Kwok Puilan

Beginning to think in a different way requires us to take different positions on the subject of knowing: to open up spaces for new ways of thinking and to consider our own thinking in terms of how our goals affect our perceptions.

Ivone Gebara

Until women's views are listened to and their participation allowed and ensured, the truth will remain hidden, and the call to live the values of the Reign of God will be unheeded.

Musimbi R. A. Kanyoro and Mercy Amba Oduyoye

Political theology in the South emerged from the struggle for political independence after the Second World War and the critique of neocolonialism and the ideology of development. Southern theologians decried the theological hegemony of Europe and North America and reclaimed the right to speak about God as subjects of their own destiny. They developed different forms of contextual theologies to address concrete social and political concerns and to relate the Christian tradition to the lived experiences of the people. While the male theologians might be adamantly against imperialism and corrupt dictatorial regimes, they have not concomitantly denounced patriarchal privileges and the subjugation of women and children, who are the most vulnerable in society. Feminist theologians have to create an alternative space to articulate the theological vision of the hope and aspiration of women.

Because of the multiple oppressions of gender, race, and class, the struggles of women in the South often operate from positions of extreme marginality, outside the established channels of national politics (Young 2001: 361). Women's movements focus on practical social and political issues affecting women, such as education and reproductive rights, specific localized struggles, coalition building with other oppressed groups, and community efforts to address particular needs. Living in such an environment, feminist theologians understand "politics" in a comprehensive and multifaceted sense not limited to state power, participation in government, and political representation and rights. "Politics," for them, concerns the collective welfare of the whole people in the polis. Their political theology aims to promote the survival, health, and well-being of the whole community, taking into account how the social, cultural, and psychological dimensions intersect with gender and the politico-economic base.

Since the 1970s, feminist theological movements have gathered momentum in the South through the establishment of national, regional, and global ecumenical networks. Since "the South" is a mental construct covering a vast territory with many cultures, languages, and peoples, we must not homogenize the diverse regions or generalize feminist theologies from radically different backgrounds. Liberation theologians from the South take seriously the contexts from which theology emerges and begin their theological reflection with social analysis. I shall follow their methodology and present a brief discussion of the differences and commonalities of the regions.

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