Rene Padilla is a Latin American theologian. I like him because he is an evangelical who has been shaped by Liberation Theology (Gutierrez, Segundo, etc.). He grew up in Ecuador and Columbia and knows first-hand how unjust governments can use religion to oppress people. He did graduate work at Wheaton College and completed a PhD in New Testament under F.F. Bruce. What a strange combination of influences! After doctoral studies he lived in Peru and currently resides in Argentina where he works with the poor.
Padilla has committed his life to understanding the relationship between evangelism and social responsibility. He regularly advocates for Christians to become more active in social justice issues. He says, “Poverty is powerlessness. It is about people being unable to meet their basic human needs. Most often this is due to a lack of opportunity in a society marked by oppression and injustice which has led to disempowerment. The poor and the non-poor are created in the image of God. They are designed to grow into mature human beings able to meet their own socioeconomic, personal, social, cultural and spiritual needs. Poverty is powerlessness to fulfill that God-given role.” (source)
View the clip below for a helpful perspective on the pervasive culture of consumption in which we live. See my last post for a discussion about the "economic stimulus payment that we will receive this May, a rebate of sorts that is given by our government in hopes that we will be good little consumers. Is Padilla correct in his analysis?
The .wmv file is 3 mb, just press play and wait for it to load