Theology, innovation and Society: Towards developing Dialogical Theology for African society
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Theology and society are inseparable due to the fact that they are both composed of that which makes for both human and universal well-being. Indeed the two have through the ages inspired each other in the pursuit of a better world. This paper aims to explore three religions; African Indigenous Religion (AIR) Islam and Christianity as practised in developing countries such as Kenya, with the intention of deducing whether or not believers of these religions (can engage) engage in dialogue with each other for the purpose of providing sustainable solutions for community well-being and wholeness. Theology of dialogue is a methodology used by the author, as a means for innovation; towards creating harmony and equilibrium in a plural and multi-religious Kenyan society and Africa in general. Of significance for this timely theological concept in Africa are the dreams that need achievement; the Millennium Development Goals and state visions such as the Kenya 2030 vision. In approaching the subject, the author shall endeavor to outline pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial religious histories in Africa. The author shall use the Midzi-Chenda (written Mijiknda) community of Coastal Kenya as a case study population. This choice is due to their diverse and long-lived inter-cultural and inter-religious experiences, particularly with the Arab, Portuguese and British conquests along the East Coast of Africa. The triple conquest experiences influenced the Midzi-Chenda community negatively and positively in all spheres of their life-system; economic, political and religious, compelling them to embrace foreign culture, religion and politics, all of which gradually shaped their theological parameters. This latter experience and the contemporary post-colonial religious wave significantly situate the theology of dialogue as a benchmark for innovation in African society.