Original Research - Special Collection: Theology disrupted, doing theology with children in African contexts

Unsettling Theology: Sunday school children reading the text of the Bible in the age of recolonisation

Nico Botha
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 72, No 1 | a3569 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v72i1.3569 | © 2016 Nico Botha | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 21 June 2016 | Published: 01 December 2016

About the author(s)

Nico Botha, Department of Christian Spirituality, Church History and Missiology, School of Humanities, College of Human Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


Share this article

Bookmark and Share

Abstract

During Women’s month in South Africa (August), a group of Sunday school children from the rural congregation of the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa (URCSA), Middelburg- Nasaret, got together to read the narratives of the resurrection of the daughter of Jairus and the healing of the woman suffering from a blood disease. The exercise which appears to be quite innocent is in a sense subversive in its hidden script. In the Reformed tradition, the pulpit as a centre of reading and preaching the Word has become the ‘holy of holiest’ which nobody, leave alone children, except the ordained minister could occupy. This is of course contrary to the intention of the Reformation to return the Bible to the people and have the people return to the Bible. The reading exercise of this article goes beyond all exegetical and theological presuppositions, unsettling conventional interpretations of Scripture. The children allow their real life experiences in the township of having witnessed, among others, child and women abuse to inform their reading of Mark 5:21–43. In the process they avoid a linear reading of the Bible which is based on the explication-application scheme of matters. Put differently, instead of doing a deductive reading of the portion, i.e. trying to explain or exegete the text clinically and then applying it to their context, they read it inductively, resulting in a hope sharing and hope giving understanding of the rising from the dead of the 12-year-old girl and the healing of the woman with a blood disease. A major spin-off of such reading of the Bible by children is the unlocking of refreshingly new avenues of reading the Bible and interpreting the text.

Keywords

Sunday school; recolonisation; Women's Day; Women's month; August; URCSA

Metrics

Total abstract views: 984
Total article views: 1035


Crossref Citations

No related citations found.