This week our study of Liberation Theology for Armchair Theologians comes to an end. It's a little sad, I know, but there's so much content in these final chapters, we will have plenty to think about in the days and weeks ahead. Some highlights from this podcast episode include: a brief discussion of the Israel-Palestine situation, Doctrine of Discovery, a critical examination of the notion of promised land, and an eclipse joke... I couldn't help myself.
The most important piece of the episode is that we ask you to share with us how this book is changing you. What has it meant for you? How has it disturbed or disrupted you? We want to know.
Until next time...
This week we get into the liberation movements in North America. In just one short chapter, Miguel introduces us to liberation movements related to feminist, African American, Hispanic, and Asian American spiritualities and theologies. It's a quick overview with a lot of content, and critique! So if you're new to liberation thought, take your time with this chapter. We had a ton of fun recording this episode so we hope y'all enjoy it!
Spoiler alert: The best part is when Ben explains "mansplaining."
Public Service Announcement: Ben has some well-deserved vacation coming up, Chrissy is prepping to preach later this month... we're going to take a brief hiatus from the weekly episodes but we look forward to returning in a week or so. We'll wrap up our conversation about Liberation Theology for Armchair Theologians when things return to normal (whatever that means). In the meantime, carry on the conversation in the comments section. I (Chrissy) will try to keep up and chime in every now and then. But don't wait for one of us to reply, engage one another in some healthy theological debate!!!
Many of us are learning the stories of Gutierrez, the Boff brothers, Segundo, Sobrino, Ellacuria, and others for the first time. This week, while we were reading their stories, I had the opportunity to sit down with Rev. Dr. Peter Wherry of Mayfield Memorial Missionary Baptist Church to listen to his first encounters with Jon Sobrino, sitting in the very room where Ellacuria and four others were murdered (story we read about in Ch. 4). The words Peter uses to describe how he felt, "their blood cried out from the ground." These words echo the Genesis text in which God says that Abel's blood cries out from the ground, after he'd been murdered by his brother, Cain.
These words haunted the Deep South Pilgrims as we traveled through rural Alabama on the Deep South Pilgrimage, knowing that the very trees we saw could have been the execution site for African Americans who were lynched in the Jim Crow era. Dr. Wherry's application of this Genesis text to both the lynching era and the beginnings of Latin American liberation thought is a powerful connection that makes me wonder, when will we ever learn? When will we bring an end to the senseless violence, oppression, and death that results from greed and insecurity?
During our conversation, Peter also engages Miguel's theology of sin and pushes back a little to the notion that liberation theology always has an orthopraxy to orthodoxy structure. AND... continuing the conversation about where liberation theology actually begins, Peter goes WAY back and finds the origins in North Carolina!
Tune in to learn more!
We promise, this time we will actually talk about chapter 2! From the School of the Americas to Vatican 2 and the Christian Base Communities, we've got a lot of content in this chapter.
Yale theologian Miroslav Volf says that Americans have a "pervasive sense of innocence" and "optimism," that we see ourselves as "good people" and therefore tend to see others as "bad people" (http://www.theworkofthepeople.com/america). While many of us do see ourselves as generally good people, I suspect we would struggle to unanimously claim that in seeing ourselves as good means that we see others as automatically bad people. However, this chapter lifts up for us how the assumption that Americans and American policy leans toward good and leans toward justice, might be blinding us a little when it comes to the real picture of what our involvement in the global economy is doing to people in other countries. What do you think? Do you agree that Americans have a pervasive sense of innocence?
Also in this chapter, we begin to see similarities between the ways that Christian Base Communities in Latin America and African American Churches in the U.S. are beginning to organize in ways that would forever change theology, the Church, and the world.
Seeing the power of faith communities to move the arc of justice makes us wonder, where and for what is the church organizing today?
Alright, we couldn't wait any longer to share some thoughts about Capitalism (and Democracy). Don't worry we don't spend the whole time there...we also break down the theology of Manifest Destiny. That's right, we're calling it a theology! Now, we know It may seem like a little excursus from the book (hence the name of this post) but we feel like it is critical to go ahead and identify some of the philosophical strands that have created this knotted-up-ball-of-yarn situation we're discovering as we begin to learn about the origins of liberation theology.
Hopefully this episode will be uncomfortable at times, hopefully it will lead you to more questions, hopefully it will stir up some healthy group conversation as we wonder together: Can capitalism and democracy co-exist?
Listen in and tell us what you think!
Wow, this was a doozy of a chapter!
From Communism to Capitalism to Colonialism... to BANANAS, this chapter would have been forbidden fodder for table conversation even if religion was never mentioned! But Miguel does not let up with hard hitting information about the politics of our past, he layers in the role of Christianity and the Church in the development of the New World. In so doing, he establishes the historical context within which liberation theology emerged in the 1960s.
This chapter sure is hard to fully comprehend, so (lucky for us) Ben likens some of what we're reading to Disney movies we may be a little more familiar with. But even Disney's interpretation(s) illumine some of the problems with how the stories of colonization are told and retold. Even still, we can't escape the philosophical and practical problems that our capitalist & colonial mindsets impose upon our theological conclusions and ethics.
Listen in as we attempt to walk through the chapter and raise some of the complexities that have emerged for us along the way...
As always, don't forget to tell us what you think! Leave your comments and questions below.
What do Beyonce, Miguel De La Torre, Chrissy and Ben all have in common? We all love FREEDOM!
This week we took a stroll down memory lane, telling the stories of the first time we came face to face (or face to book) with liberation theology. From Aristotle to Aquinas, Barth to Bonhoeffer, and finally Cone to De La Torre... at times the conversation might feel a little like a graduate level lesson in the history of theological thought. Hopefully those moments are short and slightly interesting?
In any case, let's begin with first encounters. Listen in as we talk about ours, then tell us about your own experiences. Is this book your first encounter with liberation theology? If so, how are you feeling about jumping in? Have you read liberation theology before? If so, who'd you read? What'd you think?
Last but not least, what questions do you have? What would you like to hear in the next podcast about Ch. 1, "Resistance"?
Hey friends! Welcome!
Theology Upstream is a virtual book study that incorporates podcasts (audio recordings) as well as blog and email conversations. It's a way for us to connect with one another even though our lives and schedules can be a little unruly at times.
Right now we're reading Liberation Theology for Armchair Theologians, by Miguel De La Torre (who will be live at MPBC in October 2017. Click here for more information about that). You can purchase the book at Amazon, Cokesbury, or Barnes & Noble. Copies are also available for purchase at Myers Park Baptist, email Anne for info about that.
Starting this week (July 2-8) we will post an audio recording on this blog for you to listen to as you read along with us. Scroll down to the previous blog entry for a sample on what those posts will look like. The example below is a podcast episode from the Just Mercy study we did early this spring. I used it so you could see what the audio recordings will look like and begin to play around with how to listen, etc.
For this study of Liberation Theology... we'll try to stick to one chapter at a time, but can't promise we'll be rigid about that. As we work through the book, we encourage everyone to post comments and questions here so everyone can benefit from a large group conversation. Comments on the blog might also make it into future podcasts!
Stay tuned for the first podcast coming in just a few days. Until then, happy reading!
Listen in as Chrissy and Ben begin the conversation about Bryan Stevenson's best-seller, Just Mercy.