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Capitalism and Christianity. Making a match?

In what part it matches? How to make it match?

If the capitalism is based on the appropriation and privatization of the economy-factors of production, land, capital, technology; and if its profit is based on the exploitation of labor traded it by a salary; and the owners of the meaning factors of production enriched its wealthy fortune by the plus-value produced by the workers; if while the workers produces wealth and is alienated from it and still poor forever; if the disparity of the distribution of wealth produces social- gaps between rich and poor in a constant growing process, creating cascades of social injustices that affect mainly to vulnerable sectors of societies; where or how we can match those perse antagonistic concepts?

On the contrary, Christianity was founded on the ideal that God’s kingdom, the kingdom of justice of Jesus of Nazareth is already at our hands to defy all injustices, slavery, exploitation, humiliations, marginalization, oppression and exclusion of poor, women, children, terminal-ill people, elders, queer, and all of those who are ignored by any economy and political structures.

It is reasonable that there is not perfect justice in any model of an economy system, but everyone is constantly in a process to engage justice for everybody, with especial emphasis in favor of the poor by the prophetic action of the church. That dialectical process results from the prophetic action of Christianity who is permanently judging, denouncing, demanding, facilitating, advising, promoting and celebrating all signal of justice in capitalism, or in any other model, as Socialism, or Communism, which are also on the table of Christianity for a critical analisys with the ethic of justice, to provoke equelity, inclussion, with the prophetic virtue of the spirit of God present in the church-pastoral-prophetic-activism, because the demanding of justice is essential to Christianity who believe that social justice is the collective expression of love, precisely the love of God.

The entire bible was written on the ideal of justice should comes to Israel to judge the unjust system of the nation imposed by its governments in turn, and to announce the God’s will presence in the Law and Prophets. No book, no scripture talks something different, no one approves a system of exploitation or any other form of injustices. On the contrary, all prophets announce and demand justice that would come soon to establish the kingdom of God. This is the theology of liberation of the poor in any system and in any time of the human history, yesterday, today and forever in its eschatological journey until the end of the time.

It is unquestionable that economy touches all areas of social existence, and it is impossible to unlink it from politic; both are marching together in our human life parade. There is politic in everything, and in every human action politic is intrinsic and irrenunciable. Democritus stated, “The man is zoon-politicon;”  “the man is a political-animal”. In all social decision politic play the maximum role establishing the rule of the game between all the sectors of our society. Those rule could work in favor of everybody in common, or could privilege some or a specific social sector as has been occurring during the last century, making opening the gap between rich and poor, producing dominant and submitted people. In this line capitalism is not only an economy system but both together, it is the composition of the economy-political powers that reigns to imposes dominion over others; creating a model of society where few are beneficiaries and reign, while the massive of the population are poor and remains poor as the “free-army-of laborer” to sustain the hard part of the production in organized factories, which sucks out the energy, talent, soul and creativity of workers just for a salary. The cruelty in this process remains in the constant and systemic ideologization that this exploitation and alienation is the natural, normal, logic, and legal.

Maybe, is in this part where “Christianity”  could make some encounters, neither matching, when as a religion-system become to legitimatize capitalism using the scripture as an ideological support and perpetuation with premises, like “this is the way of God”, “this is the perfect plan of God,” and “there is no other better way.”

If we review the history of the church, in some way the Calvinism, based in the theological approaching of John Calvin during the post Reformation, became to design the “spirit of the capitalism” by creating a doctrine of discipline (rules of obedience) to the new system in order to abolish the old order, the feudalism, that was trying to perpetuate its hegemony in Europe hold it by the hands of the “Lords” of the land. The spirit of “discipline,” similar to submission and obedience, was the strong point of view of evangelical doctrine for “salvation,” which was spread it out by Dutch colonies to South Africa, where later became to build the “apartheid,” and the New World- slavery-system of Africans.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Protestant_Ethic_and_the_Spirit_of_Capitalism

See: Max Weber, “The Protestant Ethic, and the spirit of capitalism,” 1948; 1950.

We must discuss more about this statement by reading Max Weber book.

Today, the doctrine of prosperity has been designed to promote capitalism, while is an instrument of punishing believers for being “lack of faith”  “sinners,” “unfaithful,” for never giving enough money to “god” represented by preachers, fundamental churches, and “prophets” of the evangelical-capitalistic “gospel.” This machinery systemically pushes the mass of poor to learn, to assume, to repeat, to embody that “God” never would help them to prosper because they are disobedient and un-submitted believers; putting the whole responsibility on the unconscious soul and shoulders of the poor, stated that the system is not the problem and capitalism is the perfect plan of God.

Maybe is in above mentioned doctrines that we can push hard to make it match, but we know this theological approaching is a manipulative use of God’s will, using biblical text out of context as pretext to abuse of the innocence of believers.

During the last century the western international community experienced the most acute dominion of the capitalism in many of its different forms around this world’ side; specifically after the Second World War, together with the eruption of the imperialism, and in controversial “cold-war” opposing the arising of the “iron-curtains” of URSS. /https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capitalism.

The presence of the neo-liberalism in Latin American resulted in the derivation of a long term list of foreign intervention, coups in Latin American government, political dominion, dictatorship imposed in South and Central America, assassination of many progressive leaders, the embargo to Cuba, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica for rejecting submission to IMF, and imperial plan to establish control on those countries between 1960 and 1984, just to establish the exploitation of lands, minas, oil, cheap labor of poor, imposing rules, control, where the only one beneficiary were the Corporations, like United Fruit Co., Oil Companies Corporations, between many “free” trades that impoverished our countries and produced the emigrations of 52 million of people to USA, during the last 35 years, as never happened before in human history, and in nowhere land.

How to match injustices with the justice of God?

The Personal Becomes the Political: Queer Realities

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A theology of liberation, as shown in the work of Gustavo Gutierrez, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B007BPDIDS/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1
was born in Latin America. It emphasizes social and political analysis of oppression.  It has been crucial in my life, as I have written before on this blog.

In my experience and the experience of others, I know, however, personal experiences of oppression also matter to give insight into the structures of oppression, especially for others.  This has been true in terms of women’s oppression, and it is true in regard to the oppression of LGBT people.

One of the best human beings that I met in this world has an immense and amazing soul for inclusiveness and solidarity to everybody. He amazed me in how he is naturally with all the people, always sharing the best from him to others without any expectations in return; details that make me say constantly that that kind of generous-human is almost “extinguished” from the world surface. He is a gay.

In the beginning of my adolescence, I started to meet others young people in my neighborhood, who showed prejudice, practicing bullying to disabled people, people of color and others considered outsiders. They used to hurt others with phrases as stab-wounds, particularly to queers, mocking of them about how they walk, they talking gestures, manners, and laughing with the most “funny” grotesque jokes about homosexual men and lesbians. In a short of a period of time, I decided to stop my personal enrolment with this homophobic group of neighbors, and I departed to find another type of friends.

Since my childhood, I have always tried to locate myself in an ethical and respectful environment and meeting people who respect people, avoiding any participation in bullying, neither against homosexuals. I knew it, in my inner-being that they are human like me, and worthy of the most kindly respect as any other being on this universe. Also, I do feel that they suffer so much under bullying and marginalization just because they are gay. This reality made me feel a sense of guilt for living in a place where the systematic bulling is practiced as if is “normal and natural” conduct.

When I met my wife, mother of my four children, I discovered her soul filled with compassion for everybody, no limits. After our wedding, we came to live in an apartment located in a building totally populated by homosexuals, citizens from different countries, races, and cultures. It was there that I learned how to be even more open-minded, as a couple and individually, for accepting all human being without prejudice, but inclusiveness.

Respect and gentleness were mutual in our sincere greetings, sharing food, and conversations with our entire queer neighborhood,.

During the years I was finishing my Bachelor’s Degree at the Biblical Latin American Seminary, I started to re-interpret my own theological and pastoral convictions about humanity and relationships.  I was shocked to realize that I could not find condemnations for punishing “queer” people.  Furthermore, I discovered that the word of God reaches and approaches everybody that is being oppressed.  God’s word provides faith to those who are being persecuted or bullied.

God’s word provides liberation to everyone from the injustice tyranny that, structurally, includes homosexual’s systematic bullying, victims of homophobia and marginalization.

The systemic analysis of oppression that is at the heart of liberation theology is crucial to change the political, cultural and religious oppression under which so many groups labor.

The personal connection, however, is also crucial as it provides the bridge to solidarity across difference to help us from a large, and diverse movement to make change for justice and equality.

 

 

 

 

 

Where is the peace in Colombia? Shalom in risk on a thorny field!

Blessed are the peacemakers,

For they shall be called sons of God.

Matt. 5:9.

Peace, a word that inspires me joy, and challenge me to affirm shalom in a thorny field. As shalom, peace is the core of my theological convictions, as it is my personal horizon in our present world.

The gospels’ teaching and my experience of life in Latin American involved me, in the past and today, to pursue shalom in my personal life and mission.

The gospels show peace as a daily practice to build relations based on justice, and spiritual fulfillment; inspiring, while teaching, that present status-quo use to be based on cruelty and violence. Gospel teaches us the deep difference between the empire of pax and the reign of shalom.

Rome empire sustained his hegemony with violence; seeds of cruelty, domination and fear, oppression and slavery were sown in the midst of the “plantation” of their law & order to impose  the “Romanization” in all the world; particularly in Palestine, in time of Jesus. By involving high class, and religious leaders, violence was masked with diplomacy, imposing negotiations with “mutual” political and economic advantages, and empowering Palestinian elites with positions and privileges to perpetuate the law and order of Rome, the pax,  including its violent model of domination, the submission of the colonies; taxations to all productive activity of artisans, commerce, fishing, and farming; the repression and punishment with army and judicial powers; the presence of army bases in foreign lands; and finally, the adoration to the emperor as “kyrios” (“a god,” over any other “god” on the earth.) It touched lands, people, minds, souls. Any people’s reaction was punished with cruelty and crucifixion, la pax-Romana.

The bias of people born in that field grew up embodying the logic of violence; assuming it as a “natural” and “normal” way to be human, leaders, and governors. Christianity uses to confront this human-deformational program, were a circus, gladiators, death, and crucifixion were entertainment “culture,” and that anti-life logic was the thorny field for the gospel.

No one escape from that structural model of violence which used touched lands (eco-systems), people’s minds and souls, and social structures. It was no easy to escape healthy from that powerful structural plan of human deformation. All human relationship was mediated by violence germs. Political, military, and religious fields were impregnated with violence and derived items as are arrogance, and pride. Christianity confronts that practices as a sin.  San Augustine claimed that sin is the practice of superbia, means arrogance and pride.

A Roman citizen in politic, in the military, was a pride, an arrogant, a violent person, a superbus, a “super-being.” (If this looks familiar to someone it is no accidentally) Roman soldier means “super-being” over others that the early church actively re-processed that teaching with educating believers for shalom, and to assume ontologically the humane of Jesus Christ, the prince of shalom, the peacemaker, born again with the spirit of shalom. (John 3: 1ss; Matt. 6:)

During more than a half of century Colombians appeared they embodied the deformational power of violence structurally, and individually. Looks like violence became a business issue that enriches few groups which “industry” of kill for money, and power, and pride, but pushing peace out to perpetuate The Violence of Colombia, the great business.

Where is shalom in Colombia? Could the agreement of peace make arise and restore the spirit of peace to all the people, and strength the education of peace to build peace on the land?

My dream is to see Colombia raising the banner of integral life, building peace brick by brick, with patience, hope, and love, to prepare the field for shalom, to celebrate the jubilee in the land of Jorge Eliecer Gaitan. (Dt.  25; Matt. 5: 38-48)

Addemdum: http://elpais.com/elpais/2016/10/03/opinion/1475515757_441155.html

 

 

Domestic violence; a cultural behavior?

Confronting Domestic violence in our midst

Domestic Violence, a Cultural Behavior?

I am part of a world which cultural tendency is to legitimize the supremacy of men in society; and it is typical to see a woman under the dominion of a man, which also implied a potential violence and sexual abuse. The macho is the abuser, and woman is the victim.

Domestic violence is not  circumscribed to a specific geographical location; it is a universal issue and it is presence around the world in different levels and forms; however, in my ministry we do not excuse it as merely cultural behavior,because we see in it the presence of sin and evil destroying personas and relationship; and because the gospel confront any kind of aggression, domination, and brutality against neighbors; particularly the most vulnerable, women, children and elders.

Sometimes I have counseled women that domestic violence is wrong from a pastoral perspective, and husbands object. For example, after such counseling of the wife, a husband never came back to our church, and he once told me, “Why you teach things that make me lost power over my wife? I think you are teaching no Christian doctrine; because the bible said the women must be submitted to the husband.”

This theological approach from that husband shows how “Christian” teaching is really betrayed by culture, which tendency is to legitimate the perpetuation of machismo-culture in detriment of woman, and make admissible the cultural violence as a “natural” role of domination of men at home, work, communities, church, in politic, and economy.

Yes, there are also several atypical cases where women victimize men, and during counseling, I learned that domestic abuses are not strictly subscribed to physical body abuses; that also implied emotional, verbal, and spiritual brutalities.

There are important characteristics that pastors and other counselors need to look for.

The repertory of violence includes grotesque physical abuses, some others subtle aggressions, like attitudes, gestures to make her feel inferior in public or in private as well; also includes economy violence, and threaten with migration and deportations.

Domestic violence is a social issue and it sponsored by a permissive culture of aggression. There is a very folkloric saying in rural’ Hispanic fathers to his son the day of the wedding: “Son if you want to be the man in your house, you might hit your wife the first day of your matrimony, and she will be submitted to you forever.

Sadly this culture of aggression is sustained by spouses or partners, believing that is a normal or a natural part in any matrimony, and she would remain in silence any aggression, stating that “he punishes her because she fail all the time, and he has the right to do that”. No one would make a question about it.

Anti-domestic violence church teaching can make a difference.

A case story.

Delia was a victim of sexual and physical abuses by her husband since she was 16 years old.

She was a victim of sexual and physical abuses by her husband since she was 16 years old.

When she came to our church began to learn justice as God ethic at home development, and she stated once in public, “I didn’t know that husband aggression is not a normal way in matrimony, I thought was normal because I grew up in this way in my own home; my father used to abuse my mother and that attitude still present in their old age. My brothers used to hitting me all the time just because they are men; however, my mom never opposes it, stating, “they are your brothers and they get the right to correct you.” I was taught was normal, and for the first time I know, and affirm my suspicion that it is wrong and men had been abused at me. I believed that was normal, natural, that every couple must be living in that way.”

Resulted obvious to me that Delia was victim of a cultural behavior as well was involved in a micro-structure of sin and evil, manifested in fear and silence, as signs of oppression against herself and to her mother, vulnerable members of the family structure.

Mary Potter Engel, while is touching the feminist liberation theology, helps us to re-read the gospel from the perspective of the oppressed to make changes in a society already structured to reproduce sin and evil, particularly in domestic violence. She said that we must paid attention “to reconstruct the creation doctrines of male-female relations, marriage and family, and the mind-body relationship, to the reconciliation doctrines of grace, forgiveness and healing, …Recognizing that all doctrines need to be reworked from the perspective of the liberation of the vulnerable from sexual and domestic abuse;” which emphasis is focused in sin and evil. (Evil, Sin and Violation of the Vulnerable, pg. 154)

Women and men are valuable in scripture as images of God, sadly there is an ideological interpretation to minimize women-values before the supra-valuation of men; this is the sin, also manifest the presence of evil, because of produces structures of domination, and systemic actions of oppression, imposing wickedness to women.

It is challenging to confront the structures of sin, that triggers evil in human relations, but this is the call of God, and church must respond historically to this called in our midst and now, to face the reality, in which all human are involved reproducing the structure of sin and evil at home; using the same categories of domination and oppression to women, children, and elders, also potential victims of abuses.

A doctrine in perspective of liberation includes men and women to re-learn about the power of the grace, justice, and love to heal victims and to transform victimizer’ behavior; while helps them to learn how important are both that the scripture says that man and women as well are image of God, according to Gn. 1:26-28.

MULTPLE CASES:

 

 

A Call To Become Facilitators of Life!

Desmond Tutu’s life,84, one of the most beloved and important religious leaders in the world has been released from the Cape Town hospital. “The Archbishop has a special word of praise for the warmth and compassion of those who work in hospitals, describing them as extraordinary human beings,” said a statement issued Wednesday on behalf of the Tutu family.
http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/21/africa/desmond-tutu-released-from-hospital/

Life can sometimes be misunderstood as something distant from us, like a passive presence of things out of us, plants, animals, universe, the sun, stars, oceans, mountains, human; sometimes sounds that is something apart from us, and do not demand any responsibility from us to take care of it. That quasi-sensation that life is like an “impersonal being” is very far from reality; we are part of LIFE and it is not a passive concept.

Life is action. Certainly, this is what has made Desmond Tutu stand out as a profound spiritual leader. Desmond Mpilo Tutu, CH (born 7 October 1931) is a South African social rights activist and retired Anglican bishop who rose to worldwide fame during the 1980s as an opponent of apartheid.

He was the first black Archbishop of Cape Town and bishop of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa (now the Anglican Church of Southern Africa).
Tutu’s admirers see him as a great man who, since the demise of apartheid, has been active in the defence of human rights and uses his high profile to campaign for the oppressed. He has campaigned to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, poverty, racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984; the Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism in 1986; the Pacem in Terris Award in 1987; the Sydney Peace Prize in 1999; the Gandhi Peace Prize in 2007; and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009. He has also compiled several books of his speeches and sayings.

All living beings are immersed in a constant movement, acting, changing, improvements, evolving, transforming, and making transformations, also if we are not aware of it. Independently of us, with our desires or not, every being is n constant action of transformation. In this platform spirituality is basically connected with life as an action of transformation; spirituality means that we follow the direction of life, making possible life to others.

The gospel of the man of Nazareth illustrates my point. Jesus called us to be facilitators of life, to healed, to rescue, to support others, to give companionship and solidarity to those who are in need, or simple inclusion just because they are different of us in our diverse world (Matt. 4:17-25)
A facilitator of life is a spiritual-creative person whose goal is to provide time, love, and solidarity for the transformation of status-quo, making possible that hope, justice, and happiness embrace people by grace.

Pastor Tito Cevallos