Religion and Society

Articles that pertain to issues of Religion and Society.

Christmas celebration as protest

The words are so familiar that we don't give them a second thought. But this is how the Christmas story begins: "In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered." We don't know when this census took place, or its reason, but it was probably confined to Judaea for the purpose of taxation and control. King Herod had to raise taxes on behalf of Emperor Augustus in order to control a turbulent country regularly threatened by the uprisings of Jewish zealots. Herod was nervous and fearful. Any talk of a messianic leader sent shivers up his spine.

"In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered." (Luke 2:1)

Embodying the politics of Jesus: A theological conversation

Since 2013 the Anabaptist Network in South Africa has hosted an annual theological conversation where Christians interested in exploring the ways of Jesus, activists, church leaders and theologians gather for three days of reflection and discernment. This conversation has become a place where a radical Christian faith has been explored for its implication for the church in South Africa. This year's theme will focus on what it means to embody the politics of Jesus.

Introduction

Sacred Cows and Holy Kisses

What on earth is a "holy kiss?" Is it a kiss on the cheek, a kiss on the lips, a sensual kiss, or a hesitant shy peck? Is it the "kiss of peace" which we share in worship each week, a hug of greeting or a handshake? Whatever its form, what makes it "holy"? In fact, what makes anything "holy" or "sacred"?

"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory." (Isaiah 6:1-5)
"Greet one another with a holy kiss." (Romans 16:12-16)

We are All Immigrants

"A wandering Aramaen was my ancestor. He went down into Egypt and lived there as an alien." (Deut. 26:1-5)

"Who is my neighbour?" (Luke 10:29-37)

On Safety and Security

South Africa is a society obsessed with security. With a police force of 150000 officers, 1 for every 300 South Africans, and another 400000 security guards, more than the police and army combined, security is obviously seen as a priority. On the surface we try to make it seem as though we are concerned with crime rather than security. But there is something deeper taking place in our constant quest to be “safe and secure.” We can justify anything, from excessive state spending to our latent racism, by drawing on our rich repertoire of talk on safety and security.

Within the Steering Committee of the Anabaptist Network in South Africa (ANiSA) we have come to value the opportunity of having a space for ongoing reflection regarding our common desire of being faithful disciples of Jesus in the South African context. We share with you some of our thoughts and reflections that are being provoked by our context. Do these reflections resonate with you? We welcome your thoughts and reflections as we journey together.

 

Blaming It on the Snake

Genesis 3:1-13

The serpent tricked me and I ate.

Heaven is not Where You Think it is

Matthew 10:1-7

 

The kingdom of heaven has come near.

 

Finishing the Race

 

I Corinthians 9:19-27

 

Do you not know that in a race the runners all compete, but only one received the prize? Run in such a way that you may win it.

 

Making Your Own Bed

If I make my bed in Sheol you are there!

 

Not Giving Up

Martin Scorsese’s film entitled Hugo is about an orphan who lived in a Paris railway station in the 1930’s looking after the clocks. All that connected him to his dead father was a mechanical man, but the key had been lost and Hugo could not discover its secrets. The plot of the movie is magical, and central to it is a toy shopkeeper, George Melies and his god-daughter. She and Hugo become friends, and fortuitously she provides Hugo the key which not only unlocks the automaton’s secrets but also the memories of the old man.

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