A couple of weeks ago I read a fantastic article that has stuck with me. The article was entitled “Feminist theology’s contribution to pastoral theology” [link] and it was 10 pages packed with goodness.
One section that I have returned to several times said, “Margaret Farley effectively encapsulates the program of feminist theology under three themes:
- relational patterns among human persons,
- human embodiment, and
- human assessment of the meaning and value of the world of ‘nature’.”
Those three themes resonate with me deeply.
Relational patterns among humans is the entire reason I got into the field of practical theology. I wanted out of theology as abstract ideas and speculation. The practices of faith and the lived reality of religious communities fascinates me. I want to know what people do with their faith, how it forms and informs their activity in the world. I am convinced that meaning is socially constructed and that belief must be relationally enacted.
Human embodiment is the logical outcome of this line of reasoning. Christianity is a religion centered on the event of the incarnation. Said another way, Christianity is an incarnational religion. Faith, to really be faith, must be embodied and enacted. Our bodies matter to God. This is why I love Elaine Graham’s use of ‘perfomativity’ in her book Transforming Practice.
Value of the world of ‘nature’ is going to be increasingly crucial in our lifetime. The environmental/ecological issues are only going to become more intense and more consequential. The thing that many christians seem to confuse is that the ‘new heaven and new earth’ promise of scripture is not a clean break with this current one but a redemption/restoration of it at some level (or in some way). God loves the world (John 3:16) and what that means needs some new attention.
These three themes got me thinking: much of the time I wish that feminist theology was just theology. Part of how masculine theology gets to avoid using a modifier and hold onto the mantle of regular or plain ole’ theology is by employing the modifier feminist to qualify certain work.
I’ll pause there for today. I just wanted to:
A) share this quote and these three themes with you
B) encourage to look for the work of Kathryn Tanner , Serene Jones, Emilie Townes, bell hooks, Elizabeth Johnson, Marjorie Suchocki, Monica Coleman, Sheila Greeve Davaney, Grace Ji-Sun Kim and my PhD advisor Sheryl Kujawa-Holbrook in our theology in the new year series.
I’ll pick up tomorrow with ‘Your Kin-dom Come!’ and the work of Ada Maria Isasi-Diaz’s “Solidarity: Love of Neighbor in the 21st Century” in Lift Every Voice: Constructing Christian Theologies from the Underside.
 Farley, Margaret A. “Feminist theology and bioethics” in Feminist theology: a reader / edited by Ann Loades. 1990, pp.238-254, at p.240
 ie. Mary Daly, Sallie McFague, Rosemay Radford Ruether who are explicitly addressing issue related to gender and patriarchy