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From the Human Eye: Liberation Theology

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Introduction                                                                                        3

Understanding Liberation Theology                                         4

Why the Poor Suffer and How they Can be Helped             6

Giving Hope to the Oppressed                                                     9

Conclusion                                                                                         10

References                                                                                         11

Introduction

            When the society is looked at from afar, it could be realized that many people would say that the world is undergoing a huge transformation from one civilization to another. It could be understood that somehow, the capacity of a society to embrace what advancement intends to give defines its capacity to survive modern living. However, if the coin is to be flipped and its other side be seen, it could be realized how farfetched global progress is. Amidst the progressive living that humans intend to embrace, there are at least 60%, a larger share of the human population (Damico, 1987, 54), who remain specifically groped by the impact of poverty and oppression.

Around the globe, the desire to be rich is common. Yet, those who are able to seek the possible ways in actually becoming rich are very few. To note, the social theory on Social Darwinism proves an ongoing phenomenon with regards rich people getting richer and poor individuals getting poorer every second of the day. Notably, the campaign towards a successfully defined commercial society has dragged the attention of the people into getting more of what the commercial industry offers (Sigmund, 1990, 56). Along with this, the capacity of a person to enjoy what the ‘world’ offers tends to become the measuring point of what successful basically means. From this point of view, people who are not able to attain what they want out of what the world offers become deprived of the so-called happiness that commercialism brings. As a result, more people strive harder and yet they attain even lesser than what they desire to accomplish (Mahan, et al, 1981, 45). What happens then imposes on the distinction of a larger gap between the rich and the poor members of the society.

It is for this particular occurrence of social division that more individuals coming from the poor sector develop conditions of depression, self-insecurities that sometimes result to suicide. The world has lost its hold on what real happiness means. People who are not able to attain and realize such happiness in themselves basically lose sense of the situation and thus become more focused on wallowing over their incapability. Poverty has become the drawing line of identifying people of being hopeless especially in realizing the real gist of living. Relatively, the approach to Christian pastoral practices could help well in redefining the society’s situation in connection to the said matter. In the discussion that follows, a focus on liberation theology shall be give attention to. Its connection with the pastoral practices that ought to be applied today shall be given light hence providing a more structured foundation on solving one of the most crucial problems of the modern society, poverty.

Understanding Liberation Theology

            “Liberation” per se means freedom. Being liberated then means being free from the controls of whatever seems to put a person down thus limiting his capacity to grow. On the other end, “theology” is noted as the study and the practice of imposing the principles of the Bible based on the belief of a supreme being noted as God. Although some might consider the idea of the existence of a real ‘God’ to be somewhat fallacious, it could be understood that at this point, the belief of a supreme being ready to care for the needs of the people is the primary source of strength that the oppressed ones need to be able to survive life.

Liberation theology is basically a sense of defining the doctrine of Christianity based on three primary goals. One, it entails to define the Christian faith based on the suffering, the struggle and the hope that could be provided to the poor. Two, it entails to analyze the ideologies that sustain the possibility of giving the poor sector of the society a hopeful idea of the future. Three, it hopes to critique the actual activities of the church that are dedicated to creating a more plausible system of community for the sake of the poor ones.

To be able to have a clearer understanding on what liberation theology is actually based on, it is important to understand what poor means. Relatively, being poor is based on the manner by which one society defines such an idea. For instance, it could be that in the western countries, ‘poor’ simply refers to those who cannot have access to the three basic needs of a person to survive, however, in underdeveloped communities of the eastern nations, poor means not being able to attain anything at all living them at the edge of the economic division in the community. Another aspect of defining the ideology behind ‘poorness’ is through the way a person interprets the said element of human living. For instance, one person may be considered poor by other individuals living around him simply because he is not able to experience the best deals in life such as travelling whenever he wants, dining out whenever he desires or even getting the latest gadgets that the market offers (Piedra, 1985, 151). Nevertheless, to that person, he may not consider himself poor at all, as he does not desire any of the things that other people consider a necessity.

Overall, poorness is based on the economic capacities of a person. The desires of the world, apart from the basic needs of living, have caused such distinction of poorness obviously evident especially in areas where market commercialism is highly appreciated. The blind recognition of the campaigns used by commercialism has driven a huge number of individuals into realizing what poorness is. Some others remain to have no other choice but to live a poor life because they were not even given any chance to save themselves from it. Jesus, the ‘leader’ of true Christianity was known for his impartial treatment of all people regardless of their economic capacities. This is the reason why he has become a source of hope both for those who have so much in their pocket and for those who almost have nothing. This is the primary aim that liberation theology aspires to establish as the foundation of modern pastoral care.

Why the Poor Suffer and How they Can be Helped

            As long as the campaign towards globalization continues to surge and the communities of human individuals around the world continue to be directly affected by it, poverty will remain as a source of social distress. The number of poor individuals would continue to rise in number, as more people would not be able to cope with the standards of living that modern commercialism offers. In this case, it is rather important that a hopeful source of strength and possible retreat be given those who are experiencing oppression due to the current culture of advancement that he world is currently defined with.

One of the most reliable sources of hope and internal strength that the society could hold on to is the reestablishment of the pastoral care approach that defines the current system that the church recognizes to be vital. Helping the poor and giving them better hope in life could only be attained if the approach of Christ be copied accordingly by the said sector of the society. What makes Christ’s approach in evangelizing more affective to the people he got acquainted with is the personal connection that Christ has made with them regardless of their position in the society. His desire in making an impact on the people he dealt with while he was on earth was a sincere source of the motivation that he needed to become more relatively able to get the appreciation of the individuals coming from different walks of life.

Accordingly, Christ has given them the chance to be liberalized from the things that seemingly limited their capacities of seeing themselves to be better. People, both young and old, rich and poor, understood what Jesus’ message was. His connection with the people became the best tool he ever had to affect their lives directly and bring them to a realization of change. Opening his heart and his ear to everyone who needed him and even going through the extra mile for the sake of helping others accordingly made it easier for Jesus to create an impact that would last for a lifetime among those whom he met with. It was his personal interest on the people’s lives, their struggles and their hopes that made him a remarkable teacher to many (Smith, 1991, 52). It was not merely the miracles he performed that amazed even the Pharisees of the church; instead, it was most likely his capacity to make a distinctive impact towards the lives of the people through his words alone made them realize what makes their approach less effective than his.

With regards the poor, Jesus regarded them to be both blessed and rich in so many ways. In his written words in Matthew 5: 3-10 where he mentions that those who are oppressed are blessed because their hardships are recognized in the heavens. Through this teaching, he gives assurance to the people that they are given attention to by the God that they trust and that he never fails to see the hardships of their heart. It was the goodness in them that he sees and he is willing to provide them what they needs so long as they keep trusting in him and serving him with full hearts.

True, through this approach, Jesus was able to get the attention of the people and thus convince them that a supreme being who is willing to serve as their father whenever they need to is protecting them. Considerably, people have been convinced that even amidst the hardness that they had to face in life, there is one person who is able to keep everything into account and would actually reward them for enduring everything else. So far, this is the primary reason why many has left their own religions and other pagan beliefs when they heard about what Jesus has to share. Pastoral care dependent on this approach of teaching and assistance would of course give the people a sense of confidence especially on the manner that they are to be protected by their church and the leaders giving attention to their needs.

Yes, more than the political protection that the government aims to give, the poor members of the society need an assurance that they are to be given specific attention to and that their situation is recognized accordingly. While the government aims to give a specific solution to the issue through promises, the church could provide a relative relief from the situation through making a distinctive change on the attitude of the people towards their life’s status.

As mentioned earlier, it could be recognized that poorness could actually be understood based on one’s assumption of their situation in connection with their understanding of contentment. Relatively, contentment on the part of an individual is most likely dependent on personal intuition. Contentment is more of a state of mind. A person who believes that he is happy with his life through being contented with what he has may not consider himself rather poor, instead blessed with all that he is able to appreciate in relation to what he has.

With the establishment of this thinking, people become more confident about themselves and thus become more prepared to face the situations with much optimism. Most often than not, pastoral care that is dependent on such assumption of contentment provides the people with ample source of hope and thus becomes convinced that they can rely on the church and the pastor to give them the moral and spiritual support they need in recognition with the status of life that they are living in. True, this proves that when one has the right attitude towards life, it would not matter so much what material things he is able to attain. Instead, what matters is that he is able to live a life to its fullest hence making it more meaningful and fruitful compared to what is expected from a person who is living a poor state of life in basis of the economic condition he is depending on.

Giving Hope to the Oppressed

            Hope is an important factor that relieves poorness. People who may seem to have less capacity to gain what they want may at some point lose hope especially when they are given no chance to exude themselves from the situation in life that they have been subjected to. Giving up on the matter, they resort to putting an end to their lives. The hopeless condition of thinking that these poor individuals realize specifically brings them into a position that makes them rather vulnerable to the thought of giving up.

The manner by which the church could alleviate the situation of the individuals who are experiencing the effects of poorness intends to manifest a great impact on how the role of the church becomes relatively affective in creating a more workable life for the people. Amidst the hardness of life, the church ought to be able to give a sense of relief that would implicate a more successful source of hope that could sustain the being of the individuals amidst the poorness that they experience.

Covering off the effects of the commercial society that they are living in, pastoral care should be able to give assurance to the people like how Christ was able to do so when he was still on earth. The hope and the happiness due to contentment that Christ was able to teach to his followers while he was on earth could be a source of model, which would allow the pastors have a great impact on the being of the people who follow their guidance. Providing hope in relation to this specific assumption of real living apart from what satisfaction material things might give could hive the poor individuals real hope apart from the supposed promises that the governments provide.

Conclusion

            Liberation theology’s idea in relation to the condition of living that the human individuals recognize today is expected to have a great impact on the living condition of people specifically stricken by the effects of poverty. The expansion of the process by which the modern approach of pastoral care is able to give attention to the needs of the people amidst their poorness gives the church the capacity to have a great impact on the development of a more positively defined society. Relatively, it is rather important to take into account that the church has a great role to play especially in alleviating the lifestyle of the poor through affecting their way of thinking. The assumption of their way of thinking in making it more positive especially in realizing the condition of their living status apart from what the society driven by materialism suggests.

Living in a better condition through assuming a more positive way of thinking would make a more positive impact of solution to the matter apart from what the governments hope to promise in relation to alleviating conditions of poverty. It is essential that the making of a more positive way of thinking be a source of better thinking approach compared to the supposed empty promises that politics offers. Overall, in this research, it was presented that liberation theology gives a more effective source of resolution to the being of the poor individuals in the modern society. The need to use Christ’s model in dealing with people, especially among the oppressed and the poor ones, is an necessary part of adjustment that pastoral care operations need to give attention to. It should be realized that the mind’s health and the thinking of a person towards his status in life better defines the being of the individuals involved in poorness and oppression.

References:

Damico, Linda H., The Anarchist Dimension of Liberation Theology (1987).

Sigmund, P.E., Liberation Theology at the Crossroads (1990).

Hillar, Marian, Liberation Theology: Religious Response to Social Problems. A Survey, published in Humanism and Social Issues. Anthology of Essays. M. Hillar and H.R. Leuchtag, eds., American Humanist Association, Houston, 1993, pp. 35–52.

Gutiérrez, Gustavo, A Theology of Liberation: History, Politics and Salvation, Orbis Books, 1988.

Gutiérrez, Gustavo. We Drink from Our Own Wells: The Spiritual Journey of a People. London: SCM Press, 1983.

Kirylo, James D. Paulo Freire: The Man from Recife. New York: Peter Lang, 2011.

Petrella, Ivan, The Future of Liberation Theology: An Argument and Manifest. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004.

Piedra, Alberto M. “Some Observations on Liberation Theology.” World Affairs Vol. 148 no 3. (Winter 1985–86) pg 151–158

Smith, Christian, The Emergence of Liberation Theology: Radical Religion and the Social Movement Theory, University of Chicago Press, 1991.

Mahan, Brian and L. Dale Richesin, The Challenge of Liberation Theology: A First World Response, 1981, Orbis Books, Maryknoll, New York.