Over the last few years, South Africa has been exposed to frequent, overt acts of violence, many of which have been politically or racially motivated.  It appears we are a country where overt violence is not far from the surface.

Christians have usually condemned these acts of violence, while at times showing sympathy for the underlying concerns and issues that have provoked the violence. Many activists though have responded by calling for a broader definition of violence. The system itself, they say, is violent; an insidious and unrelenting violence against the black body. It is a violence that daily excludes, deprives and oppresses the poor black student or worker.

How then do we theologically understand violence? Is there biblical warrant for a broader definition of violence? What does it mean to be peacemakers in a context of both repeated, overt acts of violence and insidious systemic violence? How does the gospel shape our understanding of and reaction to both behavioural and systemic violence? These are the questions and concerns addressed in this talk.

You can also read a version of this talk as a blog post