Connecting to the Gospel
As friends and family read my blog, I think that this post, presenting my new perspective found in feminist theology, might be the most surprising. To say that I was sexist may be a little strong. To admit that I was very unaware and unwilling to accept my male privilege would hit the nail more squarely on the head. It was not that I was against gender equality, rather I didn't understand my role in the inequality, in the oppression.
My old perspective was challenged in my first week of classes, when every professor emphasized the need for inclusive language. This policy was supported in more than gender neutral language when referencing God. The school’s theology was put into the practice as I have had the privilege of hearing female preachers, like Karen Wiseman and Audrey West lead worship and share the gospel message. I have had the chance to study Old Testament stories about Sarah, Haggar, Naomi, Ruth, Hannah, and Esther in order to discuss the voice of women in Scripture. I have had the opportunities to read articles and participate in Skype discussions with contemporary female theologians.
Deanna Thompson challenges us in her article “Hoping for More” to do more than hope for a better life or wait in anticipation for the heavenly promise. Rather, even in our struggles and lament, we can work “to make today something that honors God’s promise.” Cynthia Moe-Lobeda, in her article “Theology of the Cross for the Uncreators,” offers us a list of “false crosses” to which we cling. She insists that, as we understand Christ’s suffering on the cross, we focus on the suffering caused by “structural sin”; the suffering in our world caused by “social structures that bring power and wealth at the expense of others.” Kristine Suna-Kora, in her article “Postcolonial Bittersweet in America: Ecojustice and Sacramental Agency,” claims that our individual actions can “generate genuinely transformative effects.” While she is speaking of individual agency in response to the environment and our own planet, her theology can easily be applied to the treatment of all God’s creation, including our treatment of each other.
We must tear down the imaginary, the labels, walls, and divisions our society has created to divide us. In my role as a spiritual leader, I can embrace the feminist theology that works to help women better connect with the Gospel. This means making sure that they hear themselves in the Gospel message. Gender neutral language is a good place to start, but it is only the first step. We need to intentionally connect our daily choices to our ethical, spiritual, and theological beliefs. Marit Trelstad, in her article, “The Way of Salvation in Luther’s Theology: A Feminist Evaluation,” references Deanna Thompson, claiming “that feminist insistence to address the suffering and oppression of women finds an unlikely companion in Luther who also asks theologians to see things for what they are rather than gloss over painful reality.” A feminist, Lutheran theology...definitely a way of revealing God that I can inspire to live out.
Moe-Lobeda, Cynthia. “A Theology of the Cross for the ‘Uncreators.’” In Cross Examinations: Readings on the Meaning of the Cross Today. Edited by Marit Trelstad, 181-195. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2006.
Suna-Koro, Kristine. “Postcolonially Bittersweet in America: Ecojustice and Sacramental Agency.” Journal of Postcolonial Theory and Theology. Accessed August 10, 2015.
Thompson, Deanna A. “Hoping for More: How Eschatology Matters for Lutheran Feminist Theologies.” In Transformative Lutheran Theologies: Feminist, Womanist, and Mujerista Perspectives. Edited by Mary J. Streufert, 225-236. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2010.
Trelstad, Marit. “The Way of Salvation in Luther’s Theology: A Feminist Evaluation.” Dialog 45, no. 3 (Fall 2006): 236-245.