Scandal Must Come
Abstract This dissertation grows from our experience of the perennial problem of violence and conflict witnessed at a great scale in Sub-Saharan Africa. In many parts of Africa, especially south of the Sahara, now even worse in the north, there are recurrent bloody conflicts, violence and wars. Ordinarily, one would be lured to argue that what Heraclitus said is the real experience of Africa: where it seems "war is father and king of all things."1 In this trend of thought war, bloody conflicts and violence are mere symptoms of the underlying belligerent nature of the universe. In Heraclitus' philosophical view any change (physical, social, political, economic) can only arise out of war or violent conflict. On the other hand, in reading and hearing stories from all over the world it reveals to us that violence, conflict and the difficulty of establishing lasting peace is a universal problem, not only African. This realization triggered this study to see if we could establish common roots to the problem of violence in the world and at the same time to seek ways of reconciling people in the aftermath or even during the conflict. Therefore although the African situation provoked the thought, our research covers the anthropological roots to the universal problem of recurrent violence that has immersed our world into a culture of death. However in the last chapter we will specifically draw our attention to the nature and mission of the Church of Africa in its social context in order to ascertain the foundational causes of the persistent violence and so seek ways to reconciliation. Employing René Girard's mimetic anthropology and trinitarian/eucharistic theology we argue that reconciliation is a Divine-Human self-emptying event because the one who initiates reconciliation must be ready to surrender to the offending other and become the price of that reconciliation. The Trinity and the gift of the Eucharist just before the paschal mystery presents to us that God, the offended other but loving other, in Jesus became the price of our reconciliation. Therefore every work of reconciliation is an imitation of a self-emptying God in Christ Jesus.