Hospitality in urban Baptist congregations in Zambia and the role of pastoral ministry
Sichula, Osward Pearson
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This study investigates the problem behind the protracted crisis of how hospitality ought to be conceived and practiced in the urbanized and pluralistic congregations of the Zambian Society ('the problem of hospitality'). Although the focus is the Zambian context, the study has explored in general the traditional African way of life. Furthermore, to help gain clarity of the internal and external factors perpetuating the problem of hospitality, the study has extensively dealt with activities of the early missionaries, colonialism and the incompetence of the Independent African states. The study reveals that in the aftermath of colonization and missionary era, where African traditional patterns were disrupted, the traditional communalism and hospitality were distorted. It is thus concluded that Africans are at a crossroads and the resulting effects are uncertainty, disillusionment and despair. It is further argued in the study that the socio-economic and political changes have led to changes in people's practices, including that of hospitality. This development has given rise to dominance of the cultural agenda (ethnocentrism). Both the religious and philosophical worldviews are now developed along these lines of cultural idolatry, i.e. what is emphasized above God. As such there is a defective and deceptive view of life in relation to others, as can be noticed in the problem of the practice of hospitality among the Zambians. In order to counteract this situation the study discourages the pursuit of one thing at the expense of others, especially when its basis is ethnocentric. Instead it proposes a strong theology of others by challenging the church to asses its context, to adopt and apply those aspects found to be in line with Scripture. It is hoped that by so functioning the church in Zambia will be applying a relational theology that prescribes how human beings can live in terms of each other and in the light of the Bible. It is further hoped that the Church would not only transcend ethnicity biasness but it would also redefine a new Messianic community of believers and how members in that community ought to relate with one another and the rest of the world.
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