Miguel A. De La Torre
The focus of Dr. Miguel A. De La Torre academic pursuit is social ethics within contemporary U.S. thought, specifically how religion affects race, class, and gender oppression. Since obtaining his doctoral in 1999, he has authored over a hundred articles and published forty-one books (six of which won national awards). He presently serves as Professor of Social Ethics and Latinx Studies at the Iliff School of Theology in Denver.
A Fulbright scholar, he has taught in Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa, Costa Rica, Cuba, and Germany. Within his guild he served as the 2012 President of the Society of Christian Ethics. He is the recipient of the 2020 AAR Excellence in Teaching Award and the 2021 Martin E. Marty Public Understanding of Religion Award. Within the academy, he served as a past-director to the American Academy of Religion, and served on the editorial board of JAAR.
Additionally, he was the co-founder and executive director (2013-2017) of the Society of Race, Ethnicity, and Religion and the founding editor of the Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Religion. A scholar-activist, Dr. De La Torre has written numerous articles in popular media and has served on several civic organizations. Recently, he wrote the screenplay to a documentary on immigration (http://www.trailsofhopeandterrorthemovie.com/) which has screened in over eighteen film festivals winning over seven awards
Miguel de la Torre, “What Do You Do When the God of Liberation Fails to Liberate?”
To hope is not some wishful desire but an expected joy that God will bring about God’s purposes. Jürgen Moltmann argued for a hope based in a God who keeps promises, a God who is a step ahead of humanity making all things new. Moltmann’s hope is based on God’s promise which validates the gospel and assures an eternal and blissful afterlife, safeguards a future with meaning and purpose, fortifies a sense of security, provides tranquility of mind, and, most important, secures a sense of peace amid life’s vicissitudes. But what do you do when the God of liberation fails to liberate? When God’s promises fall short, a theology must be constructed which limits who is destined for liberation and, by extension, salvation.
This presentation wonders if the God of Moltmann, the God of Eurocentrism, the God who justified colonialism and slavery has become the God of those on the margins – to their detriment. When global oppression and repression continuous unceasingly, is the God of modernity capable of saving/liberating those who fall short of whiteness? Does embracing the God of the colonizer contribute to the oppression of those on the margins of empire? What does it mean to move beyond this white God of modernity? In short, the presentation will explore what a postcolonial God rooted among the world’s disenfranchised would look like, and more importantly, how would this new understanding contribute to how social justice is defined and how ethics and praxis is formulated.