success stories

Posted April 4, 2003

Washington Theological Consortium
EcuNotes #14 (September 2002)

THE TIES THAT BIND; AFRICAN AMERICAN AND HISPANIC AMERICAN/LATINO/A THEOLOGIES IN DIALOGUE. Edited by Anthony B. Pinn and Benjamin Valentin. New York/London: Continuum, 2001.

Although both African American and Hispanic/Latino/a theologies emerged in the wake of the civil rights movement and the Chicano awakening in the 1960s, their similarity in struggles did not produce significant theological dialogue. The dozen essays and responses in the present volume represent a major effort at fostering that long?over?due discussion. Six pairs of theological conversation-partners from various Christian denominations reflected on a half?dozen topics that show some basic commonalities (e.g., discrimination, social-political-economic marginalization, commitment to struggle, emphasis on the local religious community, family-oriented values, etc.) as well as some important differences (e.g. African American Christianity is predominantly Protestant, while Hispanics/Latinos/as have a Catholic background). This volume is an excellent example of much needed cross?cultural ecumenical dialogue as well as a text suitable for courses in contextual theology.

CHANGING TIDES: LATIN AMERICA AND WORLD MISSION TODAY. By Samuel Escobar. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2002.

This book first discusses "the changing face of Christian World Mission today" and then examines "Mission in Latin America" and finds that for Roman Catholics, mission has often been directed to establishing the Church, while for Protestants, mission has usually focused on personal conversion. Escobar finds that Latin American Evangelicalism and Pentecostalism are rooted in various Pietistic and Holiness movements, while Roman Catholic re?evangelization has been prompted by the Second Vatican Council and CELAM (Latin American Episcopal Conference). Although there is some commonality in Protestant and Catholic missionary methods, even some imitation, ecumenical dialogue in Latin America has been minimal to date. This volume, a combination of historical narrative, biblical reflections and theological analyses coupled with the author's impressive familiarity with missiological trends, provides many thought?provoking challenges for both missiologists and ecumenists.

David Maldonado Jr., CROSSING GUADALUPE STREET: GROWING UP HISPANIC AND PROTESTANT. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2001.

In this nostalgic but very engaging narrative, Maldonado, president of Iliff School of Theology in Denver, shares his experience of growing up in Seguin, Texas, in the 1940s and 1950s, when the town was segregated three-ways among Euroamericans, African Americans and Mexican Americans. Maldonado experienced a double marginalization: as a Latino in an Anglo world and as a Protestant in a Catholic barrio. "Crossing Guadalupe street" is Maldonado's metaphor for recalling and honoring this dual legacy which became "the foundation of my ethnic and religious identity." Yet, if the animosity between Católicos and Protestantes that characterized the religious atmosphere of that pre-ecumenical era has largely been dispelled by the good will emerging after the Second Vatican Council, ecumenism -- especially Hispanic ecumenism -- still has a wide street to cross.

EcuFact: Although the June 2002 issue of AUBURN STUDIES: "In Whose Hands: A Study of Theological School Trustees" will primarily interest administrators, there is a notable ecufact: "One third of those living in the U.S. will switch denominations or religious traditions in their lifetime, and two-thirds of Protestants will do so" (13). AUBURN STUDIES is available on line: www.auburnsem.org.

John Radano, "John Paul II and a Common Date for Easter," Ecumenical Trends 31/5 (May 2002) discusses both a 1975-proposal for observing Easter on a fixed Sunday in April and a 1997-proposal for a moveable yet commonly accepted date that would follow the Nicene norm of observing Easter on the Sunday following the first vernal full moon as calculated using modern astronomical methods and data.

William G. Rusch, "An Ecumenist Looks at Two Centuries," Ecumenical Trends 31/6 (June 2002) provides an interesting status-report on the ecumenical movement that emphasizes both the contributions by and the challenges facing the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

In Ecumenical Trends 31/7 (July-August 2002), there is a discussion of "The Church's Relationship to Salvation" from Orthodox (Helen Theodoropoulos) and Presbyterian (Robert A. Cathey) perspectives with a Roman Catholic response (Thomas Baima).