Dependence, Independence and the Interdependence of the Members of the Body of Christ for Social Justice

Dependence, Independence and the Interdependence of the Members of the Body of Christ for Social Justice

Key Note Address presented at the Celebration of the independence of Thukela-Amajuba-Mzinyathi Christian Council (TAMCC) 30 May 2012 also presented at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Southern KwaZulu-Natal Christian Council (SKZNCC) on the 6th December 2018

Text: John 10: 30 – “I and my Father are one” 

Introduction

The topic we are tackling in this key note address at the celebration of the independence of Thukela-Amajuba-Mzinyathi Christian Council (TAMCC) is: Dependence, Independence and the Interdependence of the Members of the Body of Christ for Social Justice. The state of independence we are celebrating is intermediate. This means that we have just departed from the state of dependence and are maturing towards the state of interdependence.

“Hence, international co-operation and solidarity and the relentless search for consensus become an absolute imperative. They are the only possible alternative for all nations, whose interdependence is being  made increasingly manifest by the rapid development of production technology, of transport and communication, as well a by the overhanging threat of deterioration of the environment and exhaustion of natural resources. And what is one to say of the frightful accumulation of means of destruction in a world facing the no less frightful problems of hunger, disease and ignorance” (Wikipedia/ Interdependence)

Our existence as part of the ecumenical family was realised around a common course of making a contribution to socio-economic and socio-ecological challenges as well as expressing our Christian faith in the world ravaged with multifold injustices, inequities and inequalities.  We read from surveys that the church is one of the institutions which is trusted by the majority of the people for its uprightness and integrity.  In recent times we know that the church has lost its edge as a prophetic movement. We can then take advantage of the ecological degradation and lack of quality service delivery and the corruption in the upper echelons of our present political dispensation to emerge as a force to reckon with as far as issues of social transformation and justice for all are concerned.

In a nutshell the text we have read where Jesus says “I and the Father are one” means that the Son is coeternal with the Father, is co-substantial with the Father is co-existent with the Father and that the Son is not subordinate to the Father but is of the very essence and Aseity with the Father and that in them there is interdependence and inter-dwellingness, collaboration coordination and as the union of the Homosione.  The God is that of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. God has been understood as Father, Son and Holy Spirit though in modalism the Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Father. The Father is not the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit is not the Father and the Son is not the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit is not the Son. And the Father is of the Son and the Holy Spirit and the Son is the Father and the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit is of the Father and the Son of the inseparable Godhead.

In the same manner KZNCC is of TAMCC is of KRCC is of Midlands Christian Council (MCC) is of Southern KwaZulu-Natal Christian Council (SKZNCC) is of SACC, of AACC of WCC all seeking to fulfill the ecumenical vision on earth.   Shall we turn to the topic of the day proper?

What is Dependence?

Dependence is the State of relying on or needing someone or something for aid, support, or the like. This state of affairs is not sustainable. In the order of human life children grow to a point of seeking de-parenting, and continue to be supported to adulthood and consequently the inevitability of independence is realised.

Dependence is s state of being conditional or contingent on something, as through a natural or logical sequence: the dependence of an effect on a cause. In our regard KZNCC caused TAMCC and this relationship of contingency has to mature or else if perpetuated becomes an undesirable scenario where:  In medicine, dependence as a state of being psychologically or physiologically dependent on a drug after a prolonged period of use is not good. The independence process was a panacea of helping TAMCC from a serious addiction with KZNCC medically speaking. Dependence is a state of relying on or being controlled by someone or something; a state of being subordinate to something.

 

Dependence is a state of reliance on someone’s judgment – an allusion to children hanging on their parents’ sleeves. TAMCC should not be like in computer science where dependency is called Coupling, a state in which one object uses a functionality of another object. It must not be the case that TAMCC must be paralysed and made dysfunctional because KZNCC for some reason cannot function.

In Economics a dependent is a person who relies on another as a primary source of income. And in economics the dependency theory is an economic worldview which states that resources flow from the poor states to wealthy states.  In other words this theory says the wealthy, not that KZNCC is, take from the production of the producers/ the workers. The state of independence makes it possible that the workers begin to own the means of production and have sovereignty and final decision making on where and how those resources must be utilized to benefit the majority of the people.

What is Independence?

“Independence is a condition of a nation, country, or state in which its residents and population, or some portion thereof, exercise self-government, and usually sovereignty, over its territory politically speaking (additions mine)” (Wikipedia)

Independence means not influenced or controlled by others in matters of opinion, conduct, etc. It means thinking or acting for oneself; not subject to another authority or jurisdiction; not influenced by the thought or action of others; not depending or contingent upon something else for existence, operation, etc; and not relying on another or others for aid or support (ibid)

 

In politics, a person who votes in accordance with his or her own judgment and without regard to the endorsement of, or the position taken by, any party is independent; is free from control in action and judgment and does not depend on anything else to function and validity.

Economically an independent person is the one providing a large sum towards one’s support; having independent income and independent means.

What is Interdependence?

“Interdependence is a relationship in which each member is mutually dependent on the others. This concept differs from a dependence relationship, where some members are dependent and some are not. In an interdependence relationship, participants may be emotionally, economically, ecologically and or morally reliant on and responsible to each other.” Seemingly in an interdependent relationship, all the parties feel and are weak and vulnerable without the other or feel and are stronger, complimentary, better of, and confident working together is unity, cordiality, transparency, equality, and sharing co-responsibility.

“An interdependence relationship can arise between two or more cooperative autonomous participants (e.g., – co-op).” A state of interdependence is a common ground between the participants who share common goals and aspirations.

 

“Karl Marx first used the term interdependence in the Communist Manifesto (1848) in describing the universal interdependence of nations in comparison to the old local and national seclusions of independence and self-sufficiency”. Fundamentalism and nationalism must be superseded by internationalism and interdependence if the world should survive in years to come.

 

In business and commerce “there is a view that computer technology has allowed greater communication, interaction and interdependence. It is thought that this has massively helped the introduction and start up of new ideas and enterprises”. It is in networking and relationship building that the collective impact on the enhancement of social justice and further social transformation of communities can potentially happen.  Interdependence makes it possible for gestalt synergies to have a greater impact than not.  Interdependence is one of the principles of the age of networked intelligence, and of progress in knowledge and innovation.  This can be harvested to cause a greater change by the interdependent ecumenical body of Christ in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. Covey maintains that we function best as innovators when we recognize, and work towards, the role of interdependence (ibid)

“Interdependence is and ought to be as much the ideal of [humanity] as self-sufficiency. [Humans] are social beings. Without interrelation with society he (sic) cannot realise his oneness with the universe or suppress his egotism. His (sic) social interdependence enables him to test his faith and to prove himself on the touchstone of reality” (Mahatma Gandhi, Young India, March 21, 1929, p. 93)

About interdependence, Martin Luther King Jr. once said in his lecture from Birmingham prison: “Moreover, I am cognizant of the interconnectedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects us directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live the narrow, provincial “outside agitator” idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds” (Martin Luther King Jr., Lecture from Birmingham Jail, April 6, 1963)

 

And Stephen Covey writes in his famous book on ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’ (1989): “Independent thinking alone is not suited to interdependent reality. Independent people who do not have the maturity to think and act interdependently may be good individual producers, but they won’t be good leaders or team players. They are not coming from the paradigm of interdependence necessary to succeed in marriage, family, or organizational reality” (Stephen Covey, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, 1989)

In closure, the answer of our common survival and progress can be found in our quest to supersede independence and yearn to be interdependent if we were to achieve social justice and radical social transformation.

Dr Lucas Mogashudi Ngoetjana

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KZN Church AIDS Network

AIDSThe KZNCAN, which was jointly initiated by church leaders and the KZNCC in 2004, encourages churches and Christian organisations to respond effectively to the HIV and AIDS pandemic. It networks and partners with interfaith organisations and civil society. Its most significant projects are “Men and Gender”, the Male Caregivers’ Programme, and “Sisters of Faith in Action and Advocacy” (SOFIA).

Men and Gender aims to transform men and institutions in the context of HIV and AIDS and poverty. It mobilises and supports men in church leadership positions to influence their peers to change their attitudes and behaviour, in the struggle against HIV and AIDS. The Male Caregivers’ Programme challenges men to become caregivers for people affected by or infected by HIV and AIDS. SOFIA organises women to reflect on and advocate for gender justice and development.

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Emphases of KZNCAN:

  • Promoting cooperation, resource-sharing and innovation among churches and ecumenical structures working on HIV and AIDS;
  • Facilitating liaison between churches, NGOs and government;
  • Equipping churches with skills to initiate HIV and AIDS programmes and/or to integrate these into their overall work;
  • Devising prevention campaigns and strategies, also for TB and Sexually Transmitted Infections;
  • On the basis or research, designing appropriate interventions to support child-headed households;
  • Mentoring church-based organisations catering for orphans and vulnerable children;
  • Continuing to develop and promote a theology of a caring community;

Emphases of Men and Gender:         

  • Encouraging and training men to give practical care and psychosocial support;
  • Collaborating with health institutions in giving such care;
  • Discussing with men how they are socialised into particular forms of masculinity;
  • Lobbying government and other institutions about issues affecting this Programme;
  • Extending the Programme to additional areas of the Province;
  • Supporting Men’s Forums to increase the impact of the Programme;
  • Developing materials on gender justice suited to the KZN context.

Emphases of SOFIA:         

  • Mobilising women throughout discussions about how male children are socialised into a particular kind of masculinity;
  • Together with tertiary institutions and seminaries, compiling and analysing stories about how women are impeded from effectively contributing to development and leadership in society;
  • Creating spaces for dialogue, networking and partnerships;
  • Running workshops and theological reflections on the experiences of women as presented in the scriptures of various faith groups.

Whenever possible and appropriate, the KZNCC encourages participants in SOFIA and Men and Gender to discuss issues of mutual concern.