Monthly Archives: April 2017

Paper: Spirituality and Culture in Interaction: The Illustrative Recurring Debate on the Role of the Oldest Testament in Christian Theology and Broader Culture, by Christo Lombaard

Christo Lombaard‘s paper was presented at the inaugural Lumen Research Institute Conference held at Excelsia College, Sydney, on 4th and 5th October 2016. According to the Foreword in the conference proceedings, “The conference considered a broad range of theory, scholarship and research at the interface of theology, spirituality, culture and well-being with a core emphasis on how theology and spirituality can contribute to a richer understanding of culture and well-being – and vice versa.” Here is the abstract for Christo’s paper:

During the past two years, an ancient controversy – running from the first to second century theologian Marcion via, in more modern times, for instance contemporaries Adolf von Harnack’s culture-critical theology and Friedrich Delitzsch’s Babel-Bibel oppositioning, to Zimbabwean theologian-politician Canaan Banana’s call for an Africanized Bible, to British rationalist Richard Dawkins and others – has resurfaced anew with the Berlin theologian Notger Slenczka: that the Old Testament in/and the Christian canon is reconsidered. The options proposed range from excluding the Old Testament from the canon to altering its scope to revising its contents. These proposals and some of the culturally related reasons for them are in this contribution taken into review. Is it however not perhaps precisely the “non-harmonious” characteristics of the Hebrew Bible, and by extension the Christian Bible, which have contributed to the resilience of the Jewish faith, to the influence of the Old Testament in Christianity, and to the intellectual-cultural contributions of these texts in the Judean-Christian spheres of influence across two millennia?

SSCS members may obtain a copy of the PDF version of the Proceedings of the Spirituality, Culture and Well-Being Conference by e-mailing the CSS moderator.

Article: Holistic Health Care and Spiritual Self-Presence, by Michael O’Sullivan

In this freely available article appearing in a 2016 issue of Religions, Michael O’Sullivan argues for the importance of spirituality in healthcare. In so doing, he explores the meanings of “spiritual” and “health,” concluding that “Providers of healthcare are dealing, not simply with people faced with wellbeing or healthcare challenges, but people formed by narratives to do with being on a journey about the meaning of their lives.” The article’s abstract follows:

In this paper, I present evidence of the developing interest in spirituality in healthcare and treat three questions it raises: (1) what makes a person and a life spiritual so that a strictly medical model of health and care won’t do?; (2) what is the scope of healthcare?; and (3) what makes care in healthcare ‘spiritual’ precisely? In addressing the first question I attend to the etymological roots of “spiritual” and articulate how the notion of “spiritual” in Pauline biblical texts is being retrieved today in spirituality studies and research but in a way, also, that does not attach it strictly to religious affiliation. In addressing the second question, I highlight the holistic meaning of healthcare by first attending to the etymological roots of health. I then show that adequate healthcare also requires reflection on the notion of the good and illustrate what I mean by interpreting a biblical narrative. In addressing the third question, I draw on lived experience to illustrate how care-providers may need enhanced religious literacy to read and respond to care-seekers irrespective of their own personal beliefs. However, I also argue that what makes care distinctively spiritual in the first instance has less to do with the subject matter of the care—the what of the care—and more to do with how carers act, with, that is, the self-presence of the carers.

Paper: The Spirituality of Óscar Arnulfo Romero, by David B. Perrin

David Perrin‘s paper was presented at the University of Notre Dame during its annual conference “Romero Days” (March 24-28, 2017).  The annual conference brings together scholars from around the world who do research directly on Romero or are connected to some aspect of his life journey. Here is the paper’s abstract:

Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez (1917-1980), a Salvadoran bishop, lived during a time of great political and civil turbulence.  The local Roman Catholic Church, regrettably, did little to quell the suffering of its people.  Romero, in the earliest part of his episcopacy and similar to the bishops around him, fell into this space of complacency.  Quite remarkably all of this was to change for Romero in a radical way with the turn of events in 1977.  At this time Romero changed from an introverted conservative to an outspoken champion of his people.  This conference is a theological analysis, one of many possible others, of how such a change, such a conversion, can be framed within the tradition of Christian spirituality: in the clash of transcendence and history, that is, an understanding that God meets God’s people in the events of their lives – even tragic ones as is witnessed in the people of El Salvador – is conversion wrought.  What is special about Romero’s conversion in the clash of transcendence and history is the similarity of it with the lives of those whom the Church has come to know as “mystics.”  Romero, in the end, gave his all to become the very Face of God, for his own people but as importantly for those of Latin America and now for the whole world.  The sign and spirituality of a mystic, martyr and saint indeed.

SSCS members can obtain a copy of the paper by contacting David by e-mail.