Thoughts on Reformation’s 500 and Racism

In light of the Reformation’s 500, I reflect on the thoughts of Ruben Rosario Rodriguez in his book Racism and God-Talk: A Latino/a Perspective:

The role of the contemporary theologian parallels that of the prophets of ancient Israel: both men and women arising within the faith community to

1) exhort it to remain faithful to its true identity

2) simultaneously proclaim God’s judgment upon the community’s disobedience.

In that respect, I echo the cry of Luther–reform.

We’ve come so far,

yet,

we have further to go.

Still so many –isms.

-isms that oppress.

Racism… sexism… products of cultural factors…

… history tells us that particular theological traditions are part of the cultural matrix that generates these
-isms.

… history tells us that the Christian church has perpetuated oppressive attitudes and practices.

As the Reverend MLK Jr. once said, “The most segregated hour of Christian America is eleven o’clock on Sunday morning.”

So let us consider: to what extent do deep theological commitments foster or resist oppressive worldviews?

No, Christian theology is not intrinsically racist. Nor is it intrinsically sexist.

But, Christian doctrines remain open to interpretation and can be manipulated for good…

…and often times manipulated for evil.

Contemporary theologian: are you nailing your theses, disputing oppression silently preserved in the faith community… even as you offer your exhortations? Do the commitments you encourage perpetuate and foster or do the commitments you encourage resist?

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