouncements by the Catholic Church more than five centuries ago:</p><p>“In 1493 the Vatican under Pope Alexander VI issued a Papal Bull (edict of the Pope in the Vatican) that essentially said that all non-Christian-owned land was available for the taking for the Crown and for the Church. It gave them the moral and legal authority for the slaughter, for the raping, the pillaging of our homelands and our peoples". <br></p><p><strong>Patric Tariq Mellet</strong>, a South African liberation activist, author and social historian, was the respondent to the keynote address and reflected on contemporary events in South Africa.<br></p><p>“In the old days before modern technology, a caged canary was taken down the mines because its demise provided a warning to miners of dangerous levels of poisonous atmosphere. It was a signal to miners to take action or die… to leave immediately for fresh air at the surface. As a metaphor, the plight of the canary can be likened in our societies to the assault on the most vulnerable, marginalised and oppressed in our society. The call to wake up and to resistance action shouts out from the overcome canary. This is a warning that a toxic wave – a period of threat – is about to sweep over others in our society," Mellet stated. </p><p>He noted that the metaphoric 'miner's canary' became a case of the testing of the resolve of the Native Americans at Standing Rock – “shouts out that race supremacism is on the rise – people of colour beware, other identities beware, all who are demonised beware."</p><p>“Our miner's canary as a warning of the corruption of our struggle gains, and of neo-colonialism in modern day South Africa stands out most starkly as the Marikana massacre. This was our Standing Rock… and so much more," Mellet added. <br></p><p>Photo: Patric Tariq Mellet, Pearl Means, Prof Nico Koopman (Vice-Rector: Social Impact, Transformation & Personnel) and Father Michael Lapsley (Director: Institute for the Healing of Memories) <br><br></p>
Launch of Gender Unit at the Faculty of Theologyhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=4786Launch of Gender Unit at the Faculty of TheologyHelette van der Westhuizen<p>Prof Juliana Claassens, Professor of Old Testament and Head of the Gender Unit, shared the story of the unit and said, "We want to offer a creative space for interdisciplinary research on an intersectional understanding of gender where we bring together students and scholars, locally, nationally and internationally to help us think differently about gender. Within this Gender Unit, we want very much to adhere to a feminist ethos that can be described as honouring all voices, interrogating power relations and reconstituting community."</p><p>The Vice-Rector for Research, Innovation and Postgraduate Studies, Prof Eugene Cloete, who played an important role in the establishment of the Gender Unit, said the unit stands for human dignity. "Human dignity is the number one priority. The second is creating an inclusive environment and a space where people can talk to one another. The idea is to work towards a common good."</p><p>Prof Amanda Gouws, who wished the Gender Unit well on behalf of the wider SU campus, talked about the importance of partnerships, and how essential it is to work together across departments and faculties in terms of issues of gender.</p><p>According to Dr Charlene van der Walt, Research and Programme coordinator of the Gender Unit and the very successful MTh Gender, Health and Theology programme, the unit already collaborates closely with various NGOs working on gender-based violence and minority sexualities in Africa, and they look forward to including other interested partners. Dr Funlola Olojede is the first postdoctoral fellow at the unit. She is making a valuable contribution with her focus on Africa women reading the Bible in terms of the challenges and opportunities in our contemporary context.</p><p>Prof Claassens concluded her address with a quote by<strong> </strong><em>bell hooks:</em> "I want there to be a place in the world where people can engage in one another's differences in a way that is redemptive, full of hope and possibility." May the Gender Unit be such a place.</p>
Dietrich Bonhoeffer for todayhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=4234Dietrich Bonhoeffer for todayMarita Snyman<p>For three years now, the Bonhoeffer Consultation has brought together scholars, pastors, and students for a close reading and discussion of a portion of Bonhoeffer's writings. This year's Consultation focused on Bonhoeffer's dissertation, <em>Sanctorum Communio, </em>which he completed at age 21. In it, Bonhoeffer offers a description of the church as a social entity in which separate persons are brought into community by encountering difference in one another. Participants spent each morning reading through <em>Sanctorum Communio</em> and discussing its implications for theology, sociology, politics, personhood, and a fresh vision for the church's role in a diverse and reconciling South Africa. The discussions were supplemented by public lectures, including an address by the renowned theologian and Bonhoeffer scholar, Prof. John de Gruchy, on Bonhoeffer's prophetic example for a global Kairos theology.</p><p>Photo: Prof Robert Vosloo, Director of the Bonhoeffer Unit at the Beyers Naudé Centre with Prof John de Gruchy<br></p>
International Bonhoeffer Society raises voice in resistance to discrimination and aggressive nationalismhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=4635International Bonhoeffer Society raises voice in resistance to discrimination and aggressive nationalismMarita Snyman<p>Comprising scholars and religious leaders from the United States, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom, the purpose of the English Language Section of the International Bonhoeffer Society is to encourage critical scholarship in conversation with the theology, life, and legacy of the German pastor-theologian and Nazi resistor, Dietrich Bonhoeffer. While initiated in the United States, this statement expresses the concern, input, and support of our members in many countries that are demonstrating and protesting around the world. We speak noting that Dietrich Bonhoeffer himself taught the profound relatedness of all human persons and, indeed, of peoples and nations. We therefore feel called to raise our voices in support of justice and peace, and in resistance to every form of unjust discrimination and aggressive nationalism.</p><p>The United States has undergone an unusually contentious, bitter, and ugly election that has brought us to an equally contentious, bitter, and ugly beginning of the presidency of Donald J. Trump. While it is impossible to predict what lies ahead, we are gravely concerned by the rise in hateful rhetoric and violence, the deep divisions and distrust in our country, and the weakening in respectful public discourse. Some of the institutions that have traditionally protected our freedoms are under threat. In particular, this election has made the most vulnerable members of our society, including people of color, members of the LGBTQ communities, Muslims, immigrants, refugees, the poor, and the marginally employed and the unemployed, feel even more vulnerable and disempowered.</p><p>The German theologian and martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer is quoted often in such times, for he spoke eloquently to such issues. His entire theological and political journey was shaped by his conviction that the church is only truly church when it lives for all God's children in the world, and that Christians fulfill their faith as Christians only when we live for others. Members of the Bonhoeffer Society hope to make a faithful contribution to our society in this ominous time.</p><p>The best way to understand Bonhoeffer's possible message for our times is not to draw direct political analogies between his time and ours, but to understand the meaning of how he understood his faith and his responsibilities as a citizen in his own times and discern where these words might resonate for us today:</p><p>In the coming time, we will seek to live such a life of witness, not only for the sake of our country, but because our Christian faith calls us to do so.</p><ul><li>He warned that leaders become "misleaders" when they are interested only in their own power and neglect their responsibilities to serve those whom they govern. (1933)</li><li>He warned that when a government persecutes its minorities, it has ceased to govern legitimately. (1933)</li><li>He admonished Christians to "speak out for those who cannot speak" (1934) and reminded that the church has an "unconditional obligation toward the victims of any societal order, even if they do not belong to the Christian community." (1933)</li><li>In his book <em>Discipleship</em>, he wrote: "From the human point of view there are countless possibilities of understanding and interpreting the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus knows only one possibility: simply go and obey. Do not interpret or apply, but do it and obey. That is the only way Jesus' word is really heard. But again, doing something is not to be understood as an ideal possibility; instead, we are simply to begin acting."(1936)</li><li>He wrote: "I believe that in every moment of distress God will give us as much strength to resist as we need…I believe that even our mistakes and shortcomings are not in vain and that is not more difficult for God to deal with them than with our supposedly good deeds. I believe that God is no timeless fate but waits for and responds to sincere prayer and responsible actions." (1942)</li><li>He wrote: "Is there a political responsibility of the <em>individual Christian? </em>Individual Christians can certainly not be held responsible for the government's actions, nor dare they make themselves responsible for them. But on the basis of their faith and love of neighbor, they are responsible for their own vocation and personal sphere of living, however large or small it is. Wherever this responsibility is faithfully exercised, it has efficacy for the polis as a whole."(1941)</li><li>He wrote: "… one only learns to have faith by living in the full this-worldliness of life….then one takes seriously no longer one's own sufferings but rather the suffering of God in the world. Then one stays awake with Christ in Gethsemane…. How should one become arrogant over successes or shaken by one's failures when one shares in God's suffering in the life of this world?" (1944)<br><br>In the coming time, we will seek to live such a life of witness, not only for the sake of our country, but because our Christian faith calls us to do so. </li></ul>
Russel Botman Memorial Lecturehttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=4342Russel Botman Memorial LectureHelette van der Westhuizen<p style="text-align:left;">The <span style="text-align:center;">Russel Botman Memorial Lecture, </span><span style="text-align:center;">commemorating the life of Prof Hayman Russel Botman, is </span><span style="text-align:center;">hosted annually by the Faculty of Theology, Stellenbosch University </span><span style="text-align:center;">in conjunction with the curatoria of the Dutch Reformed Church, the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa and the Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology.</span></p><p style="text-align:center;"><strong>"Are we still of any use?"</strong></p><p style="text-align:center;"><strong>Situating Russel Botman's thinking on poverty, empowerment and education </strong><strong>in our contemporary times.</strong></p><p style="text-align:center;"><strong>Date</strong></p><p style="text-align:center;">Tuesday, 18 October 2016 at 18:15</p><p style="text-align:center;"><strong>Venue</strong></p><p style="text-align:center;">Attie van Wijk Auditorium, Faculty of Theology, 171 Dorp Street, Stellenbosch</p><p style="text-align:center;"><strong>Speaker</strong></p><p style="text-align:center;">Prof Crain Soudien, Human Sciences Research Council</p><p style="text-align:center;"><strong>Response</strong></p><p style="text-align:center;">Prof Yusef Waghid, Faculty of Education, Stellenbosch University</p><p style="text-align:center;"><strong>Vote of thanks</strong></p><p style="text-align:center;">Mr Randall van den Heever, Russel Botman bursar, <br>Stellenbosch University</p><p style="text-align:center;"><strong>RSVP by 10 October 2016</strong></p><p style="text-align:center;">Helette, 021 808 9560 or hvdwest@sun.ac.za</p><p></p>
The Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology and Faculdades EST, Brazil strengthen partnershiphttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=4276The Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology and Faculdades EST, Brazil strengthen partnershipDion Forster<p>The Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology in the Faculty of Theology at Stellenbosch University has been engaged in a rich and fruitful partnership with colleagues from Faculdades EST since 2007. Faculdades EST is a Brazilian institution of research and academic training in the fields of human sciences and applied social sciences, linguistics, languages, arts and health. The partnership has focussed predominantly on issues of Public Theologies in the respective contexts. Prof Dr Rudolf von Sinner from Faculdades EST and Dr Dion Forster from the Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology serve as the coordinators of an ongoing research project on the nature and content of Public Theologies from Brazil and South Africa. This has been a very fruitful collaboration over the years with the exchange of staff and students, participation in conferences in Sao Leopoldo and Stellenbosch, and shared publications. <br> <br>On the 14th of September 2016 the Faculty of Theology (Stellenbosch University) and the Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology presented Prof Dr Rudolf von Sinner with an artwork for the Centre for Ethics at Faculdades EST. The artwork, which was created by Prof Daniel Louw (Emeritus Professor - and former Dean - of the Faculty of Theology, Stellenbosch) is entitled '<em>The Cursed and Wounded Healer</em>'. It symbolises the frailty and brokenness of human persons and society as a result of sin. Yet, it points towards the hope of healing and restoration that the cross of Christ brings, expressed in Pauline terminology, as wholeness (<em>parrhesia</em>).</p><p>We look forward to many fruitful years of South by South collaboration between these two Southern hemisphere institutions. In this picture Dr Donald Katts, Stellenbosch (left) is presenting the artwork to Prof Dr Rudolf von Sinner (right) at a special service at Faculdades EST.</p>