Social justice claims in a globalized and plural world – Intercultural perspectives

From August 19th to 22nd twenty theologians from Korea, the United States, Brazil and Germany came together on the issue of “Social justice claims in a globalized and plural world – Intercultural perspectives”. The initiative for the ongoing conversation of this group came up in 1997, when two former ecumenical coworker of the Academy of Mission from Korea and Brazil decided to continue their theological debate after having left for their respective home countries. Today representatives of the Han Shin University, Seoul / Korea, Methodist University of Sao Paulo / Brazil, Mc Cormick Theological Seminary, Chicago / USA and Academy of Mission at the University of Hamburg form the Core Group of the Organizers. For this specific conference further researchers came from the Ewah Woman’s University / Seoul, United Faculty, Vitoria / Brazil, Fachhochschule für Interkulturelle Theologie, Hermannsburg / Germany and the Augustana Hochschule, Neuendettelsau / Germany. Some of the students of the Missionsakademie from Samoa, India, Myanmar and Germany actively participated in the consultation and enriched the debate with their insights.

The contributions on Social Justice from different cultural and theological backgrounds and from different fields of theological research brought up a variety of perspectives. Among the many impressing insights, the group learnt from the experience Bonhoeffer had with a Baptist Church in Harlem. The theologians listened to a Voice from a Korean author and theologian from the beginning of the 20th century on reforming society. One lecture was on homophobia in Brazil and the US. The group discussed on Capitalism as religion and reflected on the challenge of listening to the marginalized or disinherited people in all societies. An excursion to the station of the railway mission and Hamburg Hauptbahnhof and to the so called Rathauspassage, where unemployed people maintain a restaurant, a bookshop and a meeting point, linked the discussions to the engagement of the churches.

Inspite of the variety of approaches all the participants share their commitment with the tradition of liberation theology, which came up in the sixties and seventies and was strongly pronounced in Brazil as a political theology. Liberation theology found its expression in the so called Min Jung Theology in the time of dictatorship in Korea. And also Black Theology can be seen as a sister of this theological movement.

The next Joint Consultation of Theologians will take place 2018 in Seoul / South Korea.

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