Friday, March 7, 2008

Contextual Theology

Contextual theology isn't really a distinct form - in fact all theology is contextual. This is a critical realisation: the way we think about God has a lot to do with the context in which we live. Most of the time, we would like to think that it was the other way around ie. that what we believe determines the way that we live our lives. Whilst there is some truth to this, I am increasingly convinced that the greater determining factor is in fact the opposite point of view.

Only when we share our existence alongside the poor do we really begin to understand God's preferential option for them. It is primarily amongst the middle-classes of affluent Western countries that a sense of spirituality has become almost exclusively focussed on the afterlife. Why? Because when our needs have been met (and in fact are often overflowing), our expectations of divine intervention in this life become unnecessary or sometimes even frivolous (hence the phenomenon of praying for carparks or further prosperity).

How does where you live and work impact on your understanding of who God is and how God interacts with this world?

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