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Justice Is Possible #Ferguson

This is a guest post by Anthony Smith, aka postmodernnegro.

No indictment for Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson in his murder of Michael Brown. Not shocked. Definitely not surprised. However, I am sad and angry. To many people this is not understood. But to many in my cohort, this is a part of the cultural furniture of living in the United States of America. We get it. We experience the onslaught of daily indignities that are the crumbs of endemic white supremacy.

As I went to bed Monday night after watching the county prosecutor Robert McCullough announce that there would be no indictment of Officer Wilson a thought came to me: French philosopher and father of deconstructionism Jacques Derrida was right. Justice is a possibility. 

[Read more...]

No One’s Heard of Paul Ricoeur

Paul Ricoeur

Paul Ricoeur

I’ve spent the last week at academic conferences on religion (honestly, the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society is only vaguely academic — it is primarily fideistic, it seems). To wander around among 10,000 theologians, biblical scholars, and professors of religion at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion is a great way to nerd out with your geek out. That is, if you’re into theology and religion.

But most people aren’t.

At AAR you can hear presentations with titles like,

  • “The Path has a Mind of its Own”: Eco-Agri-Pilgrimage to the Corn Maze Performance — an Exercise of Cross-Species Sociality
  • Seeing the Things You Cannot See: (Dis)-solving the Sublime in Interreligious Aesthetics through the Paintings of Hiroshi Senju

  • Yoga Body, Yoga Pants: The Feminization, Sexualization, and Pornification of Yoga

One of my commitments this week has been to make a short speech at the Society for Beer Lovers and Assorted Academic Research, a couple hundred young scholars who bring killer microbrews from all over the world to share at AAR. It was a pretty awesome night, with high octane brews being poured in a hot and humid church basement.

Here’s what I told them: [Read more...]

Is the Emerging Church Relevant? [Liveblog]

This week I’m at AAR/SBL, and I’m liveblogging some of the sessions I’m attending. Emergent Art Car This session is sponsored by the Critical Research in Religion group, and it’s called, “Is the Emerging/-ent Church Relevant?”

Xochitl Alvizo of Boston University gave the first presentation, Is the Emerging Church Important from a Feminist Practical Theological Perspective? Her thesis is that the few hipster white men who make up the popular perception of the Emerging Church Movement [ECM] are effectively erasing the truth, that the ECM is a large group of diverse people who are questioning church practice and theology. To imagine the ECM as a deconstruction of conventional church means to move beyond the high profile names and to, in the words of John Caputo, “Make the impossible happen.” This is exactly what feminist theologians have been doing since Mary Daly in the 1960s. The ECM can be measured in its success by this same metric as feminist theology. Alvizo studied 12 congregations to see if they are what they say they are: relational, organic, and inclusive. She looked for the congregations’ ability to question their own embedded patriarchal habits. Her findings are not yet complete, and she is analyzing her results. But two of the most pressing questions so far are, 1) the structure of the ordained clergy. Traditionally, the ordained clergy have a monopoly of the teaching and the power, disempowering the laity and keeping the liturgy from being the work of the people. Alvizo has found that ECM clergy are renegotiating these roles and attempting to subvert the traditional clergy roles. [Read more...]


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