“What Exactly Is Justice?” was the message presented by Dr. Leopoldo Sánchez during a presentation at Concordia on Monday, Jan. 19, Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Sánchez’s presentation was open to the public and concluded with a question and answer session.
Sánchez says, “What exactly is justice? My thesis is simple: How one defines justice depends much on how one sees the neighbor encountered in real life. Is the neighbor the beneficiary of my mercy? A partner to work with to alleviate suffering? A sinner to be punished or restored? Someone for whom Christ died? Our views of the neighbor shape our approaches to justice. Before we talk about what justice is too generally, we must inevitably face our neighbor in particular. For the neighbor is, in the end, the human face of justice.”
Sánchez’s work has been predominately in Hispanic theological education and Hispanic theological issues, which includes experience in the areas of marginality, poverty, immigration and the intersection of theology and culture.
Sánchez was born in Concepcion, Chile, and raised in Panama City in the Republic of Panama. He received his Ph.D. from Concordia Seminary in 2003. He serves as an associate professor of systematic theology at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, where he also serves as director of the Center for Hispanic Studies. He is also the Elizabeth Ringger Krause chair for Hispanic ministries.
Sánchez has worked with local churches in Caracas, Venezuela, and San José, California. As director of the Center for Hispanic Studies, he oversees, leads and partners with seminary faculty, as well as a team of Spanish-speaking staff, instructors and regional coordinators from across the United States in the development and implementation of Spanish-language lay theological education, ministerial formation and graduate programs, as well as research and continuing education initiatives for Hispanic/Latino groups.
He is a regular presenter at conferences in the U.S. and abroad. He also enjoys playing double-bass with the St. Louis Civic Orchestra and playing in jazz, Latin and Klezmer groups. He lives in St. Louis with his wife, Tracy Lynn, and their two children, Lucas Antonio and Ana Victoria.
Sánchez’s presentation is part of the Looking Beyond Speaker Series, which is made possible through an ongoing gift from Martin and Regina Maehr. The series was created to expose Concordia students and the Seward community to diverse speakers and ideas.