Deconstructing and Reconstructing Love by Chasity Jones

Note: This is based on a podcast which can be heard here.

“Black love exists and Black women deserve love that does not require pain.”

What is love? What’s love got to do with pain and suffering? Are they related? Pain and love? Must one always be present with the other? In this blogpost I explore pain and suffering through a womanist perspective (centering the perspectives and lived experiences of Black women) and discuss how to live into wholeness and wellness. This is especially important because the Black community/women in particular’s experience in the US (and globally) has been and continues to be defined by pain and suffering. What are the theological implications?

How have Christian frameworks at associating love with sacrifice and pain justified the pain and suffering of Black women? How can we decolonize love so that liberated Black women are empowered to embrace a love that does not hurt first with false promises of rewards later in life or afterlife? Black women, pain does not equal love.

Continue reading “Deconstructing and Reconstructing Love by Chasity Jones”

Memoirs of a Cult Survivor by Chasity Jones

This blogpost is a reflection on my experience creating a podcast series concerning religious trauma experienced in cults as well as how to heal from traumatic cult experiences.

Firstly, I had to be very intentional about the word survivor as opposed to victim. Survivor was the obvious choice because I used to cringe when thinking of myself as a victim. However, As I heal, I can honor both the survivor and the victim, for they are the same. I cannot forget to acknowledge though that some victims do not survive and this is the same concerning cults. Many people at this very moment are in exile or in hiding from their cults when they escape and for that reason some of the people who engaged in this series were forced to engage anonymously.

Continue reading “Memoirs of a Cult Survivor by Chasity Jones”

An ode to the old me: An ode to Roe v. Wade by Chasity Jones, M. Div 

Greetings Feminism and Religion family! It has been soooo long and I have missed you so much!!

I have been working on a few projects that were rudely interrupted by a heartbreaking divorce, decisions of survival, and the subsequent recovery that followed this period. I have spent the past at least 6 months healing from the shame, guilt, pain, and blame that was placed in my lap for the collapse of the marriage. Needless to say, that shit is heavy and it kept me in an endless and perpetual night- not the beautiful mysterious, infinite, expansive darkness that I have come to know but the night that I was afraid of when I was young. No one could save me from the ways that I tormented myself or questioned my womanhood, motherhood in particular. Even more, no one could save me from being an emotional punching bag from my ex-spouse, who also torments himself.

That being said, I am on the mend and am settled in my own apartment furnished with peace, wholeness, and healing for myself and my daughter. As an earth sign, stable ground and a comfortable home in which I can be myself means the world to me. I am a spiritual advisor at a recovery center in Massachusetts and therefore have studied the art of recovery in many ways. Recovery from loss and recovery of self are two procedures that I address in my upcoming book, Black Gold: The Road to Black Infinity!!

Continue reading “An ode to the old me: An ode to Roe v. Wade by Chasity Jones, M. Div “

Strength by Chasity Jones Selenga

To be transparent, these last four weeks have unintentionally flown by and have been filled with great pain, sorrow, depression, loss, and grief to be honest. I can feel my own spirit at the beginning of a long healing process and have a feeling that these words kept between you and I will be a tremendous part of my healing. Healing in itself is an essential aspect of Womanism and how I found my way to it. I have been privileged to develop spiritual practices that encourage and assist with healing in emotional, physical, mental, and wisdom ways!

Today, I acknowledge the Africana Womanism (Clenora Hudson-Weems) characteristic of strength. I must admit I have a strained relationship with the word as a Black woman. I was raised by strong women to be strong in an environment in which we will always have to strong. As a result, being soft is interpreted as weak. I mourn that Black women rarely find spaces in which they can turn off their survival mode- fight or flight nervous system responses and relax while being soft. It is so foreign. At this point in my life softness is so inconvenient and also something that I don’t even know how to maintain consistently.

Continue reading “Strength by Chasity Jones Selenga”

We are Not Oppressed Because We Remember Part 2 – Diaries of a young black woman by Chasity Jones

Read Part 1 here.

One of the 18 characteristics of Africana Womanism is being a self-definer. This piece is a sliver of my process to do and be exactly that.

I am striving to be a whole Black woman. I have an awareness that I am a whole person and transcend the role that Amerikkkan* society has given black women. Wholeness is justice and justice/liberation is wholeness. We are unaware of the full extent that racism has impacted Black women psychologically and emotionally. I’m saying racism constricts us in exhausting ways- the results have been wearing on our mental and sexual health, senses, nerves, physical health for years. And it still is.

Continue reading “We are Not Oppressed Because We Remember Part 2 – Diaries of a young black woman by Chasity Jones”

The Gathering: A Womanist Church BOOK REVIEW by Mary Ann Beavis

Book title: The Gathering: A Womanist Church—Origins, Stories, Sermons, and Litanies

Authors: Irie Lynne Session, Kamilah Hall Sharp and Jann Aldredge-Clanton

Publisher: Wipf & Stock, 2020

Womanist theology is a form of theological reflection that centers on Black women’s experience, sensitive to issues of race, class and gender. It originated in the United States in the mid-1980s and has grown in scope, sophistication and influence, but until recently there has been no expressly womanist church. This book charts the founding and development of a womanist church from the perspectives not only of its pastors (Irie Lynne Session and Kamilah Hall Sharp) but also of its ministry partners (Jann Aldredge-Clanton and others). Continue reading “The Gathering: A Womanist Church BOOK REVIEW by Mary Ann Beavis”

Octavia Tried to Tell Us: Parable for Today’s Pandemic by Monica Coleman

In national quarantine and sheltering-in-place or is it “safer-at-home,” all I could think about was that we were living in a scene from the late Afrofuturist writer Octavia Butler’s book Parable of the Sower. So I texted my friend, Afrofuturist writer Tananarive Due and said: hey let’s do a webinar on this.  And this turned into weekly – then monthly – free webinars on the wisdom we can glean from Octavia Butler as we live through these political days.

Here, I share a recent workshop and dialogue that lifts up Octavia’s Parable of the Sower and highlights themes of prophecy, dystopia, theology and a way forward in times like these.

If you are interested in engaging more intimate work centered on Octavia’s work, visit for more information.



Dr. Monica A. Coleman is Professor of Africana Studies at the University of Delaware.  She spent over ten years in graduate theological education at Claremont School of Theology, the Center for Process Studies and Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. Coleman has earned degrees from Harvard University, Vanderbilt University and Claremont Graduate University. She has received funding from leading foundations in the United States, including the Ford Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Foundation, among others.

Answering her call to ministry at 19 years of age, Coleman is an ordained minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and an initiate in traditional Yoruba religion.

Dr. Coleman offers workshops, lectures and books for your organization, university or church. She warmly connects with people as she shares principles for growth and liberation. Read her story here.

Mulling over Movies: Moana, Pt. 2 by Elise M. Edwards

elise-edwardsEvery summer in the US, movie theatres show their newest big budget films, hoping to draw in large audiences. While I appreciate an air-conditioned theatre on a hot day, I love the opportunity to go to an outdoor movie screening.  These screenings are usually community-oriented opportunities for social gathering.  In my previous post, I talked about Moana, a Disney film I saw at an outdoor screening earlier this summer.  I enjoyed watching this movie with my friends and their families and I was delighted by the story itself.  It has several religious and spiritual themes and strong female characters. Previously, I spoke of the significance of myths in this movie.  Today, I’m focused on depictions of nature in Moana and their remarkable beauty.

Many feminist and womanist theologians and religion scholars have raised concerns about the interrelated dominations of women and nature, as well as the disproportionate hardships women and children are exposed to with increasing climate change and environmental degradation.  Our changing environment affects all life on the planet, but it is the people who are most vulnerable (physically, economically, politically) who at most at risk.  Obviously, animals and plants are endangered, too. Ethicists like me are interested in finding ways to address these concerns because we are committed the preservation of life.  As feminists, there’s more to it, though.  We recognize the way nature itself is often feminized (“Mother Nature”), which makes it even more troubling when it is cultivated without respect for the wellbeing of existing ecosystems and the life forces dependent upon them.

Continue reading “Mulling over Movies: Moana, Pt. 2 by Elise M. Edwards”

How is it That God Speaks? by Kelly Brown Douglas

Rev.-Dr.-Kelly-Brown-Douglas - Version 2A few weeks ago, after delivering a sermon, a young woman approached me and said she had a question about my sermon.  I of course braced myself for the question as I ran my sermon back over in my head trying to remember what I could have said that might have troubled her in some way. As it turned out, hers was a rather thoughtful question, reflective of an insightful theological observation. She said she noticed as I preached that I never used a pronoun for God. She asked if this was intentional. She went on to say that by not using a pronoun for god I forced her to try to image “the way god is, not the way god looks.” I complemented the young woman for her keen observation and astute theological insight. I responded that my avoidance of pronouns when speaking about god was in fact intentional. I explained to her that given the limitations of our finite language in trying to speak of a god who is infinite, that not only are we better served, but perhaps god is also better served when we avoid pronouns, or even nouns when speaking about god.  Why, because we should try to speak about god the way in which god speaks to us.  And so this begs the question: How it is that god speaks?

The god in which I have faith does not speak to us as a static being. Rather, god speaks to us as a dynamic, restless force in our world. This, for me, is what god’s revelation in Jesus is all about.  The gospel of John tells us that in the beginning was the word and the word was with god, the word was god and the word became flesh. Inasmuch as Jesus is the incarnate word of god speaking to us, then for us to speak about god the way in which god speaks is for us to enflesh that very word that became flesh for us.  What then does this mean? How are we to speak about god? Continue reading “How is it That God Speaks? by Kelly Brown Douglas”

When Feminists Disagree by Linn Marie Tonstad

Linn Marie TonstadA while back I gave a talk on feminist trinitarian theology to an audience of mostly progressive academics, including feminist and womanist scholars of religion. In the course of analyzing what I called the ‘trinitarian imaginary’ in Christianity and its often-patriarchal and masculinist forms, I suggested that transforming that imaginary might require recognizing the hypothetical character of theological statements until the eschaton, a theme that has been developed in depth by a German theologian named Wolfhart Pannenberg. Now, Pannenberg is decidedly neither a feminist nor a progressive theologian. To name just one example: in his three-volume Systematic Theology, his few explicit references to feminist or female theologians include a brief mention of Mary Daly (volume 1, p. 262) in connection with a critique of feminist theologians for projecting (!) masculinity into God in their readings of divine fatherhood, and a critique of Valerie Saiving and Susan Nelson Dunfee’s positions on the traditional Christian doctrine of sin as pride (volume 2, p. 243). So when I mentioned Pannenberg as a resource in my talk, one of the feminist scholars in the audience audibly gasped and flinched – it became clear in the Q&A that she had significant concerns about whether I could count as a feminist at all. After all, to mine someone like Pannenberg for constructive feminist theological work might imply an endorsement of his other positions, or might entail taking over aspects of his system that would taint my own project in anti-feminist directions – all legitimate concerns.  Continue reading “When Feminists Disagree by Linn Marie Tonstad”

Painting Sojourner Truth By Angela Yarber

This month, I am reminded of the importance of Jacquelyn Grant’s work on womanist Christology.  In White Women’s Christ and Black Women’s Jesus, Grant reviews the white feminist discussion of the so-called problem of Jesus’ maleness, while beginning to construct a womanist response to this incarnational conundrum.  She states, “It is my claim that there is a direct relationship between our perception of Jesus and our perception of ourselves.”[1]

Beginning with Mary Daly, feminists have responded to Jesus’ maleness in a variety of ways.  Daly argues that because the person of Jesus is male, the male is recognized and celebrated as the superior being.  Because of this, the male Jesus is to be rejected or exorcised because Jesus’ gender identity contributes to patriarchy and does not hold salvific power for women.  Rather than rejecting Jesus altogether, Rosemary Radford Ruether asks the seminal question, “Can a male Jesus save woman?” Continue reading “Painting Sojourner Truth By Angela Yarber”

Body Talk by Kelly Brown Douglas

The more I reflect upon the complex and multiple ways in which various bodies are put upon and disregarded, the more I am persuaded that we have a body problem.

Our bodies communicate to us in many ways. They are a valuable source of knowledge in terms of our present realities and they are also valuable storehouses for memories. Long after the memories of the mind fade away, memories of the body linger. The mind may not remember, for instance, the details of a particular event, but the body remembers how it felt.  The memories of sadness, anxiety, hurt and pain as well as happiness, peace, healing and love are grafted upon our bodies. Feelings, sensations and instinctive reactions—things that are hard to explain—are oftentimes our bodies’ ways of communicating memories. These are embodied memories reminding us of what it means to feel torn apart or to feel whole. It is the body giving feedback at any given moment in time. Embodied memories certainly involve what Audre Lorde identifies as “erotic power.” This, Lorde says, is an “internal sense” and a “depth of feeling” “that is a source of  power and information” (Lorde, Sister Outside). Embodied memories are one of the ways in which our bodies speak to us and help us to know the good, right and just thing to do, from within ourselves and through depth of feeling. Continue reading “Body Talk by Kelly Brown Douglas”

The Black Church, the Blues, and Black Bodies by Kelly Brown Douglas

“Ooh, Ohh there’s something going all wrong”,   Ma Rainey sang.  There is indeed something going all wrong in the black church. This church, which is born out of the commitment to safeguard the life and freedom of all black people, has gained a reputation for repudiating if not demonizing certain black bodies, namely LGBT bodies.  While there are certainly significant black church leaders who have vigorously defended LGBTQ person’s struggle for justice and equal treatment under the law, including support of marriage equality, those black church voices against LGBTQ rights have been vociferous  and unrelenting. Continue reading “The Black Church, the Blues, and Black Bodies by Kelly Brown Douglas”

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