The Mexican Prayer

“Give us, Señor
Give us, Señor, a little sun, a little happiness, and some work.
Give us a heart to comfort those in pain.
Give us the ability to be good, strong, wise and free,
So that we may be as generous with others as we are with ourselves.
Finally, Señor, let us all live as your own one family. Amen.”
— A prayer painted on a church wall in Mexico,

(United Methodist Book of Worship #465)

Look at this prayer closely. The context speaks out of the prayer clearly.  Some of us believe theology would always be contextual. It’s an issue of incarnation. Additionally, all historical theological was written due to context, a fact we should remember when we utilize it in our different context. Pauls’ theology was written at and into a particular context. This is old news to Asians, Africans and Latin Americans doing theology, but seems lost on the USA crowd.

One Nepali Christian writes “…we need NCT (Nepal Christian Theology) because the western theology is inadequate to address the existential concerns of the Nepali context. The reason for this inadequacy is because western theology comprises of thought patterns, and the existential concerns of its own context. Thirdly, we need NCT because it’s interaction with other religions. It is imperative for Nepali church, to present the Christian faith in a comprehensible manner to other religions. This requires Nepali theologians to articulate Christian faith in its multi-religious context.”  (Towards Nepal Christian Theology: A Proposal  by Yeshwanth B. V  at  http://yeshwanthbv.wordpress.com/2014/05/23/towards-nepal-christian-theology-a-proposal/)

One of my old missiology professors from seminary, Donald Leroy Stults, wrote “ “Young Asian theologians often turn to the West for mentors, only to discover that the questions that occupy Western theologians do not always relate to the problems facing the church in Asia” (Developing an Asian Evangelical Theology (OMF: 1990).

Another worthy resource is Eastern University theologian Eric Flett’s “Dingolayin’: Theological Notes for a Contextual Caribbean Theology.” Book chapter in A Kairos Moment for Caribbean Theology: Ecumenical Voices in Dialogue, edited by J. Richard Middleton and Garnett Roper. Pickwick Publications, 2013.

When we use Paul’s theology we need to keep in mind that it was written in a context wildly different than ours, and work it accordingly. This might save us a lot of triumphant verse-quoting trying to prove something with Paul which Paul wasn’t even talking about at the time.

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3 thoughts on “The Mexican Prayer

  1. Hey Bro, I love reading your posts. They bring me to a place to think about hard things. I understand the argument your putting forth and it appears to be very solid and I agree with it. However, what does it mean when we talk about holiness and soteriology? Or are these things correct in any context? Western or Eastern. It seems silly to ask, but I was wondering if there was another view from an Eastern perspective I am not aware of. I have not studied the Eastern Church so much of the Eastern context is missing from my learning.

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