12/29/14 Jaime (video) about 35
At a grocery store coffeeshop today I met Jaime, a sociology professor at DePaul University who graciously allowed me to record our conversation. Jaime is a liberal Catholic and a proponent of “Liberation Theology”, which claims to take seriously the life and teachings of Jesus from the perspective of the poor and oppressed. It puts the focus on Jesus’ teachings that favor the poor and reinterprets other passages as applying specifically to the poor. For example, Jesus’ statement of His mission in Luke 4, “…to proclaim good news to the poor…to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free…” would be interpreted to refer only to people who are physically oppressed by governments and institutions in positions of power, rather than the more general spiritual oppression of personal sin that affects everyone. I think Liberation Theology would be attractive to someone like Jaime, who works in an environment that values academic freedom and tolerance, because it allows him to refrain from judging individual behaviors that alienate people from God and instead puts the blame for the evil of this world on society in general, currently a much more “politically correct” position. As we talked, Jaime acknowledged our need for a right relationship with God, but when I would bring up the idea of personal accountability for our sins he would refocus on societal evils. Liberation Theology would have us believe that we are all victims of larger, institutionalized forces beyond our control, rather than individuals with God-given consciences, responsible for our moral choices. It allows one to boldly criticize institutions, a favorite subject for college students, rather than to call individuals to repentance in the way that Jesus did.