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Gustavo Gutierrez Liberation Theology-by Maria Grace, Ph.D.

Gustavo Gutierrez Liberation Theology-by Maria Grace, Ph.D.

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Published by maria7093
This is a paper I wrote for my class "Thinking about God", on Gustavo Gutierrez' Liberation Theology. In the end I write about an experience I had in Brazil, during the Carnival in Rio, My experience illustrates Gutierrez' theology about the ministry of the poor and the unlimited power of their faith.
This is a paper I wrote for my class "Thinking about God", on Gustavo Gutierrez' Liberation Theology. In the end I write about an experience I had in Brazil, during the Carnival in Rio, My experience illustrates Gutierrez' theology about the ministry of the poor and the unlimited power of their faith.

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Published by: maria7093 on Jan 04, 2010
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07/13/2013

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Maria Grace, Ph.D.
1 of 6
Paper on Gustavo Gutierrez
ʼ
s “The Density of the Present”Class: Thinking about God
“For me, to do theology is to write a love letter to the God in whom I believe, to the people to whom I belong, and to the Church of which I am a part. It is a love that recognizes perplexisty, even disgust, but that above all brings deep joy.” 
How a fundamental interrelation of these four primary theological elements--God,people, church, and joy--structures Gutierrez
ʼ
s theology?
“The poor are a crucified people.” 
Gustavo GutierrezThe Theology of Gustavo Gutierrez has deep roots in its birth continent, LatinAmerica, In order to understand Liberation Theology, one must be aligned with povertyas the embodiment of God
ʼ
s suffering, and with the poor as mystics living their hope forcommunion with a loving God, amid profound suffering in an unjust and sinful world.Gutierrez sees in the poor the crucified Jesus incarnate. They are the body of God, theflesh that God
ʼ
s Word took, once planted in Latin America by the Europeanmissionaries. Seen in this light, the poor are not the theme (i.e., the object) oftheological discourse, but the agents (i.e., the subject) of their living theology. Thistheology can and has much to give to the global Christian church.For Gutierrez, the poor are actors in God
ʼ
s history, claiming their theologicalvoice, embodying and proclaiming the Gospel to the universal church. For this reason,he stresses the importance of “listening” to them. He presents “listening” as the first stepin engaging the poor as the agents of their theology. He urges the global church to listento the sufferings, hopes, and struggles of the poor in order to learn how the poor
live-- 
not
theorize about 
--their ardent faith in a loving God. Indeed, the poor of Latin Americatranslate their faith not through Western European mental categories. Their faith does
 
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not appear as an effort to understand certain experiences in the light of a text, but it istranslated into active involvement, hope expressed into a particular attitude to life.Gutierres defines theology as a communal enterprise, an ecclesial function. Heattributes to the word “church” its original, Greek meaning, (“ekklesia”, i.e., the peoplecalled out for a common purpose) to describe a Christian community called out to bringthe Gospel to the world. As such, the church exists in the communities of the poor asbringing the Gospel to the world through their practiced faith. Gutierrez stresses that, inorder to do theology, one must be aligned in solidarity with the ecclesial community ofthe poor. Solidarity with the poor is a prerequisite of a committed theology and anecessary condition for the creation of a serious, scientific, responsible theology.The theologian who creates solidarity with the poor must understand povertyalong three dimensions: (a) material, resulting from sin that has created socialstructures, which exclude the poor from participation in the benefits of creation; (b)spiritual, expressed as the childlike trust of the poor in God
ʼ
s preferential love for them,and (c) voluntary, as solidarity with the poor that expresses protest against theirsituation and is also a condition of credibility for the evangelizing task.If theology is “faith seeking understanding”, then theology must be understoodwithin the framework of faith. Responsible theology starts in prayerful silence, in thepresence of God
ʼ
s mysterium. Prophetic language sees Christ as the link between thedisinherited and the kingdom. Gutierrez sees this theology sprouting in popular sectorsof Latin American and other continents, from the experience of innocent suffering.
 
Maria Grace, Ph.D.
3 of 6
According to Gutierrez, a theology seeking to become a hermeneutic of the hopeof the poor in the God of life is not interested in forging sociopolitical programs for thepoor. He is not interested in a theology of social analysis based on human compassion,but in a theology that has its real roots in the experience of God
ʼ
s gratuitous love andfaith in the God of life who rejects the unjust and early death--which is what povertymeans. This is a theocentric notion that affords Liberation theology the role of helpingbelievers to be understood and accepted by the world of the Lord. In this light, God isthe ultimate judge, not the people. This theology proclaims integral liberation, that is aliberation of the whole person, not simply the oppressive social structures. In this light,Liberation Theology denies the influence of Marxism and anchors itself in the faith ofJesus incarnated as the poor.Liberation theology serves not the Universal but the Particular Gospel. It seeks alanguage about God that is anchored in a particular cultural context, within which itnarrates the experience of Jesus and of those who accepted his witness. This is the“inculturated” Gospel, the Gospel as seen through the mental categories of the peoplewho received it within their inherent sociocultural context. The inculturation of theGospel accepts and allows religious pluralism under one faith. There is one God, oneWord, one baptism, but different creatures. The Word is given by God in order to beunderstood and interpreted through different categories.Liberation theology celebrates the poor as modern mystics, for whom theexperience of oppression has turned out to be fruitful ground for the mystical dimensionof Christian life. In a world that has denied them access to the goods of creation, the

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