Wilhelm Weber's Reviews > August Hardeland and the "Rheinische" and "Hermannsburger" Missions in Borneo and South Africa (1938-1870). The history of a paradigm shift and its impact on South African Lutheran Churches.

August Hardeland and the "Rheinische" and "Hermannsburger" Mi... by Karl E. Böhmer
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it was amazing
bookshelves: biography, heimat-zugeh-rigkeit-und-identit-t, history, missiologie, pastoral-theology, south-african-politics-and-other-bu
Read 2 times. Last read November 14, 2020 to November 30, 2020.

Thorough study of Hermannsburg missions under Louis Harms and specifically during the crisis brought along by Hardeland. It´s a complicated story, but the author has managed to paint an understanding picture of difficult personalities in challenging times and changing contexts. He does his best to keep an open mind even for unpleasantries and unsavory conclusions - critical of the traditional reading and sometimes playing devil´s advocate. Even if the Borneo story is relevant, I found the South African chapter most enlightening and the Botswana story deeply disturbing even. My regard for the colonists has jumped exponentially and even for the complicit missionaries (sometimes turned victims) and the old Louis Harms, who were probably all totally overwhelmed and out of their depth in dealing with such a "Un-Hermannsburg"-character as Hardeland was, but was more manipulative and somewhat secretive in the best of readings - something rather opposite to the typical Hermannsburger. Böhmer suggests a psychoanalysis of this conflict - and I am sure, that would be quite revealing and worthwhile.
This should be high on anybody's reading list, but especially on those, who have missions at heart and an interest in South African history and compulsory on that of students of theology and pastoral practices in mission context. Here is lots of learning to be done - in good and bad memories. It´s probably the best antidote against any glorification of our mission past and church history - against work righteousness and any temptations of a theology of glory. However, I would also venture the proposal of Ricouer and others, to contemplate the possible use of the positive value of forgetting and even the various kinds of difficult forgiving in such a difficult history. I would also like to know, whether this story of Hardeland impacted the serious division and split that came a few years later between Hermannsburg Kleine und Große Kreuzkirche, Hermansburg & Free Church. Was some of that previous hurt and damage taken into the later conflict? I wonder.
Böhmer obviously is not a young theology student, but speaks from own pastoral experience. He formulates in excellent English, which sometimes even has literary qualities. It´s a stimulating read and very much worthwhile and highly recommendable.

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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
November 14, 2020 – Started Reading
November 30, 2020 – Shelved
November 30, 2020 – Finished Reading

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