CONCEPT NOTE FOR THE DECEMBER 2021 ISSUE OF IN GOD’S IMAGE
“In God’s image” December 2021 Issue will be focused on a “Post Covid-19 World”. We are initiating an Issue that will come out in a “post-covid” world, hopefully! Covid-19 has brought out many new issues and challenges of concern such as health as a justice issue; the humanitarian crisis of marginalised communities; the food crisis; climate justice; the intensification of racial discrimination; the digital divide; economic crisis; migration crisis; trafficking; the aggravation of violence against women among other issues.
The December issue of IGI is initiated with the hope that we have taken the “lock-down” in most parts of the world, due to the spread of the virus, as a moment to pause and consider what we have done to our societies and to the earth itself. Additionally, it comes with a hope that this crisis has given us the wisdom to begin designing a more just, healthy, and caring future for all – not just for human life but for the earth itself.
But we are aware that there is still a continuing threat, it is a virus that defies known cures and so as we look ahead, we do it with a deep faith that this destructive virus will be brought under control, next year earlier rather than later. So, we bring out this issue of iGi with faith and hope!
Reflecting on the impact the virus has had on our lives will require us to acknowledge and confess that the virus and lockdowns did unearth the deep rifts in our societies. The articles in this issue of iGi will speak of some of these issues while indicating a positive response as to where we would like our world to move.
Some of the issues that we invite articles on:
- The economic crisis in the world with a focus on the most vulnerable communities like indigenous people, Dalits, women, migrant workers, the poor particularly in Asia and Africa. Loss of jobs, reductions in incomes, loss of homes (which are being repossessed as people default on repayment of loans). The unequal access to medical care (medicines and treatments), even access to the vaccine to stop the spread of the virus. India is a classic example – with the largest numbers of infected people in the world (at the time of writing this call for papers). We could blame the overcrowded cities; the lack of possibilities to follow physical distancing rules or the fact that millions live in poverty. The fact remains that the government of India did not handle its response well – especially by announcing a decent stimulus package to sustain life. While I used India as my example, all over Asia and the world we have seen the economic crisis in our world. How does novel Coronavirus affect vulnerable communities - Indigenous peoples, Dalits, women, migrant workers, LBGTQIA communities? How/or in what way are the churches responding to the needs of vulnerable communities?
- Covid-19 and racial discrimination – The Covid-19 pandemic is exposing and exacerbating deep divisions, injustices, and inequities in our society based on race and caste. Many have been abused, attacked and many continue to live in fear of being attacked due to the surge of racism against Asians and Africans. Covid-19 has exposed how racism is deeply rooted and has potential to create violence and divide the people based on race and color. What should be our response?
- Children’s rights, online education, and the poor: There is a serious digital divide between urban-rural and rich-poor people. Many rich and urban dwellers have welcomed online education as a blessing, but this creates a crisis for rural/poor children – access to tools of online education evade them.
- Health as a justice issue: Covid-19 is a wake-up call to healthcare systems all over the world - no country was medically equipped or prepared to face this pandemic. Nations spend more money on defense and far too little on healthcare. It is a serious matter we need to look at.
- The impact on women. Women constitute 80% of those who do domestic work. This is an unorganized sector where there are few checks on the hours domestic workers must be on duty - day and night. While some domestic workers have increased workloads, many (especially migrant domestic workers) have lost their jobs due to loss of jobs of their employers who are of the middle-income bracket due to lockdowns of factories and offices. There is also an increase in girl child trafficking or forced marriage due to poverty. There is also a increase in violence against women according to WHO reports.
- The impact on the environment. Lock downs rejuvenated the environment in many parts of the world however, degradation and Covid-19 are interconnected. The continuing violence against nature must stop. Many eco-feminists have addressed questions related to eco-justice perhaps it is the moment to re-look at the feminist perspective on climate justice.
- The impact on the LGBTQIA+ community. This community faces its own challenges, and these were aggravated in the context of the virus. Many of our brothers and sisters of other sexualities and genders have lost access to their own communities which offer them a support structure. Lock downs and restrictions on movement and gatherings have left many of them isolated and helpless. Medical emergencies they faced are specific to their bodies and they find little help from the medical systems.
- Challenges to the Christian community on their ecumenical engagement but more importantly on their theological understanding of the significance of the “plague-like virus” and its impact on our lives. What should be the new normal for us as Christians? What word of hope do we as women have to share in this troubled world?
- God amidst suffering. How do we discern a loving and caring God amidst all the suffering the virus has inflicted? Influenced by a prosperity theology, we have heard in these Covid days the language of a “wrath of God theology” and prophesies about the end of the world. Instead of a theology that denies suffering we need to nurture our congregations and populations to face the challenges of oppressive systems that deny the fullness of life.
There may be many other concerns that can be identified, and you are welcome as writers to do so, from any other perspectives on the impact of the Covid pandemic in your own context. Women have always used poetry, art, music to express their deepest concerns, as well as their hopes. This is such a moment so please submit new articles and pieces of poetry, art or words of songs that have been generated recently for publication in this issue of iGi
We look forward to your articles and other creative contributions.