Original Research - Special Collection: Practical Theology

Die liminale ruimte vir inkongruensie tussen predikant en lidmaat: ’n Narratief gebaseerde prakties-teologiese ondersoek in gemeentes van die Nederduitsch Hervormde Kerk van Afrika

Hein Delport, Julian C. Müller
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 66, No 2 | a852 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v66i2.852 | © 2010 Hein Delport, Julian C. Müller | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 May 2010 | Published: 02 December 2010

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Hein Delport, Universiteit van Pretoria, South Africa
Julian C. Müller, Universiteit van Pretoria, South Africa

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Disagreements between pastors and church members in the Netherdutch Reformed Church of Africa (NRCH) require a unique space in the church in terms of a postmodern society. Different perspectives can easily lead to conflict in the Church. Unresolved conflict may jeopardise the work of the clergy in a congregation. In this research, I follow a contextual approach to the pursuit of practical theology. A postfundamental practical theological framework is followed in the research. The social construction discourse and narrative epistemology offer new perspectives for developing a liminal space where more than one perspective can exist. Within a society characterised by secularism and privatisation, I examine the possibility of a space of unity amid diversity in the Church. I involved six fellow researchers who have experienced conflict in a specific context within the Church. We also examined the possibility of an alternative space where moments of communitas can once again occur in these stories. The research found space for this in the description of two metaphors, namely the liminal suspension bridge of grace and the dance of peace. The stories of the fellow researchers are retold within these two metaphors. My research highlights the important contribution of an interdisciplinary conversation in research. In the study, the journey theme plays an important role, and the reader is invited along with the fellow researchers into a (liminal) space to explore the conflict between the church minister and the church member.


liminal spaces; incongruence; narrative based research; practical theological examination; posfundationalism


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