Shorter Reviews and Notices -- Remembering Esperanza: A Cultural-Political Theology for North American Praxis by Mark Kline Taylor

By Gonzalez, Justo L. | Interpretation, April 1994 | Go to article overview
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Shorter Reviews and Notices -- Remembering Esperanza: A Cultural-Political Theology for North American Praxis by Mark Kline Taylor


Gonzalez, Justo L., Interpretation


REMEMBERING ESPERANZA: A CULTURAL-POLITICAL THEOLOGY FOR NORTH AMERICAN PRAXIS, by Mark Kline Taylor. Orbis Books, Maryknoll, 1990. 292 pp. $16.95 (paper). ISBN 0-88344-798-3.

Taylor seeks to produce a theology for North American praxis that does not flee from concrete existence into abstraction. To that end, he uses the name "Esperanza" as a rhetorical trope, employing it in more than one sense. At a certain level, Esperanza is a young woman whom the author knew, loved, admired, desired, and even feared when he was a young boy growing up among the Zapotec people in southern Mexico. At another level, it points to Taylor's desire that his book take into account and reflect his own biography and socio-political location--which he also calls a "dislocation." It is a reminder that he, who grew up in Mexico and who has been strongly impacted by more recent visits to Guatemala, is neither poor nor discriminated against, and thus suffers the pain of distance from those whose pain he also knows. Finally, since "Esperanza" means hope, the young Zapotec's name is also a sign that there is still hope that North American theology may have something to contribute to the vital theological dialogue of our day.

Taylor's central concern is what he calls the postmodern "trilemma" involved in the struggle to appropriate and affirm three elements that stand in irreducible tension: the need to appropriate Christian tradition, to affirm plurality, and to critique and attack domination and oppression. He is well aware that all three elements in the trilemma are crucial, and also that most often when one of these is emphasized, the others suffer. He is convinced that the solution is not to be found along the lines of a balancing act but rather of radical revisioning. As a way to understand the trilemma in contemporary North American society, Taylor discusses and critiques a number of hermeneutical theories, and then goes on to discuss the politics of domination as it is found in sexism, which he sees at the root of other forms of domination such as heterosexism, classism, and racism.

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