From the Editor, Dennis Rivers:
My intention is for Liberation Theology Resources
to be a place of new beginnings
as well as a record of what has gone before.
So, as this site develops I hope to include
many contemporary movements and individuals around the world
who are embodying
a spirituality of creative and courageous compassion.
Liberation theology in Latin America has inspired
forms of liberation theology around the world,
as well as liberation psychology and liberation ecology.
To be true to its incarnational themes,
“Thy will be done on Earth, as it is in heaven,”
and “love one another as I have loved you,”
liberation theologies must vary from place to place,
since the goal of liberation theology is to help people
become spiritually present to, and fully engaged with,
the moral and transformational challenges
of their specific places and times.
It is the perpetual temptation of religious thought
to congeal in a way that leaves a suffering world unchanged,
not realizing that as lived human life becomes meaningless,
all concepts of God gradually become meaningless as well.
The churches’ defense of slavery in the 1800s, for example,
discredited religion in the eyes (and hearts) of many in that century,
just as religious justifications of oppression, war and nuclear weapons
have created many crises of faith and conscience in our own time.
Liberation theology resists the tendency
to justify, bless or ignore existing social problems,
and strongly invites us to return to our prophetic vocation:
healing the world around us,
empowered beyond measure by the the God who is Love,
to tell the truth and make life new.
Viewed from this perspective,
I doubt that liberation theology will ever have a fixed form,
nor should it have one.
Its task is not to provide us with a fixed resting place,
but rather to help us continue our journeys and our creative work.
The variety of entries on this web site
reflect that searching and exploratory quality.
In the context of the United States, where I live,
I believe that liberation theology must necessarily include
a thoughtful and faithful resistance to the militarization,
of life, thought, foreign policy and national spending,
which has been a growing problem in the USA
since the end of World War II.
People as different as Republican president Dwight D. Eisenhower
and The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.,
have strongly called our attention to the fact
that the resources lavished on the military
are the resources denied to the poor.
Thus, the reliance of the USA on violence and threats of violence
and the enormity of US military spending in recent years
(approximately ONE TRILLION dollars every two years, and growing)
are serious issues for people of faith everywhere,
both because of the violence done with guns and bombs
to countless people around the world,
and because of the food, shelter, medicine and schools
denied to millions of others.
I welcome suggestions for new items
to be included in this site
as well as correspondence concerning the various themes explored here.
click here to send comments, suggestions, or requests
Dennis Rivers, 2008
About the editor:
I am a writer, teacher, publisher and peace activist now in in the San Francisco Bay area. I received my MA in interpersonal communication and human development from the Vermont College Graduate Program in 1997, after studying sociology and religious studies at UC Santa Barbara, and theology at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley.
In addition to LiberationTheology.org, I edit several large peace, ecology and communication skills web sites, including www.newconversations.net, www.nonukes.org, www.turntowardlife.org, WWW.TurnTowardLife.TV, and www.EarthLight.org. My publishing sites include Human Development Books and Karuna Books. Over the past twenty years I have taught communication skills in a variety of settings, including the Santa Barbara Community Counseling Center.
My books and essays include The Geometry of Dialogue, The Seven Challenges Workbook, Prayer Evolving, An Ecology of Devotion and, most recently, Turning Toward Life, an exploration of reverence for life as a spiritual path, an effort toward a liberation theology that includes nature. My most recent web site, addressing the human and ecological crises attendant to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, is www.SupportGenevaConventions.info, which explores the pressing need to reaffirm, extend and enforce the Geneva Conventions, a series of treaties governing the conduct of war, the treatment of prisoners of war, and the protection of civilians and wounded soldiers. The fact that ninety percent of the casualties in modern warfare are civilians calls into question all previous ideas about “just” war, as does the problem of Depleted Uranium munitions, the residues of which will poison the land of Iraq for millenia.
Among the many things that upset me in this life, I am deeply disturbed by the upward-spiralling price of books, which is moving many worthy books beyond the reach of most people on Earth, one more example of the growing gap between the rich and the poor. As my own personal protest against this trend, I have made all of my books and articles available free of charge in PDF format at www.karunabooks.net/dennis_rivers.htm. (I understand that this is only a limited step, because it only reaches those with access to computers and the Internet.) If you write books and/or articles about peace, ecology, liberation theology and/or human development, I invite you to join me in this effort to build a global public library.