Walking Together: Christian Thinking & Public Life in South Africa, a newly published book from Abilene Christian University Press, has emerged from the 2009 Gospel and Culture seminar to South Africa.
Walking Together shows that as Christian scholars of the North awaken to the concerns of their faith’s new heartlands to the South, and Christian scholars from the South awaken to their faith’s public imperatives, they gain fresh insights from engaging each other in this dynamic nation.
The advance reviews say it all:
"The colleagues who journeyed with me across the country glimpsed the tragedy out of which the country is trying to emerge, and for a moment, they basked in the sun of our young and vibrant democracy. When they looked deeper, they began to see themselves in South Africa." Tinyiko Malueke, seminar leader and author of many articles on human rights including, "Justice in post-apartheid South Africa: Towards a Theology of Restitution."
"The result is fresh, lively, viorous, thought-provoking, unexpected, creative and deeply insightful Christian thinking of the very best kind." Mark Noll, Professor, University of Notre Dame, co-author of Clouds of Witness: Christian Voices from Africa and Asia.
Public Theology: The South African Experience
June 2-16, 2009
In June 2009, nine North American and nine African scholars participated in a faculty development seminar on Christian political thought and held in South Africa. It was the second in the series cosponsored by the Nagel Institute and the CCCU. Participants stayed one week in the Gauteng area, visiting in Johannesburg, Soweto, Pretoria and surrounding areas, then one week in the Western Cape, ranging out from Cape Town. They focused on some of the most urgent issues facing South Africa, which also resonated deeply with concerns in North American and the rest of Africa: HIV/AIDS and the need for just public health policies; immigration, refugees and the crises in bordering states (Zimbabwe); democracy, political parties and governmental accountability; and constitution, the courts and executive power. Team members visited churches ministering to AIDS victims and their families and refugees, talked to public health sector agents (e.g. insurance companies), saw refugee shelters and heard of xenophobic violence, interviewed members of parliament and a presidential candidate, and conversed with the deputy chief justice of the Constitutional Court and saw him hand down a landmark decision.
Several members spoke of the life- and career-transforming power of these experiences and group reflection on them, and the group is likely to produce one or two very good books and a number of new courses at their home institutions.
Some concluding thoughts, written by seminar participant Dr. Stephen Martin, are currently available.