The Tablet, a Catholic, British magazine, recently published an article titled “50 Minds that Matter.” I am honoured to share that my name was on that list!
The Tablet introduced their list with the following statement:
“Who do you think is the living Catholic doing the most to change the way we imagine ourselves and understand the world? Here is our selection of 50 men and women who are making waves and recalibrating disciplines, and adding some Catholic salt to the contemporary cultural soup.”
I hope that you are enjoying this season of preparation and reflection as we await the Joys of Christmas. We here at Bethany Land Institute are reflecting on the genuine goodness of God, and how He has opened so many new partnerships for us this year. We are pleased to announce that through two generous grants, we have secured funding for much of Phase I of our construction, allowing us to break ground in 2019 for two dormitories and classrooms. This will enable us to open our doors to our first cohort of students in 2020, and target our formal launch in 2021.
We wish to thank each of you for your continued support for the vision and mission of BLI. We are especially thankful for the funding that you provide for the staff, who have been working tirelessly this year to prepare the campus. They have made tremendous progress, including cultivation of the land, which not only produces all of their food, but with enough extra to sell to the local community. With their proceeds from those sales, they have started the Savings and Credit Co-op, which will allow them to eventually purchase their own farms. In addition, they have planted and dispersed to the local area over 5000 trees on the mission to reforest the land. I invite you to visit our updated websiteto see photos of their progress.
We look forward to the deepening work of BLI in the coming year, and value your partnership and support to continue our mission. You may make an online donation through our websitewww.bethanylandinstitute.orgor send a check to the address below. If you would like to speak with our Development Coordinator about ways that you can make an impact at BLI, please reach out to her at the contact number below, or through our website.
Wishing you and your family the blessings of Christmas,
It has been a while since my last update (July). Overall things have been well with a number of highlights on various fronts:
1.Family: summer saw me spending time with mother in the village at Malube, and with family & kids (nieces, nephews, grandnieces/nephews) at Bethany House. Pictures capture some of the moments:
2.Bethany Land Institute: News of a grant from the Italian Bishops Conference (beginning of summer) gave a good jump start for fundraising efforts for the construction of phase one of the campus – and hopefully for a 2019 official launch. Summer also saw me spending time “on the ground (land)” working with staff, board and other meetings. Again, pictures tell the story better than words:
In the meantime, on my sabbatical research project, Who Are My People, jointly funded by the Luce Fellowship in Theology and Contending Modernities, I finished up with the interviews over the summer, and am in the process drafting the five chapters of the book. See my “Excess of Love in the Oasis of Peace,” a blog entry following my visit to Maggy Barankitse’s “Oasis of Peace.”
The following report, to be presented at the ATS Luce Fellowship meeting in Pittsburg early next month, offers a good overview of the research project.
Earlier this year David Tanghou Ngong, a professor at Stillman College published a review of my book Born from Lament: The Theology of Politics and Hope in Africa in Reading Religion, a publication of the American Academy of Religion. I appreciate his assessment of my work, which not only highlights the strengths of the book but also offers constructive critique.
David Tanghou Ngong writes:
Katongole’s portrayal of an alternative vision of peace which the Christian faith provides in the context of the violent politics of the nation-state continues to be one of his significant contributions to African theology. Perhaps he is right that African theology has been too reticent in pointing out the salutary alternative visions of peaceful life that some Christians in the continent are cultivating. However, his claim that there has been a loss of lament in African theology is not an adequate description of the African Christian theological scene. Lament is at the heart of the theologies of inculturation, Black liberation theology in South Africa, the theology of reconstruction, and African women’s theology: the lament of the various forms of loss many have suffered and continue to suffer on the continent…This notwithstanding, Born from Lament provides significant ethnographic, biblical, and theological material that may enhance peacebuilding around the world.
Since my last post there have been a number of significant updates that I would like to share with you:
1. I am honoured to have been promoted to full professor at the University of Notre Dame.
2. The International Bulletin of Missions Research has selected Born from Lament: The Theology of Politics of Hope in Africa as one of its top ten outstanding books in Missions Studies for 2017.
3. I had the opportunity to participate in a Skype discussion about my book the Sacrifice of Africa with a group of students from South Africa hosted by Mziwandile Nkutha, a recent graduate of the Anabaptist Mennonite Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana.