Updates on Listening by Xochitl Alvizo

X.Alvizo CSUN Profile 2-editedThe pieces of my dissertation are beginning to float to the surface, piece by piece, released into the world as smaller parts of the whole. At some point this all may become a book, but for now, I have enjoyed the opportunity to share some of the learning from my dissertation research in book chapters, articles, and blog posts, which I’d like to share with you all so that you can see some of what I’ve been up to these days.

The most recent piece that has come to be is an article on The Listening Guidethe particular method of narrative analysis I used to analyze the transcriptions of the interviews I conducted with participants of Emerging Church congregations. I’m particularly excited about this piece because I think it could be a useful tool to many of us in our respective fields of study and work. And although my particular context is theological and, even more specifically, Christian, as a tool and method, The Listening Guide can be used for reflection and be of great value in a variety of contexts.  Continue reading “Updates on Listening by Xochitl Alvizo”

From Mary Daly to the Emerging Church – An Unlikely Dissertation Trajectory by Xochitl Alvizo

Alvizo headshot smallIt was 2004 during the first semester in one of my classes for the master’s program when my TA presented a lecture on feminist critiques of atonement and introduced me to the writings of Mary Daly. It was my first introduction to feminism as theory and theology, and my first introduction to Mary Daly the writer.

Mary Daly was the first woman to preach at the Harvard Memorial Chapel in its three-hundred and thirty-six year history, back in 1974. On that occasion and in cahoots with some of her graduate students of the time, Mary Daly took the opportunity to invite people to give physical expression to their exodus from sexist religion by walking out of the church with her that day. Thinking that she would be leading the way out the door, she was surprised to find that people were very much ahead of her. She walked out of that church, out of sexist religion, as one among many who were ready to take their “own place in the sun.” This exodus, the act of leaving behind the silence and alienation from one’s own voice and from one’s own be-ing that is perpetuated by the prevailing patriarchal structures of church, is a choice I commit to make every day as I stay on the boundary of Christianity and church. Continue reading “From Mary Daly to the Emerging Church – An Unlikely Dissertation Trajectory by Xochitl Alvizo”

Using the Listening Guide to Leave Oneself Open to Discovery by Xochitl Alvizo

I am deep in the throes of writing my dissertation. Writing started in earnest, in its most recent stretch, in mid-July when I came out to write in isolation in my home city of Los Angeles.* If all goes as scheduled (so far, so good), I will be submitting the first chapter to my editor today, the same date of publication as this blog post. Of course, after my editor’s suggestions, the chapter then goes to my advisor and will inevitably have a life of its own after that. For now, I am enjoying the moment of being on the cusp of completing my very first chapter. I’m a big believer in celebrating every moment of success!

Last month I was in the throes of data analysis. My dissertation involves qualitative research with twelve Emerging Church congregations across the United States. From that research I ended up with 40 audio -hours of transcriptions from the interviews I conducted. I spent the whole month of June – again, in isolation –in San Diego at Point Loma Nazarene University* focusing on the task at hand. Analyzing data is a completely different challenge than writing, and finding the best method of analysis based on one’s own commitments particularly so. Luckily, I found a method of analysis that allowed me to ‘listen deeply’ to my data and leave myself open to discovery.

I have written before about Nelle Morton’s feminist principle of ‘hearing each other to speech’, its importance in my own life, and how valuable I think it could be for those of us in academentia and for the way we do our work. There is a logic that sometimes dominates in the academy of finding the fault in the argument of the other and building one’s own argument in opposition to it. That is not, however, the manner in which I want to do my own work. Nelle Morton proposes a model of engaging one another in which we commit to ‘hearing all the way’, to “depth hearing.” The practice is of a kind of hearing that engages the whole self to the point that you might find yourself holding your breath in order to allow the coherence of someone else’s story to form and come together. Her claim is that this kind of hearing evokes “a new speech – a new creation” because it enables the speaker to be heard to their own story, thereby creating the possibility for new imagining, an imagining that contributes to the mutual empowerment and transformation of both hearer and speaker. Continue reading “Using the Listening Guide to Leave Oneself Open to Discovery by Xochitl Alvizo”

Feminism and the Emerging Church By Xochitl Alvizo

What is emerging in the emerging church will not be faithful, liberative, or just if it continues to perpetuate the erasure of women’s herstory. 

There has been on ongoing conversation among Christian identified people for about 20-30 years now. It originally started in the U.K. and Australia before making its impact in the U.S.  It has its roots in evangelical Christianity but has since extended more broadly to Christians of all stripes including Catholic ones. This conversation is often referred to as the Emerging Church, the emerging church movement, or, as preferred by many, the Emerging Conversation. Phyllis Tickle has written a book, The Great Emergence, suggesting that this movement represents a much larger historical transformation of Christianity that occurs about every 500 years prompting a kind of house cleaning and rummage sale of the church. Continue reading “Feminism and the Emerging Church By Xochitl Alvizo”

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