Original Research - Special Collection: Negotiating diversity in Christian Communities

Practising chaordic beauty: On embracing strangers in one inner city faith community

Stephan de Beer
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 72, No 1 | a3523 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v72i1.3523 | © 2016 Stephan de Beer | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 June 2016 | Published: 18 November 2016

About the author(s)

Stephan de Beer, Centre for Contextual Ministry, Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria, South Africa; Department of Practical Theology, University of Pretoria, Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria, South Africa


In this article I read one inner city faith community – the Tshwane Leadership Foundation (TLF) – through the lenses of literature that reflects on chaordic organisations and chaordic leadership. I explore whether an emphasis on the management of diversity, which is widespread in organisational and ecclesial practices and languages, should not be replaced with a spirituality of vulnerable embrace, as I discover it in this specific faith community. It is a spirituality that combines an invitation and radical embrace of diversity, and a dance with chaos, with a posture of vulnerability and a vision of justice. I bring the reflections of community members in TLF on difference and diversity in their organisation, in conversation with scholars contemplating chaordic organisations and chaordic leadership. I then wonder whether their emphasis on embrace instead of management does not open up the possibility of retrieving and affirming the hidden beauties and potentialities mediated by diversity, which is, I suggest, to practise ‘chaordic beauty’.


embrace; strangers; chaordic organisations; chaordic leadership; chaordic spirituality; vulnerability


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