Which Came First - Culture or the Individual

Originally posted June 19, 2006

Today I took notes on chapters in From the Heart of Our People, ed. by Orlando O. Espin and Miguel H. Diaz. The book is a collection of essays on Latino/a Catholic Systematic Theology; specifically U.S. Hispanic theology. I think one of the premises of the book is that there is a difference between U.S. Hispanic theology and Central American theology. One of the essays I particularly enjoyed was “Fiesta - life in the subjunctive” The author spoke about praising God for that which is going to happen. Another author spoke of the nuance of time and agency. In that essay, the historical presence of Christ makes the sad and the happy more holy - it is a very incarnational theology. I wonder about the heavy reliance upon the experience of the people. I wonder if one could fall into the Tillician correlational trap of being led by culture in our theological queries. Yet on the other hand, I think these authors would argue that one cannot escape the impact culture has on theology, and it is the job of the theologian to be aware of that effect. Hence the essay about hermeneutics from a Western or an indigenous point of view.