God’s Journey Home: Toward a Theology of Migration and Home from the Americas
This dissertation explores the meaning and importance of migration and home for the Christian Life in the context of modernity and the colonial history of the Americas. In doing so, it offers a constructive theological proposal that addresses two interrelated questions. First, what does a truly flourishing human life look like in view of the realities of migration and home? That is to say, how are migration and home aspects of God's created order that are deformed by human sinfulness yet still caught up in the eschatological renewal of all things? Second, can Christianity, despite its role in the colonization of the Americas, offer a vision of migration and home that leads to the flourishing of all creatures? This dissertation addresses these questions by locating the realities and experiences of migration and home within the Triune drama of God's creative, reconciling, and redemptive work as enacted within the story of the Americas—its peoples, lands, and cultures, from the moment of colonization up to our current modern moment.This study makes a methodological contribution to the fields of Reformed and Latinx theology by engaging in a mode of ressourcement from the margins. In dialogue with the works of Karl Barth, George Tinker, Willie Jennings, and Latinx theologians, like Virgilio Elizondo and Ada María Isasi-Díaz, I demonstrate how Christianity's eschatological vision of all creation joined together in Christ by the Spirit provides an alternative to a colonial and modern vision of home grounded in the commodification of the land, the destruction of native cultures, and the segregation of peoples into racial and national enclosures. Moreover, I argue that the Virgin's appearance to Juan Diego at Tepeyac, Mexico in 1531 summons the Church to look for God's redemptive homecoming at the margins of society where the political, economic, and socio-cultural negotiations that displaced peoples make in order to make a home in the world become the site of the Spirit's reconciling and redeeming work in creation. The final chapter provides a theological account of what sociologist Paolo Boccagni describes as the "migration-home nexus" by arguing that a flourishing human life takes place at the nexus of migration and home and the forms of political, economic, and cultural negotiations and mestizaje that this nexus produces. I argue that through these, the Spirit works to transform creation into the eternal home of God. I conclude by drawing on the notion of ‘transplantation’ to describe wise ways of migrating and homing in anticipation of the Triune God's redemptive homecoming.
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