13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 1999
This book is the most concise study of Latin American religion/liberation theology that I have found. It is extremely accessible, even to someone who has no background in theological study. Justo explains the perspective of an oppressed people with love and dignity. I highly recommend this for anyone who has an interest in oppression and the role of the dominant culture.
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2002
In chapter ten of Manana, Gonzalez makes a direct attack against the "Hellenization of God" or the "Constantinization of God," which in effect is a static characterization of God.. He affirms again that the God of Scripture is a living God. Along with the use of the Greek notion of being, Christian theologians have allegorized the Scriptures so as to "dishistoricized the Bible" and make themselves "exponents of the theology of the status quo" (139). Gonzalez goes on to make attacks against gnosticism and docetism, both of which devalue the body and earthly existence.
The gnostic view of salvation "consists of being able to flee this material world, usually by means of a secret knowledge"; for the docetists, "our suffering and death, as well as all the injustice and evil that exist in this world are not important. Our bodies are prisons holding our souls in the material world and clouding our visions of spiritual realities" (141). They both offer "salvation out of this world, without having to confront its present evil" (143). Too often this is the preaching and teaching religionists hear: forget about this life and think about the one to come. The Lordship of Jesus, however, consists in his being for-otherness. God is, for Gonzalez, being-for-otherness. That is his glory and that of Jesus (153).
The concluding chapter 11 of Manana concerns itself with Christian spirituality, which Gonzalez believes, cannot be spoken of apart from the Holy Spirit. In Acts 2:17, we are told that the Spirit is poured out on all flesh." Man is not above nature but a part of it. As part of created reality it is the nature of man to sin; the "Spirit is the power that intervenes to make things become what they are not" (160). That Spirit exists in community, in love of neighbor, in acts of sharing possessions, in reaching out to others, practicing the love of God's reign, rather than the rule of the powerful which is for profit and profit primarily and foremost. Gonzalez concludes his exposition with this thought. "One's investment in the present order makes it very difficult to live in expectation of a different order" (163).
I find no fault in Justo L. Gonzalez's Manana: Christian Theology from a Hispanic Perspective. Though brief in its 167 pages of text, it is powerful, informative, and insightful, a work deserving of a greater audience and broader dissemination. His narration is such that it is an easy read. All can profit from his wisdom and scholarship. I have found a few minor flaws in how the book was constructed. In that the book is densely pack with unfamiliar names and concepts, footnotes rather than endnotes would have facilitated a quicker read, than having continually to flip to the back of the book. I also have problems with books without an index. In future editions, such a courtesy would make it easy for quick references and cross referencing of concepts and names.
Because of the nature of the subject, Christian history and theology, Gonzalez was not able to go into extraordinary detail on all the social, historical, political, and philosophical aspects of the material he presents in Manana. This, of course, is not a real flaw. Manana is best seen as an introduction to Hispanic theology. Because of his easy narration and clarity, one will thus be encouraged to read and explore his many other works, including Faith and Wealth (1990), Christian Thought Revisited: Three Types of Theology (1999), and his three-volume A History of Christian Thought (1987). I would consider myself blessed, if I had any or all of his books on my library shelf.
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on December 3, 1999
In Manana, Justo Gonzalez does what few academics achieve, he provides stellar scholarship while at the same time writing with poetic conviction. This book, written from the heart and speaking to the heart, charts not only the history and evolution of Hispanic Christianity in the U.S., but a valuable roadmap for a community's future. Thoughtful and intelligent readers will be mesmerized by his apt use of language, experience and tradition in this multifaceted look at our growing community and the challenges we face into the Manana of this new millenium.