who gives voice to dissent in non-obtrusive ways or calls for reform to be achieved from within the system. Harris W. Mobley illustrates the pattern with an example from Ghana.4 He draws a distinction between the literature of tutelage by courteous critics and the radical genre of critical literature by a second generation that avoided such deferential, tentative nuances. The new voices criticised the missionary's secluded habitation, social distance and vocational dominance. They explored the negative dimensions of missionary institutionalism or structure, harping on the imposition of ecclesiastical forms, the replacement of village community with church membership, marriage issues and the retarding effects of rivalry. They suspected the use of schools as a means of evangelisation and faulted the missionary interpretation of Christianity, especially its failure to relate to indigenous beliefs. The ambiguity in the structure did not escape notice, recognising what was dubbed as 'coast conscience' that afflicted a minority of daring European 'progressives' who cared for the welfare of Africans.

In contemporary social sciences, radicalism is profiled as 'agency'. Agency is used to refer to how individuals and groups self-consciously shape their behaviour within such structures. It is the ability to make decisions, initiate redemptive actions and counter vulnerability or the inability to take decisions for oneself or one's community. Agency is a visioning gift that sees beyond simple tasks of survival and defines the importance of activism on behalf of self and community. As applied here, it refers to the dual processes by which blackpeople may work for as well as against social structures and institutions: a measure of self-invention that mines psychological roots to combat models for internalising negative self-images. Colonialism was not just an administrative structure but also a psychological instrument that humiliated and wounded the soul and embedded a certain dependency as the victim internalised the values of the master figure. In church historiography, agency is a tool for analysing both the patterns of insertion of the gospel and the modes of appropriation; or how agents responded in the process of culture-encounter. Those described as 'Ethiopians' were agents who 'set to work' the missionary message, responded to the larger import of its moral values and gave voice to whispers from the ranges of infra-politics - that zone where the ruled talk freely about their rulers. Since missionary racial and cultural ideologies jarred most prominently against the biblical values that their translation of the gospel betrayed, and since the cultural hardware of the enterprise was intimidating, these two issues dominated the first African response to the missionary message.

4 Mobley, The Ghanaian's image of the missionary.

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