Original Research

Holistic redemptive pastoral ministry in the fragmented transit hall of existence

Johann-Albrecht Meylahn
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 66, No 1 | a426 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v66i1.426 | © 2010 Johann-Albrecht Meylahn | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 October 2009 | Published: 01 October 2010

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Johann-Albrecht Meylahn, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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The grand narratives have all but gone – what is left are numerous narratives, each addressing a certain aspect of our lives; there is a different narrative for our professional lives, another for our family lives, for our social lives and yet another for our spiritual lives. We find ourselves in this ‘transit hall’, forever changing flights or trains, depending on which narrative sphere we are entering or leaving. In each narrative we take on a different character, defined and shaped by the specificities of that narrative. Thus, ‘transition’ in the sense of change can no longer be understood as only linear, but as constant and multidimensional. With the use of Lacan’s discourse theory, this fragmented existence will be unpacked and a redemptive alternative sought.

This paper is an attempt to address this multi-narrative existence without imposing yet another grand narrative. Thus it focuses on offering a narrative space that is, (1) holistic, in the sense that it addresses all the different narratives, (2) pastoral, in that it addresses the person and (3) redemptive, in that it offers something new, meaningful and hopeful. Such a narrative space moves the church from its ‘ghetto mindset’, where traditions and values are maintained, to being fully open and vulnerable to the present reality, whilst yearning for the Messianic to reveal an alternative future.


capitalism; discourse theory; fragmentation; globalisation; identity; Lacan; postmodernity


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1. Truth, Reason, and Faith in Modern Civilisation: The violence of truth and the truth of violence in modern �secular� Western civilisation
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doi: 10.4102/ve.v33i1.712