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Belhar. A transforming and dignifying tradition? – N Koopman

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Theological Society of South Africa – Annual meeting – 2010

This paper discusses the transformative and dignifying potential of the so-called Belhar tradition. It is argued that the Belhar tradition is a contextual and contemporary expression of the broader Christian and more specific Refonned tradition as articulated by, amongst others, John Calvin and Karl Barth. Tradition does not transform in itself. The God to whom its practices, narratives, symbols and communities refer, transforms individuals, churches and societies. The Belhar tradition transfonns individuals and societies into lives of dignity. This dignity is constituted by unity in proximity and hybridity, just reconciliation and reconciliatory justice. The Belhar tradition alerts believers to practices of remembering the vision of dignity, and of courageous self-criticism and public criticism where the vision of dignity is not actualised.

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