Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Should theology be "well balanced"?

Perhaps this post should be entitled "feminist theology and the meaning of life".
Last night our feminist theology group listened to a man talking about his life, discovering and learning to appreciate his Jewish heritiage while being a Christian minister. Pierre Strauss had brought with him beautiful examples of artistic calligraphy and a deep understanding of Kabbalistic Jewish spirituality. He had obviously prepared much more than he had time to share with us last night, but what was interestingwas how his meditative approach to pulling together the threads of his own life helped us to do the same with our lives, bringing together spirituality and social and political action. It was a good evening reflecting on the past and the future while living in the here and now.
At the end of the evening we came back once more - as it would seem so often in my life - to Chouraqui's translation of the Beatitudes as "En Marche". I've written about that so often that I won't do so again for the time being - you can read more here and here.

Meanwhile, as a result of our evening I put the following post up on facebook and got involved in a discussion with a colleague based in Paris about feminist theology. Which led me to make the statement "good theology is not well-balanced" - my idea I suppose being that good theology is based on conviction as well as on criticial analysis - heart and mind. Later thisled me to ponder that perhaps in ecumenism it is this badly behaved element in theological interaction that is sometimes missing - we are too busy being well-behaved, well balanced and can sometimes sadly lack conviciton or inspiration.

Anyway here is an extract from my facebook conversation with Gilles, who is minister at Le Marais in Paris - they are about to start webcasting all of their Sunday services which I think is a really great idea. I watched last week and thought it was really good, very straightforward and unshowy. Le Marais has one of the best church websites out there and an extraordinary intercultural and multilingual ministry in the heart of Paris.

Been at a very interesting evening of feminist theology, with beautiful Hebrew calligraphy and the potential for listening to be the motor for social change

GB: Feminist theology ?... what does it mean ?
Can you tell me some places where I could hear some good male chauvinist theology

JS: male chauvinist theology is not good theology. However if you're that taken with it you can just pop in to almost any local church. The speaker at our group this evenign was a man btw
GB I have the intuition that female chauvinism is not the good answer to male chauvinism ;-)

JS ‎@Gilles and I have the firm conviction that feminist theology has never been about female chauvinism ... tho of course it is often portrayed that way :-)
Sarah More details? Sounds interesting.
GB So if feminist theology is this, what is the well-balanced male theology ? Why should theology be male and female ? I thought that there were no more male and female in Christ ? - I'm a bit provocative, but in a real desire to understand those things...
JS @Gilles one day - perhaps quite soon as I shall move to Paris this Autumn - I shall give you my considered opinion of "well-balanced male theology" - over a good bottle of wine I think. Of course in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek neither male nor female.
And "good theology" is not well-balanced - hence the need for mission theologies, feminist theologies, liberation theologies, evangeilism theologies, black theologies etc. Btw I suspect that both male and female French Protestants practise a form of womanist theology - in which male and female Protestants hold together for the sake of identity.
And of course "Well balanced male theology" is what some say our institutions have been serving up for several hundred years - some of it is even not all that bad - I think that is what some of the well-balanced males tell me.

Probably I am not very well-balanced, and of course I am not male.