Julian of Norwich link

The Anonymous God Blogger has just posted two great posts about Julian of Norwich. I have a particular affinity for Julian going back to my seminary days. Julian is the patron of saint of Protestant-feminists-who-practice-the-theology-of-one-liners-and-sound-bites. You see, she referred to Christ as Mother. Can you give a Protestant-feminist-who-practices-the-theology-of-one-liners-and-sound-bites a better gift?

Ah, but the things is, there is real substance to Julian, and in two instances, my classmates, under the spell of feminist extrodinaire, Prof. Johanna Bos, actually started to read and comprehend Julian of Norwich and abandoned Protestant-style feminism because after viewing it through the eyes of Julian, they recognized it for the selfish claptrap it was.

Thank you St. Julian.

For a great introduction to Julian of Norwich I commend to you two posts here and here from the Anonymous God Blogger.


7 thoughts on “Julian of Norwich link

  1. Can you write more about what Protestant-style feminist theology actually is and is not, and the truth you see it as a distortion of? I am really interested in your perspective. Thank you!

  2. What I said does need a bit of explanation all right. I heartily believe that theology needs to be incarnational. Theology takes on the flavor of who’s doing it, whether it’s Palestinian, Serbian, or American, whether it’s masculine or feminine, and whether it’s from a have or have-not perspective. To claim that our embodiment doesn’t affect our theological perspective simply denies the full implication of the incarnation.

    “Isms” are a different story. We had four active “isms” on campus while I was at seminary. First a specific word about the feminism that was rampant on the seminary campus while I was there. It was a particularly angry and virulent sort. They even had bright green t-shirts that said, “Goddess Great.”

    Johanna (the professor and ringleader) contended that most rape and spouse abuse was a direct result of Christianity. Even women abusing their husbands was a product of chauvinist Christianity because these women were so beaten down and disempowered by Western culture (which was created by the Protestant Church, in her view) that their only alternative was to beat the crap out of their husbands.

    It wasn’t a theological perspective so much as it was a social movement which was deeply selfish.

    The other three “isms” active on campus (let me be clear, this is my opinion) were Evangelicalism, bureacratism (ie, the belief that the church bureacracy had the answers to America’s spiritual malaise), and liberation theology (specifically black and Latin American varieties).

    All four isms shared the following characteristics which are antithetical to authentic Christianity:
    1. They were about self-fulfillment (or focused on the self in some manner rather than primarily on God).
    2. Rather than seeking to hear scripture as scripture, they came with an agenda. (Note: All theology comes with pre-conceived notions, it’s the task of hermeneutics to sort out what those are and their implications – agendas are more vigorous — and dangerous — than preconceptions)
    3. They were all classically “protest-ant.” They were all defined by negative agendas; that is, each “ism” was understood primarily by the fact that they were protesting against mainstream, white, male, middle class Christianity (add any adjective you choose).

    Not all feminism is as fatally flawed as the paganism that was tolerated at LPTS for a couple years while I was there. But, that being said, I do believe the term “feminism” itself is a fundamentally flawed term in contemporary discourse. Rather, what we need to consider is the varieties of incarnational theology that our own situation in life presents us.

  3. Thank you. I don’t think those theologies are always selfish, though–I look for the best and the truest things within them…and it’s true that God doesn’t want anyone to be oppressed. But I know that some isms can get extreme, as well.

  4. I don’t think either that adjectival theologies (which is a more polite term than “isms”) are necessarily selfish. I do think that it is the unintended nature of Protestantism to be selfish. It’s the unintended consequence of an emphasis on personal salvation, etc.

    I was a thorough-going and committed Evangelical going into seminary. I was so embarrassed by the expression of Evangelicalism during my time at school that I came out being very suspicious of the movement. It seemed that they always had an agenda. It seemed it was never about Jesus Christ, it was rather about taking control of a Presbytery, or the Office of Theology and Worship, or the next anti-abortion march. While the emphasis was certainly different I could see no substantive difference between the Evangelicals (with whom I identified) and the various other adjectival groups on campus.

    In a word, as soon as one tries to distinguish oneself as being an improved version of the faith (ie, I’m not just a Protestant, I’m an Evangelical, or I’m a feminist), the temptation to make it about me (or about how I can improve the world) rather than Christ becomes a bit overwhelming. It’s the nature of the beast.

  5. I will have to think about this some more…

    …what do you think about Julian’s thing about the Fall having been “necessary”?

    • In a word, on that point I disagree with Julian and accept Orthodox teaching that sin isn’t necessary but that the incarnation would have occurred even if Adam & Eve didn’t sin. I wrote a more detailed response on your “Julian 2” post

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