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.

No Religious Exemption for Abuse

Late last summer, a group of Illinois pastors sued the state for their right to engage in conversion therapy, which had been outlawed months previously, in effect seeking a religious exemption to practice child abuse. They provide the latest example of literalist and exclusivist Christians who are used to having their discrimination tolerated and their abuse accepted. [Read More…]

Hearing God on Hacksaw Ridge & in Airport Detention

In the movie Hacksaw Ridge, Desmond Doss is perched on the edge of the ridge with his battalion of soldiers in retreat after a gory firefight and before an artillery strike is called in. A Seventh Day Adventist and conscientious objector who refused to carry a weapon in favor of saving lives as a medic, [Read More…]

From Election to Marching: Calling a Thing What It Is, or We Are Not the Crazy Ones

“A theologian of glory calls evil good and good evil. A theologian of the cross calls the thing what it actually is.” ~ Martin Luther, 1518 Saturday marked the first day since November 9 that I didn’t feel crazy, or completely out of sync with reality, or that everything I thought was true was false. [Read More…]

All About Hijab: Gender, Race, Religion & Ghazala Khan

It started with a dignified woman standing on stage, on television, stoically bearing witness to the dead son her husband spoke about with grieving passion. When that husband challenged the nation’s premiere bully to read the Constitution, that bully set his sights on the woman. Of course he did. This is a man who used [Read More…]

The Grace of Being Freed From Judging My Neighbor

Earlier this week, I had an op-ed about religious freedom published in the local newspaper, responding to to legislative efforts in many states (VP nominee Mike Pence’s Indiana among them) to enable business owners to use religious freedom as a license to deny services and discriminate. Here’s an excerpt (click to read the full piece): As Lutherans prepare [Read More…]

Writing About #BlackLivesMatter While White

By now, you know whether or not Alton Sterling and Philando Castile had criminal records. As if that justifies either of them being shot and killed by police while pinned to the ground or while sitting in a car with a four-year-old in the back seat. One day I got my neighbor’s “rap sheet” in [Read More…]

#JesseWilliamsSyllabus

I was going to write about the liberation theology of Jesse Williams. I immediately zoned in on this piece of his speech when I watched it Sunday night on the BET Awards: “But freedom is somehow always conditional here. ‘You’re free,’ they keep telling us. But she would have been alive if she hadn’t acted [Read More…]

SCOTUS Ruling on Care & Compassion for All Women

A few months ago, I got an email from a reader who said she grew up conservative Christian, though now considered herself progressive and a feminist. The abortion issue still vexed her. She asked me this: Q:  I have been having a cognitive issue with abortion rights.  I am fervently pro-women and consider myself a [Read More…]

Trump. Women Know “That Guy”

His response to a woman’s charge that his buddy assaulted her begins and ends with defending his buddy. We know that guy. He stages a made-for-tv apology reminiscent of an intimate abuser after publicly berating a woman for doing her job. We know that guy. He uses and abuses women who are, aren’t, and might [Read More…]

An Interfaith Leader’s Twelve-Step Response to the Pulse Massacre

In an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education today, Eboo Patel says: “An interfaith leader is someone with the vision, knowledge base, and skill set to create the spaces, organize the social processes, and craft the conversations such that people of different religions can share a common life together.” While the essay doesn’t talk [Read More…]