Reflections on Good Friday by Kathryn House

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”

Social Engagement as Feminist Praxis in the lives of Patricia A. Reif & Rita Nakashima Brock By Teresa A. Yugar

Today our country and global community need religious leaders to utilize their theological education and feminist principles to model the formation of ally ships across ecumenical and interfaith perspectives, laying the foundation for a more just and peaceful society. While Reif and Nakashima Brock did not know each other, their feminist stance of commitment to social justice and praxis should give us pause.

In 2002, Claremont Graduate University and the Immaculate Heart Community collaborated and created an endowment to sponsor a Lectureship in honor of the memory of feminist teacher, scholar and activist, Dr. Patricia A. Reif. Each year the Dr. Patricia A. Reif committee invites cutting edge feminist scholars in religion to discuss the intersection of their research interests and its influence on their scholarship, activist work and teaching in the broader sense of the term, both inside and outside of the classroom. This year the Reverend Dr. Nakashima Brock is the select guest Lecturer to honor Reif’s life, memory, and legacy. Tammi Schneider, committee member and Dean of the School of Religion stated Nakashima Brock’s visit is timely because in three weeks the national U.S. presidential elections will define the trajectory of our country for, minimally, the next four years. Nakashima Brock’s involvement in the Occupy Movement on a local and national level extends from her feminist commitment and advocacy for the rights of the 99% of our country who are being squelched by U.S. policies that favor the elite 1% of our nation. For Nakashima Brock it is a moral imperative for persons of faith and goodwill to educate individuals and take a stand on policies, on a state and nation-wide level that safeguard the livelihoods of the majority poor of our country. For Nakashima Brock this means quality health care for all, living wages and decent jobs, free high quality public education through college, and an end to the prison-military-industrial complex. Continue reading “Social Engagement as Feminist Praxis in the lives of Patricia A. Reif & Rita Nakashima Brock By Teresa A. Yugar”

My First Experience at a Women-Only Conference by Grace Yia-Hei Kao

“This ain’t your daddy’s conference!”

I knew that I was going to be attending a totally different type of conference than I had ever been to before when I received the following instructions on additional items to pack: (1) my own mug with which to drink coffee or tea (“we will go green in this conference as much as possible”), (2) 3 oz. of water “from a source of nature near your home” to be offered during “opening worship,” and (3) a small, modest, pre-owned, homemade, or inexpensive “earth-honoring gift for exchange.”

Continue reading “My First Experience at a Women-Only Conference by Grace Yia-Hei Kao”

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