Today I’m blogging live from the Transformative Lutheran Theologies conference in Chicago. We’ve got 156 women and men thinking deep thoughts and asking tough questions, both about church structure and society, as well as identity, love and suffering.
This morning Caryn Riswold, a professor from Illinois College and future Ecumenical Women delegate (we’re excited!) talked about her life as a religious academic who is trying to bridge the gap with feminists. Third wave feminism recognizes that women have an intersection of identities simultaneously at work: race, class, gender and nationality. She has found that for the most part, third wave feminists have glossed over religion, finding it irrelevant or just another impediment. So Riswold is carving out a space where they connect, and asking: what do Christians want to do with feminists? And– what do feminists want to do with Christians?
Quoting sociologists, Riswold argues that as society we create products and ideas, which then take on a life of their own. This means that we are producers of our reality, and that God too is a cultural product. Therefore to assume the image of god is fixed is to miss an opportunity– because really, our image of a patriarchal God has not kept pace with the times. From Luther she takes the understanding of a God that humbles, and the belief that human enterprise must be humbled. After all we humans are failures, we can’t even create a peaceful world. She argues that we must reset the balance: where there is privilege, sew humility and where there is poverty, sew empowerment. After all, she says, the God of creation is a redeeming God, and he trusts our power as creators.