All posts tagged: Africa

An African Reflection on the Common Good, Migration, and the Youth Synod

As a young African I am happy that the topic of migration has emerged in the Synod’s discussions. Migration is a crossroads issue since it is one of the peculiar burdens that the hands of the developed world are forced to carry with those of the developing world. The Church has long defended the dignity of migrants partly because of her keen understanding of the difficult choices faced by them. In Pacem In Terris, Pope St. John XXIII laments the social instability wrecking the precarious lives of those we now refer to as “economic migrants” (§120), something I know too well even as a scholar abroad. For many young Africans, the decision to leave home or remain abroad in pursuit of legitimate aspirations, no matter the difficulties associated with them, is reflected by the waves of truth that ripple throughout the stanzas of “Home,” an acclaimed poem by the British-Somali writer Warsan Shire.[1] This is especially the case for those fleeing from the violence perpetuated by institutionalized greed and intolerance. The Church in Africa, already …

The World in the Text: Reading the Bible with the Church of Africa

Are Africans, as Desmond Tutu once opined, “much more on the wavelength of the Bible than the Occidental ever was”?[1] Should one listen to African exegetes more closely since, as Philip Jenkins has argued, their experience of inhabiting the world of the Bible represents the vanguard of a growing shift of Christianity towards the global South?[2] These are questions worth pondering. I think there is abundant evidence—both theological and empirical—to suggest that the Bible plays a role among African Christians that is profound, communal, and suggestive of a new paradigm for ecclesial exegesis. Let us take two examples from Scripture: the Exodus event and the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4. Mercy Amba Oduyuye, a Ghanian scholar born into a matrilineal Akana culture, offers scholarly insights on Exodus. She is a Methodist laywoman who studied in Cambridge, England, founded the Circle of Concerned African Women in 1989, and was awarded an honorary doctorate from Yale.[3] She sees deep commonalities between Africans and the experience of the Hebrew people: “The victory song led by …