Quotes & Sayings

We, and creation itself, actualize the possibilities of the God who sustains the world, towards becoming in the world in a fuller, more deeper way. - R.E. Slater

There is urgency in coming to see the world as a web of interrelated processes of which we are integral parts, so that all of our choices and actions have [consequential effects upon] the world around us. - Process Metaphysician Alfred North Whitehead

Kurt Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem says (i) all closed systems are unprovable within themselves and, that (ii) all open systems are rightly understood as incomplete. - R.E. Slater

The most true thing about you is what God has said to you in Christ, "You are My Beloved." - Tripp Fuller

The God among us is the God who refuses to be God without us, so great is God's Love. - Tripp Fuller

According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater

Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater

Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger

Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton

I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – Anon

Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII

Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut

Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest

We become who we are by what we believe and can justify. - R.E. Slater

People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – Anon

Certainly, God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater

An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater

Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann

Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner

“Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh” means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14) or, conversely, “I AM who I AM Becoming.”

Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton

The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens, we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – Anon

The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul

The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah

If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – Anon

Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord

Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another, so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

To promote societal transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework which includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy, and a culture of peace. - The Earth Charter Mission Statement

Christian humanism is the belief that human freedom, individual conscience, and unencumbered rational inquiry are compatible with the practice of Christianity or even intrinsic in its doctrine. It represents a philosophical union of Christian faith and classical humanist principles. - Scott Postma

It is never wise to have a self-appointed religious institution determine a nation's moral code. The opportunities for moral compromise and failure are high; the moral codes and creeds assuredly racist, discriminatory, or subjectively and religiously defined; and the pronouncement of inhumanitarian political objectives quite predictable. - R.E. Slater

God's love must both center and define the Christian faith and all religious or human faiths seeking human and ecological balance in worlds of subtraction, harm, tragedy, and evil. - R.E. Slater

In Whitehead’s process ontology, we can think of the experiential ground of reality as an eternal pulse whereby what is objectively public in one moment becomes subjectively prehended in the next, and whereby the subject that emerges from its feelings then perishes into public expression as an object (or “superject”) aiming for novelty. There is a rhythm of Being between object and subject, not an ontological division. This rhythm powers the creative growth of the universe from one occasion of experience to the next. This is the Whiteheadian mantra: “The many become one and are increased by one.” - Matthew Segall

Without Love there is no Truth. And True Truth is always Loving. There is no dichotomy between these terms but only seamless integration. This is the premier centering focus of a Processual Theology of Love. - R.E. Slater


Note: Generally I do not respond to commentary. I may read the comments but wish to reserve my time to write (or write from the comments I read). Instead, I'd like to see our community help one another and in the helping encourage and exhort each of us towards Christian love in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. - re slater

Friday, June 19, 2020

What Is Intersectional Theology? Let's Find Out.

Intersectional Theology cowritten by
Grace Ji-Sun Kim & Susan M. Shaw (Fortress Press)

Intersectional Theology: An Introductory Guide

Intersectional Theology: An Introductory Guide offers a pathway for reflective Christians, pastors, and theologians to apply the concepts and questions of intersectionality to theology. Intersectionality is a tool for analysis, developed primarily by black feminists, to examine the causes and consequences of converging social identities (gender, race, class, sexual identity, age, ability, nation, religion) within interlocking systems of power and privilege (sexism, racism, classism, heterosexism, ableism, ageism, nativism) and to foster engaged, activist work toward social justice. Applied to theology, intersectionality demands attention to the Christian thinker's own identities and location within systems of power and the value of deep consideration of complementary, competing, and even conflicting points of view that arise from the experiences and understandings of diverse people.

This book provides an overview of theories of intersectionality and suggests questions of intersectionality for theology, challenging readers to imagine an intersectional church, a practice of welcome and inclusion rooted in an ecclesiology that embraces difference and centers social justice.

Rather than providing a developed systematic theology, Intersectional Theology encourages readers to apply its method in their own theologizing to expand their own thinking and add their experiences to a larger theology that moves us all toward the kin-dom of God.

About the Authors

Grace Ji-Sun Kim is associate professor of theology at Earlham School of Religion in Richmond, Indiana. She is the author or editor of fifteen books, including Mother Daughter Speak (2017) and Embracing the Other (2015). She is a coeditor for the series Asian Christianity in the Diaspora. Kim is an ordained PC (USA) minister and blogs for the Huffington Post, Feminist Studies in Religion, Sojourners, TIME, and The Nation.

Susan M. Shaw is professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Oregon State University. She is author of Reflective Faith: A Theological Toolbox for Women (2014) and God Speaks to Us, Too: Southern Baptist Women on Church, Home, and Society (2008) and general editor of the four-volume Women's Lives Around the World: A Global Encyclopedia (2018).

Editorial Reviews

"Given the unprecedented religiopolitical realities of the early 21st century, this book needs to be at the top of every pastor's 'must read' list. In ways both academic and acutely personal, Susan Shaw and Grace Ji-Sun Kim invite us to the brave work of listening across lines of gender, race, class, nation, sexual identity, ability, age, and other forms of social difference in which we discover not only more of God and our neighbors, but also the still untransformed parts of ourselves." --Julie Pennington-Russel, First Baptist Church of the City of Washington, DC

"In this book, Grace Ji-Sun Kim and Susan M. Shaw offer a remarkable resource to the churches. The authors lift up the concept of intersectionality as a theological prism through which our lives, collectively and individually, can be more honestly assessed and appreciated. The book is an open window into new depths and breadths of what is involved in thinking truthfully about God and ourselves as radically relational beings who can find ourselves, and one another, only at the intersections of our many, varied, and evolving identities. Intersectional Theology is a brief, readable introduction to Christian theology at its most truthful best." --Carter Heyward, emerita, Espiscopal Divinity School and author of She Flies On: A White Southern Christian Debutante Wakes Up

"Kim and Shaw invite us to adopt a theology that embraces differences, disruptions, and the margins by listening beyond our comfort zone and into deeper layers of our faith so that we leave no one out. A gracious invitation that we would do well to take up in troubling times such as these. This book gives us the guide to do so." --Emilie Townes, Vanderbilt University Divinity School

"Grace Ji-Sun Kim and Susan M. Shaw offer a crisp, concise, and well-researched introduction to Christian intersectional theology that will take its place as a standard text for this new and increasingly important approach not just to Christian theology but to Christian practice in the world. Intersectional Theology is a primer on theological method that will help to solidify the increasingly nonnegotiable claims, at least in progressive circles, that theology begins in human experience, that human experience involves navigating one's multiple social identities within lived contexts of simultaneous oppression and power, and that the goal of Christian theology and practice should be justice and liberation for all, with no one left out. Highly recommended." --David P. Gushee, Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics and director, Center for Theology & Public Life, Mercer University

Grace Ji-Sun Kim
What does the Mustard Seed have to do with Faith?
Matthew 13:31-32; Mark 4:30-32

Homebrewed Christianity
Grace Ji-Sun Kim & Susan Shaw

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Intersectional Theology
An Introductory Guide

by Grace Ji-Sun Kim, Susan M. Shaw


“Intersectional theology recognizes that each of us exists in differing relationships to power and hierarchy based on gender, race, class, nation, sexual identity, ability, age, and other forms of social difference” (41). In Intersectional Theology: An Introductory Guide, authors Grace Ji-Sun Kim and Susan M. Shaw offer a concise and instructive guide on how to pay attention to social location and context in theological reflection that seeks to foster greater social justice. The authors apply Kimberlé Crenshaw’s concept of intersectionalityas analytical matrix to do “theology by questioning assumptions that are rooted in the dominant culture, purposefully pursuing justice, embracing the complexities and contradictions, and refusing to do theology as usual” (16).

Collaboratively written, this book performs what it sets out to teach, impressively weaving together multiple voices and perspectives, and presenting rich and diverse sources accessibly. 

Beginning with an introduction to intersectionality, Kim and Shaw explore social location through their own autobiography, highlighting the importance and difference it makes to develop a critical (self)understanding of one’s own intersectional identity in the process of theologizing. Several concepts are explored and interpreted constructively to demonstrate intersectional theological thinking at work—for example, the multiplicity of God, baptism, suffering, biblical interpretation, as well as a chapter on ecclesiology. The authors walk the readers through the different steps and stages of intersectional theological reflection, illustrating with examples and interjecting voices from diverse locations. Some of the deliberation moments elaborated on are, for example, the importance of understanding specific contexts and their histories; how to expand towards both/and thinking; employing power analysis to ideas and their implications; moving from center to margins when emphasizing critical reflection; and maintaining a self-critical stance of one’s own positionality within structure of domination. One strength of this work is the multitude of voices featured, from black liberation theology, womanist and ecowomanist perspectives, queer proposals, Asian conceptualizations, and more. 

In Intersectional Theology, readers will find guidance on how to enter an indeterminate process aimed at destabilizing universal truth claims, and holding multiple and competing perspectives to further justice in the praxis of communities. Acknowledging differences, and even tensions, between theologies does not have to be an obstacle, it can be an invitation. Kim and Shaw weave diverse voices together, not in unison, but in rich dialogue that shows how to appreciatively learn across differences, and tap into theological potential in moments where perspectives diverge. Intersectional Theology supports the reader in moving away from theologies that seek to be all-encompassing, and towards practicing continuous theological conversations that seek to hold convictions lightly, while insisting on growing the circle of engaged voices. 

This book is a very welcome addition to introductory theology guides. Though short, it is expansive in its incorporation of multiple voices and dynamic in its modelling of a mode of doing theology that is applicable to communal needs and practices. Intersectional Theology lends itself well for communal reading, and conversation in classrooms and communal settings where there is a desire to create liberative spaces and attend to the urgent demand to address the multiple oppressions impacting our lives. A glossary for some terms of analysis is provided, though perhaps it could be expanded when used for study with groups less familiar with theological jargon. The discussion questions after each chapter allow for deepening the personal reflection and facilitating conversations that maintain social justice commitments at the center of theological reflection.

About the Reviewer(s)

Heike Peckruhn is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Daemen College.
Date of Review: June 21, 2019

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s)

Grace Ji-Sun Kim is a Korean American theologian. Her many books include Mother Daughter Speak (2017), Embracing the Other (2015), and Colonialism, Han, and the Transformative Spirit (2013). Kim is Associate Professor of Theology at Earlham School of Religion in Richmond, Indiana. She is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church.

Susan M. Shaw is Professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Oregon State University. She is author of Reflective Faith: A Theological Toolbox for Women (2014) and God Speaks to Us, Too: Southern Baptist Women on Church, Home, and Society (2008) and general editor of the four-volume Women's Lives Around the World: A Global Encyclopedia (2018).

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An intersectional analysis considers all the factors that apply to an individual in combination, rather than considering each factor in isolation.

Intersectionality is a theoretical framework for understanding how aspects of a person's social and political identities (e.g., gender, race, class, sexuality, ability etc.) might combine to create unique modes of discrimination. Intersectionality identifies injustices that are felt by people due to a combination of factors. For example, a black woman might face discrimination from a business that is not distinctly due to her race (because the business does not discriminate against black men) nor distinctly due to her gender (because the business does not discriminate against white women), but due to a unique combination of the two factors.

Intersectionality broadens the lens of the first waves of feminism, which largely focused on the experiences of women who were both white and middle-class, to include the different experiences of women of color, women who are poor, immigrant women, and other groups. Intersectional feminism aims to separate itself from white feminism by acknowledging women's different experiences and identities.

Intersectionality is a qualitative analytic framework developed in the late 20th century that identifies how interlocking systems of power affect those who are most marginalized in society and takes these relationships into account when working to promote social and political equity. Intersectionality opposes analytical systems that treat each oppressive factor in isolation, as if the discrimination against black women could be explained away as only a simple sum of the discrimination against black men and the discrimination against white women. Intersectionality engages in similar themes as triple oppression, which is the oppression associated with being a poor woman of color.

Intersectionality has been critiqued as being inherently ambiguous. The ambiguity of this theory means that it can be perceived as unorganized and lacking a clear set of defining goals; this arguably means that intersectionality will be unlikely to achieve equality due to its unfocused agenda. Without a clear focus, it is difficult for a movement to create change because having such a broad theory makes it harder for people to fully understand its goals. As it is based in standpoint theory, critics say the focus on subjective experiences can lead to contradictions and the inability to identify common causes of oppression.

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Woman standing in library room | Photo by Lucas Souza on Pexels.com


March 9, 2019 · by Christine E. McCarthy · in Theology and Culture

On this International Women’s Day, a 2019 update to last year’s primer on new and notable works from women theologians and religious historians. Add them to your personal libraries and/or get your universities to buy them for theirs. All links go directly to the publisher’s websites.
  • Robyn Henderson-Espinoza, Activist Theology. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2019. (An early version of this list failed to indicate that Dr. Henderson-Espinoza identifies as a non-binary transgender Latinx, not as female or woman. We are very sorry for the error and remain pleased to include their forthcoming work in this list which lifts up underrepresented theologies and histories as well as the work of underrepresented scholars. Updated 16 March 2019.)