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Preface

 

Este is mi hijo Amado, in quien tengo complacencia

(this is my beloved son, in whom I amwell pleased) Mt 3:17

 

 

 

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in narrative theology. In her book Speaking in Parables: A Study in Metaphor and Theology, Sally McFague describes the kind of theology that emerges:

 

one does theology, and one theologizes life … theology becomes a story,  a very personal story, as personal as lyric poetry and as revealing…  It is existential theology with a vengeance; it is the living of belief, not the talking about it or the systematizing of it.”

 

Autobiography can be a source or form of narrative theology. In his book Constructing Local Theologies, Robert Schreiter affirms that “autobiography or one’s personal story has become an important procedural pathway for the development of a theology.”

Telling the story of one’s life can become a theological act. It is a way of talking about God in a different way.  The kind of theology that has dominated for centuries has been too academic and abstract – a theology divorced from the ordinary life and experiences of the people.  No wonder for many people this kind of theology is meaningless and irrelevant.  For it to make sense and touch the lives of people, theology needs to be more narrative and autobiographical. The story of salvation as recorded in the Sacred Scriptures must be correlated with our stories.  The theologian must be able to proclaim, give witness and tell the story of the wonderful things that God has done in our life and history. Thus, theology must not only be a logical, systematic and abstract discourse about God. It must also be the retelling of the story of God in the story of our life. After all, God is revealed not only in the sacred texts and dogmas, but in history and in each person’s life story.  According to John Navone and Thomas Cooper in their book Tellers of the Word:

 

Our life stories are implicitly particular stories of God, particular signs of the sacred in the secular, necessarily answering or resisting the call of God in a grace-filled universal story (history) no matter how obliquely it is experienced. Our life stories implicitly tell the story – with varying degrees of truthfullness – of the Storyteller, the Supreme Agent, the Acting Person, who calls them into existence; they make known something of his identity and purpose.

 

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Thus far much of the writings about narrative and autobiographical theology  remain at the theoretical level. Most of these are written from the context of developed countries like the United States.

What I have done is to write an autobiographical theology from a Third World perspective. In the noontime of my life I gathered the scattered texts that  have emerged along the way- the diaries, letters and memoirs. In trying to be in touch with my unfolding story I came to discover the presence of Someone whom I have been searching and longing for.  God is part of my story. My story is about who I am in relation to God, a story of discovering God in the experience of suffering, doubts, love and joy. It is a living testimony, a proclamation of God’s love. Above all it is a story about the process of coming to believe what my name suggests: I am God’s beloved – Amado.

My story also records the process of responding to the call of the risen Lord to discipleship and to a deeper awareness that I am his beloved disciple.  It is part of a larger story – that of a suffering people who have struggled against the structures of sin in Philippine society –against poverty, injustice, oppression and the ecological destruction.  This is also part of the story of the Catholic Church in the Philippines – a church that is trying to renew herself and build Basic Ecclesial Communities, the church that takes a prophetic stance and promotes peace, justice and the integrity of creation. My story gives witness to the liberating presence of God in the recent history of the Filipino people and the Church in the Philippines.