Academic journal article Resources for Feminist Research

To Make & Make Again: Feminist Ritual Theology // Review

Academic journal article Resources for Feminist Research

To Make & Make Again: Feminist Ritual Theology // Review

Article excerpt

What a pleasure it is to read a book on theology whose author not only bases her argument on women's experience, but also tries to make her work accessible to most women! With a detailed study guide at the end, To Make and Make Again functions as a handbook for women who want to use ritual to explore and deepen their understanding of their own spirituality, as well as to politicize it.

A Canadian from Saskatchewan and a teacher of liturgy to Christian theology students, Charlotte Caron presents herself as "a person of faith--of Christian tradition, of political theology, and of feminist spiritual consciousness." She wrote her book as a result of her search for "a nonsexist spirituality," (p. 10) one that "sustains justice and well-being" (p. 11) and undermines patriarchy. She also loves rituals as "evocative and dramatic and life-giving" (p. 12).

In her introduction, Caron outlines the limits of her work--and they are also limitations: her 36 female interviewees did not include Native women or women of colour or Jewish women. Nor does she address Francophone or Quebec feminism. However, she does include Canadians from various regions, Americans, rural and urban women, women of "various ages, sexual orientations, relationship configurations, and spiritual perspectives," variously abled women, and women from different classes (pp. 15-16). Throughout the book Caron does try to maintain an anti-racist stance, to recognize women's diversity, and to think globally.

Caron's hope in writing the book is "that we can remove sexism from God," integrate "women's experiences of the holy" in order to know more of "God," and achieve "a sustainable world order" of justice and peace. To Make and Make Again is Caron's attempt to answer the question: "How can and do religious rituals challenge and nurture feminists in their work for justice and well-being in the world?"

Caron begins with a very clear and useful explication of patriarchy as the problem, the nature of feminism, types of justice, and the nature and function of rituals. Part II, "New Names for Theology/Thealogy," is to my mind really new and exciting. Her 13 categories of ritual thealogy derive mainly from the words of the women she interviewed and include such unusual ones as "Beauty," "Embodiment," "Diversity," "Play and Humor," "Resistance and Undermining," "Vulnerability" and "Loss," all of which speak from and to the experience of women. …

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