A man that I know reasonably well is having some problems getting custody of his 11 year old son. The situation is very sad and the authorities are seeking to intervene for the boy's safety albeit slowly. As I was talking to this man recently he commented that some people are concerned that he might commit suicide and he went on to say "there are some things worse than dying".
As a Christian who is trying to articulate a theology that "works" in practice this comment struck me forcibly. If there are some things "worse than dying" and people are being driven to contemplate suicide as a "solution" to despair then where and how does the gospel of Jesus Christ intervene into this situation?
I am certainly not claiming to have the answers but the thoughts led me to consider if there were any pointers on the journey from the experience of Liberation Theology. I was led to the following quote by Christopher Rowland from Radical Christianity: A Reading of Recovery:
"...theology emerges from experience, the reflection on and action to change that reality of oppression and injustice which is the daily lot of millions. Thus it is not content to accept certain 'truths' from those 'experts' at the top of the pyramid of church and state..."
"the struggle of the disciples of Jesus Christ is to be centered on a goal which is not beyond this world, however difficult and far-removed from present realities that goal may appear. Boff clearly regards the utopian horizon as a constant source for a critique of the present order and a hand beckoning forward to transformation."
I firmly believe that one of the reasons that this type of theological response has not been taken up more readily in the West is that it is costly. What else are we called to as disciples of Jesus if not lives of sacrifice for our neighbour?