About Caryn Riswold

Caryn D. Riswold is a feminist theologian in the Lutheran tradition. She is Professor of Religion and Chair of 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.

Be Afraid

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I’ve never understood the appeal of haunted houses or roller coasters or scary movies. I don’t enjoy being afraid and can’t imagine how it can be a form of entertainment. I vividly remember being terrified at haunted houses as a child, and demanding at one that they let me out before the end because it [Read More...]

At The Intersections: Justice & the Divine Female

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Many good people live and work at the intersections, and I occasionally invite someone to tell a story from where they stand. Today’s piece comes from Rev. Jann Aldredge-Clanton, whose musical work I have shared on this blog from time to time over the years. Jann is an ordained minister, author, teacher, and chaplain. She currently serves [Read More...]

Called to Act for Peace

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I read former President Jimmy Carter’s latest book this summer in preparation for today. The 90-year-old is speaking on my campus today alongside Khalaf Al Habtoor, a major benefactor of the college, and former U.S. Representative from Jacksonville, Illinois, Paul Findley. A major campus initiative titled Pathways to Peace is being announced, and the college’s [Read More...]

Two Great Stories

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My lack of blog posting over the past few weeks can partially be attributed to the fact that I was travelling to, speaking at, and otherwise participating in two great conference events.  Luckily, other folks put together great Storify summaries of these events. First, I attended the Vanguard Campus Convening with staff from the Interfaith [Read More...]

Interfaithing Round-Up

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This weekend I’m travelling to Washington, D.C., to attend The President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge, along with the preceding convening of the Vanguard Interfaith Campus Network.  The Interfaith Youth Core is the connection point here, working with colleges and universities around the country on integrating interreligious cooperation, interfaith dialogue, community service, and work [Read More...]

Honorable Mention: Father Roy Bourgeois

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Father Roy Bourgeois is speaking on my campus tonight, and I’m thrilled to be having dinner with him before the event.  The event tonight and one tomorrow in Springfield, Illinois, are being co-sponsored by Call to Action, the college, Abraham Lincoln Unitarian Universalist Congregation, and Holy Family Inclusive Catholic Community, a new church in town I [Read More...]

Reproductive (in)Justice in Jacksonville

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I wrote this piece in response to events in the Illinois town where I live, and it was first published in the Jacksonville Journal-Courier on September 10, 2014: Abandonment used to be a regular form of family planning — leaving a newborn out in the elements where she or he would likely die from exposure [Read More...]

postChristian & the Sin of postFeminism

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In his newest book, postChristian, fellow Patheos blogger Christian Piatt takes up some important questions about Christianity in the 21st century:  Because Christianity “is not what it should be, what it claims to be,” Piatt asks:  What’s left?  Can we fix it?  Do we care?  He frames his reflections on these subtitle questions using seven [Read More...]

Because Religion?

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Consider this: George Fox University decided that references to sex in Title IX don’t include gender identity.  The Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Education says it does. Hobby Lobby owners decided that IUD’s are abortifacients.  The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology says they are not. On what basis did the private [Read More...]

Teaching Ferguson

As many of us head back to school, events are still unfolding in Ferguson, Missouri.  Protests have been expanding since white police officer Darren Wilson fatally shot unarmed teenager Michael Brown on August 9.  Some young people will know what has been going on, and some will not.  Some will relate to the anger playing [Read More...]


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