Local Theologies

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  • Liberation Theologies
  • Postcolonial Theologies
  • North Atlantic (Anglo-American) Theologies

This is one of three sections. Here we are dealing with Local Theologies. Perhaps a redundant term — all theologies arise in a location, amidst a history, spoke in a vernacular, highlighting certain features and not others — but we have used problematic terms for each of our categories: Local, Global, Comparative.

I have put “Liberation Theologies” and “Postcolonial Theologies” next to “North-Atlantic [meaning dominant Western] Theologies” under the heading of Local, thus to create a conceptual parity against the European propensity for universalising their claims. The former are in contest with the claims of the latter, dealing largely with the imposition of Western values, language and force on their own localities.

Location is key. Unlike much of the theology taught in Western institutions, claiming to discern universal truths, the theologies of liberation are self-aware of their bias, their choice, the options available in a society where European ideas often have little relevance. Self-consciously localised, theologies arise in the West as well to challenge the dominant narratives — it is not simple a matter of First and Third World locations: thus under Global Theologies we have located Class, Gender, Race and Environment, divisions that operate in all societies to an extent.

Postcolonialism seeks to understand the relationship between dominating and submerged narratives, voices that are acclaimed and those that are silenced. Christianity travelled extensively in the colonising projects of Europe since 1492, but in the hands of the (formerly) colonised is transformed into an anti-colonial message.

Fourth Section: My own location is Perth, Western Australia in the Oceanic South Pacific. We are neighbours with Asia. An Aboriginal land. A series of islands called Pasifika, home of Polynesian and Melanesian culture. Also a colony, and a multicultural home to many migrants. My reflections are shaped by being here.
See: Oceanic Theologies.

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[Liberation | North-Atlantic | Postcolonial]
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