At the 2019 Canadian School of Peacebuilding (CSOP), Gordon Zerbe and Dann Pantoja teamed up in teaching “Justice, Peacebuilding, and a Theology of Struggle.” Gordon provided the theological and theoretical frameworks and analyses. Dann shared his peacebuilding field stories. Their 12 students, who came from 8 countries, gathered in Winnipeg last 17-21 June.
The course explored various peacebuilding and justice initiatives in the context of multiple layers of protracted armed conflicts. Based on the experiences of field practitioners in the Philippines, the role of religion and theology in the conflict arena and in peace and justice efforts were explored — including Christian Filipino “theology of struggle,” Indigenous spiritual identity, and Islam-inspired theology of liberation, alongside interfaith dialogue. Implications for a broad range of contexts were examined through case studies, small group discussions, and inputs.
Gord and Dann wanted their students to —
- understand the significance of the interacting factors (historical, political, economic, socio-cultural, religious, etc.) in a protracted conflict situation, as illustrated by the Philippines;
- deepen their ability to analyze and assess justice and peacebuilding initiatives in the context of the multiple layers of armed conflicts;
- comprehend the character and significance of a “theology of struggle” and the role of religion in relation to social movements in the Philippines; and,
- be able to articulate a personal theology of justice and peacebuilding relevant to her/his historical context.