Rethinking Church Communally and Creatively by Xochitl Alvizo

I spend a curious amount of time discussing, studying, and writing about polity – the structures and procedures of congregational/denominational governance (my previous post about communion reflects one kind of polity). Amid theological and sociological research about the decline, revival, or re-emergence of Christianity and the church, my research specifically focused on how emerging congregations organized and structured their decision-making processes. As a “body” – ecclesial, social, political – what are the new and creative ways that congregations structure and organize their collective living and relating?

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Toward an Alternative Ecclesiology by Xochitl Alvizo 

I mentioned in a recent post that I would share a little more about my current research, as one of the aspects of my life I gained more clarity in during my recent process of regrounding was in the area of my research.

Two things stood out to me as I reflected on my work and scholarship: my concern for individual human dignity drives my work—it is an underlying thread in how I think and theologize. The second is that I want to make a major contribution to the theology of the church—I know I want to write a feminist ecclesiology. These two things are obviously related. I have witnessed enough of the ways that not only Christianity harms people, but how the church specifically is a conduit for the damages Christianity causes. At the same time, Christianity remains a living tradition, a shared story and language, and a community to which many are committed. So just as people are harmed by church, some are also nurtured and held by it. While it is true, then, that church indeed harms people and violates their dignity, often also justifying that violation on theological grounds, it need not do so and has other possibilities before it.

Thus, I want to contribute to a theology of church that is a grounded and liberating alternative to the problematic one to which people most often default or inherit. A queer, feminist, anti-racist, and decolonial ecclesiology.    

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