Reconciliation as Ppublic theology: Christian thought in comparative indigenous politics

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Abstract

Christian public theology extends reconciliation beyond its principal sacramental concernfor relationships between God and penitent to the construction of 'socially just'public relationships for the settlement of intra-national conflict. In theological terms,reconciliation brings public relationships into what Hally calls 'the Christ narrative ofpassion, death and resurrection' in which the perpetrators of injustice repent and seekforgiveness. This article introduces the conflicts that these discourses aim to resolvein Australia, Fiji and New Zealand and explains and contrasts reconciliation's relativeimportance in each of these jurisdictions. Moreover, the article's cross-jurisdictionalcomparison shows reconciliation's limits and possibilities as public theology, and arguesthat in Australia and New Zealand it has helped to create political environments willingto admit indigenous perspectives on a range of policy issues. On the contrary, however,the article also shows that the Fijian churches have distorted the concept of reconciliationto support political imperatives that are difficult to rationalize theologically, eventhough they are presented by the churches as being concerned with religious goals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-24
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Public Theology
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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