With Passion and Compassion: Third World Women Doing Theology : Reflections from the Women's Commission of the Ecumenical Association of Third World Theologians

With Passion and Compassion: Third World Women Doing Theology : Reflections from the Women's Commission of the Ecumenical Association of Third World Theologians

With Passion and Compassion: Third World Women Doing Theology : Reflections from the Women's Commission of the Ecumenical Association of Third World Theologians

With Passion and Compassion: Third World Women Doing Theology : Reflections from the Women's Commission of the Ecumenical Association of Third World Theologians

Excerpt

Those who have brought to birth this volume of essays are women from the Third World. That is what we call ourselves. The current move to introduce the term "two-thirds world" attempts to acknowledge that in geographical space, and certainly in population, those who occupy the underside of the purchasing and ruling powers in the human community constitute more than a third. As part of the Ecumenical Association of Third World Theologians (EATWOT), we maintain our stance and our name, for EATWOT's Third World seeks to present a different reality, a reality not dependent on numbers or location.

Originally a choice to stay unaligned either with the capitalist West or the socialist East, the term "Third World" has accrued to itself deep theological meaning as persons from those geographical areas marked by poverty and oppression began to theologize and to discover the underside of the industrialized and affluent North. "Third Worla" has a meaning not based on numerical strength but on quality of life. Its concern is with seeking the environment in which all human beings can live a life compatible with their status as beings in relation to God. It has virtually shed its original parameter of a divide created by politico-economic powerplays among supernations. "Third World" for EATWOT is a supra-geographic term, for even following the "money equator" that twists and turns to include Japan and Australia, there is a Third World on both sides of it—people whose humanity is being denied.

We, the women who came together in Oaxtepec, Mexico, in December of 1986 to reflect on what it means to do theology from Third World women's perspective, share this description. For most of us, doing theology in the colonizer's language is itself a sign of Third World-ness. Words carry weight, but we refuse to let semantic debate divert us from the course of our liberation. That some of the papers in this collection of essays had to go through two or more translations to arrive at the English language demonstrates our Third World diversity as well as the demand imposed on us if we wish to communicate with world powers who feel no need to learn Third World languages and cultures.

The papers presented in this volume have come from a process which began in New Delhi, India, at the first assembly of the Ecumenical Association of Third World Theologians, in 1981. The Association had assumed that by naming the structures that divide human beings, making some more powerful . . .

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