Remembering the launch of the Kairos document on 25 September 1985

Today we give thanks to God for those courageous theologians who publicly launched the Kairos document in 1985  (see , boldly challenging the practice of faith and spirituality of a certain version of Christianity that tries to be neutral in situations of extreme violence and repression.

We thank God for the spirit of discernment that accompanied the writing and formulation of this document and mostly the courage to stand with the oppressed and to embody the unity (not only solidarity) of Christ with those who are the marginalised and the oppressed.

We pray for a similar discernment process today and a similar level of courage so that our democracy (and all other democracies) does not become one for the elites only, but a democracy that is built on a spirit of service and unity with those who still have to struggle for sanitation, good education, health and safety. Is a new “State theology” the theology of those who accept mediocrity from the State, who measures “our corruption” with the corruption of Apartheid and thinks it is fine and even blesses it (simply by keeping silent about it), and who treat the poor with disdain?  What does the new “church theology” look? Are we still mincing our words and trying to maintain a false peace and false reconciliation while in fact blessing forms of tribalism simply by our denominationalism? And “where have all the prophets gone”? How do we discern afresh the finger of God in history today? What does Christian spirituality look like today?

By the time we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Kairos document in 2015, we should have reflected deeply on these questions and emerge stronger saying “thus says the Lord”……


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by poobendran naidoo on September 25, 2013 at 11:45 pm

    I do agree that the kairos document was important in the struggle against Apartheid but to define a relevant theology is to recognize the difference post ’94. We dealing with a state that is based on the will of the people and a governing party that is fully aware of its duty to the poor and marginalized. The ANC is in a process of renewal and this is consistent with a theology that speaks to the victories and goals of the democratic government in fighting poverty, unemployment and corruption and builds a society free of racism, poverty and violence.
    Our entire society needs transformation based on values that engender love, truth, righteousness and nonviolence. Our Movement the ANC is part of the prophetic vision of a new Jerusalem!



    • Thanks for your comment, Poobendran. You are correct in many respects and in discerning the way forward, we acknowledge the work that has been done post ’94 and we thank God for it. Kairos SA of course reflected on all of this in a document called “Theological and Ethical responses to the Centenary of the ANC”. In that document and in a subsequent document called “The church speaks…for such a time as this” we raised several questions and concerns that still remain. From the days of Constantine even to the apartheid state, there have always been attempts by States to embed the church (and some church people wanting embeddedness with the State) and unfortunately that has also begun to happen here in the post ’94 South Africa. In our movement towards the values you mention and to keep our society healthy, it is important that there is healthy engagement but not embeddedness….



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