"Becoming a Christ for your neighbour" : exploring Luther's notion of neighbourliness in light of ukama and ubuntu in the Zimbabwean Lutheran church.
The history of conflict in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe (ELCZ) has had negative results for the life of the church. This history has seen at its best the disintegration of the strongest social cords that ever existed, including the indigenous resources ubuntu and ukama. In the communal life of the Shona and the Ndebele in Zimbabwe, the concepts of ukama and ubuntu challenge, in a neighbourly way, negative views that people hold against each another. This position is strengthened by Luther’s teaching on neighbourliness through the metaphor of “becoming a Christ for your neighbour.” This metaphor expresses the deeper relationship that exists within members of the same faith shared with those outside their boundaries. Luther’s notion of neighbourliness can be combined with the local resources to achieve unity and break tensions within the local communities in Zimbabwe. Divisions and tensions tarnish human identities and mar the future potential of people in the country in general. Besides, the tensions and divisions distract the vision and purpose of the church in society. An indigenous African theology of unity can be constructed to counter the dehumanization of humanity. This study attempts to construct a local theological framework of unity that can guide the ELCZ in the continuing divisions and tensions that exist.