Die taak van praktiese teologie is om voortdurend te soek na nuwe modelle wat die praxis
kan dien en verbeter. Hierdie praxis fokus op handelinge van mense eerder as op
georganiseerde godsdiens. Rick Osmer (2008) se interdissiplinêre benadering met sy vier take
vir interpretasie bied ’n waardevolle bydrae tot praktiese teologie. In hierdie artikel word daar
beweeg van die vraag “Wat is aan die gang?” as die beskrywende-empiriese taak na die vraag
“Hoe kan ons reageer?” as die pragmatiese taak. Die pragmatiese taak het ten doel om
hermeneutiese denke en reflektiewe gesprek te bevorder. Dit poog met ander woorde om dit
wat beskrywend-empiries waargeneem en geïnterpreteer is, deur middel van die
interpretatiewe en normatiewe take aan te wend tot voordeel van verbeterde praxis en om die
samelewing te dien.
Daar is momente in die geskiedenis wat ’n groot impak het op die sosiale kohesie van ’n
gemeenskap en/of ’n hele volk. Hierdie bydraes kan as positief of as negatief gesien word,
afhangende van die lens waardeur dit beskou word. Hierdie artikel ondersoek ’n spesifieke
moment in die geskiedenis van Suid-Afrika wat die verbeelding van mense regoor die wêreld
aangegryp het. Die moment word in die artikel beskryf, die liturgiese karakter daarvan word
ontleed, en dan word dit deur die lens van ’n model vir sosiale kohesie bekyk. Hierdie
moment het plaasgevind binne die spesifieke ruimte van die sportstadion waaraan ’n
spesifieke leefwêreld (liturgie) gekoppel is. Sulke ruimtelik-liturgiese gebeurtenisse is
waardevol binne gemeenskappe waar tradisionele eredienste nie meer die enigste liturgiese
ruimtes is nie. Hulle dien gemeenskappe ook op ander wyses, soos hierdie gebeurtenis sal
toon wanneer dit deur die lens van sosiale kohesie ondersoek word.
’n Positiewe gebeurtenis soos die Wêreldrugbybeker toernooi mag die indruk skep dat sport
slegs ’n positiewe kant het. Om balans te handhaaf word die Olimpiese Spele van 1936 as ’n
ander sportgebeurtenis kortliks ondersoek om aan te toon dat sport ook ’n donker kant het.
Sport bied talle moontlikhede, onder andere tot nuwe verbeterde ruimtelik-liturgiese praxis en
sosiale kohesie binne gemeenskappe.
Hierdie artikel steun uiteraard op literatuur oor hierdie gebeure. ’n Hermeneutiese proses
word gevolg waar metodes van eksegese op die konteks van die kulturele liturgieë, in hierdie
geval ’n sportliturgie, toegepas word. Daar word dus beweeg van konteks na interpretasie en
terug na konteks met die oog op verbeterde praxis. Die doel van hierdie artikel is om daarop
te wys dat momente wat binne die liturgie van sport aangetref word, die pragmatiese taak van
prakties-teologiese interpretasie kan dien. Hierdie ondersoek word gedoen binne die
raamwerk van die liturgiewetenskap, wat ’n vakgebied binne die praktiese teologie is.
Ondersoek van gebruike as ’n benadering binne die liturgiewetenskap word hier as
“Francois, fantastic support from 63 000 South Africans here today?”, TV anchor man David
van der Sandt remarked after the Springboks had beaten the mighty All Blacks in the final of
the 1995 Rugby World Cup. Without missing a beat, Pienaar replied: “David, we didn’t have
the support of 63 000 South Africans today, we had the support of 42 million South Africans”
There are moments in history that contribute greatly to the social cohesion of an entire
community and even nation. In this article, the author reflects on a specific moment in the
history of South Africa that captured the attention of people all over the world as an example
of such a contribution.
Both religion and sport are ritual domains. In the words of Paul Post: “Rituals were thought
to offer an effective entrance into a culture, allowing one to penetrate it deeply” (2015:1).
The approach followed in this article may be summed up in the words of Post (2015:5):
“Often ritual is liturgy and ceremony.” Sport rituals and liturgy play an important part in this
investigation, the purpose of which is to show the impact that a sport liturgy can have on the
social cohesion of society in general, using an in-depth example of the 1995 Rugby World
Cup as the specific event.
This article shows how the liturgy of this event resembles the liturgy of a church service.
People no longer worship only in church. They use other spaces where they experience the same “feeling” they experience during a church service. Theology and the church in general
should take note of this and use the knowledge to reach out to people in a different way. The
original meaning of word liturgy is “service”. This service includes our service to God, but
also to one another. Liturgy includes the way we live our daily lives and not only the way we
live for an hour or two on a Sunday. Christian liturgy is, therefore, not necessarily elevated
over sport liturgy, but is simply different. The one is not epistemologically or morally better
than the other. They both serve their communities. During the World Cup event there were
liturgists participating; it took place in different liturgical spaces; and as is typical of liturgy, there was a definite entrance, followed by a greeting, silence, a time of praise, commitment
and dedication, a message, prayer, offering, final praise and a blessing.
The World Cup as a spatial-liturgical event is examined through the lens of a social cohesion
model. Social cohesion refers to the way in which members of a community create space for
one another in such a way that individuals feel they belong in the community and are
recognised in it as members. The components of this social cohesion model are: trust,
cooperation, affiliation, personal well-being and safety. Trust has two dimensions: character
and competence. In the words of Covey (2009:2): “Character includes your integrity, motive,
and intent with people. Competence includes your capabilities, skills, results, and track
record.” Both dimensions are necessary to establish trust, which is the basis for cooperation.
In turn, individuals will cooperate if the welfare of both parties is served. Affiliation refers to
the fundamental need people have to belong and to be part of something meaningful along
with other people. For example, people head off to work daily as much for daily meaning as
for daily bread and this experience of meaningfulness contributes greatly to personal wellbeing.
The last component of this model is safety. The greater a person’s experience of
safety, both mental and physical, the greater their ability to connect to others and the greater
their sense of belonging, which in turn enables them to make a difference.
The important role that sport plays in South Africa is captured in this quotation on South
African Tourism’s website: “Sport and South Africa are intricately intertwined. In our country, sport is something of a religion, and no matter what our differences are, we all
worship at the sporting altar.”2
The words of Desmond Tutu describe what this affiliation did for the whole nation: “That
match did for us what speeches of politicians or archbishops could not do. It galvanised us, it
made us realize that it was actually possible for us to become one nation” (Carlin 2007;
2008:245–6). Trust played an important role during this event, as the different role players
had been enemies in the past. Politics could not establish trust between these opposing
parties, but Mandela, as a clever strategist, used the medium of sport to establish trust
between himself and the Springboks, starting with the captain, through him to the team and
onwards eventually between himself and his previous enemies, the Afrikaners. Cooperation
was established with different role-players: the media, the public, the players, even South
African Airways, and, via Mandela, with the ANC as the political party of the day. The
Springbok team experienced a feeling of safety and well-being because of the trust of their
captain, administrators, president and supporters. This enabled them to perform as they did.
By cooperating with and supporting one another, Mandela, the Springboks and the whole of
South Africa contributed to the welfare of the nation.
Sport does have the potential to change the world. One must, however, be aware that, as with
all things in life, there should be a balance, always keeping the greater good of all involved in
Nelson Mandela understood this when he said, “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire; the power to unite people that little else has … It is more powerful
than governments in breaking down racial barriers.”
This vision of a charismatic leader determined the success of this event from beginning to
end. The victory of the Springboks in the Rugby World Cup was the positive outcome of this liturgy. Although a defeat might still have brought many positive outcomes, it could easily
have had the opposite effect. Mandela was clearly aware of how delicate the situation was.
Sport had a favourable influence on social cohesion in this event. The well-being of Nelson
Mandela, his willingness to forgive and to work for the greater good of all, contributed to the
well-being and social cohesion of an entire nation.
It could, however, happen that although a sporting event has a positive outcome, it does not
benefit the whole of society. Such an event was the 1936 Olympic Games. Joseph Goebbels,
Hitler’s propaganda minister, remarked on 23 April 1933, “German sport has only one task:
to strengthen the character of the German people, imbuing it with the fighting spirit and
steadfast camaraderie necessary in the struggle for its existence” (Levine 2016:1). The focus
of the 1936 Games was less on promoting sport than on promoting a country and its leader.
The Germans used the 1936 Olympic Games to promote nationalism under a smokescreen.
Hitler’s regime was fortunate that the outcome was positive on the level of sporting
achievement. There were, however, at that time already groups in German society who were
paying a high price without the rest of the world’s knowing it. This example indicates how
sport can, on the surface of things, have a positive appearance, although, in reality, negative
events are happening behind the scenes.
How can the liturgy of a sporting event be of value to practical theology? Practical theology wants to improve the praxis through new models and theories. The objective of this article is
to show how exegesis of context and the rituals within a liturgical space can serve the
pragmatic task of practical-theological interpretation. The article moves from the descriptiveempirical
task of practical-theological interpretation (asking the question “What is going
on?”), through the interpretive task (asking the question “Why is it going on?”), to the
pragmatic task (asking the question “How might we respond?”). The concepts praxis and
lived religion focus on the actions of people, rather than on abstract theoretical knowledge,
religious institutions, sacred sources and doctrines. What is important is lived religion in
daily life, and how it contributes to the relationship with God. There is constant interaction
with other disciplines and life in general to stimulate new understanding and ways of thinking
through the hermeneutic cycle and the interaction that takes place.
Spectators at a sporting event can have an experience like that of participants in a church
service. One cannot ignore spatial-liturgical and ritual-liturgical events outside traditional
church buildings, especially since traditional spaces of worship and church buildings are no
longer the only places where worship takes place. Participants in these liturgies experience
them in no way as trivial, but rather as meaningful ways of being in the world.
The reflection in this article is done within the framework of liturgical and ritual studies as a
subject within practical theology.
Uys, Jacobus Stephanus Petrus(University of Pretoria, 2007-09-29)
Text in Afrikaans This research paper has been prepared against a background of an apparent lack of symbols and rituals in Reformed services of worship. Chapter 1 deals with the importance of symbols and rituals in light ...
Barnard, Marcel, 1957-(Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria, 2001)
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Hymns are handed down from generation to generation, from country to country, and from church to church. In every time in history, hymns and songs are needed that are new for that time and generation – hymns through which ...