Friday, December 2, 2011

A European Revival of Liberation Theology

by Ulrich Duchrow

What should Christianity be saying about global capitalism? The World Council of Churches, the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, and the Lutheran World Federation have begun a significant exploration of that question.

It's a discussion I hope you will bring into the churches of North America. The conversation doesn't have to be limited to Christianity, either. What should Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism be saying about global capitalism? It's a debate to bring into your synagogues, mosques, ashrams, and schools of theology and divinity, and into local secular communities as well, since the issues bear on the entire human race and the survival of the planet. After you develop a perspective on capitalism within your own religious group, you can then -- as a community -- share your views in the international debate now taking place. The global religious community could play an important role in challenging the growing materialism and selfishness that have characterized the growth of a global capitalist worldview.

Not surprisingly, the process of creating a joint statement has sparked a rather striking debate among Christians about how explicitly we ought to challenge global capitalism. A group of us European theologians have put forward what we believe to be a rather strong statement of a Christian perspective -- one that goes much further than many of our fellow Christians in the Northern hemisphere would choose. The perspective we articulate in "Life in Just Peace," the joint statement reprinted below, better reflects the views of many Christians in the Southern hemisphere. To speak to some of the concerns that our visionary statement commonly raises among skeptics from the global North, I have constructed a response to an imagined criticism from a North American pastor (see page 78) that channels the type of energy and analysis more common among Christians from the global South.
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