Original Research - Special Collection: Negotiating diversity in Christian Communities

Race, whiteness and transformation in the Promise Keepers America and the Mighty Men Conference: A comparative analysis

Siphiwe Dube
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 72, No 1 | a3476 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v72i1.3476 | © 2016 Siphiwe Dube | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 May 2016 | Published: 18 November 2016


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Abstract

This article takes cue from Sarojini Nadar’s article analysing the Mighty Men Conference (MMC) in South Africa as a case study of masculinism, where the author makes some passing comparison between Promise Keepers in America (PKA) and the MMC in South Africa. This article investigates the specific ways in which PKA and MMC are ideologically similar, while also evaluating how their differences accrue dissimilar results with respect to their missions on race reconciliation. The article argues that despite their shared religious similarities as evangelical Christian men’s organisations and perceptions regarding the ‘crisis in/of masculinity’, race discourse plays different roles in the ministries of PKA and MMC. The key observation arising from addressing this discourse is that in the context of PKA, the organisation’s institutional focus on race translates itself into discussions and debates about race reconciliation amongst the various racialised men of the movement as part of the organisation’s work of self-transformation. However, such talk, although present at the individual level to some extent in the MMC, is absent at the institutional level. The absence of such discourse is especially problematic given the visibility of race in public discourse in South Africa, in general, and also points to a masked refusal to give up white male privilege in the post-apartheid public sphere.

Keywords

Christian Men’s Movements; Diversity; Mighty Men Conference; Promise Keepers; Race; Theology; Transformation; Whiteness

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