Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Confessing to book buying: poetry, detective fiction and feminist theology

Each day when I come home this week there has been another book - sometimes two - waiting for me. I had a bit of a splurge a week ago on some theology and detective fiction over at the Book Depository. Truth to tell there's also been a bit of Olav Hauge's poetry in the packages, the poems have added great lightness to my day as I catch the overcrowded bus in the morning. Short enough to never lose the plot.
Meanwhile today a second book arrived with some writing by the theologian Sarah Coakley ( a first had come earlier in the week - yes this really was a splurge!). If I hadn't got so into blogging I might not know of Coakley's work and I'm looking forward to reading the various essays and articles in Power and Submissions - Spirituality, Philosophy and Gender. So far I am only half way through the prologue but it is briliant and thought-provoking stuff. Coakley outlines how both neo-orthodox and post-liberal (male) theologians have

"effected a new valorization of Christic "vulnerability", an admission of divine self-limitation and exposure in the face of human cruelty. Rather than deflecting human weakness, this trend has embraced it - even into the trintarian heart of God. Submission has become paradoxically identified with divine "power".
Yet for the feminist theologian ... this highly prized tactic has proved double edged; indeed the question of power and submission has become yet further fraught in the light of this popular male theological strategy. For how can the call for the liberation of the powerless and oppressed, especially of women, possibly coexist with a revalorization of any form of "submission" - divine or otherwise? Precisely as male theology has wallowed in a new adulation of "vulnerability" and "receptivity" (perhaps aiming - consciously or unconsciously - to incorporate a repressed "femininity" into its dogmatic system), feminist theology has emerged to make its rightful protest."
This is the sort of theology that reads almost as well as one of the well-translated Scandinavian crime novels that are also arriving as a result of my splurge. More from Coakley in weeks and months to come I hope.