Problems within the Christian community

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What are the interventions that the church may offer in order to bring personal and community

healing in violent conflict and trauma? Conflict is not always violent. Violent conflict brings with it particular needs and problems in dealing with the results. The church is a community in itself, often called a community of faith, but it is also a community bearing witness and living out its faith in the larger context of a nation or even continent. Our concern then is with the Missio Dei, the mission of the church to those outside of its membership. This is the meaning of « its community ». The healing sought is not to be limited to the community of faith that meets in a particular assembly. It is a healing of the believers in a local assembly in such a way that they bear testimony to and reach outside themselves in order to bring that healing to others. An intervention may be any word or action done intentionally to bring about a step towards a closer relationship between estranged peoples.

HEALING:

If agreement is hard to find concerning reconciliation, consensus is yet more difficult on the idea of healing. On the one hand an outsider may proclaim the healing; « You are very fit », or « That family is dysfunctional ». On the other hand, healing is proclaimed from the inside, « Betty had her full healing, she went to be with Jesus », or « I feel great today now that my ex-wife is no longer nagging me ». « The reason that subjective feeling and objective diagnosis can diverge from one another so much is that understandable explanations and comprehensible interpretations are by no means compelling » (Ramm? 1995:64). Health professionals even in the west have long recognized that health is more than a healthy body. For this reason more and more talk has been heard of « holistic treatment ».  »’Holistic medicine’ [is] little more than a visible partnership of doctor, nurse, psychiatrist and priest or pastor. While this is a belated recognition of the multi-dimensional aspects of healing, it is still related to the individual patient and has little if anything to offer to the community and the society. It should not be confused with the emergence of a ‘wholistic health practice’ which is a mishmash of colourful characters from psychic healers to shamans offering a variety of ‘alternative’ therapies » (McGilvray 1983:271).

African Community

The idea of person and community as presented in the New Testament may be very close to an African understanding (Berinyuu 1988:25). Consequently, the notion of salvation is fundamentally different in Africa from the west, perhaps less because of its theology than because of its anthropology. « Salvation is not something that happens to an individual but to a whole community of beings who have different problems and interact across ontological boundaries …Saved for immortality in community. The key is connectedness » (Kwenda 1999:11). The idea of community salvation is seen in the account of the Samaritan woman, who introduced the Messiah to her community and it became transformed. A wonderful example of a saving community, perhaps unusual, comes from Rwanda. A ‘common Christian’ sheltered a Tutsi in her home for his protection during the 1994 decimation.
She considered family to be the family of those who belonged as she did to the household of faith, and believed that a common humanity was the basis for community rather than position or a mark on an identity card. She told him, « What would be the testimony I would give if you went out of my house to save my skin, and you were killed in front of my compound. If it is the Lord’s will for you to be killed, let the killers come and find you themselves instead of you going out. If then they decide to kill me for having kept you, I’m ready to go with you to death and we will go to heaven together » (Rutayisire 1998:44). The depth of this commitment demonstrates that faith is a « sense of belonging », not something to have or to just agree about (Gunderson 1997:24). Missions and early church development tended to miss a significant part of community structure and its force for making the gospel relevant. It perhaps seemed unimportant, but Mulemfo shows the significance of the palaver. « The community has all the power in that it chooses its leaders …the leaders are considered as facilitators and servants within the community. They do not make the traditional law on their own but they work together with the whole community …This fundamental dimension of the traditional Manianga palaver was lacking in the practice of the church » (Mulemfo 1996: 138). Perhaps because this dimension was missing, conflict has sometimes raged out of control, pushing violence to new levels and making positions seem unassailable.

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Elements of Community

Even as the church should be a community within a community, even so the church in a nation should but be a part of a global community of churches: « A church identifying with a nation is a church which has gone astray and must be called back to its true identity by the community of churches » (Kassmann 1998:42). History has repeatedly shown the unfortunate results of a church identifying with the state–theologically justifying nationalism. Nationalism is a disease in the church that creates ethnocentrism. In recent history we witness Germany and the third Reich, Rwanda and the church support of a government that called for genocide, South Africa and the church justification of Apartheid, and the inability in time for some churches to clearly name it as sin. Additionally there are the many countries that demonstrate the « special treatment » of some denominations which support the government. It is not until we come to embrace a sense of the international church, the global body of Christ that we come to true Christian community. The idea of a global body of Christ must still be tied to more local « communities ». How would we define « community »? Community as defined by community psychology is: « The perception of similarity to others, an acknowledged interdependence with others, a willingness to maintain this interdependence by giving to or doing for others what one expects from them, the feeling that one is part ofa larger dependable and stable structure » (Royal & Rossi 1996:395).

Relationships in Community

Brummer suggests that reconciliation looks and happens differently depending on the type of relationship that is to be repaired. In theory we could distinguish three basic types of relationship between people: manipulative relations, contractual relations, and fellowship …All three types of relationship can go wrong in various ways and then stand in need of repair. In a manipulative relation the passive partner becomes an object. Since there is only one agent in this relationship, there is only one agent who can be responsible for bringing about what has to be done … In a contractual agreement of rights and duties …the relation breaks down when one of us fails in his or her duty ….three ways in which this sort of broken relation between us could be repaired …

1. CHAPTER ONE: BACKGROUND :

  • 1.1. An overview of this study
  • 1.2. The Research Question
  • 1.3. Need for this research
  • 1.4. Beneficiaries
  • 2. CHAPTER TWO: BIBLICAL AND THEOLOGICAL CONSIDERATIONS
    • 2.1.1. Biblical Terms for Health and Healing
    • 2.1.2. Healing roles
    • 2.1.3. Health as Shalom
  • 3. CHAPTER THREE, RULERS FOR HEALING: LITERATURE REVIEW;
    • MEANINGS, DEFINITIONS, AND MEASUREMENTS
    • 3.1. Introduction
    • 3.2. Cosmology
      • 3.2.1. African Cosmology
      • 3.2.2. Cosmology and Healing
      • 3.2.3. Cosmology and Healing in Africa
      • 3.2.4. What is Holism?
    • 3.3. Models of holism
    • 3.3.1. Toward an African holistic health model
    • 3.3.2. Toward an understanding of holistic health
    • 3.3.3. Shalom
    • 3.4. Understanding healing
      • 3.4.1. Health definitions
      • 3.4.2. Medicine and health
      • 3.4.3. Problems within the Christian community
      • 3.4.4. Problems in understanding healing
      • 3.4.5. African traditional healing
      • 3.4.6. Miracle vs. Natural
      • 3.4.7. Healing or wholeness?
      • 3.4.8. Personal healing
      • 3.4.9. Communal Healing
    • 3.5. Understanding Community
    • 3.5.1. Biblical Community
    • 3.5.2. African Community
    • 3.5.3. Elements of Community
    • 3.5.4. Relationships in Community
    • 3.6. Measurements for healing
    • 3.7. Interventions
  • 4. CHAPTER FOUR: RESEARCH METHODOLOGy
  • 5. CHAPTER FIVE: RIVERS OF HEALlNG··CASE STUDIES
  • 6. CHAPTER SIX: RESULTS OF HEALING INTERVENTIONS
  • 7. CHAPTER SEVEN: SUMMARY, HEALING THE NATIONS

GET THE COMPLETE PROJECT
WHOLENESS AND HEALING IN COMMUNITY: TOWARD UNDERSTANDING EFFECTIVE AFRICAN CHURCH INTERVENTIONS FOLLOWING COMMUNITY VIOLENCE

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