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Worship and Christian identity in Uganda : a study of the contextualization of worship in the Anglican, Roman Catholic and Independent Churches in the West Nile and Kampala areas of Uganda

By Joel Obetia


This research develops a conceptual framework for a critical analysis of an area of theological practice that since the coming of Christianity to Uganda has been taking\ud place at the `folk level' in the Anglican, Roman Catholic and Independent Churches, in the West Nile and Kampala areas of Uganda. It is a theology of culture that is\ud informed by insights from cultural and anthropological studies. The primary purpose of this thesis is meaning-making. It uses Clifford Geertz's idea of interpreting\ud religious phenomena and Celia Lury's idea of cultural production in conjuction with Robertsons' global/local encounter in order to do a cultural hermeneutic of\ud Lugbara/Madi traditions and the received Christian traditions as practised in the Lugbara language. It is interpretative and therefore theological, because theology is meaning-making. It further uses a `community and critical consciousness' approach of Gerald West, to help communities to describe and analyse their cultural practices.\ud \ud The research investigates the ways in which worship, as a cultural product, is used as a medium of social change and exchange and how its variability reflects socio-cultural identity. The cycle of production, distribution and reception of cultural works in the forms of societal structures, leadership styles, religious rituals, prayers\ud and music are described with the purpose of making meaning. The role of technology in making it possible for the Lugbara/Madi to separate cultural works from their context of production for distribution and reception is also assessed. The result is a new mobility for their cultural goods and a transformation of their mode of cultural\ud reproduction from repetition to one of replication. The research settles the point that Lugbara/Madi are in varying degrees using the modem technologies to provide unlimited copying of their cultural works to others and to copy from other cultural groups. The rural/urban interface provides them with this opportunity and they give it\ud a social shape through the network of Lugbara community churches and cultural organizations that exercise a form of copyright for these cultural goods for wider use and circulation.\ud \ud The process began when the Lugbara/Madi began to associate socio-cultural reproduction with their socio-cultural progress. It consisted in the implicit and explicit reception of the translated scriptures, which contributed directly to the development and affirmation of local cultural forms that in turn contributed to the formation of local Christian identities. The interplay and partnership between Lugbara/Madi religious traditions, the received Christian traditions and the local experiences of the gospel, in conjunction with the global processes that are marketed through urbanization and information technology, have led to the construction of these new identities. In short, the rural/urban interface is generating autochthonous\ud Christian practices that are beginning to render the old denominational identities - of Anglican and Roman Catholic - immaterial. The LugbaralMadi concept of ori'ba -\ud 'people of God' for kinship, orijo - `house of God' for Church and orindi - `God present' for the Spirit generates new theological, ecclesiological and missiological insights that are stimulating

Publisher: School of Theology & Religious Studies (Leeds)
Year: 2008
OAI identifier:

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