This chapter discusses women and ritual practice in the Christian tradition, women's ritual practices in the twentieth century, the development of feminist rituals, the globalization of feminist rituals, international networks of Christian women, and feminist activism in the Church. It argues that women creating and celebrating feminist rituals are here to stay. At the same time, of the roughly one billion Christian women around the globe, those who participate in feminist ritual practices are a distinct minority. A multitude of Christian women, however, do practice their faith in symbol, ritual, celebration, and song, and they do so—whether self-consciously or not, in an established group or alone—in gender-specific ways. Whatever the future of distinctly feminist rituals might hold, this gender-specific meaning-making of the rituals of faith will remain, at least until gender loses its defining force as a marker of difference in our world.
This chapter presents an account of what feminist theology is and how it might help us understand and engage with our globalizing world. The first section provides a non-faith-specific definition of feminist theology as an intracultural activist enterprise aimed at exploring the landscape of religious imagination from a feminist perspective, and also lays out a few of feminist theology's most distinctive “plays of imagination.” The second section turns to faith-informed, Christian feminist theology, describing it as a more narrowly focused activist enterprise that explores the landscape of the distinctly Christian theological imagination from a feminist perspective. Its distinctive “plays of mind” are delineated as well. The third section turns to the topic of globalization and maps out the central features of “the global imagination,” describing the ways in which globalization has impacted and shifted our thinking processes in recent decades, particularly in the global North. The final section returns to Christian feminist theology (and to pluralistic feminist theology as well), suggesting ways its faith imagination—its theological plays of mind—might productively engage the global imagination with the aim of improving, in new and creative ways, the lives of women everywhere.
Building on the foundations of First Wave Jewish and Christian women's activism, Jewish feminist theology has made a decisive contribution to the post-Holocaust renewal of Jewish thought. Its vision of Israel as an assembly of gendered persons whose ethical relationships with the world and with one another are witness to the love and justice of God has introduced inclusive language into the liturgy, and has expanded the linguistic and imaginal range of Jewish evocations of God. In doing so, Jewish feminist theology has established the theological terms on which to affirm the full humanity of Jewish women as subjects and agents of their own Jewish experience. This chapter begins by outlining the denominational and postdenominational contexts of Jewish feminist theology and assessing its standing in the primarily Anglophone Jewish community in which it has established itself since the second half of the 1970s. It then moves on to examine the ideas and approaches of a number of Jewish feminist theology's key practitioners, and some of the challenges it is likely to face over the coming years.
María Pilar Aquino
Globalization, identity, and feminist theology have been the object of extensive academic research, and are perhaps the concepts that have had the greatest influence on our understanding of contemporary social reality and the function of religious rhetoric in today's world. In the theological field there has been a growing need to clarify the relationship between theology and identity formation in the current context of the social processes of “globalization.” This chapter explores the systematic interaction of these three concepts to bring to light the theological pertinence of a critical feminist theology of liberation for the visions and practices of social change. Such a theology develops the most appropriate analytical and hermeneutical frameworks to face the challenges raised by the current model of globalization, in the context of the social conditions created by which, a critical feminist theology functions as a religious ethical-political force of transformation for a new world of justice. The chapter is organized as follows. The first part highlights some methodological dimensions that expose the theological relevance of critical feminist liberation theology and its significance for present-day aspirations of social change. The second part addresses some key features of today's dominant model of society characterized by kyriarchal globalization, and points out their implications for feminist theological thought. The third and final part focuses on the social function of theological knowledge in the present circumstances and discusses some aspects that may shed light on possible future developments in feminist theology.
This chapter proposes a transethnic feminist theology of Asia, where one's ethnicity can be an entry point but where one moves beyond geographic, cultural, or ethnic boundaries and interests. This transethnic perspective requires a radical ecumenical spirit which adopts a very dialectical approach to race, ethnicity, and culture, and a fundamental awareness that the local, the particular, or the ethnic has always been shaped by the global and the global by the local. This transethnic perspective ought to produce not a blind universalism but a relational and dialectical universalism that promotes “shared sensibilities” across the boundaries of class, gender, race, ethnicity, ability, or orientation without sacrificing the particular situatedness of one's geopolitical and discursive location. This transethnic positionality further establishes a firm ground for the “recognition of common commitments” and will “serve as a base for solidarity and coalition” amongst those who work for the betterment of our society.