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Religious Leadership in National Political Conflict

Religious Leadership in National Political Conflict

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Synopsis: It is one thing for a religious leader to confront and challenge political leaders; it is altogether another thing when such a leader becomes a partisan political leader. This is what happened in the case of Bishop Abel Tendekayi, a bishop of the United Methodist Church. For such a religious leader to attempt to traverse both worlds political and religious are in some ways uncharted waters; in other ways, they are treacherous waters. The pages which follow in this lucid and detailed volume is an effort to "look back" on the challenge and complexity of moving from colonialism to independence, to the making of a new independent nation on the Continent of Africa. What happens when the prophetic voice expected of and from the Church becomes the identified political entity? How does it challenge itself, or how is it distinguished from the political power it seeks to hold accountable on behalf of all the people? These are several of the questions Nyarota tackles through the examination of the impact of the struggle for liberation upon the United Methodist Church, its leader, Bishop Muzorewa, as both find themselves in the midst of nation building, political struggle, and the vying for political power. Endorsements: "This is one of the best books I have read on issues of church and politics. . . . Nyarota is crafty in integrating materials from Scriptures, people--such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., N. Sithole, Gandhi, Bishops Tutu and Ralph Dodge--and the views of the black nationalists of the day. . . . Could it be that Bishop Muzorewa became a modern-day King David, or did he go too far? A must-read book for both clergy and lay church leaders on the controversy of church and politics." --Tapiwa N. Mucherera, Professor of Pastoral Counseling, Asbury Theological Seminary "Nyarota offers us a nuanced portrait of a clergyman steeped in a rich prophetic tradition, who skillfully applies that tradition to a movement for post-colonial liberation. Bishop Muzorewa's living legacy keeps hope alive and provides a much-needed corrective for political movements gone awry. Readers will appreciate not only the story of a leader and the struggle for church to engage in political struggle, but also Nyarota's own prophetic, people-power perspective as a beneficiary of this struggle and his charge today for those who would claim leadership." --Neal Christie, Assistant General Secretary, General Board of Church and Society, The United Methodist Church Author Biography: Lloyd T. Nyarota grew up in the brunt of the liberation struggle in Zimbabwe. A holder of a several advanced degrees, Nyarota is an elder in the Zimbabwe east Conference of The United Methodist Church. He is currently serving as The Programme Director for the Chabadza Community Development Programs responsible for the Church's Community Development Programme to improve the lives of people in disadvantaged and underdeveloped Communities in Zimbabwe.
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