Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Feminist Theologies for a Postmodern Church: Diversity, Community, and Scripture

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Feminist Theologies for a Postmodern Church: Diversity, Community, and Scripture

Article excerpt

Feminist Theologies for a Postmodern Church: Diversity, Community, and Scripture. By Loraine MacKenzie Shepherd. American University Studies, Series 7: Theology and Religion, vol. 219. New York: Peter Lang, 2002. x + 252 pp. $29.95 (paper).

Loraine MacKenzie Shepherd's starting point in Feminist Theologies for a Postmodern Church is her experience of having "often felt daunted by the use of scripture," especially while serving as the "first lesbian, albeit closeted, minister" in United Church of Canada congregations in the years surrounding that church's 1988 decision in favor of the ordination and commissioning of lesbian and gay persons. Such experience raised questions such as "How could scripture be helpful when its diversity allowed people to choose passages that supported their pre-formed decisions?" and "Did we need to move beyond a liberal model of inclusion in order to allow all voices to be heard?"(pp. 3-5). Proceeding from these and related questions, and concerned especially about the ways in which liberal assumptions about inclusion and diversity further marginalize gay and lesbian persons in Protestant churches, Shepherd aims to develop "a feminist theological method that more adequately addresses issues of diversity and marginalization within Protestant churches" (pp. 8-9).

She works toward this method, in the books first part, by examining alternative responses to the "crisis of authority" as seen in four feminist theologians: critical modem (Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza), poststructural (Mary McClintock Fulkerson), postcolonial (Kwok Pui-lan), and postliberal (Kathryn Tanner). In the books second part she examines United Church documents on sexuality from 1960 through 1988, identifies and evaluates the dominant theological methods employed in those documents, and offers her proposal for a more adequate feminist theological method. …

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