We Drink From Our Own Wells
A significant event in the development of liberation theology is the publication of "We Drink from Our Own Wells: The Spiritual Journey of a People" by Gustavo Gutierrez. Gustavo's book fulfills the promise that was implicit in his "A Theology...
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A significant event in the development of liberation theology is the publication of "We Drink from Our Own Wells: The Spiritual Journey of a People" by Gustavo Gutierrez. Gustavo's book fulfills the promise that was implicit in his "A Theology of Liberation" which appeared in Spanish in 1971 and soon became a charter for many Latin American theologians and pastoral workers.
A Peruvian Catholic priest, Gustavo Gutierrez was born to mestizo parents in a barrio of Lima, Peru. Often called the founder of liberation theology in Latin America, he studied philosophy at the University of Louvain in Belgium and took his doctorate in theology at the University of Lyon in France in 1959. Returning to Lima in 1960, Gutierrez taught theology at the Catholic University in Lima. His own background and identification with the poor soon prompted him to work among the dispossessed peasant families crowding Lima's barrios. His experiences led to a break with the Catholic hierarchy and traditional church teachings in the 1960s and 1970s. Gutierrez rejects the existing Catholic view of poverty. In his view, while God regarded all people as equals, he held a special concern for the impoverished and disinherited. Gutierrez believes that God not only supports the poor's struggle for justice but also wishes the teachings of his church to ensure their liberation. In theological terms, this entails liberation from unjust social classes, from a sense of fate, and from personal sin and guilt. Therefore, Gutierrez fiercely argues, the church has a duty to take the lead in redeeming society and helping end the social, political, and economic conditions that entrap Latin Americans in poverty. His forthright explication of these views in A Theology of Liberation (1971) brought him worldwide attention. Almost overnight, these beliefs helped shape both a religious and a political agenda known as "liberation theology," which has spread throughout Latin America.