This article goes beyond afro-pessimistic clichés. Its anthropological and theological reflection shows that the African conception of life and time thought of in terms of “being life” (être-vie in French) enriches the conceptions of peoples around the world. Synonymous with life, time invites us to hope, to inventiveness and to make the world vibrate to the rhythm of life, the Life made flesh…
This article studies the value of life in Africa. Starting from Jb 2.6 where Yahweh says to the Satan : « He is in your power. But spare his life », the author seeks to demonstrate that beyond the human suffering which is the main theme of the Book of Job, the love of life is an ever-present undercurrent. Indeed, the author points out that if suffering cannot help but draw the reader’s attention, it is because the abundant life of a believer is threatened. Life in Africa is threatened nowadays more than ever. This is in part because material richness tends to become the center of human lives. Yet, African people seem to be happy and celebrate their lives through songs and dance. Job teaches us that even though one’s material belongings and health are threatened, a believer may discover through his experience that God remains the one who gives life and urges everyone to protect it. Hence, the book of Job becomes a paradigm of the abundant life that God urges the human kind to respect by all means.
This paper, which draws from both liturgical and anthropological studies shows the artistic creativity that can be at work in black African Christian communities, more specifically the community of Tshikapa, in West Kasayi (DR Congo). This Christian community uses African traditions as a fourth biblic reading passage in the liturgy, in order to show how they can courageously address the problem of their survival. Through oral tradition, they try to describe and interpret their difficult, painful African post-colonial life, thus reinventing their culture and church life.
Art as a phenomenon appeared at the same time men became aware of their presence in
an environment that appealed to them. It was first as figurative cave wall-paintings
disseminated across Africa, and, later, as bigger scale pieces of which the progression can
be retraced vertically through history. Throughout Antiquity as well as the Middle Ages,
when large empires were rising, it is stunning to see the impressiveness of some works of
art, even when they were mutated through slave trade, colonialism and, today, by a lobby for
a vindicating art form of authenticity and rebirth.
Horizontally, it is possible to study art as a phenomenon and penetrate through the
caverns of creation. This study reveals the fundamental contradiction between the world of
the piece of art and the world of the actors that take part in the different aspects of
life. Works of art, evading any attempt to be appropriated, will always seek to follow their
destiny, longing to take off and fly freely — never completely understood, even by their
creators — flying away from any corrupting forces, to return to the sacred domain from which
they came. That is how it is possible to understand the presence of art in life.
In Africa, motherland of humanity and background of our civilization, life and death have been closely related for over 200 000 years. Inseparable, even. Together, they constitute the two sides of human existence and by this fact, death is seen as the consequence of life. As such, in negro-African cosmogony of which traces can be found in Judaism and Christianity, the ideology of life primes over thanatology, since life doesn’t end with death. To the contrary, life goes beyond death, transcends it and continues into the Afterlife. Therefore, for the Africans, death is not life’s last word. It is and stays an open-ended sentence that culminates in our ancestors’ village at the moment of the final return.
This paper is an African-Luba contribution to the intercultural and Christian exchange on ideas as fundamental as the conception of life and the faith in Jesus-Christ. Grounded on traditional proverbs, sayings, prayers, myths and legends, it explains this African-Luba vision of life, characterised by a mark of sacrality, from birth, through all kinds of struggles against many forces of death down on earth, until the ancestors’ and God’s afterlife. It is upon such a conception that the light of God is shining, in an enriching exchange mixing open-hearted welcome and necessary growth.
Anthropological annihilation and impoverishment indicate the crimes of the slave trade and the misdeeds of colonialism in Africa. The discussion of the relevance of these expressions, now extremely widespread in African theology, is used as a framework for the exploration of the meaning of the African anthropology of life, such as father Engelbert Mveng expressed it, as a responsibility to have life triumph in the human and cosmic worlds.
In sub-Saharan Africa, life is the Sacred par excellence ; hence it remains the main preoccupation of all religious celebrations, both in traditions of old and in today’s current new African religions : rituals are crammed with evocations and supplications for life ; places of worship are decorated with the colours of life (trilogy « white-black-red ») ; the symbols displayed during worship in these oral civilizations are those of fecundity, triumph over death, communion and social cohesion : banana trees, white kaolin, trees of life or ancestral trees, fire, etc. Finally, the way of celebrating is one of the liveliest : congregations swarming with people, preaching punctuated with shouts of acclamation and elaborated with participation from the entire congregation, drum rhythms accompanying prayer to awake those who sleep and to throw the entire congregation into dancing, which reunites the whole group as well as the body to the Spirit ! Indeed, life « explodes » in African celebrations.
Living one’s own death is a complex and paradoxical reality which escapes the immediate experience. This article sheds light on this complexity from the fundamental religious experience of Black Africa. From the funeral and the initiation rites considered as symbolic deaths, one can establish a systematic parallelism, a suggestive homology, between the African dynamic of the initiatic death that leads to the dialectic line of the growing of life and the salvation economy through the mystery of the Cross that ends in human’s divinization. This shared characteristic enables the African Christian to see through the Cross of Christ a concrete realization in which the initiatic tradition can lead to the process of its own discovery as in a mirror by finding therein something easily credible. In sum, the lived experience of one’s death is grasped where both the Christian and the African logics find a common ground, as a starting point of a dynamic of spiritual uplifting towards God.
This paper aims at elaborating an African theology, using St John’s perspectives about the life in the Gospel, and examining the African family’s solidarity and the African communitarian sense of life. Interested in enculturation, this paper tries to emphasize these African social values to make them reach the level of Christian charity. In this way, Christ can now be at the center of the African solidarity, which gets closer to the communion of life that is between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The article focuses on how process theology allows us to conceive the representation of God. The narrative of Gn 2 questions the assumption everyone has about God. Far from providing a one and definite ready-made answer, process theology offers to go and meet a God who offers himself as well as offers a world-to-come to humans. To better understand the relevance of a process analysis of this text, the article focuses on some key issues of the theology that underlies it, such as human free will, omniscience and omnipotence of God, the question of the primordial nature of God as his transcendent pole, and his consequent nature as a sign of his immanence. The article shows that the narrative gives the readers the opportunity to build their own representation of God, not in a static assumption, but in a movement to come, always to be created.