This contribution explains the value of self-giving and critically questions the discourse on
self-sacrifice in relation to ministerial spirituality. In practice, what others may describe as selfsacrifice
may be experienced by a care-giver as an adequate form of self-giving inspired by the
Christian vocation, without any praise for one’s own deeds, without any overestimation of the
heroic character of one’s own giving. An inherent danger in the concept of self-sacrifice is a
closedness to critically assessing the balance of power in one’s own relationships. In this sense,
theologians are asked to use the concept self-sacrifice with caution, as the theological language
may inspire people, ideas and the general discourse further than intended.
Prof. Dr Annemie Dillen is
participating in the research
project, ‘Gender Studies and
Practical Theology Theory
Formation’, directed by Prof.
Dr Yolanda Dreyer,
Department of Practical
Theology, Faculty of
Theology, University of
This article is an adapted version of an article, published earlier by Annemie Dillen (2011a).