“Not peace but a sword” (Mt 10:34)

Recognising resilience but struggling for resistance

  • Gerald West University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa


An unexpected outcome of the work of the Ujamaa Centre for Community Development and Research with marginalised sectors is their sense that Contextual Bible Study resources provide them with an interpretive resilience that enables them to return to the churches that have marginalised them because they are unemployed, HIV-positive, or queer. This article explores the notion of ‘interpretive resilience’ and reflects on its capacity to reintegrate those who have been marginalised by dominant theologies. “Interpretive resilience” may have the capacity to construct forms of communal peace, but the article asks, what if what is required is ‘interpretive resistance’, which puts the sword to dominant interpretations in the quest for a more just peace? A particular case study, to do with issues of homosexuality, gives shape and substance to the theoretical reflections.1