I’ve been trying to write a blog post for the last few weeks now… ever since a good friend of mine pointed out this post to me, where Bo Sanders offers a proposal arguing that “privilege is not racism, sexism, or oppression.” In his post, Bo suggests that:
The conversation around issues of Race-Gender-Class and Identity Politics usually breaks down and becomes unfruitful due to two fatal flaws in how the conversation is framed.
Bo sugests that the first flaw is “the use of either-or binaries and dualisms that are too limiting,” and the second flaw is “the sloppy mixing of words and categories without clear distinction.” He goes on to argue that we should make a change from our dualistic thinking, moving instead to delineation between a) privilege, b) racism/sexism, and c) oppression/marginalization.
I’ve struggled with where, and how, to begin to respond to this post… Luckily for me, and my writer’s block, someone already beat me to it—Sarah Moon wrote an excellent blog post on “Tony Jones, Peter Rollins, and the trend of ‘don’t call me a racist!’”
While her post was in response to a different (though ostensibly related/overlapping) set of authors, it was definitely in response to the same trend… as she puts it, the “trend among white, straight academic cis men in progressive or emergent Christianity where calling someone racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. is a bigger problem than the existence of racism, sexism, and homophobia.” (emphasis mine).
I did, however, briefly want to elaborate on some of what Sarah has said, and make some connections with some other things I’ve read in the blogosphere this week. Continue Reading »
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged bad arguments, justice, racism, sexism, solidarity, structural sin, white privilege | 1 Comment »
The ease with which arguments for gay marriage have found their historical analogy in comparison to interracial marriage has long given me pause. Indeed, the ease with which contemporary gay rights is articulated as “The New Civil Rights” or “The New Black,”–rather than pointing to any kind of progressive agenda or historic moment–seems to belie the increasingly nebulous and statist alignment required to make these arguments work on an analogical level in addition to shoring up of proximity to and intimacy with black bodies as the illusion of solidarity even as it reinscribes a betrayal and violation of black bodies. Continue Reading »
Posted in Uncategorized, Black Theology, Political Theology | Tagged LGBTQ, neoliberalism, political theology, Queer, Race | 13 Comments »
One of the websites I check each morning is Radio Vaticana, for its summaries and excerpts from Pope Francis’s daily homilies at the chapel in the guest house where he lives. No complete transcripts are ever available, and his remarks are mostly off the cuff. So there’s a stronger element of uncertainty in interpreting Francis’s homilies (e.g., “Was that an allusion to this-or-that issue?” “Is he indirectly challenging this-or-that practice?”) than there was in Benedict’s, which were always carefully and deliberately composed. Continue Reading »
Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments »
A note: The following post is part of an inter-blog series on “the vocation of the theologian,” sponsored by Emerging Theologians in connection with this weekend’s meeting of the College Theology Society. Emerging Theologians is an international network of early-career Catholic theologians that first took form in a 2012 Boston conference on the future of the Catholic Church and the 50th anniversary of Vatican II (so, nothing to do with “emergent.”) I’d encourage you to read the Final Statement from that meeting; it offers a concise articulation of many of the “hopes and concerns” that form the conference season conversation among my group of Catholic theologians (“my group” being, generally, those in and just out of grad school who have lived exclusively in the post-Conciliar Catholic Church, and are more likely to think about the Council’s legacy in terms of positive steps toward openness, decentralization, dialogue, and the full participation of the laity than in terms of negative turns toward relativism or away from reverence). For more on these general points, I’d strongly recommend the book that came from ET’s initial conference: Visions of Hope: Emerging Theologians and the Future of the Church. For more on the vocation of the theologian, please do read some of the other posts in the series. Continue Reading »
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged hope, metz, vocation | 6 Comments »
In this piece I attempt to reconsider James Cone’s contributions to theology, especially his theologizing on blackness, as a way of theorizing gender. This is not to diminish the critiques of patriarchy Womanists raise regarding Cone’s theology, but in order to interrogate the narrative that has emerged around how those critiques function and to argue that Cone’s conception of blackness might already hold some key to undoing the patriarchal elements of his theology. I wonder, finally, if we might stop teaching Black Liberation theology as if it primarily lacks a gendered critique unless done under the banner of Womanism. Continue Reading »
Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments »
Mary Daly famously said that men would have to find their own way through and then out of patriarchy; she herself could not be bothered to tell them what to do. Her focus was on helping women connect with the root of their own fundamental Being in order to conjure up the existential courage to become who they were supposed to be, above and beyonds the delimiting confines of patriarchal conceptions of womanhood. In all likelihood, she had to say this because she was probably asked on a regular basis what her feminist critique would mean for men. Continue Reading »
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged bell hooks, Feminism, feminist theology, flourishing, masculinity, women who are awesome | 18 Comments »
I watched the Oscar nominated documentary How To Survive a Plague a few weeks ago. It’s been haunting me ever since.
Mixing archival video with present day recollections, Plague tells the story of the AIDS advocacy group ACTUP (AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power) and their decade long struggle to force the federal government to find an affordable and effective treatment for HIV/AIDS. Comprised mostly of gay men and their lesbian allies, ACTUP fought for survival in an age in which many of their compatriots believed they deserved death.
Many also wished they would disappear. Nearly 20,000 U.S.-Americans died of AIDS before President Reagan publicly mentioned its existence, nearly seven years after its virulent emergence.
In the nineteen eighties, many of the United States’ AIDS dead were gay men. Evicted from families and forced to flee hometowns, they sought refuge in the anonymity of big cities. Their arrival constituted a type of re-birth; there, they re-incorporated themselves into families and friend groups. Some lived lives of open flamboyance, valiantly defying mainstream desire that they blend in invisibly. Others remained in the closet until disease or indignity pushed them out. Their deaths were a whisper.
The dead bodies of AIDS victims were treated much like the living bodies of gay people: perpetually contaminating and hideously grotesque, they should be neither seen nor touched. If possible, they should be erased altogether.
Continue Reading »
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged ACTUP, baptism, HIV/AIDS, How To Survive A Plague, Jesus, John Chrysostom, lgbt, suffering, the body of Christ, the Eucharist | 10 Comments »