Toward a theological response to prostitution: listening to the voices of women affected by prostitution and of selected church leaders in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Singh, Jennifer (2018) Toward a theological response to prostitution: listening to the voices of women affected by prostitution and of selected church leaders in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. PhD thesis, Middlesex University / Oxford Centre for Mission Studies.

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Abstract

This feminist, qualitative research project explores how the voices of women affected by prostitution in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and of selected evangelical church leaders in that city, could contribute to a life-affirming theological response to prostitution. The thesis engages sociological and theological sources to interpret the data gathered; contextual Bible study sessions provided access to the women’s voices, and semi-structured interviews revealed church leaders’ perspectives. During conversations with the women, six core themes emerged, reflecting their contextual understanding of the social and theological ramifications of prostitution: their entrance into prostitution; God; sin; humanity (Christian anthropology); justice; and the church. The women articulated that: 1) prostitution was a means of survival; 2) God is a protective figure in their lives; 3) sin is equated with prostitution and uncleanliness; 4) humanity is rejecting; 5) injustice is a normalised experience; and 6) they are unwelcome in the church due to their status as ‘sinners,’ and have few expectations that the Christian church or its leaders would help them exit prostitution. These themes reportedly resonated with interviewed church leaders, who expressed empathy for the women. Bringing both sets of voices together in a discussion of the Story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32), however, revealed several theological deficiencies held by the evangelical church that currently impede the formation of a life-affirming theological response to prostitution. These deficiencies primarily involve an excessively narrow understanding of sin, salvation, and repentance in light of the Kingdom of God. This thesis offers a theological response to these specific deficiencies, based on an appropriation of the Peter and Cornelius story (Acts 10:1-48) to the evangelical church in Addis Ababa. This study contributes new understanding about the gift that women affected by prostitution have to offer to the evangelical church in Addis Ababa. The insights of all of the participants in this study draw attention to an expanded, Biblical view of salvation in light of the Kingdom of God, a vision that places responsibility on the community of faith to mediate God’s holistic program of restoration for the full human being. Further areas of study could include voices of other key stakeholders within the wider Christian church in Ethiopia to address additional theological deficiencies that impede a life-affirming theological response to women affected by prostitution.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Research Areas: A. > School of Law
B. > Theses
C. Collaborative Partners > Oxford Centre for Mission Studies
Item ID: 25959
Depositing User: Vimal Shah
Date Deposited: 08 Jan 2019 21:02
Last Modified: 08 Jan 2019 21:02
URI: http://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/25959

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