GERONE, Lucas Guilherme Teztlaff de 
GERONE, Lucas Guilherme Teztlaff de. An educational reflection on theology and community. Revista Científica Multidisciplinar Núcleo do Conhecimento. Year 05, Ed. 09, Vol. 01, pp. 56-71. September 2020. ISSN: 2448-0959, Access link:
- 1. WHAT IT IS, AND WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THEOLOGY AND COMMUNITY
- 2. BIBLICAL HISTORICAL OVERVIEW OF COMMUNITIES
- 2.1 IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
- 2.2 IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
- 2.3 THE LIFE OF JESUS IN COMMUNITY
- 2.4 THE COMING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, THE IDENTITY OF THE COMMUNITY
- 3. IN THE OLD AND MIDDLE AGES
- 3.1 THE INFLUENCE OF PROTESTANT REFORM IN THE FORMATION OF MODERNITY
- 3.2 THEOLOGY AND POSTMODERNITY
- 4. CONTEMPORARY THEOLOGIES
- 5. POLITICS, CITIZENSHIP AND RELIGIOUS MOVEMENTS
Context: Throughout human and biblical history, religion has influenced the social, political and economic factors of the community, thus creating an educational reflection on theology and community. Objectives: to reflect on theology and community in an educational perspective, presented here in the etymological understanding of the terms of study, in the historical panorama of the relationship between religion and the community, and in the biblical historical panorama of the old and new testament about communities, and in social and political dimensions. Methodology: a case study. Results: the reflection on theology and the community raises an educational perspective, in the etymological understanding of the terms of study; in the orientations and practices found throughout the history of religion and the community; in the learning of laws, moral and ethical conducts taught in religion and community. Considerations: In modernity, new theological knowledge is raised that is contextualized with scientific knowledge, moral and ethical values, and with reality and human existence. In this context, an educational reflection for theology emerges in learning and knowledge, such as social, economic, political, freedom and equality issues within society.
Keywords: theology, community, education.
Theological reflection on the community is within practical theology, in which there is an educational approach on the role of theology in community factors, such as social, political and economic factors.
In an educational perspective on the understanding and knowledge of the community, religious issues appear as a central component of humanity, in which religion has influenced several civilizations. In the Judeo-Christian view, it is possible to find social practices that relate to religious belief in an educational conjecture, such as the accounts found in the Holy Bible refer to a cultural, social, political and economic construction.
In modern society, due to the influence of the Protestant reform, knowledge had greater scientific autonomy in several areas. This brought new discoveries that benefited society.
Within an educational vision, postmodernity demands a knowledge contextualized with the different contemporary, social, cultural and economic dimensions. Thus emerged, new theological knowledge that seeks to answer the questions of the community.
1. WHAT IT IS, AND WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THEOLOGY AND COMMUNITY
The definition of etymological notions, relationships and history about theology and communities, is more than a starting point, is something essential for the sustainability and verification of any study.
The term theology originates from the Greek theos = “divinity” + logos = “word”, or, “study of divinity, as well as its essence, existence and attributes. The term “theology” appears in Plato in its value for political education. For Aristotle “theology” is the metaphysical study of the person in his being (considering metaphysics or “first philosophy”, the highest of all sciences). For Augustine (354-430) the term theology began to refer to disciplines related to God. Between the 4th and 5th centuries, with the meaning of knowledge and Christian knowledge about God (CNTB, 2015).
The word Community originates from the Latin communitatem, which constitutes a life together. Therefore, community can indicate a people, a society and a state. We can teach, also define as a community a group of people united around an ideology or culture, or common interest (ALECRIM, 2015), such as churches and religious communities. In this context, we can find the first relationship between theology and communities, where churches and religious communities (which are subjects of theology studies) are inserted within the notion of community. The second relationship is in the object of study of theology, being “theo” = God a being that cannot be fully known, but, through the experience and experience of faith, something that occurs within the context of the life of the faithful.
Because of these relationships, theological study of communities is inserted within practical theology, which applies theological considerations to daily life and also studies the way the Church communicates faith and its truths, as well as the various actions of sanctification or other nature of the Church in society at large.
2. BIBLICAL HISTORICAL OVERVIEW OF COMMUNITIES
In all civilizations religions influence human development, be it social, political, educational or cultural. Easily found in anthropological or sociological studies the presence of religions as a central component to understand and understand humanity. The Holy Bible, as an educational book, has been a resource for this, for it portrays the lives of various civilizations, such as the history of the community of Israel and the first Christian communities.
2.1 IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
In the Old Testament chapter twelve of the book of Genesis tells the story of the community of Israel and the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and their families. The book of Exodus tells the story of the people of Israel who for forty years were led by Moses to Canaan. In this work God spoke to his people through Moses, the tabernacle and the Ten Commandments (GILBERTO, 2014). For the People of Israel the main moral and divine Law was the Ten Commandments, the civic educational pillar of the people were questions about obedience and worship of God. With a role as a spiritual educator, it was up to Moses to analyze and respond to God’s guidance and make the best decisions for the people of Israel. After Moses’ death the decisions for the people are made by leaders of the families, which led to the organization of the 12 tribes of Israel that were led by Prophets, Judges, and Priests in whom the last of them was Samuel (GERSTENBERGER, 2007).
After Samuel’s death, the community of Israel asks for a king according to the canaanites (1 Sam 8:5,20), by prophetic definition and by popular election (1Sm 10.1ss; 11.14ss), the king named is Saul. The second king of Israel is David(1 Sm 16:1). After David’s death, Solomon takes the throne and implements significant changes to the Community of Israel with the construction of military fortresses, a palace and temple, trade routes, growth of intellectual culture, and educational expressions with art and poetry.
Rehoboam, son of Solomon, becomes king and the territory of Israel was divided into two, in the North, the kingdom of the Ten Tribes, called the Kingdom of Israel in the South, the Kingdom of the Two Tribes, called the Kingdom of Judah, whose capital remained Jerusalem, which after the invasion of Babylonian Nebuchadnezzar suffers educational influences in the political and cultural field (ALEXANDER , 2015).
2.2 IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
In the New Testament period we find some characteristics of the communities. The religious Temple was the center of the community, as an educational space that was learned the Laws and was also a center of exchange, of political and social articulations (GASS, 2007). Within the characteristics of the community and influence of the religious temple it is perceived that:
a) The Saduceus belonged to the richest layer of Judea and held economic power, land and trade, and temple offices. Most of the population was poor and lived mainly from agriculture, livestock, fishing and handicrafts.
b) The Scribes who said what was right and wrong in the community belonged to the Pharisee group (MARK 2:16; 7:5).
c) The Priests controlled the Temple and through it, the whole economy of the country.
d) For the Jews the pure people were those who went to the Temple to pay their tributes, and thereby strengthened the economy.
2.3 THE LIFE OF JESUS IN COMMUNITY
Jesus was a person who lived within a human context, that is, belonged to a family, worked, had political opinion, and an economic condition. Jesus was from a simple village called Nazareth. Its residents were marginalized and poor, treated as incapable and thieves (JOHN 1:46; 7: 52). However, Jesus worked as a carpenter and was an honest citizen, paying taxes to priests and Romans (MARK 12:13).
Within a divine context, Jesus inaugurates a new history between God and humanity, as the Apostle John the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. (JOHN, 1:14) from this fact, it is no longer the God who spoke only through prophets and priests, but rather the God who participates and lives in human existence, feels, sympathizes and especially loves. God’s love through the Son is so that humanity will not perish and have eternal life (JOHN 6:40). That is, a purpose of redemption unique to the human being. Jesus, healing, restores social dignity, but also provides eternity. This is made clear in Jesus’ messages as he talks about the Kingdom of God that is a Kingdom established in Heaven and on earth. Therefore, those who accept Jesus’ message are marked by a new dimension of spiritual and moral character, in addition to the way of living in community (QUEIROZ, 2015). It is no longer a community that relates between the eye for an eye or a tooth for a tooth, but it seizes the importance of justice and peace, of joy in the Holy Spirit (ROMANS 15:17). The community becomes an educational space for life in solidarity and forgiveness (MATTHEW 5: 38-42).
2.4 THE COMING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, THE IDENTITY OF THE COMMUNITY
Jesus before ascending to heaven reintegrates the relationship between his followers with God through the Holy Spirit, “And I will pray to the Father, and he will give you another Comforter, that he may be with you forever” (JOHN 14:16) The coming of the Holy Spirit marks the identity of the first Christian community and a new story for the followers of Christ. He taught early Christians to face persecution and testify of a new life. This meant a re-education, adopting a new spiritual and moral posture in the community. For example, the book of Acts of the Apostles talks about the identity of the first Christian communities:
a) Experience in brotherhood: communion, breaking bread and prayers (At. 2: 42);
b) All had everything in common (At. 2: 44.45) – willingness (At. 4: 32);
c) Institution of diaconia – a group of men to care for those in need (At. 6: 1-6);
d) Importance given to women in the church – dorcas example leadership in charitable works (At. 9:36).
3. IN THE OLD AND MIDDLE AGES
The period of ancient history between the year 30 and the year 692 was divided into two stages in the history of the people of Israel: the first is from the year 33 to the year 313, in which the Romans persecute christians until the Edict of Milan (313 AD), thereafter, the end of persecution occurred and the spread of Christianity was allowed. The second stage begins with the conversion of Emperor Constantine. Eighty years later, in 391 Christianity became the official religion of Rome (ARCE, 1992).
With the crisis of the Roman Empire and its conversion to the Christian religion, the church began to gain political, economic and social power, not even the fall of the empire in the 5th century and early Middle Ages prevented the growth of Christianity (ARCE, 1992). Christianity becomes the largest institution in the Middle Ages. In this period the clergy (religious leaders) and especially the pope, were the central figures of power, above the nobility of servants and peasants. Some of these groups, in the early sixteenth century end up condemning the authoritarian power of the Catholic Church, such as Martin Luther, an Augustinian monk who published his 95 theses against the power of the church. Called a Protestant, Luther had the support of servants and peasants who were tired of the bargains and indulgences of the Catholic Church. (PILETTI, 2008). The Protestant reform brought a new relationship between the church and society, the cities that adhered to the Protestant reform, such as Wittenberg, had positive changes in politics, education, and in the social context (PILETTI, 2008).
3.1 THE INFLUENCE OF PROTESTANT REFORM IN THE FORMATION OF MODERNITY
The Protestant Reformation educated that there was a freedom of man before God, without the need for intermediaries, institutions or dogmas. This was also the vision of the Enlightenment, which sought a breakthrough in scientific knowledge and fought against the intellectual ignorance caused by the religious regime (PERRY, 2002). With the Protestant reform there was a break in the authoritarian power of the Catholic Church. Modern society became freer, for example, had greater scientific autonomy in several areas of human knowledge that brought new discoveries that benefited society.
3.2 THEOLOGY AND POSTMODERNITY
The challenges to theology are various in postmodernity, the first is to orient ourselves in a totally relative period. On the one hand, there is an idea of living a postmodern world, on the other hand, postmodernity is just a face of modernity (GONÇALVES, 2005). The second challenge, perhaps the most significant, is to contextualize new scientific knowledge and moral and ethical values with faith or religion. In this context, theologies emerge in postmodernity with reflections of the Christian faith in various events in contemporary times.
4. CONTEMPORARY THEOLOGIES
In recent decades, the Church has decided to have in its longings a liturgical, biblical and pastoral renewal that fits into a postmodern society, such as in the Catholic Church, initiatives such as the creation of the church’s social doctrine and the Second Vatican Council encouraged the creation of the Basic Ecclesial Communities, which are usually constituted by church members in the local community , aiming at the proclamation of the gospel in conjunction with the educational reality, with regard to politics and the social (GONÇALVES, 2005).
In the Protestant scene, events such as: the World Congress of Evangelization in Berlin in 1966; the 1st Latin American Congress of Evangelization in Bogotá in 1969, with the theme “Action in Christ for a Continent in Crisis” and the World Congress of Evangelization in 1974 in Lausanne-Switzerland reflected and structured the basis for the mission of the Protestant church in contemporary times (SANTOS, 2015).
In view of this, it is in the 20th century that the Catholic and Protestant churches initiate actions that aim to contextualize the Christian faith in postmodernity, in addition to providing answers to the spiritual and religious questions that impels god, necessarily also need to answer questions related to the way of life of individuals, such as culture and education, politics and social context. This contextualization of faith with other important dimensions of the individual significantly influenced the theological process of living and practicing faith. Then arise contemporary theologies:
a) Liberation Theology and Theology of the Integral Mission. They are themost frequent theologies in emerging countries. In Latin America there is a discourse between the gospel and equality and social justice in society. Over time, the lower-class individuals in society were the main subjects defended in liberation and integral theology. Both argue that it is necessary to free oppressed people not only in the spiritual sense, but also in the capitalist system. Therefore, it is necessary to promote an integral gospel that takes care of the soul, body, and promotes education and quality of life. Many confuse the theologies of liberation and integral with communist movements and with karl marx ideologies, however, despite having some similarities, such as the issue of equality and against capitalist practice, it is emphasized that the true proposal of liberation and integral theology is to provide salvation in integration for the individual. This means that in addition to the rescue and salvation of the soul, it is also necessary to provide dignity and purpose of life, whether the poor person or All are creatures of God and deserve equal attention, as Jesus did, when he proclaimed life and life in abundance (Jn 10:10) for both thieves, poor, prostitutes, widows, people with disabilities, but also for rich, teachers , religious and others with more favorable social conditions in life. With the vision of reaching out to all, liberation theology and integral mission strengthen pastoral actions or chaplaincies, which were formerly a service to more than one religious leader rendered to the sick, prisoners or orphans, currently pastoral actions or chaplaincies now have a more active and plural service. Lay people and different religious leaders in partnership with government agencies and non-profit institutions develop religious and biopsychosocial assistance for different individuals and contexts, such as indigenous people, immigrants, prisoners, students and youth, the sick, the elderly, fishermen, people with disabilities, entrepreneurs and workers, in political and cultural spaces (SANTOS, 2015).
b) Afrodescendant theology seeks the desire for equality and freedom of Afrodescendants. This struggle is ancient, begins with The Aureas Laws on the liberation of black slaves, who were once treated as objects, rather than human beings. However, the liberation from slavery was not enough to bring dignity to Afrodescendants. In the United States, for example, even after liberation, there was a period of racial segregation, in which Afrodescendants had no right to worship with whites, and equal rights in society, such as attending the same school. Faced with this situation, a young African-American Baptist named Martin Luther King begins to fight for the rights of Afrodescendants for a search for equality as citizens and Christians. King’s struggle awarded him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, but it also cost him his life, and he was assassinated in 1968 (GIBELLINI, 1998).
c) Feminist theology began in the 19th century with a group of American Christian women under the leadership of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the group studying biblical passages where there was reference to women. In 1911 in Britain the “International Alliance Joan of Arc” proposed the equality of men and women between the social and religious classes. Women begin to emphasize the issue of gender in which the Bible cannot be read only with the male focus (GIBELLINI, 1998). The struggle of these women led to a victory from 1956 to 1965, when major currents of Protestantism began to order women to pastorate. In the Catholic Church, on the occasion of the Second Vatican Council, a group of women gains freedom of expression, led by Gertrud Heinzelman, they manifest themselves on the difference between the seven sacraments for man and six sacraments for women (GIBELLINI, 1998). Currently, women have more spaces in the social and religious environment, however, it is still necessary to have new achievements, such as equal pay between men and women, and more positions of female leadership, both religious and other branches of society.
d) Emerging theology has philosophical influences from criticism of religion. For emerging theologians, traditional orthodoxy can no longer communicate the gospel in a way relevant to a postmodern society, so there is discontent and criticism of traditional religious issues. Thus, it is a very emergency biblical interpretation of the postmodern world, which values spirituality more as a genuine form of connection with the Divine (MEISTER, 2006). Meetings of emerging groups usually take place in squares, parks, restaurants or in houses. The liturgy is dynamic, without an established rule or script. Members can sing “séculier” songs that contain a good lyrics for reflection of life; recite poems; read alternate Biblical texts. There is participation of all members in the development of the meeting, there is no centralized figure to guide the activities. Members often bring food and serve themselves during the time of the meeting to represent the Supper. There is not a time for offerings and tithes, expenses and financial demands are often divided among those who attend the meetings. When there are offers, such are usually applied in social projects or to help someone. There is no fulfillment of time or frequency of the members, go to the meetings who wants and leave at the time i think best.
e) The influence of modernity in the church is noted, for example, liturgies are increased by technologies such as: data show for reading the Bible and lyrics of songs, recordings of preaching and monitoring of worship over the Internet. The reception roll with snack bar and bookstore. Personalized reception: young people receive young people, married people receive married, etc. The spaces are similar to amphitheaters, lighting and decoration with a focus on visual marketing. Meetings tend to be shorter and succinct, sometimes taking place at two or more times to meet people with different routines. Many churches have adopted forms of weekly meetings for evangelization, in which people often have a first contact with the gospel in homes, that is, in places that are not properly religious. There are weekly meetings that also serve for better care and communion among members. In addition to these issues, modern theology is characterized by greater participation of the church in matters of interest to society, for example, politics and citizenship (MEISTER, 2006).
5. POLITICS, CITIZENSHIP AND RELIGIOUS MOVEMENTS
The relationship between theology and politics is a fact that can be seen throughout human history. Religion and faith occupy a significant space in relation to the moral issues of the human being, which will influence the way of seeing the world, for example, right or wrong, family and social relationships and other issues that are consistent with a political education. In addition to anthropological issues, the theme on politics in theology is set in God’s revelation to his people. According to Aquino (2008, p.108):
Christians and their churches are, in fact, social and political realities; whether it is because the experience and discourse of Christians about God is radically and definitively conditioned and configured by the historical event of israel’s liberation and by the historical praxis of Jesus of Nazareth; whether it is because the Christian faith, as a surrender to the God of Exodus, to the God of Jesus of Nazareth, is participation in the same saving praxis in which and through which God has made himself known; it is, in short, because theology, as an intelection of the praxis of the kingdom and as a specific theoretical activity, is a social and political activity.
In view of this, it is impossible to do or speak of theology without emphasizing political issues, because the Revelation of God (object of study of theology) is linked to the political context. God himself throughout human history reveals himself to people in a certain social and political scenario. This is the case of the people of Israel in the wilderness who received the Ten Commandments as an educational form of moral conduct and faith.
In Jesus’ day society had strong religious and political characteristics. Even Jesus was not killed just for claiming to be a son of God, for at that time there were several pseudoprophets who said the same, but Jesus was condemned to death for his practice was contradictory to roman political power. See an example of this in the books of John (2: 13-16) and Matthew (21: 12-13) when Jesus enters the Temple, disputes its purpose, which instead of being a sacred space will become a means of political and economic power (Jn 2:13-16). In addition, the gospels demonstrate in the parables the central tonic of Jesus’ message, The Kingdom of God, which is the integrality of all things. Those who follow Jesus proclaim the Kingdom of God, something that demands spiritual and political change, whether widows, poor, prostitutes or rich, all commitments to the Kingdom of God need to signal the Gospel as a rescue of human dignity, which demands an integral vision of the Being: spiritual, social, educational and political (AQUINO, 2008).
Currently theology and politics are linked by the fact that religious people and churches are inserted in a political scenario. Now, Christians have rights and duties, the Church, a legal institution, must obey the laws governing the order of society. In addition, it is noted that political issues throughout theology, for example, a biblical exegesis, necessarily analyze the political context, in which faith is studied in daily life.
However, even in the face of this, some church leaders or members are afraid to get involved or talk about politics. It seems that this subject does not agree with the gospel, and unfortunately this is a misunderstanding. The explanation for some Christians being afraid to get involved or talk about politics may be in the form of Christian involvement with politics:
The problem lies in the practical and theoretical forms of articulation and interaction between theology and politics. By its very nature, Christian theology cannot be reduced to politics, nor can it dispense with politics. It is a political theology, yes; but it’s not politics, just like that. In turn, politics has its dynamism and its own institutions. But these are neither “natural” nor neutral. They are products of human praxis – individual and/or institutional – and are at the service of certain interests. Interests that concern Christians and Christian churches. (AQUINO, 2008, p. 116)
According to what the author describes most religious movements engage in politics not for a noble cause, such as the promotion of education and health, but for interests without relevance to society in general. There are often churches that support and elect political candidates not for their political capacity, but for what they will gain financially. Therefore, unfortunately, we easily see cases of corruption in politics involving religious movements or leaders. Therefore, staying away from politics is not the solution, because they strengthen religious movements that are interested, besides not awakening the critical and political sense in the members, who become terrible voters, because they elect corrupt candidates or without relevant proposals for society. Therefore, it is necessary to analyze how the church and religious movements can make a policy in a way that promotes issues relevant to society, such as the educational promotion of citizenship. Therefore, it is necessary to assume the following positions:
a) Churches need to take into the view that candidates elected by them must defend the interests of society at large and this includes religious, churches, as well as non-religious.
b) Often only talk about politics in churches at the time of election. However, the church, as a representative of a society group, needs to monitor and monitor politicians outside the election season. For example, be used to build schools, improve health, public safety, among others.
c) The Church can assign its physical structure to NGOs, councils and association of Neighborhood, education, sport and leisure to local residents.
d) Churches may develop or support campaigns for citizenship, such as lectures on health and well-being, respect for the environment, combating any type of violence, promoting education and others.
Addressing the theme of politics, citizenship and religious movements is part of theological learning about communities, because the relationship between religion, faith, and politics is historical and part of the construction of a society.
It is considered that theological reflection on the community demands an educational approach regarding the social, political and economic dimensions. In this context, it is considered that religion is an influencing dimension in the construction of the community. Within a Judeo-Christian view, the religious community is built within an educational conjecture that refers to a cultural, social, political and economic construction.
It is considered that within the historical process of humanity the Protestant reform played an important role in the construction of scientific knowledge, which marked the modern era. In postmodernity, theology has an educational practice by contextualizing faith, belief with different human realities, especially social, political and economic realities. In this context, it is considered that postmodern theologies play an important role for human knowledge, relating important day-to-day issues with the practice of faith in the community.
Finally, new studies on the role of theology in the construction of postmodern knowledge are considered important, such as the role of religion in postmodern values and knowledge.
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 Master in Theology from PUC/PR. He has a specialization in Organizational Behavior; Specialization in Neuropsychopedagogy; Specialization in Philosophy and Sociology; Specialization in Teaching higher education. MBAs in Administration and Management with emphasis on spirituality and religiosity in companies. Graduated in Commercial Management. Bachelor of Theology. He holds a Degree in Philosophy and a Degree in Pedagogy.
Submitted: August, 2020.
Approved: September, 2020.