Original Research - Special Collection: Christian Leadership

Fides in parenthesis: A spirituality of leadership for a (post-)secular(ising) world

Yolande Steenkamp
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 76, No 2 | a5876 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v76i2.5876 | © 2020 Yolande Steenkamp | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 07 November 2019 | Published: 17 June 2020

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Yolande Steenkamp, The Albert Luthuli Centre for Responsible Leadership, Department of Business Management, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa

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From the viral social media feeds showing Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng in fervent prayer for the nation, to professed Christian Thuli Madonsela’s careful expression of the separation between religion and state, faith identity in the public sphere emerges as anything but a straightforward matter. By placing ‘Christian’ in parenthesis, the 2019 theme of the Theological Society of South Africa conference acknowledged that leaders operate in negotiated spaces and confirmed the complexity of the context in which we attempt to conceptualise leadership from a theological perspective. This raises the question of the role that personal faith convictions play and may be allowed to play in public life. While conceptualising leadership from a faith perspective in a context that is at once secular(ising) and post-secular(ising) may be complex, evidence emerging from leadership studies of the importance of spirituality in leadership necessitates such a reflection. This article considers the problem from a theological point of view, drawing on Schleiermacher and Bonhoeffer’s later letters from prison to provide a theological foundation for a public spirituality of leadership.


Spirituality of leadership; Anatheism; Post-secular faith; Richard Kearney; Public theology


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