Gunther Wittenberg Lecture on Earth Theology & The Environment

AUGUST 13th, 2015

Speaker: Rev. Canon Dr. Kapya John Kaoma is a visiting Researcher at Boston University Center for Global Christianity and Mission as well as adjunct Professor at Episcopal Divinity School. He has written and spoken about subjects in mission history, gender, sexual rights, and eco-social justice.
Venue: A1 NAB Golf road Campus
Time: 17.30 – 19.30
Speaker: Rev. Canon Dr. Kapya John Kaoma is a visiting Researcher at Boston University Center for Global Christianity and Mission as well as adjunct Professor at Episcopal Divinity School. He has written and spoken about subjects in mission history, gender, sexual rights, and eco-social justice.
Venue: A1 NAB Golf road Campus
Time: 17.30 – 19.30
Speaker: Rev. Canon Dr. Kapya John Kaoma is a visiting Researcher at Boston University Center for Global Christianity and Mission as well as adjunct Professor at Episcopal Divinity School. He has written and spoken about subjects in mission history, gender, sexual rights, and eco-social justice.
Venue: A1 NAB Golf road Campus
Time: 17.30 – 19.30
Speaker: Rev. Canon Dr. Kapya John Kaoma is a visiting Researcher at Boston University Center for Global Christianity and Mission as well as adjunct Professor at Episcopal Divinity School. He has written and spoken about subjects in mission history, gender, sexual rights, and eco-social justice.
Venue: A1 NAB Golf road Campus
Time: 17.30 – 19.30

Speaker: Rev. Canon Dr. Kapya John Kaoma is a visiting Researcher at Boston University Center for Global Christianity and Mission as well as adjunct Professor at Episcopal Divinity School. He has written and spoken about subjects in mission history, gender, sexual rights, and eco-social justice.


Gunther H. Wittenberg Memorial Lecture

Earth-Theology and Humanitarianism: Lessons Yet Learnt

 

Far from being ‘acts of God(s)’, so-called ‘natural’ disasters are the consequences of humans abusing the earth. The earth reacts with droughts, floods and other disasters - Len Clarke, indigenous Australian leader and educator.

 

 

Religious and spiritual worldviews do not always have a positive impact on communities affected by disaster. Andreana Reale - researcher at the Centre for Risk and Community Safety, RMIT University reckons that “religious bodies or religiously-motivated NGOs often enjoy a degree of cultural alignment with locals, which can be invaluable in a disaster or humanitarian situation.” Professor Gunther Wittenberg (1935-2014) epitomized this philosophy and hence these lectures are an attempt to generate a specifically African perspective on issues related to land and the environment.

 

About Gunther Wittenberg

Born to missionary parents in what was then Tanganyika, Gunther grew up within the postcolonial struggles of Southern Africa. He was to make these struggles his own, identifying with and working with those on the margins. From his undergraduate studies in Pietermaritzburg, to his postgraduate studies in Germany, to his first parish ministry in Belville in the Cape, to his involvement in the Christian Institute, and the Pietermaritzburg Agency for Community Social Action (PACSA), prophetic Christianity provided the parameters for what he did and how he did it.

Inspired by the base-community projects of Brasil in the mid-1980s, Gunther established a South African equivalent, the Institute for the Study of the Bible (what is now the Ujamaa Centre for Community Development and Research), in 1989. The Ujamaa Centre remains an internationally recognised model of university-based community development and research. In taking up this task he combined careful and responsible biblical scholarship with a socially engaged and accountable immersion in context, becoming one of the pioneers of ‘contextual biblical hermeneutics.’ This encompassed the struggle for economic justice, the HIV and AIDS pandemic, and the threat to the environment. He published regularly and widely, constructing a substantive and coherent body of work over more than thirty years. (Gunther Wittenberg's memorial)

 

About the lecture

The exploding numbers of Christians in Africa has raised hopes and excitement among missiologists across the globe. This growth, however, is short lived if the continent does not aggressively address the mounting life-threatening ecological crises, which are already compromising the quality of human life on the continent. Since African Christianity is a poor people’s religion, the ongoing destruction of the African environment, corruption and post-independence land grabs are not only robbing the poor of their God given dignity and rights but threatening the future of the continent as a whole. This sad situation invites new paradigm shifts in theological education, Christian formation and discipleship. While recognizing the subservient nature of African Christianity to Western thought and theological symbols, the lecture advocates the development of authentic African eco-theologies based on the African traditional spirituality of eco-social and ecological interconnectedness while remaining unapologetic to Western thought. Such theologies can ensure the ecological integrity of the continent as well protect the rights of the poor in post-independence Africa.

 

About the speaker

Rev. Canon Dr. Kapya John Kaoma is a Zambian, working in the U.S. as visiting Researcher at Boston University Center for Global Christianity and Mission as well as adjunct Professor at Episcopal Divinity School. He has written and spoken about subjects in mission history, gender, sexual rights, and eco-social justice. Dr. Kaoma has also authored a number of books including God’s Family, God’s Earth: Christian Ecological Ethics of Ubuntu (2013), American Culture Warriors in Africa: A Guide to the Exporters of Homophobia and Sexism (2014) and Raised Hopes, Shattered Dreams: Democracy, the Oppressed, and the Church in Africa (The Case of Zambia) (2015) and forthcoming The Creator’s Symphony: African Christianity and the Plight of the Earth and the Poor being published by Cluster Publications. He just finished editing the Edinburgh 2010 series’ volume on Ecology and Christian mission. Globally recognized for his human rights work on Sexual Minorities in Africa, Dr. Kaoma is also the Moderator of the World Council of Churches’ Reference Group on Human Sexuality. For more information about the speaker: http://www.kapyajohnkaoma.com/.

 

 

 

 

 


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