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Both Elizondo and Russell believe this
mixture of encounters allows humanity to gain an insight into God that would
not otherwise be available from one’s own, limited perspective. Moreover, their
respective theological methods for liberation cannot exist within a vacuum but
must engage with the oppressive structures in the cultures in which inequality
lies. The two-fold mestizaje identity of Jesus as both fully divine-man and
Galilean-Jew solidified His context as one consisting of fragmented identities.

It is this context that allowed Jesus to become a transformative agent of unity
within the distinct identities and cultures which He was apart. The radical way
in which He bridges divisions can only be conveyed in its full capacity though
Elizondo’s inclusion of Jesus’ “impure, culturally mixed, freedom-loving, and
rebellious” origins: Galilea ( Elizondo 53). Elizondo writes that “to be a
Galilean Jew was already to be on of the ignorant, insignificant, and despised
of the world” (Elizondo 53). He did not simply do things for the suffering in
his society but transformed it as an identifying member of society’s lowliest
outcasts. As Russell and Elizondo advocate, Jesus liberated the world from the
“bottom-up.” In other words, He relieved and was concerned with the plight of
the marginalized before the privileged in His society. The face of God could
just have easily been manifested as that of an influential ruler sitting on a
throne of privilege, where He would not have needed to interact with the
undesired among Him. In particular, Elizondo equates the person of Jesus
surrounded by a similar set of cultural, social, and biological circumstances
with those of the Mexican Americans living in the southwestern United States.

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The respective theologies of Letty
Russell and Virgilio Elizondo are inspired by the unifying nature of Christ, as
He reveals the nature of our God in response to the oppressed of society. In
brief, they have prophetically called us to perceive the world through the eyes
of the poor, marginalized and excluded. The preference these lowly ones receive
simply for who they are gives us a glimpse of God and the reign of God.

The Christ event, according to Elizondo,
is not incidental, but in its scandal of particularity instills a model for
unity within a fragmented world. God encounters the world as a Galilean Jew to
liberate it from suffering and orient its telos towards God, where are all
creation is intrinsically valued for their role in God’s divine will.  Elizondo becomes preoccupied in this work to
liberate the marginalized from the cultural structures and institutions that
dampen their divine worth. Similarly, Russell’s ‘Round Table’ model welcomes
all to engage in “table talk” in sought of global justice. These principles are
inspired by Jesus’ concern “to make it clear that all were welcome in the reign
or household of God”, not to exclude marginalized persons who have been
considered inferior but all of God’s children (Russell 22). To Elizondo and
Russell, Jesus’ identity as one of “the ignorant, insignificant, and despised
of the world” allows Him to liberate and transform those who share in this
mestizaje – Galilean or outcast identity (Elizondo ). Through Jesus’s identity
and mission to rid the world of its suffering, we see his life-giving
liberation as one of the lowliest and shunned of society. Elizondo,
particularly, depicts The Son of God as a symbol of unity because of His mixed
encounter of identity. Jesus makes his scandal of particularity a universal
message of salvation for all of humanity. In turn, these authors’ theological
and pastoral endeavors allow others to enter into solidarity and fully realize
God’s economy for liberation and salvation.

A theology of context is not an isolated
endeavor, but one where engagement of the other is necessary; it is a theology
undertaken together. Before reflections and the tenets of our faith can be
written, oral communication verbalizes the struggles and hopes, the sadness and
joys of a people. This notion is central to Letty Russell’s methods, in
particular, of giving being to a new 

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