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Following Jesus in Invaded Space - Doing Theology on Aboriginal Land

Posted on 8 October 2009 wgleeson

Christianity is never just about beliefs but habits and practices-for better or worse. Theology always reflects the social location of the theologian-including her privileges and prejudices-all the time working with a particular, often undisclosed, notion of what is normal. Therefore theology is never "neutral"-it defends particular constructions of reality, and it promotes certain interests.

Following Jesus in Invaded Space asks what-and whose-interests theology protects when it is part of a community that invaded the land of Indigenous peoples. Developing a theological method and position that self-consciously acknowledges the church's role in occupying Aboriginal land in Australia, it dares to speak of God, church, and justice in the context of past history and continuing dispossession. Hence, a "Second people's theology" emerges through constant and careful attention to experiences of invasion and dis-location brought into dialogue with the theological landscape or tradition of the church.

"I've puzzled about why there has been such a relatively sparse body of contextual and 'place-based' theology emerging from white Australia. Perhaps what has been lacking is the appropriate approach to the Australian landscape. I believe that Chris Budden's theology of 'Second Peoples' provides that approach. This book opens up a project that will hopefully animate a fresh, vigorous, and distinctively Australian theological conversation, especially between First and Second Peoples. But Budden's work is relevant to all of us who dwell on lands that have been invaded and occupied, and who are struggling to understand how to live the Christian tradition as inheritors of a legacy of conquest and continuing racism. This is an important contribution to imagining our future as a post-Constantinian church."
—Ched Myers, author of Who Rolled Away the Stone?

From Orbis Books website

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