Motherhood as Metaphor: Engendering Interreligious Dialogue

Motherhood as Metaphor: Engendering Interreligious Dialogue

Motherhood as Metaphor: Engendering Interreligious Dialogue

Motherhood as Metaphor: Engendering Interreligious Dialogue

Excerpt

We feed them milk, we feed them love, we feed them hatred. “Whatever we feed them they will eat and they will become.

She was reflecting on her participation in interreligious dialogue and considering the importance of the work through the lens of her experience as a nursing mother. The point this young Muslim woman was illustrating was that in the same way we nurture the next generation with material sustenance, we also shape them emotionally and relationally, for better and for worse. Perhaps this is the heart of the theology offered in the following pages: that our theological thinking and our religious outlooks shape the way we think about ourselves and our world; they are what we ‘eat’ and what we will become. For too long we have eaten the fruit of a knowledge that has shaped us to think individualistically or, if communally, to extend the boundaries of our community only as far as our own faith. The knowledge we must eat is what might shape us anew for lives radically intertwined with persons of difference.

The Fruits of Theological Anthropology

The most fundamental theological fruit that Christians have ingested and that shapes their understanding of themselves might be situated under the heading of ‘theological anthropology’—that is, a faith perspective on what it means to be human. Of course, Christian theology has offered ideas about the nature of God and the person of Jesus Christ, and many within the Christian community are willing to concede that these are faith perspectives situated within the horizon of divine mysteries (and therefore eluding our grasp of them). Yet Christians might not quite as . . .

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