Every once in awhile there are moments that could not have been scripted any better to make a point.
Several years ago I taught an upper division theology course at a Christian liberal arts college. Before I even took role, a visibly agitated student stood up and announced he had a problem with the reading due that day. He then went off for two minutes though it felt more like twenty. He accused me of pushing my agenda making them read theology from the perspectives of women, Latinos, African Americans, African American women, Asian Americans, etc. After his tirade, he took a breath and asked what I had against white males and where were all of the readings from white men? In a moment of beautiful poetic justice, I pointed out that the chapter he referred to made up 23 pages out of a 400 page textbook and that the other required texts for the class did not emphasize the issues he was so upset about.
In that course I used Daniel Migliore’s book Faith Seeking Understanding. For many reasons I have enjoyed using this book as a solid introduction to a host of concepts within theological conversations. I chose this book for one chapter in particular. Chapter 9 is titled “Confessing Jesus Christ in Context”. I like this chapter because it opens a new way of thinking to many students. It gives voice to women and people of color. But a danger in compartmentalizing the voices in this way is that students may begin to think of “white male” theology as theology proper, whereas any other type of theology, like “African American” theology, as theology-plus-something.
This is a mistake. “White male” theology is no less contextualized for its space than any other theological presentation. “Latino” theology is not necessarily theology-plus-something. It is theology. Just like “white male” theology is theology. White males offer one voice at the theological table. Black women offer another. Latinos offer yet another. Each voice is important. None is a supplement to theology proper.
Even still, there is relatively little being put out there that is not being relegated to a contextual space. I can’t tell you the number of times I have been asked to speak somewhere followed by the assumption that I will speak about women’s issues. I am a woman and I think women’s issues are important, but they are not the only topics on which I have training and an opinion.
This blog is the result of years of conversations between three women. We have finally decided to go public with what we discuss behind closed doors, over meals, at conferences and any time we get to hang out or talk on the phone. In this space all voices are welcome, including white males.
We’re excited to see what comes of this conversation.