- Fr Athanasius’s thesis on Orthodox dialogue with Bunyore culture
- Michelle Coetzee’s book on the filioque impasse
- Revising my own doctoral thesis on Orthodox mission methods for possible publication
- Writing book on the history of the charismatic renewal in Southern Africa with the provisional title of Phased, challenged and zapped
Fr Athanasius has already got his degree, but has to hand in final copies of his thesis. It was written in MS Word, but he went to a free course for doctoral students arranged by the university and the people running the course installed Open Office on his computer and said he should work on that in future. All very well as advice for students who haven’t written a word, but in his case that, as well as switching to an Apple Mac, meant that his thesis has been converted back and forth between different word processing programs so many times that it lost the index and developed styles like they were going out of style. there are two “Heading 1” stiles, as well as heading 1 (with lower case h), Heading 1 A, Heading 1 A A, and so on with all the other heading styles. So I’m going through it trying to clean up the mess before he presents his fair copy to the university library, and to be microfilmed for other libraries.
Michelle Coetzee, a member of St Nicholas of Japan Parish in Brixton, is preparing her Masters thesis for publication, where she compares Eastern and Western unstersandings of the filioque. She gave me as a reference, even though dogmatic theology isn’t my field, so I’m reading it to report to the publishers. It seems quite informative to me, but I’m not sure that I’m the right person to judge.
And then I’ve been reworking my own doctoral thesis on Orthodox mission methods for possible publication.
And finally I’ve been working on a 30-year-old unpublished MS by John de Gruchy on the charismatic renewal movement in South Africa, and updating it with my own research. It was an interesting period in the history of Christianity in South Africa, and most of the books I’ve read on the period don’t tell half the story, so in another 30 years time no one will have a clue what it was like. The provisional title is Phased, challenged and zapped, a phrase that those who lived through that period of Christian history will immediately understand, and it will probably be incomprehensible to those who didn’t live through it.
“Phased” refers to something variously called group dynamics, sensitivity training, T-groups, experiential education or Christian Education, which, starting in the Anglican Church in Zululand in the mid-1960s, spread to other parts of the country and other denominations. It began with a “Phase 1” and went on to a “Phase 2”, and so people would ask one another “Have you been Phased yet?”
“Challenged” refers to a specifically Anglican response to the World Council of Churches Programme to Combat Racism, which got the South African government pretty uptight, and got tyhe Anglican Church in South Africa starting “challenge groups” all over the place to challenge instances of racism in the church, with varying degrees of effectiveness.Other denominations developed similar programmes, though with different names, though they usually included words like “justice” and “reconciliation” in eaither the titles or descriptions.
And the charismatic renewal also started in the Anglican Church in Zululand in the 1950s, and was popping up all over the country by the late 1960s (partly spread by people who had gone to Zululand to be “phased” and ended up being “zapped” by the Holy Spirit as well), where people in non-Pentecostal churches were having Pentecostal experiences.
We’re hoping to go to the Western Cape on a kind of working hoiliday after Pascha, and I hope to spend a few days with John de Gruchy discussing the project and harmonising our contributions.
All this keeps me pretty busy, so I don’t have time to be bored.
Originally posted on Marginalia.