Keeping the White House White

It begins with a lie. A lie so outrageous, so preposterous it titillates simple minds andWhite House seduces those who should know better because they want to believe the lie. The lie is crucial because it serves an important purpose — to delegitimize. The lie can subvert and undermine legal authorities, as in, “The president was born in Kenya.” Regardless of birth certificates provided, the lie plays to racist fears of a black man being president. The lie keeps embers of hatred simmering while maintaining the father of the lie in the spotlight, gaslighting as the self-professed crusader for truth.

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Can White People Teach Latinx Studies?

dc6ae-6a016301e4b359970d01b8d276f49b970c-150wiRemember the composition of religion departments back during the 1960s? They predominately and unapologetically consisted of white males – especially the so-called Ivies. Now imagine if one of these schools, realizing the need for different perspectives, decided that they wanted to have a feminist viewpoint taught in their department. A search committee would be formed, advertisements placed, interviews conducted, and after an academic year of deliberation, the most qualified candidate would be hired – probably a white man whose Ph.D. dissertation somewhat dealt with a few aspects concerning women’s issues. Even though several women steeped in feminist thought applied for the position, it would not be too surprising if a man would have been hired. So, allow me to rephrase my question: Can a man teach Women’s Studies?

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No, I am not an angry Latino

Breaking BadOccupying a Latino male body in the academy is a continuous challenge where not a day goes by in which I am not reminded that I am an outsider, that this space I occupy within the ivory tower is a space never intended for me. To occupy this space, I am forced to be fluent in the way white folk think, philosophize and theorize. Any attempt to ground my theological view in my cultural context is dismissed as quaint, unscholarly or exotic. I would never have been granted a Ph.D. if I were not competent in Hegel, Barth or Moltmann. And yet, my white colleagues are deemed rigorous scholars without ever having to read Martí, Unamuno or Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz.

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Interfaith Relations and the Pursuit of Justice

Neoliberalism as a religious movement is an economic doctrine that can only be accepted by faith. This neoliberal faith is based on the poR&E SAGE coverwer amassed by a decentralized network of institutions, and the militarily “advanced” nations it profits, which in turn verifies the universality of its economic doctrines. There can be no salvation outside the global market forces of “free trade.” An alternative to the spirit of neoliberalism can be found within the faith of the people. Within the present post-modern condition, a space has been opened—perhaps inadvertently—for the sacred. In this space, the faith and/or spirituality of the people can directly challenge global capitalism. The alternative to neoliberalism, the hope for the vast majority of the world’s population, will be found within their own faith traditions—specifically, how those faith traditions equip the marginalized within their midst to seek their own liberation. Although the actual tenets of any faith are important, the poor and disenfranchised usually approach their faith tradition differently than those who usually serve as the academic or ecclesiastic spokespersons of the faith. Any attempt to understand the faith of the people from the margins of the community will find itself rooted in the everyday, attempting to discover how their faith provides the means of surviving the condition of their disenfranchisement.

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Podcast on Immigration

BrewTheoblackwhitelogoWhat religious considerations should inform the current immigration discussion? Are you ready for leading liberation theologian, professor of social ethics and Latinx studies at Iliff Seminary to brew some rad theology? In Episode 44 of the Brew Theology Podcast Janel, Liz, Kyle, Ryan & Stef get to talk with Dr. Miguel De La Torre on the US Immigration Crisis, and what De La Torre calls an ethics toward place. Miguel is on Episode 8 as well. Back in Episode 8, Dr. De La Torre speaks about his theology of hopelessness, and “para joder” (Spanish for “screwing with”).

Listen to the podcast here

Even Monsters Pet Dogs: Grappling with Evil

IMG_4818Currently, I am living in Germany as a Fulbright scholar at Johannes Gutenberg University. During my time here, I have visited concentration camps, attempting to understand how an advance and civilized society, a culture which gave the world Beethoven, Luther and Klee, could also mechanize some of the greatest atrocities of the 20th century.

Rather than wrestling with evil, it becomes easier to simply dismiss Nazi concentration guards as monsters. Constructing monsters simplifies our visceral response. But even monsters pet dogs. It is so easy to characterize the abuser as inhuman, as lacking any sense of loving emotions. Simple binaries of good and evil makes inhumane those placed under the label of evil.

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