Christianity is never just about beliefs, but habits and practices – for better or worse. Theology always reflects the social location of the theologian – including her privileges and prejudices – all the time working with a particular, often undisclosed, notion of what is normal. Therefore, theology is never 'neutral' – it defends particular constructions of reality, and it promotes certain interests.
Following Jesus in Invaded Space asks what – and whose – interests theology protects when it is part of a community that invaded the land of indigenous peoples. Developing a theological method and position that self-consciously acknowledges the church's role in occupying Aboriginal land in Australia, it dares to speak of God, church, and justice in the context of past history and continuing dispossession. Hence, a "Second People's theology" emerges through constant and careful attention to experiences of invasion and dis-location brought into dialogue with the theological landscape or tradition of the church.
Being a descendant of some of the first English invaders in Australia and a witness to the continuing inadequate recognition of the Church's past mistakes in this country, theologian Chris Budden felt a strong need to write this book. Leaving the past behind does not mean ignoring it, and an acknowledgement of mistakes is a prerequisite to any fruitful discourse between invaders and invaded.
In our endeavours to help the marginalised and the indigenous, Budden warns us against the arrogance of pitying them as 'poor superstitious things' who can only be helped by our own superior concept of divine grace. As Budden puts it: "We need to keep listening for voices that remind us that our normal is not necessarily everybody's normal." His book encourages us to recognise and appreciate the diverse perspectives of minority theologians. It is not just about giving a voice to these people. It is about being able to hear their own voice, to understand it, and then reinterpret our own tradition according to it.