Friday, June 4, 2010

Secular Liberation Theology

Last night I returned home. I made my favorite dinner of cheese and crackers to go with my wine--I had a HUGE lunch, so I didn't want much for dinner, but I needed something. I wanted something a bit lighter to read than the N. T. Wright book (After You Believe)I've been making my way through. But I've let most of my magazine subscriptions die.

So, I wandered through my bookshelves. For a minute, I thought I might settle down with a book of Gary Snyder essays, but no, they weren't quite right. I finally settled down with Some of Us Did Not Die, June Jordan's last book of new and selected essays.

Even though she's not a theologian, I find her words inspiring in similar ways to those of my favorite theologians. The first essay in the book is adapted from a keynote presentation that she gave at Barnard College shortly after the attacks of September 11, 2001. In her essay, she calls for us to resist the forces of evil that want to transform us into similarly evil creatures: "But we have choices, and capitulation is only one of them. I am always hoping to do better than to collaborate with whatever or whomever is is that means me no good" (page 3).


Her essay"Besting a Worst Case Scenario" almost broke my heart. It talks about her battle with breast cancer, the disease that would eventually claim her life. I try to take heart that she held the disease at bay for 8 years. I try to look at all she accomplished, despite her untimely death. I hold fast to her fierce spirit.

I am so grateful to have grown up during a time period when I was surrounded by voices like hers, voices that demanded freedom, voices that gave us a vision of the end of oppression. Many of those voices came to me from religious traditions. But even secular voices can point the way to a theology of liberation.

No comments: