Dr. Ben-Willie Kwaku Golo – In Search of a Flourishing Future in Africa: Christianity, Justice and Sustainable Peace in a Changing Climate.
The relations that continue to exist between human beings, on the one hand, and humankind and the non-human creation, on the other, have been characterised by violence in many forms, underlain by feelings and expressions of power. This has driven our global society head-on with myriad of challenges that pose threat to a flourishing life on earth. One of such challenges, which has rippling effects on the whole of humanity and life in general, is that of a changing climate, resulting from the violence humanity has visited not only on the natural world but also on human populations and further resulting in diverse forms of violence in Africa today. Yet, the “moral health of our world depends on the existence of communities of moral formation and accountability” (Todd-Peters: 2003: 30). Invited as Christ’s witnesses to the world, Christians need to offer qualitative resources to forestall the sheer human violence against human others and the nonhuman other. In the midst of these, one pertinent question is what opportunities these situations provide Christian theologians and ethicists to provide life transforming initiatives and alternatives that enhance a just and flourishing African society. In this paper, I argue that considering the linkages between climate change and violence, a crucial transforming alternative towards a flourishing future in Africa is the quest for sustainable peace, realisable only within the context of justice (a just society) and specifically, climate justice. I intend to explore the virtue (or concept) of justice from a Christian perspective and explore its promise for of sustainable peace and a flourishing future for generations in Africa, the global society and God’s creation as a whole.
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Life in the western world has deeply changed in the last decades: consumption has assumed a central part of our days, increasingly remodeling everything around itself. All the aspects of life – from relationships to clothing, from eating to entertainment – are somehow affected by its dynamics of selling and buying. Our society is named consumerism society for this reason, in which consuming has reached all the different levels of existence. In this reality, individualism plays an essential role, intermediating decisions and desires, putting the self in the centre of each and every person’s universe. We are responsible to build our own identity and use whatever is around us to achieve this goal. In Brazil, the economic growth of the last two decades led thousands of people out of poverty, increasing their possibilities of consumption in a large scale. How has this recent changes affected the church, as its members experience all these movements in the daily basis of the 21st century? Could these changes be seen and pointed out? One of the most intriguing manifestations of this phenomenon is the Prosperity Gospel and how it is openly preached by a Brazilian church called Universal Church of the Kingdom of God. This article presents how consumerism and its influence are manifested in this church and how the Prosperity Gospel has taken form in the Brazilian reality, facing the increasing of the economy. Also, it aims to present an answer to this issue through the Reformational thought, seeing consumption and economy as parts of life that can be redeemed by the Lordship of Christ, as stated by Abraham Kuyper. The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God has transformed itself in a place where one believes is possible to buy everything that one desires: blessings, relief to life’s anxieties, and wealth. A church that is the big supermarket of God – where consumers find the solution to all their materialistic problems – has damaged people’s relationships with the Lord. Only a renewed view of who God is and who we are called to be can restore these distortions.
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