Saturday, March 29, 2014

All theology has a context


Yesterday, Pastor Heidi hosted Mitri Raheb, Pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem. Pastor Raheb is also President of dar al-Kalima Univeristy College and President of the Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land. He is here for his new book, Faith in the Face of Empire: the Bible Through Palestinian Eyes. ( Pastor Raheb spoke of his own journey from accepting the theology he had been taught as objective and correct to understanding it as coming from  a particular northern European context. Even more, as a theology supporting an imperial view of the world, one which did not include his own people. He had come to see traditional theology as supporting a triumphalist view of Zionism over against the Palestinians.  And that to read the Bible through the eyes of his people, his own experience requires a reversal of the traditional narrative. This is a concept I am working on with my students in Newark, that all theology comes from a context. And it is our calling as theologians to work with those who are oppressed to discover within themselves the resources to become the subjects of their own history, to take their destiny in their own hands.

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