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Last week I read Jesus the Liberator for my Christology class. The assignment was to read it and then create a poster about it – as opposed to writing a paper. What’s this? An assignment that actually caters to my strengths?!?!

I juxtaposed an image of a Latin American style crucifix (meaning bloody) with some comic book art. In the early 70’s, Green Arrow joined up with Green Lantern in issue #76 for a long run as a duo. This was an amazing time in comic books. The work of Neal Adams and Dennis O’Neil was groundbreaking. It wrestled with the issues of social justice, the poor, systemic violence and prejudice. The creative team used the two Greens to explore both sides of the issues: Green Arrow was an outspoken and strident advocate of the underprivileged in society and the political left wing while Green Lantern was a cerebral, sedate model citizen who followed the rules as an establishment conservative figure, serving existing institutions of government and law.

Using art from the first Green Lantern/Green Arrow story seemed appropriate – the two sides of one conflicted mind in constant tensions about the problem of the poor.

Get the picture? 

Here are a series of quotes which helped me summarize the book…

Liberation and crucifixion provide the basic tension for Christian faith and also the basic objective tension in christology…By faith we know clearly that where there is a poor person there is Jesus Christ himself…The poor are a sort of sacrament of the presence of Christ… If the Kingdom of God is “good news,” its recipients will help fundamentally in clarifying its content…The Kingdom belongs uniquely to the poor… By the mere fact of being poor, whatever the moral or personal situation in which they find themselves, God defends them and loves them, and they are the first ones to whom Jesus’ mission is directed…The poor are those for whom life is a heavy burden on the basic level of survival and living with a minimum of dignity…The ultimate definition of God is not power, nor thought, nor judgement, but goodness… What underpins reality is not an absurdity but something positive, and this something positive is not an impersonal force, but something good and personal, a God whom he called Father…Doing the will of God is treating people with justice, not observing religious rules…Jesus’ practice and teaching demand absolutely the unmasking of and a resolute struggle against structural injustice in the form of institutionalized violence.

No wonder liberation theology never caught on in the States…

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