Q & R: A theology of marginalization?
Here’s the Q:
I’m wondering if you might be able to help me by recommending some resources that may be relevant to a project I’m beginning. I’m working on a project with a friend to develop a practical theology of marginalization. More specifically, we’re asking what can Christians/the church learn from people who are marginalized? How might Christians seek God in the margins? What unique gifts are waiting to be found in the margins and marginalized people? We’re also potentially interested in exploring intersections between monasticism and marginalization. For example, how might “the poor” and marginalized challenge the church to find God in the margins in a similar way that prophets or monastic movements have through history?
Do you have any resources/books you would recommend I explore that would have any relevance to these topics/questions?
Here’s the R:
This is important – there is so much important theological work being done in this area that it’s easy to know where to begin but hard to know where to stop.
I’d definitely start with one of America’s most underrated theological sages, Howard Thurman: Jesus and the Disinherited. Then I’d go to James Cone’s The Cross and the Lynching Tree, and from there, you could expand to the whole world of Black Theology.
A must: Native American theology. Don’t miss Richard Twiss’ Rescuing the Gospel from the Cowboys
Randy Woodley’s Shalom and the Community of Creation
. And keep your eyes open for an upcoming book by Mark Charles – it can’t come soon enough. In the meantime, check out his writings (and make a contribution) at his blog: wirelesshogan.com
You should immerse yourself in the work of the Latin American Liberation Theologians. My personal favorites – Leonardo Boff’s Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor, and Jon Sobrino’s Jesus the Liberator.
Of course you should explore feminist and eco-feminist theologians. You might start with Sally McFague’s Models of God.
Don’t miss Gay/Queer theologians like Dale Martin. Sex and the Single Savior is a great place to start.
Mestizo theology is another fascinating area – Arturo Banuelas edited Mestizo Theology, which is a good starting point.
One of the most important books in this regard is by the brilliant African theologian, Kwame Bediako: Theology and Identity. It may be the most brilliant work of theology I’ve ever read.