Coming in the New Year...
There's plenty to look forward to as we head into the new year. Here's just four books that are on the horizon:
Motherly, by Rebekah Pryor (published January)
How can contemporary art reimagine the body of the mother in relation to a feminist Christian conception of the divine? And, at the level of culture, what might be the implications of the maternal body imaged as ordinary, multiple, generative and divine?
Following movements in her own visual art practice, and traversing the discourses of feminist theory, contemporary art and philosophy of religion, artist and scholar Rebekah Pryor considers philosopher Luce Irigaray’s key notions of sexuate difference, the sensible transcendental and “love at work in thinking” on the way to proposing alternate artistic and theological motifs of the maternal body and the divine for our time.
"This book is vivid, original and compelling . It makes a profound contribution to theology through its artistic testimony to encounters with the divine in the depths motherly experience. It is also exemplifies the potential of new and emerging methodologies in theological reflection which employ creative practice to generate insights that are not representable through more conventional, propositional forms." Heather Walton, University of Glasgow
Young, Woke and Christian: Listening to the Missing Generation, edited by Victoria Turner (published February)
‘Young, Woke and Christian’ brings together young church leaders and theologians who argue that the church needs to become increasingly awake to injustices in British society. It steers away from the capitalistic marketing ideas of how to attract young people into Christian fellowship and proclaims that the church’s role in society is to serve society, give voice to the marginalised and stand up to damaging, dominating power structures.
Covering themes such as climate change, racial inclusivity, sexual purity, homelessness, food poverty, sexuality, trans identity, feminism, peace-making, interfaith relations, and disability justice, the collection is a cry for the reform of the church to not ally with ‘woke’ issues because they are popular with youth, but because they are gospel issues. With a powerful prologue from Anthony Reddie who praises this collection of liberation theologies, the ‘missing generation’ cries that they are not missing from God’s mission, but the church often is.
"Young, Woke, Christian: Listening to the Missing Generation offers a bold and prophetic vision for a radical liberationist mode of Christian faith that speaks to the need for churches to become allies to all those who are marginalised and oppressed. It is a bold call for Christianity to rediscover its radical roots and to side with the powerless, the weak, the poor, the broken hearted and those who are told that they do not count and that their lives do not matter. This task is one of righteousness and salvation. In our present age, for this generation, we are using the term ‘woke’. Whether we call it woke, or consciousness as in my day, or even more traditionally, righteousness, the call to move beyond bland neutrality or even worse, actively colluding with empire, greed, and the status quo of vested interests, is one that remains the rock centre of this fine and excellent book. I am honoured to be associated with it." (From the foreword by Anthony Reddie)
The Dark Womb: Re-Conceiving Theology through Reproductive Loss by Karen O'Donnell (published February)
The experience of reproductive loss raises a series of profoundly theological questions: how can God have a plan for my life? Why didn’t God answer my prayers? How can I have hope after such an experience? Who am I after such a loss? Sadly, these are questions that, along with reproductive loss, have largely been ignored in theology. Karen O’Donnell tackles these questions head on, drawing on her own experiences of repeated reproductive loss as she re-conceives theology from the perspective of the miscarrying person.
Offering a fresh, original, and creative approach to theology, O’Donnell explores the complexity of the miscarrying body and its potential for theological revelation. She offers a re-conception of theologies of providence, prayer, hope, and the body as she reimagines theology out of these messy origins.
This book is for those who have experiences such losses and those who minister to them. But it is also for all those who want to encounter a creative and imaginative approach to theology and the life of faith in our messy, complex world.
"No more religious platitudes. O’Donnell leads us from the darkness of reproductive trauma into the deep of an apophatic remaking of the self and of God." (Margaret D. Kamitsuka)
Priesthood for All Believers: Clericalism, and how to avoid it (published March)
Clericalism is everywhere in the Christian life and perhaps not where you might expect. It elevates certain models, vocations, or ways of being Church in such a way as to diminish others. In 'Priesthood for all Believers, Fr Simon Cuff argues that a radical focus on the particularity of vocation and intentionality of living out vocation are central tools in the Church’s tool box to stop clericalism in its tracks.
Some attempts to be less clericalist by doing away with certain forms of ministry can, he suggests, encourage clericalism. One of the best ways to overcome clericalism is a more intentional focus on particular ministries and the particular ministry of the ordained. Exploring these particular ministries afresh, grounded on Christ’s priesthood and the importance of a diaconal commission to overcome processes of marginalisation, this book offers a vital perspective both for those preparing for ministry and those trying to make better sense of the ministry they already hold.