26 December 2007

Catching up on the blogroll and tying threads together

December has been a somewhat broken blogging month.

A couple of weeks ago there was a storm that knocked out our phone lines for a couple of days -- a cable struck by lightning or something. No sooner had that come back than we lost web access -- run out of bandwidth again, halfway through the month! No I don't do YouTube and podcasts, so it must be someone else in the family -- perhaps my son downloading updates to his graphics program, which he's using to draw fleas.

Then it comes back, and then it's off again. Telkom has a thing that lets you buy extra bandwidth now, but it doesn't seem to work. There's a problem, they apparently didn't like my credit card, so I report the problem but there's no feedback. They simply don't reply. Later my wife tries with her credit card, and that works, so we are back on the web, but for how long I don't know.

So I try to catch up with blogs I read -- starting first by checking on visitors to my blogs who have either left comments, or who have left a record of having visited through MyBlogLog. Then I go on to my blogroll, and so eventually discover several others who have been blogging on similar topics to me, so here is some of the catchup, and linking similar threads together. Some of them have been on my other blog, Khanya, which I use for afternoon and evening blogging, since Blogger works only in the morning. If it were afternoon now, I'd be blogging this on Khanya too, but since it's before noon, I'll use Blogger while it's working.

Christian responses to witchcraft and sorcery

This is a topic that has long been of interest to me, and I recently blogged about it on my Khanya blog, noting an apparent difference between Christian responses in Southern and Eastern Africa, and those in Western and Central Africa, notably in Nigeria and the DRC. And this seems to be spreading to the Western world as well, through the African disapora.

In my catchup, first through MyBlogLog and then through my blogroll, I discovered that some of my blogging friends have also been blogging on this topic:
If you're interested in the topic, those are well worth a read.

We've also been discussing it in the AIC mailing list. One things that strikes me about all this is that it seems to point to a significant divergence between Pentecostal and Neopentecostal theology, and between the attitude of Zionist and other "Spirit-type" African independent churches (AICs) on the one hand, and Neopentecostal AICs on the other.

I say "seems to point" because there does not seem to have been enough research on this topic. It's something that needs urgent attention from African and Pentecostal theology researchersbecause people are dying, and so far the reasons are mostly based on guesswork.

For me there are at least three big questions, probably more:
  1. What is the reason for the apparent differences between Eastern and Southern Africa and Western and Central Africa?
  2. What is the difference between Pentecostal/Zionist theology on the one hand, and Neopentecostal theology on the other?
  3. What is the link between Neopentecostal theology and Neoliberalism? How far have Neopentecostals bought into the Neoliberal ideology, and is Neopentecostalism simply a contextualisation of the gospel in a Neoliberal worldview (thinking of economic liberalism rather than political liberalism here).

The Golden Compass

Before the film The Golden Compass (based on Philip Pullman's novel Northern Lights) was released, there was an SMS campaign by some people in South Africa urging people to boycott the film. I blogged about this at The Golden compass -- to boycott or not to boycott. When the film was released I went to see it, and enjoyed it, but found it rather over-simplified. But once again, I've discovered some of my blogging friends had written far better reviews than I could:
The first is from a neopagan, and the second from a Christian perspective, and both are well worth reading. Lots of people have written reviews of the film, but these are two of the best.

1 comment:

Yvonne said...

Hi Steve, and thanks for the two links to my blog. It's kind of you to say my review of GC was good - I'm not that good at reviews, but I thought the wider implications of the film and book were worth commenting on. I also wrote some posts a year or so ago about Pullman's attitude to Lewis.

I must say I thought your article at Theandros about the Orthodox approach to witchcraft etc was excellent.

One of my criteria in joining a church was that it should never have been implicated in such persecutions. The Orthodox church never officially sanctioned the burning of witches or pogroms of Jews, though the Russian state did carry out some witch-burnings and some Orthodox priests were involved in pogroms. But it appears that the Orthodox church was more sinned against than sinning in this respect, since some inquisitors turned up at Mount Athos and burnt monks there for not confessing the Filioque. But I couldn't cope with the number of doctrines one has to sign up to in order to join (particularly the perpetual virginity of the Theotokos, and renouncing heresy). And I don't like the Orthodox Church's views on homosexuality and women. So I'm joining the Unitarians instead, where I can be openly Pagan and universalist (in both senses of the word).


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