Thanks for sharing this. I browsed through A Theology of Liberation three years ago (when I was writing a chapter of my dissertation which entailed some knowledge of liberation theology), and my overall impression was "I didn't expect it to sound so orthodox." From doing a surface-level read, it could have been a papal encyclical. But as I read these passages, it seems that the orthodox language belies the radical content.
There would have been a theology of liberation even without this book; Latin American liberation theology (both ideas and practice) pre-dates this particular volume. What it did was to provide a systematic foundation and justification for a spirituality of political liberation. (This is kind of ironic, consider the passage above in which he basically says that theology should precede action rather than provide a religious justification for action.)
When I read what he has to say about secularization, I sense that he was probably influenced by Harvey Cox's The Secular City (1965), or by other secular theologians of the sixties. I was never fully convinced by the secular theologians. For one thing (and this might be a criticism of Gutierrez too), while they were trying to apply their faith to the wider world, I wonder if their guilty of only widening the distinction between the "city of God" and "city of men." I know that this wasn't there intent; I trust that there purpose was to open the door for a worldly Christianity (but not "worldly" in the sense that fundamentalist evangelicals use that term). But perhaps there's a danger that it could lead people to believe that the world of faith, rather than being integral, is of secondary importance, or even marginal importance, when compared to the world of action. In other words, do secular theologies (including liberation theology) ultimately undermine a theological or faith-based worldview?
(And I'm asking this as a sort of agnostic Christian, which may be a contradiction in itself. And as a leftist who does music at a fairly conservative evangelical Anglican church. So I'm probably not in a position to criticize anybody. I'm just raising some thoughts here.)
Anyways, it was good to read this. Perhaps one day, I'll sit down and do a careful, thorough, thoughtful read of Gutierrez from cover-to-cover.
p.s. Incidentally, Gutierrez spent an extended period of time in Montreal in the sixties, while he was forming his ideas for this book. And Montreal was a VERY activist place in the sixties, with a vibrant, cutting-edge radical left scene, inspired by anti-colonial ideology. So maybe Canada -- or at least French Canada -- can take some credit for this articulation of liberation theology.
p.p.s. I should have remembered that I have an LJ icon precisely for posts like this one.
Edited at 2013-07-24 01:34 pm (UTC)