Doing Filipino Theology

Article excerpt

Doing Filipino Theology.

Edited by Leonardo N. Mercado. Manila: Divine Word Publications, 1997. Pp. 187. Paperback $12.

Leonardo N. Mercado is one of the pioneers of Filipino theology. Since the publication of Elements of Filipino Philosophy in 1973, he has written or edited some eight volumes on Filipino theology, psychology, and spirituality. This edited book, the product of a research seminar conducted at Maryhill School of Theology in Quezon City in 1995-96, is his latest contribution.

Mercado's method has always been to start with actual Filipino practice, and the first sentence of the book reiterates his conviction that "people are the best inculturators" (preface). The "people" that Mercado and his students investigate here are eleven Filipino shamans who, despite their obvious syncretism and even distortions of Christianity, are considered prime examples of "doing Filipino theology." If these people of strong Filipino identity and deep Christian faith are taken seriously and their thought treated critically yet respectfully, the authors say, themes, attitudes, and methods of expression for a truly inculturated Filipino theology might be discerned and developed.

The book is divided into three parts. In part 1, Mercado contributes two chapters in which he first lays out his own methodological principles for inculturation and then provides an overview of Philippine shamanism. …