Book Writing Proposal – Jim Harries

Book Writing Proposal

Working title: Communication in Mission and Development;

post-modern insights for relating to the Majority World.

Book writing project engaged by Jim Harries beginning May 2011 to be completed end of 2011. Anticipated length of book: approx 50,000 words.

Aim of this book-writing project


To provide a clearly argued and well presented case drawing on literature and personal experience in favour of major reversals in some policy positions in mission and non-mission interventions from the West to the majority world (focus on Africa), in order to reduce the current tendency whereby indigenous growth, progress, and maturity are often undermined.

Which is intended to result in:

  1. A revival of interest in spiritually based missionary activity from traditional Christian lands. (Which will in turn contribute to a revival of the church in the West.)


  1. A boost for African languages that can enable a sensible situation whereby African leaders take responsibility for their own people in ways that they can understand. (In which Westerners can participate without being given super-divine roles, and in ways that enable them to share important values, beliefs and concerns at depth.)


Underlying Thesis


That the West’s defence of notions of realism and objectivity in communication and language in inter-cultural perspective, especially in the church, are resulting in an epistemological crisis in much of sub-Saharan Africa. (This critique is founded in long-term grass-roots engagement with African realities.)

Outline Plan

Ch. 1. A New Communication Model

An examination and critique of traditional models of communication used in Mission and Development in favour of a more idealist view, arising from hard experience.

Ch. 2. African Materialism

Undercutting the notion that African spirituality is somehow confined to the spiritual realm and pointing to the widespread orientation to the love of material things in African life and philosophy.

Ch. 3. Concealment of Race Issues

How anti-racist strategies in the West have the effect of keeping Westerners on top and keeping Africans down and confused. Solutions proposed.

Ch. 4. African Christianity is of Materialism

Ways in which African Christianity has developed in pursuit of material wealth – as perceived from the West. Problematic.

Ch. 5. Hermeneutics of the African Church

Philosophical and practical impacts on the nature of African hermeneutics.

Ch. 6. Truths in Africa missed due to English

The debilitating and irresolvable impacts of African society and church through use of a non-native language in all formal functions.

Ch. 7. Understanding Needed

Providing a basis for rectifying the above issues.

Author’s Biography


Jim Harries (PhD theology) has lived and ministered in rural Africa in theological education with a special interest in indigenous churches and commonly using African mother-tongues from 1988 to date.




Jim Harries, 14th May 2011