Brown Church: Five Centuries of Latina/o Social Justice, Theology, and Identity

IVP. May 2020. 290p. ISBN 9780830852857. pap. $30. REL
Activist, pastor, and author Romero (Jesus for Revolutionaries) explores the history and theology of Brown Church, the term used to describe the community of Latinx Christian churches, church leaders, and congregants who advocate for social and political justice through religious doctine and scripture. Romero cites liberation theologians like Archbishop Oscar Romero, Gustavo Gutiérrez, and Rene Padilla as at the heart of Brown Church’s “prophetic advocacy” around race and poverty. The strength of this work is its clarion call to Latinx Christians seeking “communal theological reflection.” Many of the chapters are adaptations from Romero’s previous writings, situating this work as something of a political manifesto, especially when Romero speaks for the Brown Church, employing the first-person plural, as in “we seek” or “we understand.” He proclaims, “Christianity that is faithful to Jesus, La Virgen, and Holy Scripture can never be a racist, classist, and sexist religion.” However, that generalizing fails to account for the dynamics of gender politics, referring to the inclusion of male and female, without considering whether heteronormative gender or alternative sexual identities fall within the purview of Brown Church.
VERDICT A type of revolutionary Christianity for the margins.
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