The Motomami Theology: “Segundo chingarte, lo primero Dios.”* Part II

*“God comes first. Fu*king you, a close second.”

In Part 1 of this post, I described my first encounters with Rosalía’s music and visual arts, which are controversial for many, but I find them wonderful. I mentioned how she integrated God, mainly Catholic references and images, into a story of love and suffering in El Mal Querer. But I finished emphasizing my surprise when I listened to the album Motomami, since she managed to combine reggaeton (sexual-indecent music) and her views of God.

So, here is my attempt to describe Rosalía’s theology in Motomami. (Before I start, let me say: yes, I heard every song multiple times collecting references of God or the Christian tradition, so I hope you enjoy it.) Rosalía understands God as someone who controls our destinies amid grief and joy. In Como un G she says “It’s sad when you want something, but God has different plans for you” (“Qué pena cuando quieres algo pero Dios tiene otros planes pa’ ti”.) In Diablo, she says, “What God gives, God takes back” (Si Dios te lo da, te lo quitará), referring to her fans who first loved her but afterward became haters. God also protects us from an evil former partner when she says in Despecha‘ “May God forbid I go back to you” (“Que Dios me libre de Volver a tu la’o). God also is our help and supports our choices. Rosalía brings this concept talking about her identity as a woman, her freedom and autonomy in Saoko: “I know who I am, and I don’t forget where I’m going. I’m driving while God guides me. I am mine and I transform myself” (“Sé quién soy, y a dónde voy nunca se me olvida. Yo manejo, Dios me guía.)

Continue reading “The Motomami Theology: “Segundo chingarte, lo primero Dios.”* Part II”

The Motomami Theology: “Segundo chingarte, lo primero Dios.”* Part I

*“God comes first. Fuc*king you, a close second.”

I went to Rosalía’s promotional concert for the Motomami album in Boston a month ago. I knew some songs from her 2018 album El Mal Querer (Bad Love), a musical masterpiece. That album made Rosalía a visible star in the constellation of musicians and composers in Hispano-American mainstream music. The album has a particular story that Wikipedia explains very well:

The album was written by Rosalía and co-produced with El Guincho on an initial low budget as an independent artist. Presented as experimental and conceptual, revolving around a toxic relationship, the album was inspired by the anonymous 13th-century Occitan novel Flamenca. Therefore, every song on the album is conceived as a chapter of the book. It served as the singer’s baccalaureate project, graduating from Catalonia College of Music with honors. [Read more here]

In El Mal Querer, Rosalía mixed electronics, contemporary dances and rhythms, and traditional flamenco sounds and movements in a beautiful musical and visual collage. Some musically conservative audiences characterized the album as the “profanation” of traditional flamenco music, but there’s no doubt that Rosalía brought the genre back to life and made it mainstream again.

Continue reading “The Motomami Theology: “Segundo chingarte, lo primero Dios.”* Part I”

Queering Kenosis: A Review of “God and Difference” by Caryn D. Riswold

caryn2I still think that Valerie Saving was right.

It’s been 56 years since she published her article on “The Human Situation” in The Journal of Religion, and her most basic groundbreaking insight holds true: Under patriarchy, the fundamental sin and danger for women is not too great a sense of self, too much pride as Reinhold Niebuhr would argue; rather, the problem is too small and diffuse a sense of self. Prioritizing others ahead of herself, the woman under patriarchy accepts second-class citizenship and submission to male headship as her rightful place.


Yet, in recent years, when reminding colleagues of this fundamental feminist insight from the second wave, I have received replies that begin “But Sarah Coakley says ….” What they lift up is Coakley’s supposed reclamation of kenosis as feminist, of self-emptying as a revolutionary Christian act in relationship to God. To them, this corrects Valerie Saiving. I have heard variations on this defense from senior male scholars who believe themselves to be quite advanced in their thinking, as well as from female scholars who believe this is the kind of feminist theology they want.

Wrong. Continue reading “Queering Kenosis: A Review of “God and Difference” by Caryn D. Riswold”

The Case of Mary’s Decency by Xochitl Alvizo

Incarnation, Goddess spirituality, Xochitl Alvizo, god became flesh

This post builds on yesterday’s post on Marcella Althaus-Reid’s indecent theology.

In her book, From Feminist Theology to Indecent Theology, Marcella Althaus-Reid states that liberation theology has two dominant characteristics: the familiar ‘preferential option for the poor,’ with its suspicion of class structures and the influence these have on faith and church teachings to perpetuate and preserve its unjust systems of oppression and domination; and  for its praxis of transformation of said unjust systems (FFTIT, 11). Marcella Althaus-Reid credits liberation theology for “systematically and structurally using the concept of ideological formation in order to unveil class economic interests embedded in theology” (FFTIT, 11).

To build on this, Althaus-Reid uses the concepts of ‘decency’ and ‘indecency’ to challenge theology’s obsession to regulate and control “sexual performances, roles and behavioral patterns of people…through a sexually based patriarchal hierarchy based in a particular androcentric understanding of life according to predetermined identities” – in other words, heterosexism. Indecent theology, then, aims to strip away theology’s false claim to sexual neutrality and its obsession to control, and instead aims to develop a theology free from the heterosexism that confines it (FFTIT, 83). One key place in theology she seeks to indecent (she used the word as a verb) is the “legend of Mary” (IT, 40).

Continue reading “The Case of Mary’s Decency by Xochitl Alvizo”

A Little Indecency with Marcella Althaus-Reid by Xochitl Alvizo

Incarnation, Goddess spirituality, Xochitl Alvizo, god became fleshInspired by the conversation following Vanessa Rivera de la Fuente’s post yesterday, I offer here a little synopsis of Marcella Althaus-Reid’s work in Indecent Theology: Theological Perversion in Sex, Gender, and Politics.

Marcella Althaus-Reid opens her book by recalling a question she received from one of her colleagues: “What has sexuality to do with a Feminist Liberation Theology?” To answer she reflected on early liberation theology when it was still in formation and later liberation theology as it gained its place in the academy and the church:

[T]imes change and subversive theology becomes incorporated: church leaders claim that they themselves have always been liberation theologians. They guarantee to the state that there is no danger here…It is acceptable in the academy, entertaining to the wider public and a valuable commodity to publishers. Having reached calm waters, why would I as a feminist liberation theologian risk rocking the boat by introducing such a scandalous theme as sexuality, especially when it is not the theology of sanctified sexuality? (Indecent Theology, 2)

Continue reading “A Little Indecency with Marcella Althaus-Reid by Xochitl Alvizo”

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