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Friday, December 04, 2009

Reflections on Mestizo/A Community of the Spirit by Oscar Garcia Johnson


Garcia introduces Latino/a theology by describing it as inclusive and commuting. It commutes between cultures, geography, reason and faith. It is a fluid, postmodern, communal experience. Latino/a theology includes any item that affects latino/a life.

Chapter 1

Next Garcia talks about Latino/a theology as a practical theology. It is because this theology is located in the church. Praxis, action, context, and concreteness shapes the agenda. This theology is about speaking of God as father in an inhuman world and this is done Christopraxically as the praxis of Jesus becomes the most important paradigm in imagining a church which lives out inclusiveness, a communal self, and the appropriation of God’s promises of manana (tomorrow) as today’s realities (26). In order to do this Latino/a theologizing must look to culture as the locus theologicus in order to remain relevant to a postmodern Latino/a context.

Chapter 2

In looking at culture Garcia asserts the concepts of embodiment, relationality, and transmissibility fit into a more postmodern understanding of culture. In order to speak about God within this conception of culture a “created invisible” space is needed to serve as the basis for talking about the experience of the Spirit. Within this “created invisible” space there is room to talk about the bigger story of God and of the transformative cultural practices of the Christian community as the “created visible” culture of the Spirit. In this way the church becomes the cultural witness in a postmodern Latino/a context

Chapter 3

Pentecost and the cross are the authoring narratives of the cruciform community of the Spirit. The cross is the visible side of Pentecost and without the cross Pentecost becomes an experience that is not situated in reality and community. On the other hand the cross without Pentecost locates us more in the human and detached from the Spirit. This results in a dry spirituality. Both narratives are needed in order for love, joy, and hope to be materialized as inclusion, community, and Christ-shaped transmissible practices.

Chapter 4

The Mestizo/Community of Manana is a community of justice, love, peace, and hope. The church as the community of manana becomes a social testimony to the community. Garcia suggests one way that this can be done is through community organizing. This is an ecclesial praxis that can bring authentic transformation of impoverished communities. The church is to accompany impoverished Latino/a communities as a eucharistic community, a proclamation community, and a pastoral community. These three different aspects of the Community of Manana seek to bring about inclusion of diversity, the intersection of the Jesus story with the story of the target community, and the developing processes that contribute to the healing of the city.


Latino/a theology sees the intersection of the Spirit with culture as the basis of the church as the culture of the Spirit. It is in this ecclesial construct that the Latino/a theology of the Spirit speaks to a diverse, polyphonic, heterogenous Latino experience. It also speaks to the diverse, polyphonic, and heterogenous postmodern experience as it seeks to embody love, joy, and hope in the world.

1 comment:

Curtis said...