Towards a theological synthesis of Christian and Shona views of death and the dead : implications for pastoral care in the Anglican diocese of Harare, Zimbabwe
In this contextual study I investigate why and how the traditional approach to mission, engaged by Anglican missionaries, gave rise to a dual observance of ritual among Shona Anglican Christians. I begin by establishing the significance and essence of Shona views of death and the dead, then investigate the missionaries' historical background. I highlight that Christian arrogance, in the guise of racial superiority, underlies the confrontational and condemnatory approach. Traditional views were considered evil, in their place, Shona converts were forced to adopt western Christian views as the only acceptable and valid way of coping with this eschatological reality. These views did not usually fit the Shona worldviews and religious outlook, hence the adoption of dual observance. For some, life continues to be classified as either Christian or traditional and never both. However, some present Shona Anglican practices reflect a desire to integrate the two. Unless there is this integration, the Church remains other and irrelevant to the Shona people. The ultimate aim of this thesis is to advocate for a theological synthesis of Christian and Shona traditional views. I argue that such a synthesis, patterned on the interactive dialogical model, could lead to the cessation of confrontation and condemnation and its attendant dual observance, and enhance the development of a Shona Christian theology of death and the dead which provides for relevant and sensitive pastoral care.