Academic journal article The Ecumenical Review

Guest Editorial

Academic journal article The Ecumenical Review

Guest Editorial

Article excerpt

   Indigenous faith is as diverse and as colourful as a
   garden full of flowers, all diverse, fragrant and beautiful,
   ready to be shared with whomever is capable of
   embracing them.

   Where are theologies gestated? How are they born and
   how do they grow?
   Do they multiply and die?

   Are their days like those of humans, or do they enjoy
   eternal life?

   Do theologies have a body and feel in their skin the
   nearness of other skins/theologies?

   Do their noses smell and do their palates enjoy?

   Do they fight the struggles for justice?

   Whose justice?

   Where are the theologies ...?!

If we start with the last question of those listed above, we could say that we are referring to "theologies" in the plural, and not to "theology" in the singular, because our starting point is the recognition that each theology is contextual. Besides, we could say that the use of the term in the singular tends to legitimize the theology that was used in the conquest of us, the indigenous peoples. From the emergence of contextual theologies in the 1980s, growth has been observed. This growth questions the occidental cultural character of theology, although not the fundamental core of the Christian message, such as the incarnation. In particular, feminist theologies, (1) indigenous theologies and the theologies of religious pluralism strongly question the occidental, androcentric and white character of "normative" theology, as well as its continual North-Atlantic (2) point of reference.

On the other hand, in the different histories of the conquest of our indigenous peoples, certain Christian theologies legitimize the violence of the conquistadores. The metaphor of the "cross and the sword" coming to the Americas exemplifies the manner in which our peoples analyzed the arrival of Christianity and its theology. The sword murdered the bodies of the indigenous people who rebelled, while the cross did the same with the souls of the survivors. The greatest known genocide of "history" probably occurred in the Americas; it continues every day throughout the world, against the so-called indigenous peoples--aboriginal, native, first or original nations. Today this takes place through state laws of cultural neo-colonialism and the consumerist logic of neo-liberal capitalism. We can say that we continue to observe and suffer theologies that affirm themselves as universal, and affirm the universality of a type of bodies and manner of being that are considered normative. To some extent, we can talk about racist theologies, which claim to be inclusive yet omit criticism.

To be affirmed as universal, theology must decontextualize and disembody itself as it expands in a hegemonic pattern, even in the name of praiseworthy human and communitarian values. Thus, theology forgets that it is a reflection on our faith in a God who is incarnate, a reflection that starts from a reality that we experiment with our real bodies, moving in the complexity of society, geography, culture, sexuality, religion, ecology, economy and specific political participation. Our theologies necessarily express the manner in which we perceive and act in the world. Therefore, theologies have and give life. They have body and take postures in the face of all that happens in the lives of real persons. Inevitably, they are present in our daily formulations, which respond to the most diverse situations: from daily meal preparation to the consecrating of bread at the Holy Dining, participating in a protest march against the price increase of bread, or against the incarceration of leaders due to criminalization of protest marches. Theologies make up part of that air sometimes fresh and sometimes corrupt, but always complex--which, every time we breathe it, configures our lives.

Even more, some theologies have so much life that they convert human beings into objects; they reify us. Theology ends up by analyzing the life of communities and their practices, then it judges. …

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