Tuesday, June 11, 2013

"Theoanonsía" as the fatal flaw of heterodox "feminist theology"



In which Bishopess Schori’s “Theo-fantastic” Curacao sermon is reexamined, evaluated, judged, and ditched.

Brethren, Peace and good to all of you.

I can't listen to this sermon!
I’ve been asking myself what (or who) possessed Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, the Episcopal Church’s presiding bishopess of the Episcopal Church, to deliver this sermon in Curacao. As you might remember, I commented on it not long ago on a previous blog post.

I think I got the answer after reading a chapter of this book, God or Goddess?: Feminist Theology : What Is It? Where Does It Lead?, by Manfred Hauke. This is a commendable book, in which the author studied in-depth the origin, purpose, and ends of feminist theology. This is the relevant quote:

Even so, the term “theology”, in the feminist view, needs to be used with a certain caution. According to Hedwig Meyers-Wilmes, feminist theology operates on the borderline between scholarship and political activism. “Border crossings are virtually constitutive of it, which poses an obstacle to its being seriously classified as a science. According to Catharina Hawkes, theological feminism is characterized by “a less straightforward and logically consistent kind of thought” than in the “old theology”, which is accused of an extreme, distorting intellectualism. To be desired is instead “an inventive, improvised kind of activity, less objectivity, and more ambiguity.” The place of “theo-logy” (reasoned discoursed about God), according to the wish of many authors, is to be taken by “theo-fantasy” or “theo-poesy”. The feminists who worship a “goddess” speak also of “thealogy" and “theasophy". (God or Goddess? P.58)

This is a significant insight. Observe how all these qualifiers apply to Dr. Schori’s sermon: crossed-over into (sexual) politics; less straightforward; logically inconsistent; inventive, improvised, less objective (more subjective), and ambiguous. This is why Dr. Schori saw St. Paul as the ugly bad man in Acts 16:16ff and the demon-possessed girl as his victim, and how St. Paul’s intolerance got him thrown into prison!

We now know the “intellectual” – and I used that term hesitantly – framework of Dr. Schori’s discourse. She wasn’t theologizing as we understand the term, but “theo-fantasizing”. Oooh, know I understand!

Since we’re dealing with neologisms, allow me to introduce a new one into the mix. I made it myself from the Greek: θεοανοησία. It is transcribed as theoanonsía. It means “theo-stupidity”, and that’s what I think of all heterodox feminist theology in general and of Dr. Schori’s sermon in particular. All of it is theo-bull* and we must not concern ourselves with it.