“Book Review.” Boff, Leonardo. Ecclesiogenesis: The Base Communities Reinvent the Church. 1997. New York: Orbis Books.

Leonard Boff went to school in Brazil and Munich, Germany. He is an author who is known for books such as Jesus Christ Liberator, Ecology & Liberation, Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor, and Holy Trinity, Perfect Kingdom.

The thesis of this book is basic church communities have sprung up in reaction to massive structures of uniformity, an in doing so they represent a a new experience of church, community and of communion of people within the ancient tradition (:1).

The book is laid out in seven segments. The first explores the definition and reaction of the new communities forming. The chapter “a new experience” looks at elements of the church such as institutional and communitarian that coexist with each other.

The next segment defines whether church is just ecclesial elements by exploring different opinions and by going deeper into the basic communities.

The next paragraph will look at the reinvention of the church and its new ways of function and growing while exploring new territory.

Chapter 4 focuses on themes of liberation for oppressed people through looking at beginning steps to change, organization, as well as obstacles faced.

Chapter 5 looks at the question of whether the historical Jesus will only institute one form of church? What was Jesus’ will? This chapter will explore Jesus life and will for the church in depth. The last two chapters focus on some qualms that more traditional or conservative groups might have with the church, such as the role of the lay coordinator in communion and finally the role of women in the priesthood.

The part that I found very compelling and appropriate to my case study was chapter four on oppressed people and liberation. He talks about the Third Inter-Church meeting and how for the first time ever, it was not just the priests or bishops who had a voice. The people, the congregation were speaking, were able to speak about their oppression, the injustice, the treatment and systemic powers that have kept them victims for so long. He discusses that the people can the create a movement of change.

What a great concept of people taking ownership over their situation, having a sense of purpose and dignity, and working together to change through grassroots groups and forming communities. That seems very kingdom-like to me.

I think that when comparing this to Churches that Make a Difference, those authors would agree that by enabling the people so be a part of creating the change, you will have better results. In that text, much of the inner city examples in Philadelphia churches were about enabling people, not just ministering to them, but by making them a part of a community that cared and was being kingdom-like. I see great vision in this model.

That is the key for the change and relationships that I want to see at Union Rescue Mission. The first step is giving people a voice, and then allowing them to become a part of the revolution.



2 Responses to ““Book Review.” Boff, Leonardo. Ecclesiogenesis: The Base Communities Reinvent the Church. 1997. New York: Orbis Books.”

  1. masaki Says:

    Reading your review, I was for some reason reminded of “si se puede!”

  2. jrrozko1 Says:

    Great review, it really seems like you got what Boff was after and you are one of the few in the class who attempted to both relate the book to your case study as well as to other class sources, in this case the Sider book. This will prove useful as you write your final paper.

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