Reviews - What do customers think about Caminemos Con Jesus: Toward a Hispanic/Latino Theology of Accompaniment?
A liberating view... Jun 1, 2003
In his book `Caminemos con Jesus: Toward a Hispanic/Latino Theology of Accompaniment', Roberto S. Goizueta challenges prevailing notions of theology even in the more liberal wing of the academy. Much of modern Western theology is devised by people of different creeds and colours, but primarily using Western ideology and culture as a point from which to start. In basing his theology on Hispanic/Latino culture, a growing but still far-from-dominant culture in political, social and academic terms, Goizueta invites the reader to look at theology from an underside of powerlessness, oppression and neglect. This can have long range impact on the future of the church and society in the West, and in particular North America, as the Hispanic/Latino community continues to grow in numbers, in strength and in an insistence on being heard.
Perhaps the key question Goizueta asks is this: `How can Hispanics articulate their own theology, rooted in their own experience?' Being a member of this community, Goizueta attempts what he admits is one man's attempt at devising such a theology. Beginning with the popular Catholicism that permeates much of Hispanic culture, Goizueta looks in a somewhat systematic way the various theological issues that arise: how to look at God, Jesus, Mary, the human person, human action and events, theological processes themselves, and finally what many liberation theologians focus upon, God's preferential option for the poor.
Aliens In his chapter `Learning to Walk in an Alien Land', Goizueta looks at social location, a sociological term that essentially means 'context'. Goizueta looks at the in-between status of Hispanics in America, and draws on some of his own experience and biographical information to highlight the linguistic and analytical problems of doing an Hispanic theology.
Caminemos con Jesus In the next chapter on `US Hispanic Popular Catholicism', Goizueta looks specifically at ritual aspects of Catholicism as practiced by the Hispanic community in North America today. With special emphasis on Holy Week and devotionals to Our Lady of Guadalupe, Goizueta shows the special regard that Hispanics have for certain aspects, and where some of the meanings can be diffferent from mainstream, non-Hispanic Catholicism. Like many Christians, the Hispanic view of the Holy Week and the Our Lady celebrations on December 12 are not mere re-enactments, but are part of the ongoing life of the miracles of God. This sets a strong stage of the idea of accompaniment.
Nosotros In this chapter on `The Community as the Birthplace of the Self', Goizueta develops a unique view of the self from a US Hispanic perspective. The human person here is highly relational, intrinsically communal, and thus somewhat at odds with prevailing notions of individuality. Drawing on images and stories set out in the first two chapters (which is a trend that Goizueta will continue in future chapters), this sense of self is intensely personal while remaining general enough to be useful for other to draw insight from.
Beauty or Justice? In this chapter, Goizueta looks at `The Aesthetic Character of Human Action'. Developing definitions of praxis, liberation praxis, and the idea of praxis as aesthetics, Goizueta builds an argument for empirical analysis coupled with traditional sensibilities in the US Hispanic community. He goes on in the next chapter to develop these ideas.
Beauty and Justice What a difference one word can make! In this chapter, Goizueta considers `Popular Catholicism as Human Action'. Looking at Western models such as Aristotle, Marx, other Latin American theologians, and drawing heavily upon Jose Vasconcelos, Goizueta sets out a notion of human action that is meaningful and beautiful in a more philosophical sense -- that which is good and just for the community. The importance of ethical relationships on all levels of the socio-politico-economic spectrum to enhance the overall worshipfulness and spirit of the community is a key idea here.
Being Reasonable In this section, Goizueta looks at the high end of theology, examining `Modernity, Postmodernity, and the US Hispanic Theologian'. One surprising aspect of this chapter is that Goizueta argues against traditional North American pluralistic attitudes, in theology and in other fields. Goizueta fears for the integrity of his theological enterprise, in that it will not be given the relevance or importance it should have.
`In North American pluralism, however, such an option can only be one among other equally valid options. That is precisely how US Hispanic theology will be treated: as one among many equally valid and 'enriching' options.'
This is surprising, though it shouldn't be. Not all ideas are equally valid for anyone. Goizueta makes an important point here, worth hearing on many levels.
Hacia Una Teologia de Acompanamiento In this final chapter, `The Preferential Option for the Poor and the Proper Place of Theology', Goizueta finally puts forward his ideas of the theology of accompaniment referenced in the title of the text. Goizueta argues strongly for this preferential option, being a natural outgrowth of the connection between his ideas of organic anthropology and prevailing conditions and cultures in Latin America which US Hispanics carry with them. The idea of accompaniment has many implications, including a recognition of the value of human beings regardless of gender (not always a given among Catholic US Hispanics) as well as a recognition of the importance of theological themes all through life: in the home, in the workplace, in the social arena.
It is our task, regardless of our starting point, to walk with, or accompany, these people. To walk with the poor does not simply mean a geographic relocation. It means becoming intensely aware of their conditions -- body, mind, spirit, hope, future -- and how these things differ from mainstream Western culture. It also has a call to the development of interior life, as a means of strengthening the identity of those from whom culture often robs or ignores.
A must-read for non-Hispanics Oct 1, 2001
Goizueta's work is simply fantastic. Steeped in philosophy, theology and the context of US Hispanic culture, Goizueta thoroughly articulates a US Hispanic theology that takes seriously the unique cultural and social location of US Hispanics. Furthermore, he shows the relationship between Latin American liberation theology and US Hispanic theology. Importantly, he offers a much needed corrective to the Latin American understanding of praxis through his emphasis on the aesthetic character of human action. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in contemporary theology, US Hispanic theology and religion, liberation theology or religion and culture.
A Particular Theology with Universal Implications Apr 25, 2000
In this excellent volume on Hispanic theology, Roberto Goizueta shares with a universal audience the power and insights that originate in the Latino and Latina community in the United States. I have a great appreciation for his approach and read the book while taking a course under his tutelage at Boston College.
For me, the most powerful insight of the Hispanic approach is its emphasis on community--a reality which our postmodern culture would do well to rediscover! As much as we prefer to think of ourselves as self-determined individualists, the reality is that much of who were are is given at birth. We come from a particular culture and ethnic group and we are products of the communities in which we are raised. Given this viewpoint, Hispanic theology argues for "the intrinsically relational character of the person" and this insight offers profound repercussions for how we must relate to the poor and the marginalized (page 182).
Goizueta does not argue for determinism, but for appreciation of the role which our communities play in offering meaning and shape to our lives. In giving us this insight, he crafts a theology which is imminently pastoral in its approach and which allows us to accompany the Hispanic community as it understands itself to be "walking with Jesus."
At the cutting edge of Latino-Hispanic theology. Aug 10, 1999
Adopting in practice the ancient adage: lex orandi, lex credendi (the way we pray is the the way we believe) Goizueta takes the heart of Hispanic religious expression and shows how it brings us to the heart of theology, a truly existential Christology with powerful insights on the meaning of Christian community. This study will enrich the theological insight of any Western theologian and could offer a significant bridge with the developing Christian theologies of Asia.