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Thinking About Liberation Theology

7:05 AM
I began to think that my Examen should be done more meditatively rather than at the keyboard. However, I think a lot better, more focused when I am writing. I don’t think God minds as long as I am searching out his voice.

After the pen episode yesterday, nothing much happened. Two things stood out, however. First, I had lunch with a new friend. I met him by accident, sort of. Another friend and I were having lunch a couple of weeks ago and talking about building the retreat. When, my new friend came up and introduced himself to us and told us a little about himself. This guy really loves God. Of course, I can understand why! It reminds me of the time when Jesus told the preacher, those who have been forgiven much, love much. The reason we met yesterday was that I wanted to get some ideas from his experiences on how the retreat could best be organized to serve. Not only did he give me some great ideas but he had made some music CDs that he gave me. Although I’m not a fan of Christian rock music (I’m more of a Taize kind of guy), the very idea that his first act toward me was giving really struck me.

Then, last night, I was studying for my History of Theology class. We’re studying Liberation Theology. Whew, heavy stuff! It reminds me of the sermons I used to hear as a kid in the rural churches – except with a punch. As I thought about the passages below, I began to think with a little different twist. Although I know that God may place the poor and marginalized in a priority position because they cry out the loudest, too many times we forget about the more affluent and those with authority.

I have never been in a position where I went to bed hungry and I always had a bed to sleep in but I was crying out to the Lord. The problem was, I didn’t realize it. Let me tell you, it’s tough to keep up with the Joneses! To make sure you’re accepted. You have to constantly fight for the buck. Sometimes you have to justify your actions when you do something that you know is morally wrong. To be able to accumulate wealth, you have to be willing to keep wages as low as possible, even ship jobs overseas, or even hire immigrants who, working for peanuts, still have a better lifestyle than what they had. But, After all, accumulation is necessary. If we can’t accumulate, we can’t impress the crowd. We want to hang with the in-crowd and to do that we have to send our kids to the right schools, drive the right car, wear the right clothes, have the beach house, and be able to join or at least go to the right places. It is tough to be upwardly mobile! I believe that most of us who relate to this scenario and are held captive by it are screaming inside knowing that there has to be a better way. The problem is that, if you’re like me, before we do anything about it, God has to give us the grace of cutting our legs out from under us. We have to experience suffering so that we cry out to God yelling, “Where are you, God?” That’s when we get his attention.

But the LORD said, “I have witnessed the affliction of my people in Egypt and have heard their cry of complaint against their slave drivers, so I know well what they are suffering. Therefore I have come down to rescue them from the hands of the Egyptians and lead them out of that land into a good and spacious land. Exodus 3:7-8

The four verbs here are powerful! He sees, He hears, He knows, He comes down to rescue. What a present God! Elizabeth Johnson reminds us that the word know is the same Hebrew word that’s used when Adam knew Eve. It is a very, very intimate knowledge. God is there, he’s just waiting to hear our cries of woe.

Once we’ve suffered and been rescued by God we can then apply the teachings of Jeremiah:
Thus says the LORD: Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, nor the strong man glory in his strength, nor the rich man glory in his riches; But rather, let him who glories, glory in this, that in his prudence he knows me, Knows that I, the LORD, bring about kindness, justice and uprightness on the earth; For with such am I pleased, says the LORD. Jeremiah: 9:22-23

I think God can bring about kindness, justice, and uprightness on earth without any help from me. But, I also think it is by his grace that he lets me share in the joy of being used for building his kingdom on earth. He lets me find true happiness.

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Written by John Hannah

November 12, 2010 at 9:24 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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