Triadic philosophy moves well beyond liberation theology
It has been many years since liberation theology made an appearance on the cultural horizon. I may have been among the first to publish materials that helped frame the movement. As editor of RISK at the World Council of Churches in 1966, I dedicated The Development Apocalypse to Camilo Torres who died in the same year. His strand of liberation theology was bound up with the effort to reconcile Catholicism and Marxism and, in particular, to justify armed struggle as a Christian option. I was and remain sufficiently steeped in the ethic of nonviolence that this sort of liberation theology held scant appeal for me at the time. I became even more critical as I watched the emergence of what I would call Liberation Theology Lite in subsequent decades. I found these iterations superficial. We already knew that Jesus was on the side of the angels. That he cared more for justice than being worshiped. To construct so-called liberation theologies to tell us so seemed to me a concession to the creedal messianists, AKA the church we now designate as Evangelical. We were saying we're the other folk in the room when the room was the problem.
The most recent manifestation of a slight public presence for liberation theology came with the emergence of Barack Obama. That imbroglio involved flagging what Reverend Jeremiah Wright was preaching as liberation theology. In reality he was preaching nothing new and he was operating within the creedal messianic framework. The difference between liberation and evangelical theology was cultural, political and hermeneutical - not theological or philosphical.
It was not until I followed my own instincts, and attained sufficient age that most of my colleagues had passed on, that I settled on a viable philosophy that will not come off as an insistent echo back in the sound chamber of the institutional church with little relevance to the future.
To find a genuine alternative to the intellectual heritage of organized Christianity, it is necessary to go back to the beginning. When one does, one can construct a narrative which precludes the formation of any religion, one which cleaves to values that are universal, one which understands that there is no conflict between science and religion, indeed that both are subservient to values one can infer from the texts.
There is a tension in the New Testament between the articulation of this universal reality and its truncation into the creedal messianic narrative that still holds sway. That sway will end. There will be a liberation from creedal messianism. It will spell the last gasp of organized Christianity. The triumph will be that of spirituality over religion. And in that context liberation theology will be a footnote not a leading indicator.
Frangoulis and Theodorakis are joined by musicians, including two bouzouki players, and a very large audience that is completely familiar with the words. The audience joins in at Frangoulis' prompt.
This is my very favorite Theodorakis melody. Those who know Theodorakis only for his "Zorba" music are in for a treat. When I was in Athens in 1966, for a short period of study with Constantinos Doxiadis, I knew nothing of Theodorakis. But about five years later, my friend Irene Vassos sang "Sto perigiali" to us. I have never gotten the tune out of my mind.
Later, when Irene joined our group to form a travelling company performing "New Rain", I learned to pick out a …
Stephen C. Rose (1936-) was born in New York City and raised there. He currently lives there. He was educated at Trinity, Exeter, Williams and Union Theological Seminary. He served in the Student Interracial Ministry in Nashville. He founded and edited the prize-winning Renewal Magazine in Chicago and studied with C. A. Doxiadis in Athens. His first books "The Grass Roots Church" and "Who's Killing The Church" established him as a prominent critic of American Protestantism and American religion. He was and remains a civil rights activist. He has interviewed and done in depth pieces on Saul Alinsky and Martin Luther King, Jr. He won awards for editorial courage and for two documentary films. He has written and published many songs and musical works including "We Are All Americans". During the late 90s and early 2000s he worked for UN agencies, most recently editing CHOICES Magazine at UNDP. Since 2000 he has written several books for distribution via K…