Today is the First Sunday of Lent, and I thought it might be a good day to issue a call for a feminist theologian who would provide some good counterpoint to the three of us men here on A Christian Thing.
Why a feminist theologian?
Because, as I learned in feminist studies, feminism in its current state isn’t solely obsessed with gender. It has more to do with power.
I recall, for example, the opening vignettes in Rosemary Ruether’s Sexism and God-Talk. There, Jesus is portrayed as someone who comes into the world to show it that with all of its conceptions of a god of sovereign power and might, the God revealed in Jesus is one who refuses power and thus liberates us from the structures of oppression by revealing our false theologies.
Or maybe we don’t just need a feminist theologian. Maybe we need a womanist. A womanist comes out of the black liberation tradition, a critique of the black liberation theology of James Cone for not taking into account theological reflection done from the perspective of the oppressed black woman portrayed vividly in the work of Alice Walker.
Why all this on the First Sunday of Lent?
Because of our meditations on the temptations of Jesus in the desert, the refusal to align himself with the powers to make the kingdom of God happen, the repentance from the way the world works by jockeying for power, the in-breaking of the eschatological kingdom that is constituted by love.
Part of that re-alignment has been pointed out by yet another feminist theologian, Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza. In Memory of Her takes its cue from Mark’s Gospel, the Gospel that we’re meditating on this Year B, to make the case that when Jesus said that the woman who washed his feet would be remembered in all proclamations of the Gospel has in fact been conveniently forgotten in a patriarchal re-constitution of Christianity.
We need a feminist theologian on A Christian Thing because we are already doing feminist theology. We are pointing out that the gendered stereotypes in conventional evangelicalism aren’t cutting it. We are demonstrating that bad theology is an alignment with the powers. We are arguing for the doing of Christian theology with the oppressed and the damned, with the depressed and the colonized, with the un-labelable and the unwanted. And we are positing that this is Christian orthodoxy because it is this that constitutes the real communion that Jesus lived with the prostitutes, the tax collectors, and the “sinners.”
We are also three heterosexual men doing what could converge with trends in feminist theology. We probably could use some help, but then again, come to think of it, maybe we’re answering the call already.
Maybe I’m mistaken to call for feminist theologians to join this blog, per se, then, as if the three of us were interested in perpetuating Christian patriarchy.
But taking up In Memory of Her, though, it might be nice if a few women joined, not least to undermine the “masculine feel” that certain neo-Calvinists might mistakenly think we are implicitly promoting by being a de facto male plurality.