Original Research - Special Collection: Yolanda Dreyer Festschrift

Ekhaya: Human displacement and the yearning for familial homecoming. From Throne (Cathedra) to Home (Oikos) in a grassroots ecclesiology of place and space: Fides Quaerens Domum et Locum [Faith Seeking Home and Space]

Daniel J. Louw
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 73, No 4 | a4484 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v73i4.4484 | © 2017 Daniel J. Louw | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 December 2016 | Published: 25 April 2017

About the author(s)

Daniel J. Louw, Faculty of Theology, University of tellenbosch, South Africa and Faculty of Theology, North-West University, South Africa

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The classical definition of theology is ‘faith-seeking understanding’ (fides quaerens intellectum). The focus is on the understanding/interpretation of the object of Christian faith: God. There is another root for the quest for understanding, namely the praxis situation of faith. People live in particular historical contexts that have their own distinctive problems and possibilities; thus, the focus on place and space in a theology of home. A praxis approach is to learn life and the gospel from below, thus the emphasis on a grassroots ecclesiology that is structured like an oikos, a familial dwelling place. This understanding of the dynamics of the fellowship of believers as  oikodomein is captured by the Zulu notion for the yearning for home (home sickness): Ekhaya. It is argued that Ekhaya thinking is an alternative route for an operative ecclesiology that caters for the need of marginalised, oppressed, displaced and homeless people. Practical theology is thus described as fides  quaerens domum et locum [faith-seeking home and place], namely to inhabit. An Ekhaya approach to practical theological ecclesiology is about critical reflection through the eyes of those who are weak and who don’t count for much by the standards of successful people and institutions.


Practical theology; ecclesiology of home; oikodomein thinking; inhabitational theology; operative ecclesiology of householding


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