renunciation, and then after his desert experience goes to the people for his prophetic mission,
Pieris calls the Asian church and its theology to get baptised in the Jordan of Asian religion and on the cross of Asian poverty. Only then can it add to the irreconcilable antinomy between God and Mammon which is common to all religions, the irrevocable covenant between God and the poor which is unique to the biblical tradition. This raises the practice of voluntary poverty from the micro-ethical to the macro-ethical level and merges the struggle against Mammon and for God with the struggle for the poor. It implies at the same time the understanding that the struggle of the poor becomes 'God's own struggle against the principalities and powers that keep them poor', cIt is a just war, an exercise of divine justice. A holy revolution.5i° Pieris makes an important breakthrough as he acknowledges and integrates the Jewish-Semitic contribution to Asia's religious traditions, which often is negated as part of the Western tradition in the context of inter-religious dialogue. Pieris finds the social base for the praxis of solidarity with the poor in their struggle in basic human communities such as the Devasarana collective farm initiated by Yohan Devananda who merged his Anglican monastic tradition with that of the French worker-priests by building up a community with unemployed, largely Buddhist village youth in Sri Lanka, which later related to mass organisations of peasants struggling for survival,
Pieris1 input during the Asian Theological Conference in 1979 in Sri Lanka provoked a lot of discussion.11 The Filipino delegation expressed reservations about giving too much weight to the religious factor, suggesting that such discussions would eventually be more the concern of middle-class theologians than of the poor - the real subjects of theology - in their struggles, Carlos H. Abesamis and the group whom he represents acknowledged the need to consider native wisdom and religion, but they insisted that the 'principal characteristic of a truly Asian theology is its "Third-Worldness" which denotes the thrust towards socio-political and total human liberation of the poor, whereas "Asianness", which they defined as the question of inculturation follows on the second place'." Pieris was able to show that they misunderstood his position. Their intervention represented the thrust of liberation theology as it has evolved in the Philippines which found a wider echo among activists elsewhere in Asia especially during the 1970s and early 80s. During those years a revised and reorganised communist party, with a Maoist orientation, led an armed struggle, and the building up of mass organisations brought together in the National Democratic Front, against the Marcos regime and US imperialism. This disciplined, committed and strong movement attracted a growing number of Christians who
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