Economic theology, or the place where economics and theology collide, is a favorite topic of mine. It is sometimes cumbersome, as it is an odd mix of subjects. This is an essay from 2005 that seems like it fits the times in so many ways. I may edit it as time permits, but offer it up for your thoughts.

A  five part series on the relationship of colonialism and globalization, and the prospects that Liberation Theology holds for remedy.

Part 1 – GLOBALIZATION – THE THREAT     The theological imperative to dominate is still alive and well. In the U.S.’s most recent war, the President has claimed a divine right to assert its power and protect its interests against the “Evil Empire”.”

Part 2 – THE ECONOMICS OF OPPRESSION     “Success in neutralizing economic power would require a global physical insurrection … or a global revolution of thought that could change the praxis of the dominant culture(s) in very significant ways. In an age of globalization, accomplishing the latter would seem plausible but, when considering that the enemy is the privilege still experienced by the people that make up the dominant cultures, how do you get people to give up their claim to material and political supremacy?”

Part 3 – USING THEOLOGY TO PROSPER     “U.S. liberal or ethnic churches have not divested themselves adequately of the trappings of dominant white, male, Eurocentric, entitlement theology. The U.S. theology of entitlement is generated top-down. Hierarchical leadership structures are obvious in virtually all church and denominational structures – so much so that the majority of people who are central in terms of politics or theology show common traits – silence, apathy and inaction.”

Part 4 – THE UNDEVELOPMENT OF THE DEVELOPED WORLD     “In the face of deteriorating, but still widespread, comfort and security, as well as possession of a ‘personal God’, the dominant cultures’ populations need to recognize their own risks from globalization. “There, but for the grace of God, go I”, may take on new meaning as “First World” populations risk succumbing to the effects of globalized business..”

Part 5 – A LIBERATION THEOLOGY FOR THE “FIRST WORLD”     “The mainline church in the “First World” is in crisis and is trying desperately to re-imagine and re-invent itself to be restored to its former glory – using the same theologies and the same techniques and the same blurred vision from the same dominant cultural precepts that created the problem. Subjugated peoples the world over are trying to re-emerge and resurrect themselves from dehumanization, by faithfully, imaginatively and courageously reclaiming and contextualizing the biblical witness into a new praxis, absent the same patterns that have bound the “First World” church in chains. Is resurrection possible? Our faith demands it – and, it depends on it. The dialogue between these two extremes is waiting – waiting for the opportunity to bring freedom to God’s people. The “2/3 World” theologians are prepared and seated at the table – ready to teach and to learn. The context is established. Global vision is here. Dialogue, however, takes two participants – both willing to listen with ears eagerly pricked to learn – both willing to speak from the place of God’s abundant love. As yet, the second chair is empty.”

1 Response to “Liberation Theology and Globalization”

  1. 1 marissa bennett
    October 26, 2009 at 10:44 PM

    Rev. Little,

    What can I say you blow my mind. Thrilled I came across your site tonight.

    I am doing some research for a Christian ethics class, trying to wrangle down a topic for a paper. I’ve been circling around Liberation Theology as a call to arms for Christian action in the face of the dehumanizing effects of capitalism and globalization—in 10-12 pages no less:)

    Needless to say your articles are right up my alley.

    I have often thought it would take a profound change in the hearts of the American people to wrangle in the beast that is unbridled capitalism. By using the power of the vote and our purchasing dollars we could force the conversation that needs to take place on the political arena. We could question legitimacy of a system that gives corporations more rights than human beings. Could question the intelligence of following the present path of endless consumerism.

    Up to date I have been taking refuge in the urban liberal camp and since reading the Liberationist theologians think I may have found some fellow compatriots there as well. Its pretty thought provoking stuff. I particularly dig your insight that dominant cultures, saturated by dominant culture-created information is in no position to ‘judge the value’ of the worlds progress. I personally know how hard it is to rummage through mountain of mass media garbage to dig out a nugget of truth. How hard it is to not let it into my head, my eyes, my ears.

    I am currently getting my master’s in Teaching English as a Second Language and am coming up against the oppression of dominant cultural monolingual/monocultural education against immigrant children. Currently their language and culture is seen as a deficiency to be remedied as quickly as possible often leading the loss of their native language. Needless to say I am pissed and eager to get into the classroom and show these kids that their heritage is an asset, a precious part of themselves they need to nurture. Being bilingual is not an upper class privilege. I hope to help them fight the pressure to assimilate and while teaching them the language of power and their new home.

    2/3 world, love it!

    Thanks for the food for thought. You’ve got my mind reeling.

    Good night,


    PS.(I am a American, privileged, white, educated, decent-looking 30 year-old woman. A member of one of the most privileged groups on earth I suspect. For some reason I felt a need to put that out there.)

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... or, preaching from both ends


That's too bad - I'm so sorry. Oh, well, just try to make the best of it. What you'll find here is a variety of essays and ramblings to do with things theological, social, whimsical and, sometimes, all three. I don't write to get famous - trust me, I've been told how futile that would be - but to express myself. I love to communicate and browbeat - ummm, I mean dialogue - about the things I find intriguing. Since you're here, and the door's locked, why don't you stay a while. There's a page bar under the header with links to information about us - I mean me. Don't forget to tell me what you think - in a nice way, I mean.

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