From Eurocentric History to
Voices from the Margins:
Liberation Theology and Ethnic
"We Drink from Our Own Wells."
— Gustavo Gutierrez
LIBERATION THEOLOGY HAS MANY, DIVERSE EXPRESSIONS, INCLUDing postcolonial, womanist, Asian American, African American, Hispanic, mujerista, feminist, and gay-lesbian, to name some of the more general categories.1 Within these larger areas, there are significant varieties of formulation. However, much liberation theology and many liberation movements, which may not have an overtly theological component, generally operate out of a social model of conflict (Marxist, neo-Marxist, or radical socialist). Additionally, liberation theology has identifying themes that are common to most of its protean expressions: solidarity with the oppressed, the raising up of the downtrodden, the humanization of social structures that deny full humanity to certain groups, the empowerment of oppressed groups to live lives of integrity, the value placed upon the experience of oppressed peoples, and the rejection of authoritarianism and hierarchy. Since feminist, womanist, and postcolonial theologies will be addressed in a following chapter, this chapter is limited to a brief discus-
1. We shall deal with feminist theology in chapter 4. For a basic introduction to Latin
American liberation theology with bibliography, see Ferm, Contemporary American TheoloU++00AD
gies. Among the classics of Latin American liberation theology are Gutiérrez, A Theology of
Liberation and We Drink from Our Own Wells; Bonino, Doing Theology in a Revolutionary
Situation; and Segundo, Liberation of Theology. For introductions to Latin American liberation
theology, see Boff and Boff, Introducing Liberation Theology; R. Brown, Gustavo Gutiérrez:
An Introduction to Liberation Theology; and McGovern, Liberation Theology and Its Critics.