Anglican Samizdat

March 3, 2009

What we’ve all been missing: Womanist Theology

Filed under: Anglican Church of Canada,Daft — David Jenkins @ 6:56 pm

The Anglican Journal, ever on the bleeding edge, has illumination on Womanist Theology.

‘Womanist’ theologians examine faith from black female prism

I take that back: how do you see through a black prism, even if it is female? But wait, there’s more:

Womanist theologians – female African American theologians who view the Christian faith from the prism of the experience of black women – are celebrating two decades of work of a movement that has gained increasing prominence in U.S. religious and academic circles.

I must live a sheltered life, because up until now I had never heard of Womanist Theology. It seems that “womanist” was coined by Alice Walker:

What then is a womanist? Her origins are in the black folk expression “You acting womanish,” meaning, according to Walker, “wanting to know more and in greater depth than is good for one — outrageous audacious, courageous and willful behavior.” A womanist is also “responsible, in charge, serious.” She can walk to Canada and take others with her. She loves, she is committed, she is a universalist by temperament.

Her universality includes loving men and woman, sexually or nonsexually. She loves music, dance, the spirit, food and roundness, struggle, and she loves herself. “Regardless.”

To any womanist reading this, rest assured there is a place for you in the Anglican Church of Canada where the bishops are universalists too, loving men and women sexually and non-sexually. Like you, they love food and roundness; they struggle – often with their trousers because of the roundness – and they definitely love themselves. They have little regard for anything other than their own culturally insular preoccupations – mostly sex and roundness – so one could certainly call them “Regardless”. You will fit right in.



  1. May I ‘delicately’ suggest that anyone reading this post read the Journal article also – and perhaps Delores Williams’ writing (I just happen to have one of her articles in a book). I too know little about Womanist theology. I am a woman, but neither an ultra feminist or a Womanist. But it is a bona fide ‘aspect’ of present day Christianity, whether or not we agree with it. It is not in the same league as revisionism. Just as there are many parts of feminism, Calvinism, Pentecostalism (and I am an Anglican Pentecostal) and all the other -isms with which many of us disagree – so it is with Womanism. David – In looking at your statement saying you had never heard of it – and thus know little about it – I find your comparisons in the last paragraph to be ‘off’ the cutting edge of ‘reporting’. Blessings.

    Comment by Margo — March 3, 2009 @ 10:10 pm

  2. I find your comparisons in the last paragraph to be ‘off’ the cutting edge of ‘reporting’

    Beyond the pale?

    As in Pickwick Papers: “I look upon you, sir, as a man who has placed himself beyond the pale of society, by his most audacious, disgraceful, and abominable public conduct”

    I was, in my peculiar way, trying to be funny.

    But to be serious, although I don’t know much about it there is a description here which seems to be a fair assessment. It may not be in quite the the same category as the revisionism we are seeing in the ACoC, but it doesn’t appear to be as innocuous as other -isms insofar as it views experience – unpleasant experience, so it is somewhat understandable – as an arbiter over scripture. As soon as one reads view the Christian faith from the prism, it raises that suspicion.

    Comment by David — March 3, 2009 @ 11:17 pm

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