Feminism & Christianity, ‘Changing Church’

Over at her Changing Church blog, Jann Aldredge-Clanton regularly shares new hymns and profiles leaders in a variety of Christian communities.  I’ve shared recordings of her music as well as her profile of Rev. Alice Martin, and should also note that Jann’s is one of the stories included in Lana Dalberg’s new book Birthing God, which I endorsed and wrote about about when it was released earlier this year.

So I’m honored that she chose to include me as one of her stories about ‘changing church’ this week.  Here’s an excerpt from her piece about my recent book, Feminism & Christianity:

This succinct book makes the case for the strong connection between Christianity and feminism better than any other book I know. Dr. Riswold presents thorough scholarship in a clear and engaging style accessible to lay and clergy, as well academic, audiences.

Dr. Riswold describes her purpose in writing this book: “I wrote Feminism and Christianity for two main audiences: the Christian who is either skeptical or uninformed about feminism’s relevance for the religion today, and the feminist who doesn’t see any need to talk about Christianity given its patriarchal history and tendencies.  I divided the book into ‘feminist questions of Christianity’ and ‘Christian questions of feminism’ as a way to start addressing the questions that I know to be out there. I don’t claim to have answered or even asked every question perfectly, but I do hope to have sparked conversation and discussion in classrooms, churches, and living rooms that will live on beyond the covers of the book.”

While Dr. Riswold realizes the value of her academic writing, she feels called also to write for a wider audience.  “I also intentionally wrote the book to be accessible to a wide range of readers. My previously published writing had been much more tailored to an academic reader and an audience more familiar with terminology and ‘insider’ issues in the field of Christian theology.  I’ve come to realize in recent years, though, that while that work remains vitally important, I am called also to speak and write to people who are not experts.  In fact, this is what I do in the classroom with undergraduate students every day! Explaining the history and relevance of something like Latin American liberation theology to 32 twenty-year-olds taking my introductory class for general education credit—that’s just another Wednesday to me. So, I realized, why not take the skills and passions I bring to my classroom every day into the public realm of writing, speaking, and publishing?”

For more of my conversation with Jann, head on over to her blog.

About Caryn Riswold

Caryn D. Riswold is a feminist theologian in the Lutheran tradition. She is Professor of Religion and also teaches Gender and Women’s Studies at Illinois College in Jacksonville, Illinois, where she has worked for over a decade teaching undergraduates to think critically and creatively about religion. She earned her Ph.D. and Th.M. from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, holds a master’s degree from the Claremont School of Theology, and received her B.A. from Augustana College in her childhood hometown of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.


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