I first encountered the image and concept of “flourishing” in Grace M. Jatzen’s feminist philosophy of religion, Becoming Divine. For Jantzen “flourishing” is a symbol of a theology of “natality” or birth and life, which she contrasts to the focus on death and life after death in traditional Christian theologies.
Jantzen argues that the focus on death and life after death is a rejection of birth. Birth is rejected because birth through a body into a body implies finitude. Birth ends in death. Jantzen argues that embracing natality means embracing finitude and death.
Jantzen is not arguing that motherhood is the highest calling or saying that all women must be mothers. Rather she is calling us—women and men—to embrace finite life in the body and the material world as the final and only location for spirituality. Defending pantheism as an alternative to transcendent theism, she argues further that divinity is to be found “in” the physical and material world—and nowhere else. Though she speaks of natality, Jantzen is no essentialist. Rather she is a metaphysician making claims about the nature of life. Continue reading “The Flourishing of Life and Feminist Theology by Carol P. Christ”