Tomorrow is Good Friday on the western Christian calendar, the day when western Christians remember Jesus’ death on the cross. The day is often memorialized in ways that recall Jesus’ last moments, from his final steps to his final words, with great specificity. For as many traditions to observe the day, there are theologies to interpret just what, if anything, the cross “means.” In the past few years, I have found myself moving further and further away from identifying this day as one that saves. If I am honest, it has been, and continues to be, an exercise and practice in theological freedom. For me it started with the moment in my first year of theology class when my professor spoke about Anselm and Abelard, of transactions, of debt satisfaction. Something about seeing this formula within its feudal context – of seeing it for the first time as a deeply contextual rather than eternal or primordial or absolute theology – struck a chord and disrupted some sediments I considered unshakeable.
This fissure and subsequent reimagining has continued as over the years I’ve engaged the work of womanist and feminist theologians. There was sister FAR contributor Xochitl Alvizo’s post last year disrupting the spectacle of Good Friday, of re-imaging new rituals that do not dwell on death. There is the work of JoAnne Terrell, the books Proverbs of Ashes and Saving Paradise by feminists Rebecca Parker and Rita Nakashima Brock, and my professor Shelly Rambo’s work on spirit and trauma. I suppose if I am anywhere on the topic, I am just no longer sure that Jesus paid a debt he did not owe because I owe a debt I cannot pay. I am unconvinced that suffering redeems, that blood atones, that the death of a son – of anyone’s daughter or son – brings satisfaction. Certainly feminists and womanists hold diverse beliefs, but here is where I can stand, for now.
Continue reading “Reflections on Good Friday by Kathryn House”
My work is transformed when I view the task at hand through verbs I learned through gardening: tend, nurture, sow, dig, weed, share, till, harvest, nourish, rest.
Yesterday was the autumnal equinox, which means that fall is officially here. Right on cue, the first leaves are changing from green to shades of gold and crimson. The air is crisp, and the nights are cooler. In the Northern Hemisphere, fall also marks the beginning of the harvest season. Tending a garden has certainly changed the way I think about food, but it has also given me a lens through which to reflect more broadly on community, justice, faith, and hope. I love that gardening invites me to consider a way of being that is governed by a rhythm all its own. This steady beat brings my tendency to rush without reflecting to a halt. Every garden is unique and every gardener has a different philosophy, of course. For myself and for the housemates with whom I have gardened over the years, these three raised beds have come to constitute a sacred space. A space of hospitality, of nurture and delight, they are a space around which we are reminded of finitude, of beginnings and endings, of gratitude. Continue reading “To Garden by Kathryn House”
Where are the virtual facepalms, open letters, memes, ironic but heartfelt Tumblrs, and You Tube counter-protests from Christians who found Akin’s views unfathomable?
With gratitude for Michele’s astute and moving blog on Thursday, I have also wrestled with Rep. Akin’s statements last week. Michele’s passionate post is one of several that have helped me to understand how these comments provide a window into a more disturbing and dangerous framework for evaluating women’s experiences, intelligence, and well being. In addition to the incredible piece from Eve Ensler that Michele referenced, I will not soon forget Shauna Prewitt’s brutal honesty and courage in recounting her experience of rape, the child she chose to have, and of her activism now as an attorney. Nor will I forget the considerations of race and class raised by the Women of Color Activists. The recent outcry and counter-protest from Christians horrified by revelations about Chick-fil-A’s investments gave me hope for a plethora of theologically framed responses.
Continue reading “Christian Responses to Akin? by Kathryn House”
If you have been socialized that fading into the background should be your first concern, cycling can seem like one long experiment in declaring your valuable, irreplaceable, amazing existence in this world.
I love riding my bicycle for many reasons. It clears my head, is convenient, affordable, good for the environment and good for my calf muscles. It no doubt also has its dangers, but most of the time, I love maneuvering through Boston’s busy streets.
I have not always been a bicycle enthusiast. Last week as she was preparing for a sermon, a friend asked if any of us had good stories about “saying yes.” I explained that my “yes” to biking has always seemed to me a story of “saying yes” to one thing and getting something else altogether. Riding my bike has also become a surprising source of insight in this first year of doctoral work in theology, and about how one who identifies as a feminist begins to engage theologically.
Continue reading “To “Ride By On a Wheel” by Kathryn House”