Thursday, July 1, 2010

Liberation Theology

I've always had an interest in Liberation Theology. To me, Liberation theology is compassion for the poor, but even more than that. It's speaking out for justice. It's speaking out that the poor are not oppressed in cruelty but treated with dignity and respect, the honor bestowed upon every child of God. This theology is biblically profound. Amos will shake you to your core. Not to mention the angle of the gospel according to Luke/Acts. For more information on Liberation Theology, click here.

On Good Friday this year, NPR's program Latino USA broadcasted an interview marking the 30 anniversary of the death of Oscar Romero, and the current state of liberation theology in light of Romero's death. The people interviewed were theologian Ernesto Valiente of Boston College, and associate editor of Sojourners Magazine Rose Marie Berger. Here are some links: hereand the actual interview: here (Cut and paste, or just simply click the "here" next to the links.)

The interview is relatively short and eye opening. One of the things that most struck me in the interview is this question, in the midst of the horrors and violence the poor experience, how can we tell the poor that God loves them. In the interview, it's quoted that the wrestling out of this question, and responding to it, is the root definition of Liberation Theology. I asked my theology professor that same question, plus if Liberation Theology was alive and well here in the States. This is what he said, "Hi Laurel-Good questions. Yes, liberation theology is alive and well in the U.S.--movements in Black and Hispanic theology, in particular, keep the spirit of liberation theology alive in this country. On the second question, I think one of the things that liberation theology teaches us is that it's not the job of the "privileged" to tell the poor that God loves them; rather, the poor actually experience the love of God in the midst of the struggle against oppression. And that is a presence that speaks more powerfully than any words proclaimed to the poor from "on high." I'm not saying, of course, that we shouldn't tell anyone that God loves them; rather, we discover God's love in the midst of life, in the midst of struggle."

For me, the key is loving the poor (meaning not doing things for them but being in relationship with them, and standing next to them [even figuratively] so they are not alone) in the midst of the struggle. I watched the movie version of Oscar Romero's life last night. The depiction was disturbing, and very hard to watch, yet deeply moving. After the movie was over, all I could think about was saying the Lord's Prayer.

Sojourners magazine is a publication that combines faith, politics and culture. Kind of some interesting perspectives. Click here for the link.


C. Beth said...

I like that one focus is not the "privileged" telling the "poor" of God's love, as if we who are privileged must patronize those who aren't. Our relationships should be based on love, not pity.

Laurel said...

Listen to the interview Beth, It's incredible. Also, my friend Mike is leading a conversion at Journey tonight on Social Injustice. It starts at 7 at the Warehouse.

Laurel said...

oops...that should Social Justice, not Injustice...