Friday, September 30, 2011

Kosuke Koyama on Subordinating Great Theological Thoughts to the Needs of the Farmers

Re-posting a wonderful quote from my brother Garrett's blog:

“I decided to subordinate great theological thoughts, like those of Thomas Aquinas and Karl Barth, to the intellectual and spiritual needs of the farmers. I decided that the greatness of theological works is to be judged by the extent and quality of the service they can render to the farmers to whom I am sent. I also decided that I have not really understood Summa Theologiae and Church Dogmatics until I am able to use them for the benefit of the farmers. My theology in northern Thailand must begin with the need of the farmers and not with the great thoughts developed in Summa Theologiae and Church Dogmatics. . . . The reason is simple: God has called me to work here in northern Thailand, not in Italy or Switzerland. And I am working with neither a Thomas Aquinas nor a Karl Barth. . . . The theology for northern Thailand begins and grows in northern Thailand, and nowhere else.”

-Kosuke Koyama, Water Buffalo Theology (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books: 1999 [1974]), xvi

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