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.

Christian Privilege & the Religion Professor

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Today is Better Together Day!  The designation comes from the Interfaith Youth Core, lifting up the day to encourage more people to have one conversation with a person of a different religious or non-religious background.  It’s an effort to combat some of the basic ignorance about other religious views that pervades our culture, and religious [Read More...]

When Religious Freedom Only Protects Heteropatriarchy

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It’s not really religious freedom. Conservative politicians have been on a roll for the past couple of years coopting the idea of religious freedom, itself an important element of our pluralistic democracy.  The version they are trumpeting and carving into law, however, is anything but religious, free, pluralistic, or democratic.  Indiana’s new law is only [Read More...]

Vocation at the Intersection of Self & World

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Today I’m heading to St. Louis for the National Conference of the Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education, NetVUE.  I’m particularly excited to hear Krista Tippett speak at one of the plenary sessions, she of the On Being podcast, radio show, blog, and general fabulousness.  I have written before about this conference, and my participation [Read More...]

At the Intersections: A Quota of Home, A Colonized Name

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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 Nisreen Zaqout, who is a junior at Illinois College majoring in Gender and Women’s Studies and Economics. After graduating, she plans to work on a graduate degree in Gender Studies focusing on the Middle [Read More...]

At the Intersections: I Remember

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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 Leah Fortner, who is a senior at Illinois College with a major in Psychology and a minor in Gender & Women’s Studies. She plans to move to Oregon and become a Child [Read More...]

At the Intersections: On Being Black and Queer at a Black Baptist Church

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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 Brittany Spaulding, a Chicagoan who will graduate from Illinois College this May.  Brittany looks forward to starting work on her MFA in Poetry at Columbia College Chicago in the fall.  She is [Read More...]

Feminist Theology of the Cross and the Eucharist

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My first book, Coram Deo: Human Life in the Vision of God (Pickwick 2006), is newly available for Kindle starting this week.  It originated as my dissertation at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.  Here’s an excerpt: A commitment to feminist theological criticism grounds what I identify to be the problem of atonement as [Read More...]

A Feminist Religion Professor’s Valentine’s Weekend

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What’s a great way to spend a heteronormative greeting-card holiday? At conference for gay and lesbian college student activists? Yesss! A couple of years ago, it so happened that I was teaching an essay by bell hooks on the patriarchal construct of romantic love on February 14. A key idea in “Romance: Sweet Love” is [Read More...]

Disciplining the Spirit With Jack Levison

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One of the richest, most complicated, and ineffable topics in theology is the Spirit. Some Christians call it the Holy Ghost, though I much prefer the Hebrew term ruach. Breath. Wind. Air. When I have the opportunity to do a little Hebrew vocabulary with my students, I have them hold one hand in front of [Read More...]

For Damaged Girls

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“No matter your age, you have rights to your own body.” “Churches are a community, but your body is not community property.” “You, and only you, have the ability to say yes or no for yourself.” “Your feelings are valid: It’s OK to be who you are.” “You are loved.” Dianna Anderson is crystal clear [Read More...]


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