Thursday, November 23, 2017

BOOK REVIEW



J. ANDREW KIRK, What is Mission, Theological Explorations, Dorton, Longman, Todd, London, 1999.

Author
J. ANDREW KIRK is a dean and head of the School of Mission and World Christianity at Selly Oak Colleges, Birmingham. He has lived in Latin America and travelled extensively, and is the author of several books in the area of mission studies, including The Meaning of Freedom: A study of Secular, Muslim and Christian view (Peternoster, 1998).

Acknowledgement
He engages with the thinking of others in case one has to come up with sound mission, with the crucial mission issues of the moment. What is Mission to J. Andrew Kirk is a matter for the whole people of God, listening to what the Spirit of Jesus says t the Churches, hearing the sorrows and joys of people’s daily lives and listening to one another. He captures it well in the statement of ‘I am because you are’. (Ubuntu Philosophy).

Introduction
A number of years in mission education of searching for a proper book for mission, dedicated in that line. David Bosch’s Magnum opus, Transforming Mission, to him is the standard text book in the foreseeable future. He says, ‘there are few people who are able to master so expertly such a wide range of material with such care, balance and sensitivity.’

 J. Andrew Kirk states that David Bosch presents the subject of Christian Mission like a journey of exploration in which the traveller takes sufficient time both to cover a wide territory and to do so with such attention to details. J. Andrews Kirk’s book is simply an introduction, presenting material of Mission Theology in a convenient form, guiding the students in some of the current relevant discussions on various issues.

 The difference between the two can be likened to the scale of a map. David Bosch is the large Map with all details of what a map ought to have, while J. Andrew Kirk is smaller scale indicating the location of the large villages, small towns and cities. Both are required. Transforming Mission and other books which cover a large terrain are resource books to which one returns once and time again. 
Some people find J. Andrew Kirk intimidating especially if English is not your first language, the courage to penetrate through murky waters, without being superficial.

The difference comes when him and David handle emerging ecumenical Missionary paradigm are not covered in David Bosch’s text book, previous situations of south Africa under apartheid when the book was written. He is indeed indebted to David Bosch as a scholar and as a person, he had a privilege to know him personally. To not acknowledge any contribution or significant studies, the reason will be ignorance rather than lack of appreciation.

Outline and scope
Providing students with a book that covers a range of issues in mission theology, current hot topics in the academia, breaking those issues in small bits and pieces to grip the gist of the discussion and trends, setting out various opinions as clearly as possible.

He divides the book in three parts. The opening three chapters deal with the question of foundations and methods, difference in opinion over the nature of the Missio Dei and the Church's relationship to it. How we approach fundamental matters to do with God and his purposes and the place that Jesus and the Christian community.

The second section is dedicated to seven main themes the choices are based on many years involvement in mission education on more than one continent.

The third part consists of one chapter only. The review of what the Church might be and do is she was sufficiently conscious of its nature as a church for the sake of mission. It also gives an opportunity to tie up some loose ends by including discussions not properly addressed elsewhere. The topics have to be look at with particular interest not to just read the book from page to page, but over view of scope.

J. Andrew Kirk states that he is not giving the impression that he has settled view on the all the questions raised in mission theology, far from it. For example, legitimisation of violence, the church involvement in politics, inculturation, preferential option for the poor, care of the environment all these raise storms which Christians have to sail through before reaching calmer waters. 

Even those who appear to reject firm beliefs about the Church’s mission have their firm reasons to do so. The problem is not to ascribing to God.in equal measure both masculine and feminine attributes. A human tragedy almost as old as humanity itself, the masculine must not be equated with domination, authoritarianism and control.

Interest of the book
When I finished my missioning experience, so as to embark on mission studies, I told the Christians I am going to study missiology and they were like what is that? That spark off a an exploration journey to answer to that question…to me this is book on  mission exploration contextualizing my missionary experience of 3 years in Tarija Bolivia, srla. 




Thursday, November 16, 2017

LIBERATION THEOLOGY REBUTTED

LIBERATION THEOLOGY REBUTTED

Liberation Theology is one of those exciting teachings that are quite modern which does not only have a belonging to Latin America, but its roots have reached many quarters of the globe and like wine, it’s time for sincere dialogue to be held without anyone keeping the cards under the tables, so that the challenge and controversial issues are clearly dealt with.

This has been provoked both negatively and positively raised mixed reactions, some though exaggerated and emotionally drained. This has been twinkled with sometimes political and ecclesial frontlines. This has keenly raised interests, and the suspicion, of the Sacred Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith[1]. Pope Paul VI, gave qualified approval to the major theme of Liberation Theology: The Liberation of men and women from all forms of oppression and exploitation, both in their individual and social lives[2]

The General Assemblies of the Society of African Mission, in revising and clarifying our missionary goals and methods, made a study of the tenets of Liberation Theology, and in their final documents, incorporated some of its distinctive emphases. “Some of our missionaries in the field, not too well acquainted with the works Liberation Theologians, may perhaps find the new language and the new emphases in our documents somewhat disconcerting.” This has to give a glimpse and background, against which to situate the Liberation thrust of the reality.

The true content of Liberation Theology, is a label depicting a theological movement which erupted in Latin America in the mid-sixties, and became a coherent movement with its own identity at the second General Conference of Latin America Episcopate (CELAM) in Medellín, Colombia, in 1968.
Gustavo Gutierrez says, “Liberation theology should be regarded as a movement only in the very broad sense”.  Liberation theology is born in the context of social injustice in which the people live in. Gutierrez describes how his book, A Theology of Liberation, came into being: It is a theological reflection born of the experience of shared efforts to abolish the current unjust situation and build a different society, freer and more human[3].

Liberation theology is, then a reflection on the meaning of faith more so Christian faith as it is lived in the context of a committed struggle to overcome an unjust and powerful economic and political system, a system which creates massive oppression and economic dependence. This is to further the liberation process already begun, and support the commitment of Christians to the struggle for a more just and humane economic and political order.  

Gutierrez insists “It’s to let ourselves be judged by the Word of the Lord, to think through our faith, to strength our love, and to give reason for our hope from within a commitment which seeks to be more radical, total, and efficacious both individual and societal. “Hermeneutic” means “having to do with interpretation. And the circular nature of this interpretation stems from the fact that each new reality obliges us to interpret the Word of God afresh, to change reality accordingly, and then go back and interpret the Word of God again, and so on.[4]

Man’s life never stands still. It is a dynamic, developing reality, and is subject to constant change. These changes come with constantly new perspectives on God’s Word, and calls for fresh interpretation of the Word. This Word enters the flesh of our lives, becomes an agent of change and transforms. Liberation theologians focus attention on man in his social relationships. Human beings have the capacity to subjugate and shape their environment, thus becoming subjects in a humanized world. Paulo Freire speaks of these people as living in the culture of silence where they are prohibited from creatively taking part in the transformation of their society and therefore prohibited from being[5].

The hopes of those suffering have to instil thrust towards the future in the context of a Liberation struggle to undo the chains of the present oppressive social order and build a new society, different from and qualitatively superior to, the one which exists at present. We now have to seriously embark on the SWOT ANALYSIS on Liberation Theology.




[1] The Instruction on Certain Aspects of the “Theology of Liberation”, Vatican City Rome, 1984.
[2] Evangelii Nuntiandi, nos. 29-39
[3] Gustavo Gutiérrez, A Theology of Liberation, the Magnum Opus, 1974, P.ix
[4] Gustavo Gutierrez, The Liberation of Theology, tr. John Drury, Orbis Books, Maryknoll NY, 1976, P.8
[5] Cultural Action for Freedom, Penguin books, Middlesex England, 1977, P.30

Friday, November 10, 2017

S.W.O.T ANALYSIS OF EVANGELIZATION OF PEOPLES (Evangelii Nuntiandi)

   QUALITATIVE ASSESSMENT OF EVANGELIZATION OF PEOPLES.
Critical Reflection on the Practical Application to the Ordinary Reality




Historical Background

The Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (Latin: Congregatio pro Gentium Evangelizatione) in Rome is the congregation of Roman Curia responsible for missionary work and related activities. Its perhaps better known by its former title, the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of Faith (Sacra Congregatio de Propaganda Fide)[1]

The official office that deals with the Evangelization of peoples in the Curia is what is known as Sacred Congregation of Evangelization of Peoples. Founded in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV’s bull Inscrutabili Divinae, the body was charged with the fostering the spread of Catholicism and with the regulation of Catholic ecclesiastical affairs in non-Catholic countries. The intrinsic importance of its duties and extraordinary extent of its authority and of the territory under the jurisdiction caused the cardinal Prefect of Propaganda to be known as the “red pope”[2]

At that time of its inception, the expansion of colonial administrations was coming to be largely in Dutch and English hands, both protestant countries intent in spreading these religious doctrines, and Rome perceived the very real threat of Protestantism spreading in the wake of commercial empire…
The historical unfolding came with their challenges, approaches and method of evangelization. The true perspective of missioning or coming to getting a clear communication frequency started under Urban VIII (1623-1644). He started a central seminary (The collegium Urbaum) strictly for training missionaries, where the author of this research is undergoing mission studies of the same.

Collegium Urbanum operated the polyglot printing press in Rome, printing catechisms in many languages. These accumulations of objects now can be viewed and accessed at the Vatican museum’s Ethnological Missionary Museum. Since 1989 the incumbent prefect is also president of the interdicasterial commission for consecrated Religious. In 2014 Sr. Luzia Premoli, superior general of the Combonian Missionaries Sisters, was appointed a member of the congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, thus becoming the first woman to be appointed a member of Roman Curial congregation[3].

The Nature of Synod and its functioning

A synod of Bishops brings together about 200 bishops from all over the world, together with some representatives of priests, religious and laity in consultative capacity. The most ancient Churches as well as the most recent are represented and have a voice.

The Episcopal conferences whole over the world are consulted first about the topic. Once this has been chosen and with the Pope’s input as a road map through the bishops’ suggestions, an outline is sent to the bishops with a number of questions inviting them to complete and fill out the agenda. This means that bishops ought to engage experts who are relevant, efficient and effective in the topic proposed. This is when the laity since they are professionals should be brought on board and should feel that their presence is not just to seen but have to help the bishops in a manner that suits and in line with international standards of consultations.

During the first week, the synod fathers listen to one another in series of speeches (about 150), each limited to 8 minutes. “Brief as a miniskirt yet short to cover the essentials” you either know what you are talking about and able to catch the eyes of the 149 participants (Fathers of the Church) or simply get lost in your own details. This is where relevancy, effectiveness and efficiency play on the stage professionally, with all standardizations and universality of the Church.
On the basis of the content of these speeches and written submissions which participants are free to make, a series of topics is listed for discussion in groups based on six official languages of the synod. Even though one language is used in each group, the group itself can be quite international in character.
Out of these discussions, a series of prepositions on various aspects of the theme is prepared. Within the limits of times available, they represent with reasonable accuracy the essential elements of the thinking of the Synod Fathers. The bishops are also given an opportunity to correct and complete them by submitting amendments before they are voted on in their final form. When the propositions have been approved by the Synod fathers, they and all the documentations and speeches of the synod are handed over to the Holy Father with an invitation to issue, in due course, a document which would accurately reflect the deliberations of the Synod. Evangelii Nuntiandi (EN)[4] appeared on the 8 December 1975, a little more than a year after the Synod concluded[5].

The 1974 Synod on Evangelization

In 1974, by choosing the theme: Evangelization in the World of Today, was given a deeper reflection on the mandate given by Christ to the Apostles, and through them to the Church for all time.
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given unto me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Matthew28:18-20)
This is an invitation to reflect on the implications of the mission of the church, which has been “sent” (missa) to evangelize the whole world, a mission which has consequences and creates responsibilities for the church as a whole, and for each and every number of the Church, each and every section or group within the Church.
  
Influence on functioning of Synod

The first result of EN which affected the methodology of subsequent Synods. The topic in itself looked vast, the amount of information and opinion was so extensive, that within the limits of the time available, the Synod Fathers found it impossible to prepare a document which would satisfy the requirements of such an important topic.

All the documentations and speeches and written submissions of the Synod were given over to the Holy Father with request that in due time he would publish a document which reflected the views of the Synod on the various aspects of evangelization. It was a collegial document, produced by bishops of the Universal Church, united in collegiality with the Holy Father.

Influence on the subsequent Topics: Catechesis in Our Time, 1977

In the course of evangelization, many of the Fathers had raised questions and offered comments on methods of preaching and teaching and transmitting the gospel. Some were preoccupied with controversies about content and methodology which were harmful and unity and effectiveness in handing on the Faith. They were preoccupied about the youth which, in some countries, represented almost half of the population.

The developments in catechetics which relied heavily on psychology, sociology and pedagogical concerns, and perhaps too little on the tradition and practice of the Church and the content which was essential to the Faith, caused confusion and anxiety. A new concern to involve the whole Christian community in the work of catechesis was also stimulated to some extent by the experience of the Synod on Evangelization, dealing with the role of parents, teachers and catechesis in the work of evangelization. (Cf. 70-73).

Catechesi Tradendae begins with reference to Mathew 28:19-20 and the Church’s obligation “to make disciples of all nations” and make direct reference to EN in Par. 2 where John Paul II describes how his predecessor, Pope Paul VI, had treated specifically the subject of catechesis in EN, especially in Par. 44 (Cf. also Parr. 45-48; 78 end)

Synod on the Family, 1980

The second Synod to occur after the publication of EN was devoted to the Family. It had already received some attention at the synod on Evangelization (Cf. EN 71 and 70) followed by Parr. 68 and 69 in Catechesi Tradendae. The pastoral experience of the family in the Universal Church and in local Churches. The weakening of family ties through changes in society, the attacks on the family which threatened to undermine an awareness of its importance for the welfare of human society, for the future of mankind and for the continued existence of the Church, as well as a deterioration in the understanding of human love and deepening through the revelation of the love of Christ for the Church. All these elements contributed to the choice of the Family as the theme for Synod in 1980.

This Synod on the Family was seen by Pope Paul II as a natural continuation of the two preceding Synods on Evangelization in 1974 and Catechesi in 1977. He even linked it with the Synod of 1971 which published documents on the Ministerial Priesthood and on justice in the Modern World (Familiaris Consortio 2). The Publication of EN and Catechesi Tradendae provoked reflection on pastoral experience of the family and on the role of Christian family in the modern world which later found expression in Familiaris Consortium[6].

The cry for Liberation

The struggles of millions, to overcome everything which condemns them to remain on the margin of life: famine, chronic disease, terrorism, sexual human trafficking, illiteracy, poverty, in juice, corruption, stealing of elections and manipulation of country constitutions to remain and die in power, neo-colonialism in the form of imposing democracy yet back the scenes are stealing natural resources and instigating war, and tribal clashes and genocides.

The duty of the Church is to proclaim the message to millions of human beings, assisting the birth of liberation, of giving witness to it, of ensuring that its complete. This is not foreign to evangelization. Today we have Christians who frequently are tempted to reduce the church’s mission to the dimensions of simply temporal projects. Many are asking should we first deal with the requirements of human development, and only then go on to evangelize? We need to acquaint ourselves with the social teachings of the Church, to formulate it in a way which will effectively influence the life of people and of peoples and produce real solutions for the only too real problems of today.

The dilemma that will always remain for future missionaries

There is always the repeated accusation that Christianity is a European thing which, in effect, was an element and instrument of colonial domination. Christianity originated out of Europe and was brought to Europe with its various languages and cultures from outside by missionaries who were native to the countries they evangelized.

Some keep on saying African Church for African people and an Indian Church for Indian people. What is essential is the element of Christianity has to retain at all cost and never give way to cultural elements in conflict with the gospel. Know the culture of the people or nation in question.  Evangelizers have to ensure that one knows sufficiently the Gospel one brings, not only knowing the Gospel in itself but also in preparation in the Old testament, and its application in the earliest years of the Church as reflected in the other books of New Testament. Know also the teaching of the Church, aware of the history of the church and her experience, the steps that were taken, the successes achieved and the mistakes that were made in the past.

Because the whole issue of inculturation is not new, even though it may be new in its dimension and its complexity. It confronted the Church as soon as the Apostles began to move from Jerusalem and make their way to Samaria (Acts 8:4-5). It became even more complicated and cute when Paul and Barnabas set sail from Seleucia (Act 13:4). All these elements have contributed to the church’s understanding of herself and how best to produce a fruitful union of Gospel and culture in every nation.

The way forward

The best attribute we can give to EN is to reread repeatedly and more so parish priests and ministers of the word to  read at least a page before the celebration of the Holy Mass, Small communities  and the Homily should include a point or two to sensitize the congregation. The Priest is always the head catechist of the parish, he ought to do that what pertains to the catechist: preach, admonish, instruct, discipline, create, illumine and highlight the faith in a small yet contextualized pedagogical approach to all.

The new commitment to evangelical witness and the missionary action (EN 80 re “the fatigue and disenchantment” etc. of many missionaries). We serve to renew our conviction that because of our faith in Jesus Christ, because of our membership of the Church, we do not have something unique to offer mankind since, as a Church and members of the Church, we have been called and equipped to be the salt of the earth, to give it savour, we are intended by Christ to be a light to the World.

We do not impose things to people in our missioning’s, but propose to mankind. We need to find ways of breaking the message to reach the hearts of men, respect the cultures we mission. We are called to stimulate the faith by being aware especially in promoting missionary vocations provided through the work of the society for the Propagation of Faith and Holy Childhood Association. Sometimes as we talk about these things, one gets the impression that it is a recent invention!



[1] http://en.m.wikipedia.org, Congregation for the Evangelization of People, Retrieved on 10/11/2017, 20:45
[2] Ibid,
[3] First woman appointed to a Vatican congregation joyful:: EWTN News, www.ewtnnews.com Retrieved 10/11/17
[4] In this paper we shall refer to it as EN.
[5] Congresso Del Ventennio Dal Concilio Vaticano II, (18-21 febbraio 1985) Portare Cristo all’Uomo, I DIALOGO, con la partecipazione del SEGRETARIATO PER I NOI CRISTIANI, STUDIA URBANIANA/22, PONTIFICIA UNIVERSITA URBANIANA, Pontificia Universitas Urbaniana Rome 1985, 23-42
[6] Portare Cristo all’Uomo, 29

Friday, November 3, 2017

THE DRAMA OF DIALOGUE

CAN A SERVANT CALL THE MASTER FOR DIALOGUE?

Unfortunately, the people who are calling for dialogue can't even dialogue with their house helps at that basic level.

Better to go on with your daily chores than entering into a head blowing commitment.

The dilemma is always this. Can the master accept the servant to call for dialogue? or it's always the master to dictate the environment and terms to sermon for disciplinary actions never dialogue.

This too is adamantly being carried out by the former colonial master who has never accepted that their former servants are now at par with them in all means and ideological prowess.

When I hear a call for dialogue, what are we talking about here? I tend to be lost in the details and semantics.

Dialogue is self forgetting of personal power, position, chest thumping and sitting at table and to re-learn once again on how to talk to people not at people, lest it becomes a talk show and breakfast paid the (EU, UN, AU, NGO) at the expense of long and complicated terminologies like: PEACE AND RECONCILIATION FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT.

This is mixing up the poor who are paid peanuts to participate in these conferences. Why should a politician, NGO transport old women picked in different slums for a conference with donors at Sheraton, Hilton, etc, dressed smartly to impress the sponsors.

What kind of evil acts that even the sponsors can open their eyes to see amidst the scare not to visit the poor in their box houses in the slums for fear of insecurity. It looks someone is getting rich on ethnic hate and Post Election Violence (pev)

This is our shame, our sin as a country, unless we repent and convert. These "big hyenas" will always remain in the cities with air conditioned offices, only filling their stomachs with stolen money of the poor in the name of sustainable development.

The poor old woman gets back to her village, slum hut/box house, waiting for another 4years only for her hut to be burnt to ashes by a clever Politician who is a clever devil. Always gaining by stealing the old woman's vote.

I resist this emotional call for dialogue just to cool fires yet no good intentions by the convokers. I refuse and I want to be counted as part of the resistance against any injustice.

As a pastoral agent, I want justice for that forgotten old woman in the IDP camp before we start to talk of dialogue.#ThelastWord

Thursday, November 2, 2017

PUBLIC OPINION


PUBLIC OPINION

The means of social communication are public forums where every man and woman may exchange ideas. The public expression and the confrontation of different opinions that occur within this dialogue influence and enrich the development of society and further its progress.

Public opinion is an essential expression of human nature of organized in a society. This opinion is formed in an innate disposition to give vent to opinions, attitudes and emotions in order to reach a general acceptance on convictions and customs.

Freedom of speech is a normal factor in the growth of public opinion which expresses the ideas and reactions of the more influential circles in a society defined by geography, culture and history. If public opinion is to emerge in proper manner, there should be a mature way of expressing oneself freely in ideas and attitudes.

This freedom is a common good that ought to be expressed without looking over your shoulder as you talk.  We all have different ways of thinking and expressing our thoughts, what counts much is the way you put across your points. There are people who are very good at talking at people. They are often very emotional, arrogant, poor listeners and always want their way out as the best. While they are those who talk to people. They give time for the other to speak and to exhaust his points, however much you may think they are rubbish, they dare to be good listeners, with good listening you will always discover some seeds of truth in that so called rubbish. As the wise will often say that even rubbish can make good manure. 

In public opinion there is give and take, acceptance and rejection, compromise or compilation. The valid ideas can gain ground. We are all to play part in the formation of public opinion, whether through public assembly, social media, debates important you make your point. If you don't publish you perish, and if you perish it may arrive dead.

That is why, not everything you read is a sound opinion but subject it to the scale of logic, historicity, grammar and originality, then you will find the potholes and soft sport to hit hard in the debate. Miguna Miguna is quite smart in this field, very grounded and literally dares the devil…that is true debate…but how many of us can sustain can heat and hit? It’s a natural talent subjected to logic and a mind that is disciplined in history and environment the Hinc et nunc…here and now context of anthro-political pedagogy.

This is what we call propaganda campaign, with the aim of influencing the public to make a choice or an opinion on a given issue of interest. Justified when it serves the truth, its objective and its methods accord with the dignity of man and woman that are in the interest of the public. Some propaganda is toxic and ought to be avoided.

 If you can’t be convinced there is a great possibility to confuse the listener or reader, there will always be in a marketplace a mad man/woman. This attitude often represents distortion of minds with half-truths and we all know that half-truths is never truth, hence, selecting to report what you think people need to listen, serious omission, that affects a clear freedom of decision.

The opinion of the majority, however, changes often. The same ideas gain and sometimes loses hold of the public. Because of this, it is prudent to maintain a certain detachment towards the opinions currently in public vogue. There may well be good reasons that require one to oppose them. 

COMMUNICATION VS THE KENYAN MEDIA

COMMUNICATION AND THE KENYAN MEDIA

Communication is more than the expression of ideas and the indication of emotions.

It's most profound level, it's the giving of the self in love of your profession, not for money but love for the call.

Journalists have a call to unite the country not to divide the country with distractive agenda.

They ought to understand themselves better than our very selves...whichever media houses they belong, they are dividing us.

Now that one of their own is attacked...they are misusing their pens...but when they were receiving the boot all were silent with a hot potatoe in their mouths.

The journalists ought to help us persue truth and speeding up of progress.

They need to do this in utter space if freedom, so long as they are not hiding behind bringing us news then at night they are dinning with kings and princes in their castles.

They have a duty to make themselves competent, effecient and effective in the art of communication in order to be effective in their work.

Honesty, truthfulness, sincerity are essential requirements in any journalism class and editorial board, TV anchorage.

Good intentions and clear conscience do not thereby make a communication sound reliable.

Communication must state the truth, accurately reflect the situation with all its implications.

The moral worth and validity of any communication doesn't lie solely in its theme or intellectual content. But in the way it's presented, the way it's spoken and treated, and even the audience for which it is designed, all these factors must be kept in account.

A deeper understanding and greater sympathy between men, as well as fruitful cooperation in creative work, these are great moments that should come from social communication

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