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Towards a narrative theological orientation in a global village from a postmodern urban South African perspective

Johann-Albrecht Meylahn

Verbum et Ecclesia; Vol 25, No 2 (2004), 568-583. doi: 10.4102/ve.v25i2.289

Submitted: 06 October 2004
Published:  06 October 2004


This article was motivated by two of the major challenges which I believe congregations are facing within  the context of ministry, namely postmodernity and globalization. After seeking a fuller description of these two challenges I sought  a theological orientation within such a context (postmodern global village) as well as an ecclesiological  praxis that could be transformative and redemptive within such a context. I  believe to have found in the narrative orientation an appropriate way for doing theology in the postmodern context. The climax of this journey (story) is in the fusion of horizons between the theory-laden questions of descriptive theology and  the historical texts of the Christian faith within the narrative orientation. I discovered that truly transformative and redemptive praxis is only possible within  language communities  narrative communities). These narrative communities cannot exist in isolation, but are continuously confronted and relativised by the stories of other communities in the global village and therefore these language communities need to be open to the fragmentation and pluralism of the global village, otherwise they will not be able to respond to the reality of the globalization and postmodernity. The narrative communities needed a story (sacred story) that did not deny the reality  of fragmentation  and pluralism, but could incorporate this reality into its story. I found this story in the story of the cross and  therefore refer to the narrative communities as communities  of  and under the cross  of Christ. These ideas formed the basis for a transformative praxis within a specific congregation, namely Pastoral Redemptive Communities. These narrative communities are not an answer to the postmodern global village, but they do offer a way of proclaiming Christ crucified and allowing the deconstruction of the cross to create a community which is a redemptive alternative to the reality of the postmodern global village. This journey was a critical journey in dialogue with other disciplines (economics, philosophy, psychology and sociology) thereby opening it up for further dialogue within these other sciences as well as dialogue with other religious communities.

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Author affiliations

Johann-Albrecht Meylahn, University of Pretoria, South Africa



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ISSN: 1609-9982 (print) | ISSN: 2074-7705 (online)

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