Between Empire and Anti-Empire: African Mission in the 21st Century
There is always empire and anti-empire in societies. An analytical lens needs to see both together to provide a better understanding of human society. This is particularly important when it comes to issues of religion which resides in some form in both empire and anti-empire. This presentation will unpack five points. Firstly it will present a brief historiography of the existence of empire and anti-empire mainly but not exclusively as it relates to Christianity. Secondly it will provide the main parameters of a social analysis of the nature of empire and anti-empire. Thirdly it will articulate the specific role of religion (again mainly Christianity) in the societies of empire and anti-empire. Fourthly it will apply these findings to the specific context of Africa (mainly South Africa) indicating two signs of empire and anti-empire in our past and present context. Finally it will provide some goals for Mission in 21st century Africa which go beyond the empire/anti-empire paradigm. These are based on a vision of transformational authority centred in the paschal mystery.