Liberation Theology Revisited
Posted: 18 September 2011 08:57 PM   [ Ignore ]  
Total Posts:  273
Joined  2009-01-12

Liberation Theology is a term that refers to a discernible school of thought that emanates from the work of several theologians, mostly Roman Catholic and mostly Latin American. It came of age in the 1970s and 80s, waxed for a while, and then waned significantly. It is no longer in fashion — in fact, it has a certain “retro” feel to it — but it is certainly not dormant.
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Posted: 22 September 2011 09:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
Total Posts:  18
Joined  2011-05-18

A thoughtful post. I’m glad to see the good bishop up and blogging more regularly. Two thoughts for now, though more could certainly come.

1. The ‘retro’ feel of liberation theology is something that has always struck me, particularly before I entered mainline circiles. Yet, I’m amazed how it is often presented at my own Divinity School (Harvard) as the most living and viable theological option for Christian thought today. Just an observation.

2. I think this quote is absolutely crucial, and I myself welcome this ‘shift’ in liberation theology, if it were true:

“I was heartened to hear our presenters use the language of “eschatological reserve.” This notion, as I understand it, and as I would be wont to interpret it generously and irenically, takes seriously the reality that ministry to and among the poor and marginalized, in addition to providing obvious tangible benefits, i[s] important semiotically—for its sign value. It is a sign to all that God has not abandoned them (whether or not he has a “preferential option” in their direction, which I think is a debatable idea), and that there will, in the eschaton, be a completely happy ending to their suffering.”

The lack of eschatology (or the vehement denial of it by some of my colleagues) is what has always struck regarding liberation theology, along with what strikes me as too great a confidence in the ability for human ‘justice’ efforts of various sorts to reach any complete fulfillment. Where’s the recognition that our efforts to often fail? Can such a theology be considered fully Christian without any ‘eschatological reserve’?

More to come, perhaps on Bp Martins’s blog.

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