Archive for the 'Feminist theology' Category



14
Mar
09

Youth See Church as Judgmental

A majority of young people in the U.S. today describe Christianity, and the Christian church generally, as judgmental and hypocritical. Many have abandoned the name “Christian” altogether because of the “baggage” that accompanies the name. A new book released by The Barna Group, which does research of and for evangelical churches, found that church attitudes about many groups of people are driving people ages 16-29 to stay away from the church.

Even churches in the “liberal tradition”-otherwise called mainline denominations-have been heatedly embroiled in debate over the exclusion of a certain segments of the population. “The Christian community’s ability to take the high road and help to deal with some of the challenges that this perception represents may be the … defining response of the Christian church in the next decade,” said David Kinnaman, Barna Group president and author of the book, UnChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity. Continue reading ‘Youth See Church as Judgmental’

04
Mar
09

The Scandal of Jesus Christ – Three Perspectives

For much of the last two thousand years there have been scandals associated with, or hindrances to, belief in Jesus Christ as savior. What is so outrageous about the claim of salvation in Jesus that offends the moral or rational sensibilities of at least certain segments of society? In examining this question, three authors – Jan Milic Lochman, Elizabeth A. Johnson and Justo L. González – discussed the traditional orthodox views of salvation through faith in Christ in light of modern interests. The authors had particular agendas, openly declared in each of their works, around which they developed their arguments. These various arguments were in close agreement at some points and in discord at others but, when viewed collectively, created an interesting sampling of some of the opinions that make up modern Christian thought. Continue reading ‘The Scandal of Jesus Christ – Three Perspectives’

20
Feb
09

A Worthy Woman

Jesus didn’t invent the parable – he may have perfected it, but he didn’t invent it. The book of Ruth is, in its entirety, an Old Testament parable as critical of Jewish culture as Jesus was in his day. The Book of Ruth isn’t just a story with a nice moral, but is just as “in your face” to the Jewish culture as the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

Ruth, as a Moabite, was unacceptable in Jewish society. Racism was alive and well back then, too. Deuteronomy, Ezra and Nehemiah all tell how Moabites were ostracized – barred from being part of Jewish society. And it all went back to the time of Moses, when the men of Israel blamed their promiscuity on the women of Moab. Sound familiar – well, if they weren’t here, we wouldn’t have sinned. They’re the problem.

How is this story critical of that attitude?

Continue reading ‘A Worthy Woman’

11
Feb
09

Growing Beyond Numbers – a continuing project

This is a project I was involved with several years ago, while in seminary. I have threatened numerous times to revisit this and continue to work at the basic premise. It was good, just not complete. If you feel inclined to help, I would appreciate any suggestions. I will no doubt make sure that the revisions can be seen apart from the original, which is owned collectively by all the authors. Each gave their permission years ago to work with this, as long as attribution was given.

Be prepared: This is a small book. It is, at least I think, interesting and challenging – especially for churches in flux and those trying to redefine their identity – but it is not a quick read.  

Continue reading ‘Growing Beyond Numbers – a continuing project’

11
Feb
09

DOING THEOLOGY – A Series on Practical Theology

A 7-part series about praxis – the way we treat theology as an active word, rather than just something we think about if we have to.

Excerpts:

“Theology is a word that seems to bring terror to some people’s hearts, cause others to roll their eyes back in their head and, at the very least, make some folks think of a deranged, reclusive, scholarly pastor sitting amid a room full of books reading under candlelight. … Theology as something we think can be important, but theology as something we do – well, now, that’s just plain powerful. ” 

“What I hoped to show is that developing theology is based on a process – a continuous process, at that – in which we actually have to contend with what we believe, and consider how the consequences play out in our reality (”our” meaning human reality, as opposed to God’s reality). Un unexamined theology risks becoming an idolatry, with that which is idolized being our own rigid dogma.”

Continue reading ‘DOING THEOLOGY – A Series on Practical Theology’

07
Feb
09

Power Flower – a Tool Against Tyranny

I am posting this on both my blogs, because it is important (I think). It sets a stage for meaningful discussion about power and privilege. These are excerpts from the full article at my other blog.

Privilege is one of those very strange things. Those who lack it generally recognize it as either something to envy or something to despise. Those who know they have it and are inclined to have more, manipulate it to their own advantage. Then there is the great, largely clueless majority who, if asked, will tell you they don’t have privilege – they are just as downtrodden as women, people of color, GLBT or whatever other group they may name. Sometimes I think that the invisible unflective privilege is the most heinous and insidious.

It is important to keep in mind that, just because a constitutional amendment is passed by popular vote, the amendment is not necessarily constitutional. Determining consistency with the overriding provisions of the constitution falls on the backs of the courts, which makes it a highly contentious and potentially unpopular part of the US system of justice. You might say that, when the courts get the most heat from the public, they may have come the closest to doing what they were created to do.

29
Jan
09

God as Mother – Innocence Lost (Part 5)

Continued from Part 4, or go to the beginning and view the Table of Contents.

I will resist the urge to recap the arguments so far. They are here, after all, to find and read in the first four parts. In this section I want to speak of why this topic is important in the first place. Nothing like waiting until the end to do that, is there? Ultimately, what I have to say on this will be based on two central beliefs.

(i) As long as it falls short of idolatry, the image that each of us has of God can serve be valuable for our faith lives. It is one thing to say, “I find an affinity with a male or female image of God that informs my personal spiritual journey,” and a whole different thing to say, “God is male – to say otherwise is blashemy, a sin or whatever.” We have a right to envision God in the way that is most comfortable to us, as long as we remain cognizant of the fact that it is just an image.

(ii) When it comes to public worship or study, however, our personal image of God needs to be left at the door. In this situation, we may be responsible not just for our own spirituality, but that of others as well. To formalize or otherwise restrict public worship and theology to that of our own is to reach the point of idolizing our own rationality, or irrationality as the case may be. Continue reading ‘God as Mother – Innocence Lost (Part 5)’

28
Jan
09

God as Mother – Masculinity Lost? (Part 4)

Continued from Part 3, or go to beginning at Part 1.

EMASCULATION OR UN-MASCULINIZATION OF GOD

Opponents of inclusive imagery and language about God often claim it is bordering on blasphemy, with a significant number of those making the case being women. Proponents cite myriad reasons for its legitimacy. For now, let’s begin by looking at the arguments for the masculine image of God, so we can determine what’s at stake in changing our approach.

Except for Mormons, many who believe there is a God-mother beside the God-father, and some non-trinitarian sects, most adherents of Christians sects believe that the totality of God is wrapped up in the trinitarian formula, “Father, Son and Holy Ghost (Spirit).” To change that formulation, many think, is to attack the very nature of God and to lead people away from the “true” God. Besides the fact that God does not need protecting, on which I hope we would all agree, then what is in need of protection is a tenet of faith – a dogma – a way of understanding God. The way in which we speak of God does not change who and what God is. The tenacity with which people hold onto specific images prompts us to ask, “What is really at stake?” Continue reading ‘God as Mother – Masculinity Lost? (Part 4)’

26
Jan
09

God as Mother – Imagery lost (Part 3)

Continued from Part 2. Or go to Table of Contents

Feminine images of God still abound in scripture, as discussed in Part 1. Those images, however, are simply those that have survived the expurgation by 3rd and 4th century “masculinizers” of the text. I know, that’s not technically a word – at least it wasn’t, but it is now. Examples could be used from the texts that were omitted, like the Odes of Solomon, but they are not part of the canon and so would be open to ridicule. Examples of passages still in the Bible have already been covered. To make the point on how images have been expunged, I will simply examine the instance of El Shaddai – Almight God – as the case in point. Continue reading ‘God as Mother – Imagery lost (Part 3)’

22
Jan
09

God as Mother – lost in later tradition (Pt 2)

Continued from: God as Mother – more traditional than you might think.  Or go to Table of Contents

WHAT DID JESUS DO?

The most common reason given for calling God “God the Father”, “Father God” or “Father” is that Jesus did, and told us to do so as well. That is true, of course, only when you read a translation of the New Testament in something other than Greek. Greek had some interesting abnormalities that affect translation – unusual facets that were easy to miss, or to ignore, depending on your perspectives or intentions. Continue reading ‘God as Mother – lost in later tradition (Pt 2)’

18
Jan
09

Feminist Perspectives and Gen 1:26-28 (Part 5)

Continued from Deconstruction and the Hermaneutic of Suspicion or go to Table of Contents

GENESIS 1:26-28 – THE IMAGE OF GOD

Underlying much of feminist biblical hermeneutics, obviously, is the issue of equality of the genders, with many feminists directly addressing the issue of “the image of God” or imago dei. This concept originates with Genesis 1:26-28, and is picked up in a few other biblical texts, most notably 1 Corinthians 11:7-8.  The problem with the imago dei from the viewpoint of feminist theology is not so much the meaning of “made in the image of God”, which has generated all manner of exceedingly complicated theological discourse since Iranaeus’ misconceptions were corrected by Augustine of Hippo[1], but rather the question of who was made in the image of God. Continue reading ‘Feminist Perspectives and Gen 1:26-28 (Part 5)’

18
Jan
09

Feminist Perspectives on Biblical Authority (Part 4)

Continued from: Feminist Theology or go to Table of Contents

DECONSTRUCTION AND THE HERMANEUTIC OF SUSPICION

Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza has been a leading advocate of a hermeneutical approach that incorporates a “dual emphasis on deconstruction and reconstruction.”[1] This process necessitates delving into what is ambiguously stated, omitted from or is inferred in a passage, as well as what is said.  It calls into question the patriarchal formulation of orthodoxy, including the process of rejecting other ancient works in the development of the canon, as part and parcel of the church’s historical approach to marginalizing women. Continue reading ‘Feminist Perspectives on Biblical Authority (Part 4)’

18
Jan
09

Feminist Perspectives on Biblical Authority (Part 3)

Continued from Biblical Authority or go to Table of Contents

FEMINIST THEOLOGY

Many groups with special theological interests found considerable fodder in the development of this multiplicity of investigative approaches to scripture, among them various kinds of “Third World” liberation theologies and, of particular interest here, feminist theologies. It is difficult to represent a norm for feminist theology, since there are several schools of thought. The common denominator, as expressed by Letty Russell, is a theological approach of advocacy for women that “represents a search for liberation from all forms of dehumanization … advocating full human personhood for all.”[1]  Continue reading ‘Feminist Perspectives on Biblical Authority (Part 3)’

18
Jan
09

Feminist Perspectives on Biblical Authority (Part 2)

Continued from The Creation Story or go to the Table of Contents

BIBLICAL AUTHORITY

The “authority of scripture” has quite a range of meanings in Christian theology and, for the purposes of this essay, will be discussed in quite broad strokes with relation to scriptures. The status of authority extends from scripture simply being considered the word of God. This is viewed in several ways, and is to some extent indicative of how we approach God. Continue reading ‘Feminist Perspectives on Biblical Authority (Part 2)’




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That's too bad - I'm so sorry. Oh, well, just try to make the best of it. What you'll find here is a variety of essays and ramblings to do with things theological, social, whimsical and, sometimes, all three. I don't write to get famous - trust me, I've been told how futile that would be - but to express myself. I love to communicate and browbeat - ummm, I mean dialogue - about the things I find intriguing. Since you're here, and the door's locked, why don't you stay a while. There's a page bar under the header with links to information about us - I mean me. Don't forget to tell me what you think - in a nice way, I mean.

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