Original Research - Special Collection: HTS 75th Anniversary Maake Masango Dedication

Fearing the stranger? Homiletical explorations in a fear-filled world

Ian A. Nell
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 75, No 4 | a5255 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v75i4.5255 | © 2019 Ian A. Nell | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 04 September 2018 | Published: 23 July 2019

About the author(s)

Ian A. Nell, Department of Practical Theology and Missiology, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa


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Abstract

The large number of xenophobic attacks that broke out in different places in South Africa during 2008 was still continuing unabated 10 years later. We were stressed to come to terms with the reality that this occurred in a country that is globally considered to be an example of reconciliation. It is clear that we were confronted by the politics of fear, which were manifested in xenophobia and all the other -isms. In this article, the primary causes of these xenophobic outbreaks were scrutinised and placed within the wider framework of a culture of fear. The central research question is: Why are we still struggling with this phenomenon more than a decade after it first appeared on South African soil? In-depth analysis will be performed on what is lying behind the culture of fear underlying these acts of violence. After exploring some of the factors related to a culture of fear by making use of a sociological frame, the author moved on to answer a second question: How do we, as preachers, researchers and practical theologians, respond in a theological way to the challenges posed by a xenophobic culture in our preaching activities? Finally, the impact of violence and fear on the practice of preaching within a Christian context was discussed.


Keywords

Xenophobia; Practical theology; Homiletics; Culture of fear; Politics of fear

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