Doing theology requires dissension and tenacity. Dissension is required when scriptural texts, and the colonial bodies and traditions (read: Babylon) that capitalize upon those, inhibit or prohibit “rising to life.” With “nerves” to dissent, the attentions of the first cluster of essays extend to scriptures and theologies, to borders and native peoples. The title for the first cluster — “talking back with nerves, against Babylon” — appeals to the spirit of feminist (to talk back against patriarchy) and RastafarI (to chant down Babylon) critics. The essays in the second cluster — titled “persevering with tenacity, through shitstems” — testify that perseverance is possible, and it requires tenacity. Tenacity is required so that the oppressive systems of Babylon do not have the final word. These two clusters are framed by two chapters that set the tone and push back at the usual business of doing theology, inviting engagement with the wisdom and nerves of artists and poets, and two closing chapters that open up the conversation for further dissension and tenacity. Doing theology with dissension and tenacity is unending.
Jione Havea is research fellow with Trinity Methodist Theological College (Aotearoa New Zealand) and with the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture (Charles Sturt University, Australia).
1.“Take away the stone”: Lazarus as (tombed) body (John 11:38–44)
2.Call to Rise
Karen Georgia A. Thompson, Anna Jane Lagi, Aruna Gogulamanda, John Robert Lee, Chad Rimmer
talking back with nerves, against Babylon
3.“The Lord Needs Them” (Matthew 21:3): The Gospel’s Beasts and Sovereign Christ
Tat-siong Benny Liew
4.Resisting the Economic Shitstem: A Postcolonial Filipinx-Korean Reading of Luke 16:1–13 with Mel Chen’s Animacies Theory
Jeong, Dong Hyeon
5.Interrogating the Silence: Jesus’ response to a Mother’s cry, for a Daughter’s disability (Matthew 15:21–28)
6.Translating Leviathan, Talking back to God, Doing public theology from below
Gerald O. West
7.Sitting and Weeping by the Rivers of Babylon
Miguel A. De La Torre
8.Lamentations as a Healing Response to Necropower at the Texas-Mexico Border
Gregory L. Cuéllar
9.Tūturu whiti whakamaua, Kia tina, tina! Haumi e, Hui e! Taiki e! Defiance, Determination and Decolonisation
Te Aroha Rountree
persevering with tenacity, through shitstems
10.RastafarI and domestic labour: Roots in Menstrual Taboos and Western Inequality
Anna Kasafi Perkins
11.Queer Arctivism: Talking back to the Cis/tems
Ana Ester Pádua Freire
12.The Bacchus Lady as The Parable of “Promiscuous Care”
13.Glimpses of God’s Dis/Abled Domain: Rising Up against Empire in small steps / huge leaps
14.Temporarily Abled or Permanently Differently Abled: Rising to Life with Disability
15.Rising to Life (John 11:38–44): Politics, contexts, illusions, oxymorons
Sainimili Kata Rockett
16.Chant down Christian shitstems: Then what?
Michael N. Jagessar
For too long the Western world dictated what a normative theology should look like. This is the case no more. Theologies from the global south have been rising up, resisting the empire with its ideologies, theologies and norms. This volume is an excellent expression of vibrant and articulate voices that are troubling stagnant theological waters, thus inviting readers into new territories where native voices are heard, and marginalised bodies are recognised; a much-needed volume in these troubled times.
The authors in this collection interrogate Christianity’s involvement with past and present empires; critique Christian normative teachings and practices, particularly those aspects that sustain and profit from the empire; as well as foreground and celebrate the Christian principles and practices which resist, restrain, and reject the empire’s avarice. This is a timely academic contribution during the current decolonial era.
This lively, incisive, and stimulating collection of creative reflections bears witness to the dis-ease, chaos, and butchery of our times, and to hope’s protests that mark life’s endurance amid the managements and empires of death. The contributions celebrate that theologies can controvert brutal orthodoxies, and show that those that do that best are marked by courage, exegesis, humility, defiance, resistance, provocation, and disrupting imaginations. They animate and subvert. They travel upstream to discern and interrogate the headwaters that affect real lives. They risk unfeigned speech at the borderlands, and where unjust powers exercise their violent trickeries.
Embodying dissension and tenacity at the core of its substance, scope and style, this eclectic collection of essays lays bare the sinews of a ‘theology with nerves’. Prose and poetry, the playful and the profound kiss each other as passion, contemplation and liberation intertwine in intricate and insightful ways to open up not just new paths for ‘doing theology’, but for living lives of faith which, in the face of forces of death, prophetically pro(a)nounce life!