[the AAR session description is to big to fit in the Private Notes section -- this is not a review]
A22-206 Christian Systematic Theology Section and Th...more[the AAR session description is to big to fit in the Private Notes section -- this is not a review]
A22-206 Christian Systematic Theology Section and Theology and Religious Reflection Section and Ecclesiological Investigations Group and Roman Catholic Studies Group Joy McDougall, Emory University, Presiding Theme: A New Theology of Hope? An Ecumenical Reception of John Thiel's Icons of Hope (University of Notre Dame Press, 2013) Saturday - 1:00 PM-3:30 PM Convention Center-29C Karen Kilby, University of Durham John Thiel's Icons of Hope: Ressourcement and Aggiornamento Michelle Gonzalez Maldonado, University of Miami The Dead, the Spirit, and Saints: Latina Eschatology Grounded in Everyday Religion Kathryn Tanner, Yale University Kant and the Moral Significance of Eschatology Cynthia Rigby, Austin Theological Seminary Reclaiming the "Body," in "Bodily Resurrection": Thiel's Provocation of a Re-Imagined Reformed Eschatology Responding: John E. Thiel, Fairfield University(less)
Twice in less than a week I was put in a position to recommend feminist [Christian] theology texts, but I had never actually read any feminist theolog...moreTwice in less than a week I was put in a position to recommend feminist [Christian] theology texts, but I had never actually read any feminist theology books (I just sort of absorbed by osmosis and jumped ahead to queer theology, [queer and non-] Jewish commentary, etc.), so I started to read the feminist theology books I had adopted from Jeff+Julie when they moved out of the country.
Published in 2001, this book feels a bit outdated (cough, gender essentialism) and also has a moment where I would have thrown the book across the room/quit reading except I was committed to finishing the book for the purposes of this project -- in the chapter on embodiment, the author is clearly uncomfortable with sexuality and hospitality as models for God because of the ways they have been used to exploit women, which are valid concerns, and it's unfair for me to ask people to be at the same stage of comfort/reclamation as I am, but in talking about eros, Grey says, "As holy it stands in direct opposition and rejection of distorted forces such as sadomasochism and pornography. They are to be opposed as wrong relation" (p. 80, emphasis in original). While I think Grey is wrong, I understand why she thinks this. However, on the next page she says, "Pornography in its truest sense is not eros (or even sex) but violence" (p. 81, emphasis in original). Maybe define your terms before making such claims?
Okay, backing out from my specific critiques to my broader concerns about the book...
The book feels surface (it talks at length about God as "our passion for justice" and yet barely talks about process theology... it talks about eros and never mentions Audre Lorde's "The Uses of the Erotic"...) and I'm just not that compelled.
I realized, in talking to Ari, both that I came into this book wanting feminINE images of God, and that I don't care about a lot of its arguments. Its purpose seems to be to present ways to conceive of God that aren't oppressive like the traditional patriarchal models have been, and (a) these aren't issues I personally feel a need to work through at this point in my life, (b) answers such as goddess or "our passion for justice" don't resonate for me.
The final chapter, on Sophia, seems to be positing that Sophia is the optimal feminist imagery of God -- but doesn't really explain what Sophia means. I felt a little like Sophia combines and improves upon all the things the author has already talked about and found lacking, though in actually returning to the text I don't think that's technically wholly true.
The Table of Contents of the book is: 1. Struggling to Move 'Beyond God the Father' 2. Encountering Gods as 'She' 3. Images of God in Jewish Feminism 4. God--Our Passion for Justice 5. The God who Liberates and who does not Liberate: The Challenge of Womanist Theology 6. An Embodied God 7. Tragedy in God 8. The Re-emergence of Sophia Epilogue: The Journey is Home
In the Sophia chapter, Grey lays out 6 threads ("What I try now do to here is to sketch a kind of cartography for Sophia, Lady Wisdom, weaving in and out of the many inspirational strands in which she is sought and savoured, without ignoring the negative reactions and backlash she has evoked and the theological issues raised" -.p. 102-3): 1. the Wisdom literature of the Hebrew Bible 2. "the mythological strand and the role of Sophia in other ancient Near Eastern cultures. For Sophia is also a goddess figure appearing in the religions and cosmos of many lands." (p. 104) 3. "the way that Sophia as goddess functions as an empowering figure in women's spiritual journeys" (p. 106) 4. Sophia in Christian feminist liturgies 5. "Sophia is also present in the Russian Orthodox theological tradition" (p. 107) 6. "the steadily insistent way that feminist theology has been working on the integrating of scriptural Sophia themes within Christian doctrine and systematic theology" (p. 108)(less)
Reading the Amazon blurb (and accompanying reviews), I get the impression that much of the book is the sort of 101 "depression is not a moral failing,...moreReading the Amazon blurb (and accompanying reviews), I get the impression that much of the book is the sort of 101 "depression is not a moral failing, psychopharmacology and psychotherapy can be beneficial," and I also suspect that my theology differs somewhat from the author's, but the "spiritual direction" portion might be a fruitful resource for building the book I keep saying I want to (co-)write (What the Christian tradition has to offer people dealing with severe chronic depression).(less)