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Liberation Spirituality is a ‘developing’ spirituality. Its life began as a theology in the social struggles of oppression faced by the poor in South America and the African-Americans of North America.
The study of what it means to be an oppressed people lies at the heart of what it means to be ‘liberated’. From the embers of political struggles rose a form of Christianity that identifies Jesus as one seeking to free people from whatever prevents us being who God has created us to be.
This theology, a study of people finding freedom in God, is producing a spirituality which seeks the freedom of the individual: it is a spirituality that provokes justice for the marginalised; demands freedom for creation. And it can include anyone in society: giving a picture of God as the ‘freeing’ God: the ‘liberating’ God.
Emerging from the struggles of emancipation, the journey that sought freedom from slavery, black theology can trace its history back hundreds of years. Recognised now as a relatively recent spirituality, the fight for equality that gave us Martin Luther King and theologians like James Cone celebrates its existence in the God that identifies with our individual struggles: regardless of colour, race, or gender.
The earliest disciples of Jesus included women and this has become the inspiration for recognising the freedom women have in God. Long held beliefs that women were unable to participate equally with men have dissolved politically and socially. Now that call is on religion. A call that stands for the justice given to the world by the God who sees beyond physical difference.
As the roles of women have changed in recent decades, so have those for men. Men now have to re-imagine themselves as providers, parents, carers, brothers... Such searches to give men back their understanding of what it means to be all of those things is cultures and social mixes which are constantly shifting, is heralded by people like Richard Rohr.
The rise and fall of the cityscape as a place of work and identity has left many without precisely those things. Those who struggle to support themselves and those they love find a life where crime, homelessness, tensions between cultures and nations, all being the pressures of everyday. Protecting our children from the increase in violence and drugs helps motivate the desire to seek freedom from those environments: environments which see politics ignoring the plight of the inner-city; a plight which is never ignored by God.
Far more than the study of sexuality, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender
theology has a simple belief: that all are created to be loved and valued by God. And that we can only truly know ourselves when we come into conversation with God. Questioning traditional religious structures whilst still keeping the faith they were built on, LGBT theologians like Mona West seek to provide new and alternative ways of acknowledging how each individual is precious in the eyes of God.
Feminist www.womanalive.co.uk www.themothersunion.org www.mothersunionmanchester.org Theology Newtork www.facebook.com/pages/Feminist-theology/112394895439417
Male www.sorted-magazine.com www.malespirituality.co.uk
Urban www.utusheffield.org.uk www.cuf.org.uk
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender www.lgcm.org.uk www.changingattitude.org.uk www.inclusive-church.org.uk