Tuesday, December 25, 2007

First Day of Christmas: Latin American reflection and appeal

As promised.

Read. Give. Please.

The two most important forces in my life are God who becomes incarnate and God who escapes all our definitions.

The incarnation is the most beautiful thing that can happen! God so much wants to be committed to the human person that God becomes human: enters what is most deeply human.

Yet every effort to put God into codes, norms, creeds, and dogmas falls short. God is beyond all that. This stirs me to always be looking for God.

I will never grasp the mystery of God!

We must remember that society, the church, , and even families structure themselves very much on the image of God they hold.

We were taught "God the Father." But for us women, our experience of God was much more of a Mother -- in God's closeness, tenderness, friendship. We experience God as Trinity, as Community who unites all kinds of possibilities and diversities!

So we speak of a Black God, Mother God, Worker God.

This de-mystifies what's been passed on to us! In our process of organization and liberation of our people, it's important to meet a God who is more like us.

Yet God throws down every effort to absolutize God.

God is dynamic -- diversity, unity, communion. Here is a God who doesn't have a face -- thus a God who can assume all faces.

I think God is disconcerting. God escapes us.

The fullness of God unites masculine, feminine, all peoples, all races.


The relationship between North and South is marked by a great distance -- geographical, racial and social distance. It is a relationship of exclusion. So the first thing we want is the be respected -- respected as a Latin American people, as a Brazilian people, as women, as black people.

Beyond respect, I believe in a relationship of solidarity. I think solidarity comes through a change of place -- leaving where you are a bit. You have to move from the place of imperialism to the place of brother and sister, friendship and equality.

It is also very important to really believe in each other. The other is not "underdeveloped" or "ignorant" ! The other is simply other -- different from myself. But the other also has part of the truth! This is true for all relationships -- U.S./Brazil, men/women, blacks/whites. When we recognize each other's truth, we are able to meet one another in solidarity.

And this liberation comes at a high price -- sometimes our very lives. But I call you to believe in this, to open yourselves to the future, to dream this dream -- a dream that nourishes our lives and our struggle.

*****Silvia Regina de Lima Silva
*****Interview in Mev Puleo, The Struggle Is One: Voices and Visions of Liberation (SUNY Press, 1994)

Afro-Brazilian feminist theologian Silvia Regina de Lima Silva teaches in San Jose, Costa Rica. When Mev Puleo interviewed her in the early 1990s, she was a student at the Pontifical University in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and living in a small religious community of Afro-Brazilians, dedicated to serving the black population on the periphery of Rio. Because she chose to live in a poor and often violent neighborhood, she commuted four or five hours daily to and from Rio for classes.

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In honor of the Twelve Days of Christmas, I will continue to post short and not too obnoxious daily reminders of the community Christmas appeal for the parish of Cristo Rei (Christ the King) in Cidade de Deus (City of God), on the West side of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, accompanied by quotations from various Latin American Christians


Grandmère Mimi said...

Jane, this is a lovely thing to do. Thank you.

Jane R said...

You're welcome. It's my pleasure -- and really my tribute to all of you as well as to the community of Cristo Rei.

Jane R said...

P.S. Dec. 27 -- I've just posted a photo of Silvia Regina de Lima Silva which I found. There are photos of her in the book from which I quoted but I don't have a scanner here. She was much younger then.