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.”