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Rosemary Radford Ruether Quotes

Sexism and god talk

With the death this weekend of Rosemary Radford Ruether, I pulled my copy of Sexism and God-Talk off of the shelf to review.  Here are some choice quotes:

We have not choice but to go forward into a global community and shape a sustainable world together, if the human project is not to choke on its own toxic waste and bury itself by its own destructiveness.

The expansion of the Biblical message to include the unincluded rests on the assumption that the point of reference for Biblical faith is not past texts, with their sociological limitations, but rather the liberated future.

The liberating encounter with God/ess is always an encounter with our authentic selves resurrected from underneath the alienated self.  It is not experienced against, but in and through relationships, healing our broken relations with our bodies, with other people, with nature.

To encapsulate Jesus himself as God's "last word" and "once-for-all" disclosure of God, located in a remote past and institutionalized in a cast of Christian teachers, is to repudiate the spirit of Jesus and to recapitulate the position against which he himself protests.

Redemptive humanity goes ahead of us, calling us to yet incompleted dimensions of human liberation.

Those who are afraid of anger and alienation always have a tendency to hurry women on to another stage where they become 'reasonable' and 'gain perspective.'  But one cannot do that with integrity until one has genuinely faced up to sexism as a massive historical system of victimization of women and allowed oneself to enter into one's anger and alienation.  To skip over this experience is to become "reconciling" in a way that is basically timid and accommodating and not really an expression of personal freedom.


I, Tituba

I, Tituba, Black Witch of SalemI, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem by Maryse Condé
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An enjoyable imagining that fills in a life for Tituba, who should be more central in the story of the Salem Witch Trials. Instead of a focus on the Puritan angle, here we get a woman from the Caribbean, enslaved, and thus an exploration of gender, sexuality, race, and clashing cultures. And Conde imagines Tituba as a heroine for the modern world, a revolutionary spirit for our age that hasn't yet fully come to terms with the issues alive in the seventeenth century.

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Sabbatical Head Start

On Consolation

I go on sabbatical beginning on June 1.  More in later post about this sabbatical, its development and delay over the past few years, and what the plans, themes, and goals are.

Knowing that the sabbatical was coming, back in March I ordered a bunch of books for it.  I also pulled out a few from my existing library I haven't yet read and plan to during this summer.

Yesterday afternoon, I wrapped up the religion book I was reading, N. T. Wright's The New Testament and the People of God, so rather than immerse myself in something else for the next couple of weeks, I decided to start on the sabbatical reading.

And first up I wanted to read Michael Ignatieff's On Consolation: Finding Solace in Dark Times.  Ignatieff's book seemed a good place to start after two years of navigating the church through the pandemic.  And the last two years of my marriage ending and getting divorced.  Since this sabbatical is in many ways a chance to rest and recenter and heal from those experiences, consolation is a good place to begin.  

Somewhere I'd read a review of the book that interested me.  Plus I had read his last book, Ordinary Virtues, near the beginning of the pandemic  and had really liked it.  

So, seeking consolation to get a head start on this period of sabbath, I began reading and these sentences from the introduction resonated with me, and may help to set a theme for this season of life:

To be reconciled we must first make peace with our losses, defeats, and failures. To be consoled is to accept these losses, to accept what they have done to us and to believe, despite everything, that they need not haunt our future or blight our remaining possibilities.


Great Plains Weather

Great Plains WeatherGreat Plains Weather by Kenneth F Dewey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A fun exploration of the crazy, extreme weather of the Great Plains. One thing I learned was that the wild swings of temperatures and conditions has always been a feature of this region. We all have our personal stories of weird changes of weather (like wearing shorts in the morning and snow boots in the evening), but the ones in this book are truly wild.

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Critique of Practical Reason

Critique of Practical ReasonCritique of Practical Reason by Immanuel Kant
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I tried reading this Critique a couple of decades ago and just couldn't finish it, even though it's not that long. I did make it to the end this time, where you get some payoff, as the final pages are the best, including this great line, "Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe, the oftener and the more steadily we reflect on them: the starry heaves above and the moral law within." But otherwise I found this particular work dense and unenjoyable with very little that was edifying or helpful.

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Paradise

ParadiseParadise by Abdulrazak Gurnah
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was unfamiliar with Gurnah when he won the Nobel last autumn. Then when I tried to order one of his novels, they weren't available. And didn't become so until this spring. Glad to have now read one.

This is a rich story. A coming-of-age story in the midst of turbulent social change, exploring questions of identity and existential meaning. No didacticism, simply rich characters and compelling narratives and settings.

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The Internet Is Not What You Think It Is

The Internet Is Not What You Think It Is: A History, a Philosophy, a WarningThe Internet Is Not What You Think It Is: A History, a Philosophy, a Warning by Justin E.H. Smith
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A fascinating exploration of the roots of the internet and how we use it to see and engage with our world. My only real criticism is that I wanted a coda, some final chapter or statement that drew everything together and advanced the argument.

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