home page links quotes statistics mission statement success stories resources Lighter Side Authors! Search Page
Posted April 2, 2005

Book: Handbook of U.S. Theologies of Liberation
Editor: Miguel A. De La Torre
Chalice Press, St. Louis, MO pp. 339

An excerpt from the Jacket:

Two dozen scholars present Christian concepts from the perspective of U.S. marginalized communities, discussing the differences and similarities between these U.S. theologies and their Latin American counterparts. The handbook has two sections: thematic essays that provide a general overview of a specific theological theme, and contextual essays that focus on the specific contributions of scholars from various racial, ethnic, and gender backgrounds.

An Excerpt from the Book:

Liberation Theology’s God-talk

Theology is God-talk, but it is not God talking; it is we humans who are doing the talking. Theology is a human enterprise filled with competing claims about who God is, about who we are, and about the world of vast resources God has created — it is presumed — for human companionship, stewardship, and consumption (Gen. 1:27ff). Within the human family, there is splendid diversity of race, gender and sexual orientation. Christians are able to affirm God’s “foreseeing care” for and “guardianship” of the finite, dependent creatures we happen to be in the gift of each other, and we certainly attribute to God’s providence the gift of God’s own son, Jesus, both as a sacrifice and as an exemplar of sacrificial love. This is perhaps the reason it is consistently signified within Christian scriptural and preaching traditions that God is, that “God is love,” and that God loves us. The love of God for us is at once transcendent and immediate, spontaneous and gratuitous, and produces a response of mutual and embodied love in us.

Orthodox perspectives that begin with the Bible are akin to theistic liberation perspectives that affirm the sovereignty of God over that of putative authorities. Liberation God-talk also speaks of God as Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer; as Giver and Gift. That is, liberation God-talks speaks of love and providence of God, but it does so not only mystically and scripturally, but also historically. Liberation God-talk speaks of the ways in which humankind has experienced the gifts of God and interpreted the significance of both the giving and the given-ness. Liberation God-talk does not speak abstractly, apart from the concrete realities of people who are stratified favorably and unfavorably by the race, gender, sexual orientation, able-bodiedness, etc., with which they are endowed, and by the social class arrangements of the cultures and economies in which they live and work. Liberation God-talk from the lower tiers – the “underside” – of human history and experience attempts to demystify interpretations and arrogations of the Reality and Power in and beyond us that reify and contribute to the oppression of individuals and whole classes of people.

Black, Hispanic, womanist and feminist theologians therefore have not attempted to create logical proofs for the existence, essence, and activity of God as an object of abstract contemplation. Rather, the survival and creative self-expression of theologies of liberation conducted on the margins of U.S. society emerged out of reflection on their people’s struggles for freedom and ontological recognition as beneficiaries, agents, and interpreters of God’s love and providence in the midst of their common experience of oppression.

Table of Contents:

Part 1: Thematic Essays

1. God
JoAnne Marie Terrell

2. Christ
Carter Heyward

3. The Holy Spirit
Elizabeth Conde-Frazier

4. Trinity
Luis G. Pedraja

5. Church
Stacey M. Floyd-Thomas

6. Anthropology
Andrea Smith

7. Scripture
Miguel A. De La Torre

8. Ethics
Darryl M. Trimiew

9. Sin
Andrew Sung Park

10. Spirituality
Karen Baker-Fletcher

11. Eschatology
Luis N. Rivera-Pagan

Part 2: Contextual Theology

12. Latin American Liberation Theology
Phillip Berryman

13. African Americans
Will Coleman

14. Hispanics
Edwin David Aponte

15. Asian Americans
Seung Ai Yang

16. Black Theology
Dwight N. Hopkins

17. Latino/a Theology
Justo L. Gonzalez

18. Asian American Theology
Fumitaka Matsuoka

19. American Indian Traditions
Tink Tinker

20. Feminist Theology
Karen K. Seat

21. Lesbian and Gay Theologies
Daniel T. Spencer

22. Theology of the Poor
Deborah W. Little

23. Environmental Racism
Steven Bouma-Prediger

24. Postcolonialism and Liberation
Musa W. Dube