Author: TIAN Wei, Tsinghua University
The German theologian, J. Metz, argues that Christian theology after Auschwitz should be a practical theology that gives priority to practice and faces the real world. It should be a political theology, empowered to critique society and the church. It should not be a system of formalized theological dogma, but the practical reality wherein people demonstrate their faith in concrete social situations. It should become the meaning structure for basic theology. From this perspective, this essay tries to propose that the cross of Jesus is a sign that bears the memories and narratives of “suffering”, which define the basic category and theme of practical political theology. Suffering and salvation are the two sides of a unified process. Through recalling and narrating suffering, we recall and narrate salvation from suffering, and the hope of freedom and liberation. The process also communicates and realizes a social and religious critique on the world. As a result, the memory becomes dangerous and subversive, and Christian theology becomes a practical theology of politics. Hence, the self-consciousness and awakening of suffering force us to look into ourselves, from which a relationship between the existence of suffering and the birth of belief is forged.
Suffering; Salvation; Belief; Political Theology
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