Show them a Theologian

This week is “Show them a theologian” week. The idea is to “to celebrate great or interesting theologians and create positive – perhaps even humorous – awareness of this branch of life and scholarship that may often appear a little obscure.” As I used to say to my allnations students, one of my aims in life is to get them to love theology.

So, all this week I will pick a different theologian who has influenced me in my theology and explain a bit about their theology. Nobody should be surprised at the first theologian I pick.

His name is José Míguez Bonino. He was born in 1924 in Rosario, Argentina and died in 2012 in Tandil, Argentina. He is often referred to as “Bonino” in English speaking circles but Bonino was his mother’s name. He really should be referred to as “Míguez” or “Míguez Bonino”.

The key to understanding his theology is not the themes of his theology but rather the methodology. “Faith Seeking Effectiveness” is the best way to grasp his theology. Effectiveness is effectiveness in mission. He starts by studying the context of mission and the church’s part in that context. Then he takes the themes that the context throws up to him and then projects forward for a better missionary practice in the future.

The theological themes that are most important to him are the church. The church is the “relaunching of God’s creation project” where it shows the world what God originally wanted for humanity. The second theme is the kingdom of God. He has an inaugurated eschatology, where the church reflects God’s future in the present. The final important theme is the Trinity. He understands the triune God ‘is a permanent conversation, a communion of love, an identity of purpose and unity of action: Father, Son and Holy Spirit’. for him therefore, he states ”

What we are shown here is the nature of ultimate reality: The life of God is communion; identity is not affirmed by closing in on oneself but by opening up to the other; unity is not singularity but rather full communication. It is in that image we are created, it is in participation in that constant divine “conversation” that we find the meaning of our existence, life abundant; it is on this model we should structure our human relations. Neither the all-embracing authority of one over another, nor an undifferentiated mass uniformity, nor the self-sufficiency of the “self-made man,” but the perichoresis of love is our beginning and destiny—‘as persons, as church, as society”