T.C. Moore informed me of the following quote from Justo L. González‘s Mañana : Christian Theology from a Hispanic Perspective (p. 52) because it reminded him of my recent post Rethinking how we teach ecclesial history and systematic theology. I decided it would be worth sharing here:
“The new theology, being done by those who are aware of their traditional voicelessness, is acutely aware of the manner in which the dominant is confused for the universal. North Atlantic male theology is taken to be basic, normative, universal theology, to which then women, other minorities, and people from the younger churches may add their footnotes. What is said in Manila is very relevant for the Philippines. What is said in Tübingen, Oxford, or Yale is relevant for the entire church. White theologians do general theology; black theologians do black theology. Male theologians do general theology; female theologians do theology determined by their sex. Such a notion of ‘universality’ based on the present unjust distribution of power is unacceptable to the new theology. If the nature of truth is as has been described above, both in its historical concreteness and in its connection with orthopraxis, it follows that every valid theology must acknowledge its particularity and it connection to the struggles and the vested interests in which it is involved. A theology which refuses to do this and leaps to the facile claims of universal validity will have no place in the post reformation church of the twenty-first century.”
I think this frames the problem well. Yes, theology is about God, not humanity, but we humans understand God through filters and therefore we should be careful not to confuse our understanding of God with God’s self. We should not confuse transcendent truth about God with our theology as it has been shaped by our language and our experiences as filtered through our culture, race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, educational background, et cetera. This is why the body of Christ benefits when everyone’s voice is heard.