Amahoro Africa and postcolonialism

136484539 F523F25Eaf M-1The Amahoro event just happened in Kampala Uganda (May 7-11). They were discussing church in post-colonial Africa. It looks like the mix was 100 Africans and 100 internationals. I was invited to join and was considering it for a while, but decided not to go. They probably didn’t need any more many foreigners anyway. Sounds like it was a great week and I look forward to hearing more. Heres some links:

Amahoro Africa official blog.

– Roger Saner, who i met in South Africa last year, has info on his Emergent Africa blog

Graeme Codrington has some good links and lecture notes from Dr Kenzo Mabiala on why the conversation on postcolonialism in Africa is a similar animal to the postmodern conversation of some Western countries.

– Mike King discusses Kenzo Mabiala’s postcolonial theology and you can find more from Mabiala on Evangelical Faith and (Postmodern) Others.

Dave blogged it.

I have been talking about this for a long time. To move parts of the conversation from the campfire of postmodernism to postcolonialism is not just to shift the focus from theology to missiology, where much of it belongs, but it also involves a shift from the issue of knowledge to the issue of power. And of the three concerns of postmodern thinking [knowledge, power and aesthetics] the Western church has got stuck on the epistemological questions of knowledge to the neglect of justice and power. Maybe the African church will show the Western church how to navigate these waters.

Interesting to note that, according to Mike, Dr Kenzo Mabiala taught theology at Trinity and his dissertation advisor was Dr D.A. Carson, who has struggled to understand the emerging church through the ‘postmodern’ lens.

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Andrew

Andrew Jones has been blogging since 1997. He is based in San Francisco with his two daughters but also travels the globe to find compelling stories of early stage entrepreneurs changing their world. Sometimes he talks in the third person. Sometimes he even talks to himself and has been heard uttering the name "Precious" :-)

5 Comments

  • i got some emails from friends who were at this gathering – sounds incredible
    i was most moved by the morning session on women in ministry
    in a western world that seems chock full of us vs. them, reconcilliation is a calling for us all

  • I think it’s important that you also notice that to give greater weight to postcolonialism, will not only have missiological implications, but also theological implications.
    The African perspetive will be a critique on both modernism and postmodernism, and will challenge us to also think differently.
    Yes, I believe the African church will have a lot to teach us. Will also bring a lot of reality to the attempts from, umong others the emerging conversation, to talk talking about justice and power. But don’t forget that Africa have a destinct voice to add to our theology, and epistemology, as well.

  • I just finished Phillip Jenkins’ The Next Christendom a week or so ago. I’m guessing you’ve read it. If not, it’s a must read for anyone interested in the globality, even the future whatsoever, of the faith. Frankly, it’s a bit frightening, to be completely honest. If Jenkins is right, 50 years from now, something potentially bigger than the Reformation could be ushered in… and that, not entirely in favor of the dominant orthodoxy for the last 1600 years or so.

  • TSK said:
    …Maybe the African church will show the Western church how to navigate these waters.
    May it be so. And may we have ears to listen.

  • Yes, I think Kenzo did mention Carson at some point but I can’t remember if it was in conversation or in a presentation. I wonder if it will be more helpful for Carson to look at post-colonial church than at the Western emerging church…
    The gathering was great. The Western input was minimal and we heard from some excellent African thinkers. Graeme will keep posting the audio at FutureChurch and I’m hoping to get the lapel-mic’d audio from the multimedia guys at some point. We’ve started a discussion group at http://www.emergentafrica.com/amahoro will use that as a place to interact around concepts relevant for Africa (including theological work done by African theologians).
    After our 4 days of discussion the Western crowd split 3 ways: 1 group went to Rwanda, 1 to Nairobi in Kenya and the last one stayed in Uganda. The Rwanda group had the most intense experience – too much to process and many of the guys are still very raw. As one of them said, “We can only tell you about what we saw – we can’t tell you what it means.” Questions around human brutality, the involvement (and non-involvement at crucial times) of the West, the creating of genocidal conditions by the Belgians, the sheer numbers of people killed, but especially meeting those who’d lost their entire families in the genocide…maybe hell really is a place you go to after you die, but hell was also a place on earth where even 15 years later just observing it is terrible. It is in this context we talk about post-colonial church and although being grateful for missionaries bringing the Gospel of Christ to Africa, the imported Gospel did nothing to halt colonialism or systems of oppression. The 20th century “West” seems civilised, but I wonder if that is how history will remember them…
    Claude Nikondeha spoke on the gospel of evacuation vs the gospel of transformation. This is one of the things those of us who have emerged from conservative evangelical backgrounds bring back home: Africa has seen what an extreme of the evacuation gospel does – if heaven is a place you go to after you die and the gospel has nothing to say about the here and now, then there’s no point in getting an education – just stay in church and worship all day (something which Claude heard preached many times in Burundi).
    Kenzo had many brilliant points which I’ll be blogging once I’ve thought them through. Let me leave you with these two:
    “It’s imperative to be different as Africans and to have the courage to denounce Western theology (which came of age during the rise of the colonial empires) as being used to being the centre around which other theologies must orient themselves.”
    “Unless we take a different approach than simply inheriting the Western approach to theology (which is to restate, defend and protect) we will never address the real issues in Africa.”

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