Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Theology of the neighbor

The idea of "neighbor" occupies an extremely important place in the world and work of CitySquare.  Such has been the case since at least 1994 when we began to talk in terms of the primacy of the neighbor in determining our course of work in inner city communities in Dallas, Texas.  We didn't discover written documentation for the ideas that emerged from our relationships with "the poor" until many years later.  And, we're still finding experienced-based evidence and argument that the approach is valid and essential. 

Consider the following explanation of a "theology of the neighbor."

Our encounter with the Lord occurs in our encounter with others, especially in the encounter with those whose human features have been disfigured by oppression, despoliation, and alienation and who have "no beauty, no majesty" but are the things "from which men turn away their eyes" (Isa. 53:2-3).  These are the marginal groups, who have fashioned a true culture for themselves and whose values one must understand if one wishes to reach them.  The salvation of humanity passes through them; they are the bearers of the meaning of history and "inherit the Kingdom"  (James 2:5).  Our attitude towards them, or rather our commitment to them, will indicate whether or not we are directing our existence in conformity with the will of the Father.  This is what Christ reveals to us by identifying himself with the poor in the text of Matthew.  A theology of the neighbor, which has yet to be worked out, would have to be structured on this basis. (page 116)

A Theology of Liberation
Gustavo Gutierrez


Anonymous said...

I confess to having never read anyone closely associated with Liberation Theology first hand. However, I have found the quotes posted hear both interesting. From discriptions I've read here and elsewhere, I'm guessing there are aspects of LT with which I would disagree. But I do not understand the throwing out of the baby with the bathwater attitude of refusal to consider any merit the actual quote may have. Thanks for posting these quotes. It is useful to get different perspectives.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for the bad editing - hit enter too quickly.

Anonymous said...

Anon read the comments on th 12-26-11 blog for an answer.

Anonymous said...

Okay. There's still no answer to my question. I don't have to accept or agree with everything Freud said to know he made an enormous leap in our understanding of human nature. Just one possible example among many. Why is it not possible to consider the merit of the actual quote? Instead, the post, which is often pretty reasonable, seems to act like chum thrown in the water with sharks.