"Any kind of Christian theology today, even in rich and dominant countries, which does not have as its starting point the historic situation of dependence and domination of two thirds of humankind, with its 30 million dead of hunger and malnutrition, will not be able to position and concretize historically its fundamental themes. Its questions will not be the real questions. It will not touch the real person. As observed by a participant in the Buenos Aires gathering, 'theology must be rescued from its cynicism.' Certainly, in the face of the problems of today's world, many theological writings are reduced to cynicism."
- Hugo Assmann, Teología desde la praxis de la liberación, 40.
The words of this small and popular excerpt are piercing, especially for a lover of classic dogmatics like myself. I'm trying to get a head start on my reading for the Liberation Theology of Gustavo Gutiérrez class this semester and I am repeatedly reminded of the deficiencies within western academic theology. This cry is heard again and again to the point where it seems that either some ignore it or others assume that theology can only be considered as such if it begins with an attempt to bear witness to the cause of the oppressed in society.
Usually the starting point of God's transcendence is attacked and dismissed since this only perpetuates the complacency concerning injustice that has plagued Christianity. Without intending to sound callous to these worthy concerns, I remain convinced that abusus non tollit usum. And I wonder what is ultimately sacrificed precisely for the cause of the oppressed if methodological concerns including the starting point of God's ontology is abandoned and replaced with immanence. In short, I can not stop questioning if the method of immanence often employed by liberation theologians ultimately fails to achieve the end of liberation and hope that is rightfully and necessarily sought for the oppressed.