Isasi-Diaz’s Mujerista Thelogy

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I just finished Isasi-Diaz’s work of liberation theology from a Latina perspective. I found the text to be fairly solid, and I wanted to highlight some important ideas I learned from her work.

First, in her work she refers to the Kingdom of God as the Kin-dom of God. She makes this move for two reasons:

A) Kin-dom doesn’t imply the patriarchy inherent in kingdoms
B) She doesn’t believe that emphasizing the reign of God gets us out of the problem because it still implies an order that is hierarchical and elitist.

She believes an emphasis on the Kin-dom obviates these issues by stressing the daily reality of us as equal brothers and sisters in Christ. This certainly aligns with Jesus’ pronouncement in John’s Gospel that his disciples are now his friends.

Second, I really appreciated her usage of the term la lucha (the struggle) for a constructive mujerista anthropology. This emphasis on la lucha resits the temptation to “encourage a certain masochism” (132). She writes that she found Latinas ability to “deal with suffering without being determined by it” (129), encourages Latinas to resist the church’s abusive and harmful glorification of suffering. Finally, she argues that she cannot worship a God who condemns Jesus of Nazareth to suffer.

Finally, regarding mujerista hermeneutics Isasi-Diaz writes:

“For Hispanic women the palabra de Dios is not necessarily what is written in the Bible, but refers to the unflinching belief that God is with us in our daily struggles” (158).

Also, she argues that “Hispanic women’s experience and struggle for survival, not the Bible, are the source of our theology and the starting point for how we should interpret, appropriate, and use the Bible” (149).

Both of these points remind me of Cone’s argument in his early works that a God who is not completely in solidarity with the needs of the black community ought to be killed. Many white Christians often find this to be very selective and convenient approach to the Bible. We white Christians read the Bible for what it is without misconstruing it for our own ideological needs. But doesn’t the fact that so many Christians live in the world without being challenged by the demands of Christian discipleship, in fact, suggest that we too want a God that is absolutely identified with the needs of white middle-class Americans. At this point, some might say: both communities use religion for ideological purposes so how can we say which group’s hermeneutical approach is right. The obvious problem with this idea is that the God of covenant with Israel and Jesus of Nazareth was unequivocally on the side of the disempowered, the despised. So African American and mujerista theologians are completely in the right to argue that they ought to ignore or even slay a God who has not given herself to be in absolute solidarity with these respective communities.

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2 Responses to “Isasi-Diaz’s Mujerista Thelogy”

  1. Wesley Hargrove Says:

    I love that hermeneutic; we see it in Rollins’s hermeneutic as well (no doubt he got it from liberation types).

    I also like your connection to Cone’s argument about God identifying with the dis-possessed. One of my professors at Westmont posed this question: If God is to identify with those in the margins, and not those in the elite, wouldn’t that make him as exclusive as before? It’s just a move to a different part of the spectrum. If God is the God of all, then how is a mujerista/african american theology of liberation more right than an elitist white-male theology?

    Is the hope for a universal God, loving everyone just futile? Would you have to admit that God is not universal and say he is particular to a community? (These are the words I would use.)

  2. Jeremy Says:

    God’s universal love for all is demonstrated by his particular choice to be God of the Hebrews. He election of Israel is a blessing for the rest of the world. Christians are so quick to jump to the universality and fail to take seriously the utmost importance of the covenant. Remember we are engrafted onto the covenant that already existed.

    My point is that the particular God for these different communities is more faithful to the Word of God because Jesus unequivocally stands up for those with no voice.

    Also, God’s solidarity with the disempowered also heals those in power. Ideally, the oppressed can liberate themselves from bondage while also emancipating the oppressors from their enslavement to the ‘will to power’.

    I think Jesus Christ is the bridge. He gives voice to those who have none. But since he elects rejection for himself on the cross, God can give an ultimate Yes to everyone since Christ himself become a curse (Galatians). Basically, I endorse universalism (in the eschatological sense, future Kingdom), but for now God chooses to be a God who supports those without power to struggle through life and work for peace and justice.

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