What can we learn from a narrative reinterpretation of a mission (hi)story? Reflecting on the mission history of the Dutch Reformed Church according to Willem Saayman

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Abstract:

On 16 May 2015, the well-known missiologist, Willem Saayman, passed away. In this article, his overview of the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) mission history, Being Missionary, Being Human (2007), is revisited from the perspective of the narrative theory of White and Epston. This reinterpretation rests on the notion that history and religious traditions are structured as narratives that are open for interpretation and reinterpretation. As Saayman depicted the DRC mission history as a problem-saturated narrative, it is argued that unique outcomes also reside within this problem-saturated narrative, creating the possibility for the re-authoring of a liberated mission narrative. It is suggested that the narrative strategies of externalisation and co-authoring can be instrumental in attaining a mission narrative that is truly human.