Marginality: The Key to Multicultural Theology

Marginality: The Key to Multicultural Theology

Marginality: The Key to Multicultural Theology

Marginality: The Key to Multicultural Theology


To transcend or to live in-beyond does not mean to be free of the two different worlds in which one exists but to live in both of them without being bound by either of them.

- Jung Young Lee

In this work Jung Young Lee proposes a framework that justifies and undergirds development of contextual theologies without becoming itself dominating. Lee aims to address the dilemmas of contextual theology not by moving one or another group from the margin to the center, but by redefining marginality itself as central. Marginality, he contends, is not only the experience of being outside the dominant group or in-between groups, but also "in-beyond"- a holistic, process-oriented definition that highlights the catalytic, transformative potential of living at the creative nexus of worlds. Lee's insight into marginality leads him directly into a new model for contextual theologies that focuses not on historical experience but on creative potential. His chapters work out concretely what such a notion can mean culturally, methodologically, and doctrinally to a movement that professes to follow the very paradigm of creative marginality, Jesus Christ.


We live in a pluralistic society where different cultural and ethnic groups must coexist. In North America the demographic picture of ethnic minorities has changed drastically in recent years. The minority population in North America is growing at a faster rate than the population as a whole. Ethnic minorities will occupy one-third of the total American population by the year 2000, and “by the end of the next century there will be a new majority population in America—a majority of minorities.” Marvin Cetron, a futurist and author of American Renaissance: Our Life at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century, predicts an increasingly multicultural society, in which minorities will make up the majority by the year 2030. This new mosaic society, with its cultural and racial pluralism, demands a radically new approach to doing theology. Concentrating on liberation from economic and political injustice alone, for example, is not a sufficient theological task. The roots of oppression are not only in class and gender struggle but in racial and cultural misunderstanding in a pluralistic society. I propose in this book a new theology based on marginality, which serves not only as a hermeneutical paradigm but as a key to the substance of the Christian faith.

A theology of marginality is an alternative to a centralist approach to theology. A marginal approach is an inevitable outcome of the marginal context, while a centralist approach is based on the context of centrality. The latter does not replace the former. They are not competitive, because their approaches are different. Theological critiques and arguments presented analytically are inappropriate, because a theology of marginality is not based on the norm of centralist theology. Since a theology of marginality has its norm to validate itself, I refrain from citing . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.