Rethinking Church Communally and Creatively by Xochitl Alvizo

I spend a curious amount of time discussing, studying, and writing about polity – the structures and procedures of congregational/denominational governance (my previous post about communion reflects one kind of polity). Amid theological and sociological research about the decline, revival, or re-emergence of Christianity and the church, my research specifically focused on how emerging congregations organized and structured their decision-making processes. As a “body” – ecclesial, social, political – what are the new and creative ways that congregations structure and organize their collective living and relating?

Continue reading “Rethinking Church Communally and Creatively by Xochitl Alvizo”

Re-imagining the Ritual of Communion by Xochitl Alvizo

I remember the words so clearly: “I know what it’s like to have my body broken, I know what it’s like to have my blood spilt. I won’t celebrate anyone else’s broken body or spilt blood, and I don’t want anyone doing that on my behalf.” Sitting in the pew next to me, my friend spoke her truth in a soft and tentative, but somehow still firm, voice. She then slumped in her seat and folded up her legs, hugging them against her body. While everyone else got up to take communion, I stayed in place beside her.

There was a period of time in my life when I was not willing to participate in communion. My friend’s words stayed with me, transforming the communion table from one of hospitality to one of violence. “Celebrating” communion didn’t feel celebratory anymore. I chose not to take communion for several years. I let my friend’s words guide and deepen my reflection on the practice of communion—especially in light of the trauma suffered by all too many bodies.

Continue reading “Re-imagining the Ritual of Communion by Xochitl Alvizo”

Una Hora de Vida, Es Vida! by Xochitl Alvizo

I learned, recently, that this is a common phrase among my family members – “an hour of life, is life.” I remember the first time I heard my mom use the phrase, not more than a few years ago, I latched onto it immediately. Since then, I have realize that many of my relatives use the phrase – it’s kind of a family mantra, which makes sense, then, that when I heard it, it reverberated within me—“Yes! An hour of life is life.”

To me it was a clarion call to not waste a single hour – to never think, “Oh, but I only have an hour…” and instead embrace the hour for all its potentiality—I have an hour, what will I do with it?

Continue reading “Una Hora de Vida, Es Vida! by Xochitl Alvizo”

Revisiting Our Sisters’ Feminisms by Xochitl Alvizo

This post draws much from a previous post I wrote back in 2013, which generated great discussion in the comments. I came back to it as I was reflecting on our sisters’ revolution in Iran, Women, Life, Freedom, following the death of Mahsa “Zina” Amini while she was in the custody of the “morality police” in Iran. This woman-led movement has been nonstop for seven weeks. I’m in full support of the women and have continued to learn more about their context and history. The movement is powerful and inspiring, heavy and difficult, but its energy is alive and blazing. There is an impromptu song that has come to represent the movement; the song was created by linking real-time tweets and Instagram posts together – you can hear the song, read the lyrics, and see the screenshots in the video below:

Now the post I’m drawing back to from 2013 – a little different from the original – but one intended to invite us to reflect on our engagement with and support of one another across place and difference. And about the relationship between the local and global, and the need to hold a balance of both.

Continue reading “Revisiting Our Sisters’ Feminisms by Xochitl Alvizo”

My Daily MEDS by Xochitl Alvizo

After a spring semester-long sabbatical this year, I am back to campus and to teaching. I was effectively off from January to August and the timing could not have been better. After my dad’s death last July (2021), my world was turned upside down. One of the things that happened with his death was a deep realization that he had a lot to do with my sense of grounding. I wrote about this in a previous post, but I hadn’t quite realized how much he was a source of affirmation and grounding for me, an external one—his death was a catalyst for me to learn how to access that grounding more fully for myself, from within.

Having been on sabbatical, then, was helpful in terms of regaining my brain for research and writing, which was its objective, but also for giving me the time and mental space to work on the grounding aspect of my internal life. A few things came together for me during this time. Leading up to the sabbatical and overlapping with it, I got to participate in the Latinas in Leadership (LIL) program with the Hispanic Theological Initiative – a program designed to strengthen the professional development of the Latina women participants.

Continue reading “My Daily MEDS by Xochitl Alvizo”

Advancing Our Feminist and Womanist Theologies by Xochitl Alvizo

I recently completed a chapter for a book on Latinx theologies; it’s the second edition of the Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Latino/a Theology, edited by Orlando O. Espín, but this time with the slightly changed title of Companion to Latinoax Theology—aiming to be more inclusive in its umbrella term. The project has 35 contributors and covers everything from interreligious dialogue and care for creation, to race, racism and latinoax cultures, as well as chapters on such subjects as Christology, the bible, and ecclesiology. My particular chapter was about the intersection of gender, feminisms, and Latinoax theologies—not surprising. But what I loved in the process was a particular emphasis that emerged—decoloniality, like a thread woven throughout the chapter as it evolved; and this I now see as a necessity for Christian theologies. Let me explain.

Continue reading “Advancing Our Feminist and Womanist Theologies by Xochitl Alvizo”

Hearing Grief by Xochitl Alvizo

I was writing this blog post on the same day that Rosemary Radford Ruether died, receiving the news during my writing process. The timing of that still has me feeling something I cannot yet express…

One of the most meaningful concepts I learned very early on from my education in feminist theology was “hearing to speech,” from Nelle Morton. I have written about this before, sharing that at times when I have struggled with my academic writing, I try to imagine that I am writing to my peer group, which helps open the path because not only are they a trusted circle of friends that I know loves me deeply, but they are friends who hear me into speech (and in that way, to writing, as well).

Nelle Morton coined this feminist principle of “hearing to speech.” [1] Morton’s new understanding of hearing and speaking came to her while she was with a group of women who gathered to tell their stories. As one woman shared her story – a story which at times reached points of excruciating pain – no one moved or interrupted, everyone seemed to be holding their breath. At the end, when the woman finally finished, she said, “You heard me. You heard me all the way – I have the strange feeling you heard me before I started. You heard me to my own story.”

Continue reading “Hearing Grief by Xochitl Alvizo”

My Father’s Daughter by Xochitl Alvizo

Me with my aunt, my dad’s eldest sister.

I was sometimes told I look like my grandmother on my dad’s side, and although it wasn’t meant as a compliment, I always welcomed it as such. I wanted to be like my grandma. She was a tough, no-nonsense woman who was light-hearted and spunky to the very end of her life. She had a serious expression on her face most of the time but would playfully and unexpectedly stick out her tongue at neighbor-friends when they passed by her house. She had well-developed patterns of good-natured banter with most people in her neighborhood. She was well-known and well-liked, and people also knew not to mess with her. So, if I could be thought to be anything like her, I was good with that.

She lived in Mexico and my family in the United States. In Mexico, even as a younger kid, we were allowed to move around town on the bus if my older cousin was with us. We always landed and stayed with my mom’s side of the family and usually only went to visit my dad’s side for an afternoon or two during the course of our time in Guadalajara, where my parents were from. I couldn’t wait to surprise visit my dad’s side of the family – my grandma, aunt, and grandpa who all lived together. We never announced our visit in advance; so it was fun for me to get to walk into the patio of their apartment complex and find my grandma, as usual, standing in the doorway of her front door, smoking. She was a businesswoman, always running a small business, selling basic grocery items from home, so her door was always open. And she was almost always right there, standing just outside her door, a serious expression on her face, and a smoke in hand.

Continue reading “My Father’s Daughter by Xochitl Alvizo”

Pandemic Grace: A FAR Message from Xochitl Alvizo

Xochitl with hairHello FAR friends,

I hope you are each doing well – that you are holding up ok during these trying times. It’s Xochitl here. I’m the behind-the-scenes co-weaver keeping things afloat (to varying degrees!) on this collaborative endeavor we call Feminism and Religion.

You may have noticed some gaps in our postings these last couple of months; I want to reassure you that it’s all ok. The gaps are an indication that we are giving one another a lot of pandemic grace. These are tough times and we are all doing what we can to make it through.

FAR will keep publishing as our contributors are able to submit their pieces. We always also welcome new voices and contributions to join in. I will do my best to keep up with the correspondence, but I do appreciate your patience. We are an all-volunteer project and everything we do is done out of our heartfelt commitment. And for all of it, I am grateful.

May we all be well, may we be safe, and may we find our peace.

Rage on, friends!

~ Xochitl

P.S. I’m growing my hair out! I figured quarantine time was a good time to experiment…we’ll see how it goes :)


FAR Project Intern Applications Due Sept. 15, 2019

It’s about every three years when we at Feminism and Religions put out a solicitation for a new intern to join our team. Back in 2013 we had the great privilege of having Kate Brunner join us. She came on as an intern and stayed to become one of our permanent co-weavers who help run the day-to-day behind-the-scenes of this collaborative project. She reorganized the structure and rhythm of how we run things and made it easier for us to bring in the next person. Enter Katie M. Deaver at the end of 2016. She is the superhero who so smoothly swooped in as Kate stepped back to attend grad school. Katie shared all the values and ethos of FAR – it was the most organic match we could have hoped for. Truly FAR couldn’t have survived without each of them.

FAR is an all-volunteer effort and now, again three years later, we are looking to bring on a next team member. From the very start, we have been of the mindset that the more voices and perspectives we can bring into constructive, community-building dialogue, the better. So…might you be up and ready to contribute to this collaborative feminist task? Continue reading “FAR Project Intern Applications Due Sept. 15, 2019”

FAR Project Intern – Application Window Extended to Sept. 15, 2019

It’s about every three years when we at Feminism and Religions put out a solicitation for a new intern to join our team. Back in 2013 we had the great privilege of having Kate Brunner join us. She came on as an intern and stayed to become one of our permanent co-weavers who help run the day-to-day behind-the-scenes of this collaborative project. She reorganized the structure and rhythm of how we run things and made it easier for us to bring in the next person. Enter Katie M. Deaver at the end of 2016. She is the superhero who so smoothly swooped in as Kate stepped back to attend grad school. Katie shared all the values and ethos of FAR – it was the most organic match we could have hoped for. Truly FAR couldn’t have survived without each of them.

FAR is an all-volunteer effort and now, again three years later, we are looking to bring on a next team member. From the very start, we have been of the mindset that the more voices and perspectives we can bring into constructive, community-building dialogue, the better. So…might you be up and ready to contribute to this collaborative feminist task? Continue reading “FAR Project Intern – Application Window Extended to Sept. 15, 2019”

FAR Project Intern – Join Us!

It’s about every three years when we at Feminism and Religions put out a solicitation for a new intern to join our team. Back in 2013 we had the great privilege of having Kate Brunner join us. She came on as an intern and stayed to become one of our permanent co-weavers who help run the day-to-day behind-the-scenes of this collaborative project. She reorganized the structure and rhythm of how we run things and made it easier for us to bring in the next person. Enter Katie M. Deaver at the end of 2016. She is the superhero who so smoothly swooped in as Kate stepped back to attend grad school. Katie shared all the values and ethos of FAR – it was the most organic match we could have hoped for. Truly FAR couldn’t have survived without each of them.

FAR is an all-volunteer effort and now, again three years later, we are looking to bring on a next team member. From the very start, we have been of the mindset that the more voices and perspectives we can bring into constructive, community-building dialogue, the better. So…might you be up and ready to contribute to this collaborative feminist task? Continue reading “FAR Project Intern – Join Us!”

Start, Stop, Continue: 2019 Mid-year Check-in by Xochitl Alvizo

It is the first of July—half way through 2019. I remember that I and many of my friends were very glad for the end of 2018; it was a hard year of many heavy events and we looked forward to a fresh start, a new year. It’s hard to accept that half of that “new year” is over. What is different? What is new?

In the United States, we are still suffering the same president. Women’s rights over their bodies and reproductive autonomy are still under attack. Immigrants and refugees are subjected to purposefully cruel treatment under the current administration—humanitarianism not a U.S. priority. We are entering another high-stakes election season that is sure to raise all our blood pressure. Not to mention larger global concerns regarding the destruction of our environment and survival of our planet, about which Karen Hernandez recently wrote.

All of this while we also deal with our own personal work, relationships, communities, and day to day responsibilities. We attend to our practical micro concerns always in the midst of overwhelming macro realities. How are you holding up? Continue reading “Start, Stop, Continue: 2019 Mid-year Check-in by Xochitl Alvizo”

The Earth Heals by Xochitl Alvizo

This post makes more sense if you read my most recent post first, “Grounding My Love.”

It’s been over a year now since I started my community garden at the encouragement of my friends Tallessyn and Trelawney. The earth heals, they told me–and I needed healing. I couldn’t seem to find my place, my sense of home, in L.A. (I never have transitioned well), I had left my community in Boston and in many ways I had left my heart there also.

Tallessyn has written before about how the earth brings healing. In her article, “Can Creation Help Heal Society’s Wounds? What grass and garden pets teach us about the gift of grief,” published in Focus, a publication of the Boston University School of Theology, she shares that, “nature is the great equalizer. No matter our power or privilege, the truth we need to remember, perhaps, is that we never left–we still are earth, and to Earth we shall return” (PDF pgs. 17-18). She writes that time spent in nature is “medicine” (something my friend Edyka Chilomé has also taught me recently). Tallessyn explains, “anyone who has spent any length of mindful time connecting with nature, from wilderness to window garden” knows that “Creation confronts us with our deepest wounds.” And I have found that, like with other medicine, we are often afraid of it – mindful time with nature may reveal to us wounds we would rather not see and we sometimes have the terrible habit of turning away from our wounds and grief. However, I appreciate what Tallessyn writes: that if we are willing to see grief as a gift, we can then begin to move through it toward healing—and mindful time with the earth helps us discern our way through this process and begin to be released from our anguish. Continue reading “The Earth Heals by Xochitl Alvizo”

Grounding My Love by Xochitl Alvizo

I love living in a second-story apartment. Having a view of Los Angeles, of the palm trees, the expansive sky, the distant mountains, and the city lights of downtown, makes life feel bigger, more full of possibilities. In the struggle of transitioning my life back to L.A., the view from my second floor apartment helps make me feel ok in the world. I’m in love with Los Angeles – the land, its topography, its sky, its desertness – and even its traffic. Beside the fact of sometimes being made to arrive late somewhere, I don’t mind being in our famed L.A. gridlocks – I don’t mind being in the slow moving flow of cars. I kind of enjoy being among the thousands of other folks sharing the collective experience of trying to get someplace. Traffic becomes for me a leisurely time when I get to do nothing else but enjoy the city.

Plus, the freeways – I love them! Have you ever driven on one of L.A.’s sky high on-ramps or carpool lanes? It’s like you get to fly. You get to be up in the sky among the top of the palm trees, with all the other cars and buildings off in the distant view. I would drive somewhere just to get onto one of our sky-high carpool lanes, I swear. Just recently I merged onto the carpool lane of the 110 North from an on-ramp I had not taken before, a magnificently long single-lane on-ramp that took me high up into the air, and I immediately thought, I need to remember this way so that I can drive it again sometime. Continue reading “Grounding My Love by Xochitl Alvizo”

Bringing About the Revolution by Xochitl Alvizo

Happy day friends. It’s Sunday – maybe you have a day off from your income-making labor, maybe you’re home with the kiddos working more than usual since they have no school, or maybe it’s a day you have all to yourself – whatever is before you, I have a word I’d like to share with you today – enjoy being with you.

I say this because it’s the word I have needed for myself for a little while now. I have not enjoyed myself lately – neither being with myself nor being myself. As of late, I had lost touch with the fact that I am, or can be, an enjoyable person to be around. I know that sounds like a funny thing to say, and I don’t mean it in any weird or arrogant way; I just mean that yesterday morning I remembered that I can be quite fun. I can be goofy, loving, encouraging, friendly, attentive, thoughtful, strong, grounded, intellectually engaged…and, because of all this, I make pretty good company—even to myself! Continue reading “Bringing About the Revolution by Xochitl Alvizo”

Mary Daly and Simone de Beauvoir: Sister Diagnosticians by Xochitl Alvizo

Xochitl Alvizo; Photo by

Mary Daly still causes me awe. I think about the way she was so keenly able to diagnose the Catholic Church’s collusion in creating, sustaining, the oppressive structures that directly impact women (and men, as she always affirmed). Mary Daly knew that the situation of women’s second-class status, outlined at the time most powerfully by Simone de Beauvoir in her book The Second Sex,[1] was in great part made possible by the Catholic Church. The church used Christianity to justify the creation of gender hierarchies (for it can be used otherwise), and regarded a category of humans as having greater value and worth than others by default. So much so that it comes to be understood as “god ordained” or “natural” – the right order of things.

At the time of her early writing, Mary Daly still identified as part of the Catholic Church – but she did not hesitate to call out her church. Building on the work of existentialist philosopher Simone de Beauvoir, Daly made a powerful case against the church. She described the antagonism between the Catholic Church and women as based on the fact that the Church’s teachings perpetuated a “traditional view of woman” that both “pretends to put woman on a pedestal but which in reality prevents her from genuine self-fulfillment and from active, adult-size participation in society.”[2] She drew on insights from de Beauvoir to make her case and wrote her book The Church and the Second Sex with the conviction that there were “harmful distortions of doctrine and practice” in the Catholic Church. Continue reading “Mary Daly and Simone de Beauvoir: Sister Diagnosticians by Xochitl Alvizo”

…and The Pub Church, Boston was Born by Xochitl Alvizo

Incarnation, Goddess spirituality, Xochitl Alvizo, god became fleshSee Part I of Pub Church series here

The question arising among a group of friends gathering for fish and chips on Fridays – why can’t church be more like this? – was the clarion call that sparked the birth of The Pub Church, Boston. This was the fumbling out of which pub church began: the reality that church had been the opposite of embodied Good News in many people’s lives, and the glimpse, the experience, that it could be otherwise.

Birth: Some of how pub church was formed was in direct response to people’s past negative experiences with church and Christianity, but much was also shaped by the “good news” people experienced at the weekly Friday gathering for fish and chips at the local pub. There, people experienced a weekly gathering in which all were invited to gather around the table, express themselves without fear of judgement, and, perhaps more importantly, experience the merry sharing of food and drink!

This, the sharing of food and drink, became the foundation for what pub church would become. Food made it possible to feel more at home, to create a relaxed environment, inspire conversation, and satisfy a need. Being at the pub with access to food and drink created an organic way to share and make new connections with one another. It facilitated the act of inviting and treating someone to a beer or to share fish and chips or a slice of pizza, often with a newly met friend. People got to know one another. Over a beer, new friends would end up sharing about the rough week they had, their past or current sorrows, or sharing a good laugh about something mundane and fun. Continue reading “…and The Pub Church, Boston was Born by Xochitl Alvizo”

The Pub Church, Boston by Xochitl Alvizo

At times I am invited to speak about The Pub Church. When I lived in Boston, I was part of a church that met in a pub. A church in a pub is not a typical form of church, obviously; so, people curious about or interested in forming an alternative form of church invite me to speak about it. The invitation is usually for me to share how I started The Pub Church – and that is how people first think of it, that it was started by one person, which was definitely not the case. So, in those moments, I stumble as I try to disabuse people of that idea and try to find the best way to enter the topic of how a new church starts, a topic about which I have strong opinions (more on that later). The Pub Church, Boston grew unexpectedly out of its context. It began with three friends venturing to the local pub to eat fish and chips on Fridays and ended in an experience of community that caused someone to reflect, “why can’t church be more like this?” Continue reading “The Pub Church, Boston by Xochitl Alvizo”

A Grounded Spirituality, in Community by Xochitl Alvizo

It was Sunday, April 1, with grilled corn and veggie-dogs and a day gardening with friends and neighbors. Each household with their own raised bed. We started seeds and planted starter plants. We spent all day outside, various friends and neighbors stopping by at different times of the day. This was my effort at a new practice of spirituality – to touch something green every day. Perhaps not the most obvious starting point, but it was what I could do.

I’ve always had a hard time understanding “spirituality” – or what people mean by it. I’ve never quite connected. When explained to me, I understand what people say it means, whether to them specifically or as a term broadly speaking, and as a scholar of religion I can study it and learn about it, but I just don’t connect with it. I didn’t have an entry point to the term or the practice. Continue reading “A Grounded Spirituality, in Community by Xochitl Alvizo”

The Power of Black Panther by Xochitl Alvizo

Note: Black Panther movie spoiler alert.

I attended my friend’s dinner party (now my beautiful partner) recently in honor of her birthday. It was an intimate gathering of nine, mostly her immediate family, so I felt privileged to be included. At one point during the dinner, her sister-in-law initiated a ritual in which we went around the table taking turns to share words of wisdom in honor of the birthday woman. Her words in particular stayed with me. And looking back, I see how the ritual she initiated was in itself an embodiment of the words she spoke:

Stand in your power. We got you. We have your back.

She said more, but the gist of it all was summed up in those three short sentences. Looking my friend in the eye as she raised her glass in her honor, her sister-in-law’s words meant something. I could feel the truth of them – I have seen the truth of them in her relationship with her. She, along with her wife (who is my friend’s sister), really do have her back and truly do want to see her “stand in her power.”   Continue reading “The Power of Black Panther by Xochitl Alvizo”

Women Religion Revolution and its Political Theological Orientation by Xochitl Alvizo

I introduced the volume  Women Religion Revolution,  the collected works that Gina Messina and I co-edited, in a previous post. I now write about the political theological orientation with which we entered the project of the book.

The very first thing to note is that this work was, from beginning to end, a collaborative effort at multiple levels. First is the personal, relational. The idea for the book was Gina’s, but she invited me to join her in the project very early on. We brainstormed contributors and hit the ground running. Next, with the help of Kate Ott, we partnered with Feminist Studies in Religion, Inc. and its newly launched FSR Book Series. We were excited for the opportunity to have our book be among the first ones published. Organizationally, FSR Inc. partners with the Carter Center and its Mobilizing Action for Women and Girls Initiative. The Carter Center helped support the launch of the FSR Books series out of its concern to support works that make a difference to women and girls. And so, by way of FSR, this project was also made possible by the Carter Center (more on that in a bit). Continue reading “Women Religion Revolution and its Political Theological Orientation by Xochitl Alvizo”

The Making of Women Religion Revolution by Xochitl Alvizo

Last month in Boston during the American Academy of Religion (AAR) Annual Meeting I presented on Women Religion Revolution, a volume of collaborative work with fifteen other women that Gina Messina and I co-edited. The book is the third one published with FRS Books, the new book series of Feminist Studies in Religion, Inc. (FSR, Inc.) – a project with which we are very proud to partner.

FSR Books organized a panel featuring these first books. Serving as a backdrop of the whole panel was Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza’s own book, Congress of Wo/men: Religion, Gender, and Kyriarchal Power, which was FSR Books’ first publication. In this book, Schüssler Fiorenza introduces the concept and vision of the ekklēsia of wo/men as kosmopolis. Defining the ekklēsia of wo/men as “the decision-making assembly of the kosmopolis,[1] she explains the kosmopolis as the polis/city-state “governed by the egalitarian values and visions of justice and well-bring for everyone without exception” (106). She calls feminists in religion to “build a global, transcultural, cosmopolitan organizations for articulating a wisdom spirituality of cosmic world citizenship and for securing the welfare of everyone in the kosmos/world and of the kosmos itself” (111-112). In other words, Schüssler Fiorenza’s volume is a renewed call for feminists to think big and think together beyond the binary of secular/religious so as to more effectively counter the neoliberal domination of our current global context. Continue reading “The Making of Women Religion Revolution by Xochitl Alvizo”

Listening Deeply to Yourself by Xochitl Alvizo

“You need to take a step back. You need to take a pause, relax, reassess. Two steps back, you can see more clearly, then you can move forward.” That’s what my brother first told me as I shared with him the overwhelmingness of my life. My first reaction was: Well – that is easier said than done. Plus, the thought of taking a pause and relaxing only made me think about how much more behind I’d fall on everything. I confessed to him that beside my regular teaching-related responsibilities, I commit to too many other things – only to end up feeling poorly about my performance.

Do not be that person,” he said. I knew he was right. Some of my situation of overwhelmingness I do to myself; knowing I have limited time available, I nonetheless say “yes” more often than I say “no.” This is born of my own compulsion and socialization. But, as Dawn noted in a comment she left on Tuesday’s post, I need to remind myself that “my compulsion…is often just my compulsion.” Much of the time, I can choose otherwise. Continue reading “Listening Deeply to Yourself by Xochitl Alvizo”

Birthing a New World by Xochitl Alvizo

Yesterday I “paused” my post and left you with words from a dear friend Edyka Chilomé, a powerful “artivist” invested in the healing of our world. And our world is in need of healing indeed.

Today was another tough day of carrying the pain of our continued inhumanity toward one another: Las Vegas, Puerto Rico, Myanmar…and so many other ongoing tragedies. I find it hard to find words – to know what to offer here on Feminism and Religion. Some days it seems necessary to go on with our work as planned; la lucha is every day and we keep at it. But other days, keeping on as planned just seems absurd.  I think these are precisely the days that Audre Lorde had in mind when she wrote that poetry is not a luxury. Continue reading “Birthing a New World by Xochitl Alvizo”

Feminist Gutter Punk Freedom by Xochitl Alvizo

My brother is, in this own words, an “old school street, squatter, gutter punk.” Indeed, he lives outside the system. He is an anarchist atheist and has lived many nights of his life on the streets – by choice. He has a quick and easy smile and makes friends effortlessly. Recently, while stuck in Seattle during an extended layover on his way back to Europe, where he’s been living the last few years, he passed the time making new friends and exploring the immediate area –

Continue reading “Feminist Gutter Punk Freedom by Xochitl Alvizo”

On the Events of Charlottesville, VA by Xochitl Alvizo

It is in our hearts –one’s sense of superiority exists within. We are all and each capable of hate and bigotry.

It is considered the appropriate and necessary response to say that there is no room for it “here” – that we will not tolerate, in this case, white supremacy – here. Except here is exactly where it exists; here in our country, in our cities, in our communities, laws, structures, churches, homes, hearts and mind. The thread of a people’s sense of supremacy (power to dominate or defeat) has been woven into the fabric of this colonialist nation from the very beginning of what has come to be known as the United States of America. Continue reading “On the Events of Charlottesville, VA by Xochitl Alvizo”

FAR Press Publishes A Serpentine Path: Mysteries of the Goddess by Carol P. Christ

carol-p-christ-photo-michael-bakasThis is a great day for me as I announce the publication of A Serpentine Path: Mysteries of the Goddess. It is the first —but certainly not the last—book from the new FAR Press, directed by Gina Messina and Xochitl Alvizo, two of the founders of The release of my book is the fruit of friendship and collaboration that has been nourished in the blog community. I hope you will join with us in celebrating our joint venture by ordering the book, telling your friends about it, sharing it Facebook and Twitter (links below), reviewing it on Amazon, and letting Gina and Xochitl know if you can review in a magazine, journal, or blog.

Here is an excerpt from the preface to whet your appetite.


A Serpentine Path is a story that begins in despair and ends in rebirth and regeneration. It depicts a turning point in my life, a psychological and spiritual breakthrough that opened me to living the rest of my life in grace and joy. Though I am tempted to say it was a journey from darkness to light, that would be inaccurate, for mine was a journey into the darkness and out again. The path of life is never straight or narrow, and the circle of light and darkness is never-ending.

When I began the journey described in A Serpentine Path, I did not feel loved, I did not want to live, I could not write, and I believed the Goddess had betrayed my faith. As I completed the book, I knew I was loved, I wanted to live, I was writing, and I understood that the Goddess had never abandoned me. Though my life has had its ups and downs since then—as all lives do—I have never forgotten that I am loved, I have wanted to live, I have not stopped writing, and I feel the Goddess ever-present in my body, in my breath, and in my connections with the living and the dead. Though my story is deeply personal, my struggles with love and death, trust and control, are widely shared.

A story of finding the Goddess, A Serpentine Path is part of a growing genre that is developing as women explain to themselves and others why they left the patriarchal religions of their origins for a more nourishing spiritual vision that affirms both women and the earth. A Serpentine Path documents the first of the Goddess Pilgrimages to Crete I have been leading twice a year since then. For the women who have traveled with me, it will evoke many memories. For those who have dreamed of a pilgrimage to the Goddess, it offers an opportunity to imagine the journey. I now know a great deal more about ancient Crete, the folklore and customs of traditional Crete, and the rocks, trees and plants of Crete, than I did when I began. But I learned the mystery on my first pilgrimage. Because we are all deeply connected to each other, I know that the path to the mystery I discovered is not mine alone.


a-serpentine-path-amazon-coverBe among the first to order A Serpentine Path, Carol P. Christ’s moving memoir of transformation. Carol’s other new book written with Judith Plaskow is Goddess and God in the World: Conversations in Embodied Theology. Carol also wrote the first Goddess feminist theology, Rebirth of the Goddess.

Join Carol on a Goddess Pilgrimage to Crete in 2017. Save $200.

Read two of the chapters in the book: Mysteries and Dionysian Rites.

Thanks to Judith Shaw for the cover art “Downward Serpent”

“You Look Trim” and Resisting the Tyranny of Thinness by Xochitl Alvizo

Incarnation, Goddess spirituality, Xochitl Alvizo, god became fleshI caught myself reinforcing the norm. The ever present default of focusing on women’s body size and prioritizing their weight gain and loss. I did this with a colleague/friend of mine. After not seeing one another for most of the summer, my first comment to her was about her thinning waistline.

We greeted each other excitedly as we discovered the unexpected surprise that we were both attending the same pre-semester training. But following our warm greeting, and just as we went to sit down with our lunch, I commented to her that she looked more trim. She responded, “That’s the best compliment anyone could have given me – thank you!”

My heart sank a little as I realized what I had done. The first time I see her in months, of all that she is and all the amazing qualities she has, my attention and commentary went to her waistline – to paying attention to the size of her body. I felt such disappointment in myself. And in that moment it also hit me that I wasn’t only doing this with her, I had recently been doing this with myself as well. Continue reading ““You Look Trim” and Resisting the Tyranny of Thinness by Xochitl Alvizo”

Updates on Listening by Xochitl Alvizo

X.Alvizo CSUN Profile 2-editedThe pieces of my dissertation are beginning to float to the surface, piece by piece, released into the world as smaller parts of the whole. At some point this all may become a book, but for now, I have enjoyed the opportunity to share some of the learning from my dissertation research in book chapters, articles, and blog posts, which I’d like to share with you all so that you can see some of what I’ve been up to these days.

The most recent piece that has come to be is an article on The Listening Guidethe particular method of narrative analysis I used to analyze the transcriptions of the interviews I conducted with participants of Emerging Church congregations. I’m particularly excited about this piece because I think it could be a useful tool to many of us in our respective fields of study and work. And although my particular context is theological and, even more specifically, Christian, as a tool and method, The Listening Guide can be used for reflection and be of great value in a variety of contexts.  Continue reading “Updates on Listening by Xochitl Alvizo”

%d bloggers like this: