One of my big concerns in regard to the budget on this trip was how I would
fund reading. Books are expensive and I love to read. I figured it could add
at least $50.00/week to the costs unless I could find a way of getting good
cheap books. So to discover some gems in Op shops has been a real bonus.
The Halls Creek op shop had a number of half decent titles as well as the
usual pulp stuff and the Salvo shop in Kununurra has several books worthy of
a read. I bought 4 books for the grand sum of $7.00 which has to make a
bibliophile very happy.
As I was rummaging thru the laundry baskets of books in the Kununurra op
shop I came across one entitled Following Jesus by a bloke called Segundo
Galilea (Danelle reckons he sounds like a coffee bean) and after a brief
skim decided it was worthy of purchase. Galilea is a Chilean Catolic priest
and liberation theologian who has written a short and relatively simple book
around the theme of what it means to truly dedicate ourselves to
discipleship. I read many books of this kind, but not often from this
perspective so I figured it would be a good balance to the predominantly
North American based stuff that I find myself reading.
It’s immediately worth noting that our context has a huge impact on shaping
our theology – much more than we tend to give it credit for. The Latinos and
others from impoverished contexts gave us liberation theology and wealthy
white westerners gave us prosperity theology. I haven’t come across a name
for a theology that has its roots in suburban western life, but is not
prosperity driven. I imagine it would be something like ‘comfort theology’
or ‘security theology’ as that it what seems to form so much of our middle
class western dreams. Hence Jesus becomes the one who makes life safe and
secure for us. as if.
This is challenging because we have to admit that it’s impossible to do any
kind of theological reflection outside of a context. And because of that we
need to regularly be open to the insights of other cultures to help us get a
fuller revelation. At times this can be challenging and it may even seem
that our brothers are waaay off the mark. however reality is that we may be
the ones missing the point.
Here are 3 few quotes from Following Jesus that I thought worthy of sharing.
“We believe that it is appropriate to the religious life to call into
question or even protest against the church and society: against the church
to the extent that it I decadent or ambiguous, or has lost its radical
dynamism; against society, to the extent that it become dehumanized or
dechristianised (not sure what he means by this), and thus the source of
oppression and injustice” p.82
So. If we are leaders with any nouse then we will be protesters when we see
either the church or society lose their way. We won’t stay silent and tow
the party line, but we will have the courage to speak up – loudly. The net
result of this is that we will not be popular for long.
“A religious movement will never be authentic unless it returns to the root
of its own prophetism. Its radicalism is a sign of vitality and of its right
to continued existence. Its absence is a void that calls into question its
very reason for existence in the church and society. One of the causes of
the present crisis in religious life rests on the fact that many who have
given themselves to this life have discovered this void” p. 83
How true. When we lose our founding charism we become a social club and this
is one of the issues we are currently grappling with as the church in the
“Normally the people of greatest character, most maturity, are those who
have the greatest difficulty with obedience. This is quite normal. One does
not arrive a free obedience without passing through rebellions. Obedience
consists of a synthesis between the acceptance of the will of God and a
complete Christian freedom. It is extremely difficult. It is a work of the
Holy Spirit. And one does not arrive at this without having passed through
many crises and even through many errors.” P. 93
I thought this was insightful. A conformist finds ‘obedience’ easy. A
non-conformist or a questioner will struggle much harder to accept the rule
This book has some real gems and is worth a read.