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.

Everything Wrong With Christianity on One Church Sign

god

I saw it recently on the sign of a church on the outskirts of a small Midwestern city. “God Saw What You Did.” Five words. One big threat. Encapsulating so much of what drives people away from religion in general and Christianity in particular. Shame. Blame. Judgement. Threat. Consider the doctrine of God implied by [Read More...]

At the Intersections: The Public Body of Christ

samantha

Many good people live and work at the intersections and I occasionally invite someone to tell a story from where they stand. I first encountered Samantha Nichols via Twitter and our common engagement with the Interfaith Youth Core. I met her this fall when she was on a #BlackLivesMatter panel at a meeting of the ELCA Theological [Read More...]

Fighting Religious Prejudice with Conversation & Information

faith club

How often do you have conversations with someone of a different faith than your own? Could you ever convert to a different religion? What would you miss if you did? What are the exclusive truth claims that you hold to in your religion? What’s more important: A book about interfaith dialogue for adults or a [Read More...]

A Big Magic Believer

caryn harry sabbatical

Some people would say that because I’m a theologian I already embrace magical thinking (i.e., all religion = magical thinking). Elizabeth Gilbert has me embracing big magic in a whole new way this year. I got her newest book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, for Christmas and have made it part of my morning [Read More...]

Defending the Value of Muslim Lives, No Matter Where You Live

Hijab_woman_Liverpool

I wrote this piece which first appeared in the December 18, 2015, issue of the Jacksonville Journal-Courier, my local newspaper. While it addresses the demographics of this place, its relevance extends to all those who live in religiously homogenous places. If you agree with Donald Trump’s proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the United [Read More...]

Top Five Posts of 2015

madonna

It’s the week of year-in-review lists and posts, so I thought I’d see what the top five posts from my Patheos year have been. They are a pretty decent indication of hot topics from 2015, and a fair representation of the kinds of things I like to blog about: Jesus is Not a Get-Out-of-Jail Free [Read More...]

Must Interfaith Solidarity Cost a Woman Her Job?

Hawkins

Apparently, at Wheaton College, a tenured political science professor who decides to wear hijab as an expression of her Christian solidarity with Muslim neighbors and quotes Pope Francis in support of that decision, is failing to “faithfully represent the College’s evangelical Statement of Faith.” In part of a December 10 public post on Facebook, Dr. Larycia [Read More...]

A New Christmas Album of Joy, Justice, and Gender Inclusion

christmas

I am in the midst of my annual Christmas music and movies binge, are you? Feliz Navidad is playing on my Sirius XM Holly station right now. Yesterday while waiting for a train at Union Station in Chicago, the theme song from Christmas Vacation was on some kind of loop and on the drive home, [Read More...]

“Where God Is” :: Writing and Teaching in Public as Lutheran and Feminist

union station

As I prepare to present at one workshop at the University of Chicago on Friday and attend a writing workshop in downtown Chicago on Sunday, I’m sharing excerpts of what I presented recently at the Lutheran Women in Theological and Religious Studies annual meeting at the American Academy of Religion. (For more on the two [Read More...]

White Conservative Evangelical Heteropatriarchal Terrorism in a Gun Culture Hating Planned Parenthood

I_Stand_With_Planned_Parenthood

I’ve been too unspeakably angry about the terrorist attack on Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs last week to write much about it. Yes, it was a terrorist attack. Any act of violence that is meant primarily to incite fear in the observing public is terrorism. It’s also a particular form of terrorism in the case [Read More...]


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