Carmen Nanko-Fernandez, Theologizing en Espanglish.
In Our Own Voices: Latina/o Renditions of Theology. Edited by Benjamin Valentin. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2010. Pp. 197. $26.00, paper.
Philip D. Wingeier-Rayo, Where Are the Poor? A Comparison of the Ecclesial Base Communities and Pentecostalism: A Case Study in Cuernavaca, Mexico. Princeton Theological Monograph Series. Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications, 2011. Pp. 163. $20.00, paper.
Possibly the most challenging task in the ecumenical movement for the Western Hemisphere is the relationship between Protestants and Catholics in Latin America, including the increasingly important and visible U.S. Hispanic community, and between all of the historical, ecumenical churches and Pentecostal Christians. These three volumes provide important but very distinct contributions to this process. The first two present the ecumenically informed Hispanic voices, ones providing ecumenical sensitivity and more attuned to dialogue than is yet possible on the congregational, or often the family, level. The third is explicitly oriented toward analysis of Catholic Ecclesial Base Communities and Pentecostal congregations in Mexico, from an object ethnographic standpoint.
Nanko-Fernandez provides a collection of her important essays on Latino/a-Hispanic identity from a variety of angles. The leitmotif of the essays is theological reflection on the vida cotidiana/daily life this is lived by the variety of Hispanics in their Christian existence for survival, liberation, and the human struggle. The volume touches nine themes: diversity/ecclesiology, decolonial contributions to overcoming the polarities of pastoral and practical theology and systematics, ethics of representation, the image of God in the vernacular, handing on faith, the exclusivist potential of "inclusion," the complexity of "providing a place at the table," immigration, and the option for the poor and youth. This will be an important contribution for those working in pastoral theology or leadership with any community, not just Hispanic, and an important companion to more traditional theological reflection.
Valentin gives a collection of essays, Protestant and Catholic, on the classical systematic theological themes, but from a Latino/a-Hispanic perspective: God, creation, anthropology, church, and women's perspective. On the areas where there are particularly confessionally distinctive points of view, Protestant and Catholic--ecclesiology and Christology--the volume provides helpful parallel theological accounts. In the nine essays, each by a different author, the book gives both a focused set of accounts around the traditional themes and a survey of a variety of Hispanic-Latino/a approaches, making the volume especially useful as an introduction or text book in progressive, ecumenically open Hispanic theologies. It will be important for informing those who wish to pursue dialogue in the academic world and on the ground. One recognizes that the majority of Hispanic Protestants, especially Pentecostals, and Catholics are driven by popular religion and the struggles of daily life and not by theological insights, as enriching as they may be and as hopeful for ecumenical progress.
Wingeier-Rayo offers a useful, objective ethnographic study of two communities in Cuernavaca, Mexico, to illustrate the parallel and occasionally contrasting contributions of Pentecostal and Catholic Ecclesial Base Communities to the situation of the poor. While the author is objective in his data gathering and analysis, be is explicitly a sympathetic Christian, committed to the social agenda of the church, and attentive to the gifts and limitations of both of these movements. He provides more ecumenical insight and understanding of the complementary contributions of these movements than they are yet able to do of one another. The ethnographic study is preceded by background reviews of Pentecostalism and of Ecclesial Base Communities in the context of Latin American liberation theology. For anyone interested in promoting Christian reconciliation in Latin America and U.S. Hispanic communities, this will be an invaluable resource.
Jeffrey Gros, FSC, Lewis University, Romeoville, IL
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|Title Annotation:||'In Our Own Voices: Latina/o Renditions of Theology' and 'Where Are the Poor? A Comparison of the Ecclesial Base Communities and Pentecostalism: A Case Study in Cuernavaca, Mexico'|
|Publication:||Journal of Ecumenical Studies|
|Article Type:||Book review|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2012|
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