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Issue 12:

Revolutions and Re-Imaginations:

New Directions in Religious Practices and Practical Theology

Summer 2019


Editorial Board

Elizabeth Bounds, Emory University Mary McClintock Fulkerson, Duke University Elaine Graham, University of Chester Anna Grimshaw, Emory University Nathan Jennings, Seminary of the Southwest Kathryn Lofton, Yale University Thomas G. Long, Emory University Charles Marsh, University of Virginia Colleen McDannell, University of Utah Robert Orsi, Northwestern University Devaka Premawardhana, Emory University Robert Prichard, Virginia Theological Seminary Leigh Schmidt, Washington University in St. Louis Ted Smith, Candler School of Theology David H. Watt, Haverford College Todd Whitmore, University of Notre Dame Lauren Winner, Duke University

Editorial Staff

Issue Editor: Cara Curtis Managing Editor: Lisa Hoelle Portilla Editor for Reviews: Keith Menhinick Assistant Editors: Palak Taneja, Chelsea Mak Faculty Consultant: Don Seeman

Practical Matters Journal, Summer 2019, Issue 12, Š 2019. Published by Emory University. All rights reserved.

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contents

From the Editor: Introduction Turning the Wheel in Religious Practices and Practical Theology

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Cara Curtis

Feature Matters Going Live

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Bridging Divides Between the Bible and Pastoral Theology in 2 Kings 5

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Faith in Music

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Judaism, Jewish History, and Social Justice

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Narrow Is the Way

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Melva Sampson

Denise Dombokwski Hopkins Tom Beaudoin

Marc Dollinger

Todd Whitmore

Analyzing Matters Introducing Design Thinking and Practical Theology

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Practical Matters Conference Online Content: Summary

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Kathryn Common

Practical Matters Staff

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Table of Contents

Practicing Matters

Practicing Re-Imagination (Interview) Cara Curtis and Vanessa Zoltan

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Teaching Matters Teaching Religious Traditions Through Place Elaine Penagos

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Matters Under Review Reflective Research

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Egypt in the Future Tense, by Samuli Schielke

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Big Ideas, Vibrant Faith Communities, and the Future of Religious Practices

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Vulnerability and Valor, by Jessica M. Keady

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Mary Clark Moschella Brittany Landorf

David Messner

Giancarlo P. Angulo

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Turning the Wheel in Religious Practices and Practical Theology Cara Curtis Issue 12 Editor, Practical Matters Journal

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ractical Matters is proud to publish Issue 12, Revolutions and Re-Imaginations: New Directions in Religious Practices and Practical Theology. We are grateful to the authors, peer reviewers, and supportive colleagues who helped us bring this extraordinarily rich conversation to life. In their introduction to Practical Matters’ inaugural issue in 2009, founding editors Letitia M. Campbell and Donna S. Mote wrote of the excitement and interest in conversations at the intersection of religious practice and practical theology that were “bubbling up” among scholars. In particular, they noted that this energy seemed to be coming most enthusiastically from doctoral programs—the places that theologians and religious studies scholars of the future were meeting and being trained. Ten years after the initial discussions that resulted in that first issue, Practical Matters staff wondered: how had things changed? Scholarship in religious practices and practical theology had clearly blossomed in the decade since our first issue, but we found ourselves curious about the methodological innovations, theoretical problems, and practical questions that animated those in the field today. These questions arose, too, because Practical Matters is at a crossroads in its life as a publication. Funded since 2007 as part of a Lilly Foundation partnership with Emory University’s Initiative in Religious Practices and Practical Theology, the Journal is moving into a new phase following the conclusion of this grant in 2018. Our Editorial Board and staff are hard at work preparing for this next chapter, and we expect to share news of our plans in the upcoming months. In the meantime, this issue offers a chance to reflect on our first ten years, in anticipation of what is to come. Five pieces in this issue engage directly with how work on religious practices and practical theology has evolved at Emory University specifically, all recorded during the “Practical Matters” conference at Emory on the same topic. In a series of brief and engaging video lectures, Jennifer Ayres, Greg Ellison, Amy Levad, and Brendan Ozawa-de Silva each share a key “big idea” about what the study of religious practices has meant to them. To complement these videos, David Messner’s review of the conference captures a high-level snapshot of the rich discussions that took place. The energy of the conference, evident in Messner’s review, shows that the field of religious practices continues to grow and mature—not only at Emory, but as a conversation Practical Matters Journal, Summer 2019, Issue 12, pp. 1-3. © The Author 2019. Published by Emory University. All rights reserved.

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among increasing numbers of scholars worldwide. This growth is also signaled by the many pieces in Issue 12 that speak to our core theme. In reviewing submissions, we were pleased to see developments in both methodology and interdisciplinary conversations. Mary Clark Moschella’s review on themes of reflexivity in three recent works in practical theology makes clear that ethnographic methods are not only becoming more common in work on religion, but that scholars are deepening and nuancing their technique in this area. Concurrently, writing about Jewish communities in the United States from the 1960s forward, Marc Dollinger offers an example of using historical methods in order to pursue questions about religious identity and social justice. In addition to these methodological developments, two pieces in this issue propose cross-disciplinary partnerships for practical theology. In her article, “Bridging the Divide Between the Bible and Pastoral Theology in 2 Kings 5,” Denise Dombkowski Hopkins shows how the methods and approach of pastoral theology can be fruitfully combined with biblical interpretation in order to better support survivors of trauma. In a different though allied vein, Kathryn Common proposes design thinking as an ideal conversation partner for practical theology. The two fields have distinct yet complementary strengths, Common argues, and both seek to address “wicked problems” facing the world. Practical Matters has always advocated for interdisciplinary partnerships, and these scholars lead the way toward new and rewarding conversations. Also notable are the ways that religious landscapes themselves are changing, and the ways that scholars and practitioners are beginning to respond. Two pieces speak directly to this theme in Issue 12, both highlighting the ways that digital media can reanimate longstanding religious practices in new ways. In her auto-ethnographic essay “Going Live: The Making of Digital Griots and Cyber Assemblies,” scholarpractitioner Melva Sampson explores possibilities for disruption and freedom in the community of her weekly Facebook worship livestream, Pink Robe Chronicles. In our interview with Harry Potter and the Sacred Text co-host Vanessa Zoltan, we discuss the practical and ethical considerations that arise from bringing ancient sacred reading practices to life in a podcast largely followed by non-religious millennials. The authors in this issue are not only thinking about innovations in practice and scholarship, however; indeed, a concern for teaching and university life stretches across several articles. Tom Beaudoin’s essay “Faith in Music” offers a critical reflection on the author’s experience teaching a free, open online course on popular music through a theological lens. Thinking about the undergraduate religious studies classroom, Elaine Penagos argues for place-based pedagogy, particularly when teaching African heritage religions, as an alternative to more traditional comparative approaches. Finally, Todd Whitmore reviews the many demands placed on faculty at R1 universities and asks whether it is possible to live faithfully as a Christian committed to serving the poor and outcast while working in such an environment. Stepping back to look at these works as a whole, it is clear that the field of religious practices has not only grown but deepened in its work over the past decade. It is no longer a question of whether religious practices will be considered in theological or religious studies scholarship, but of how to do so most productively— how to keep deepening and enriching the conversation. The scholars and practitioners who share their work in this issue do a tremendous job of pointing towards several avenues for further research and development. The only question that remains is how these conversations will continue to evolve, revolve, and be reimagined over the next decade of thought and practice.

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As Issue Editor, I would be remiss not to close with words of thanks for the exceptional work of the Practical Matters staff who labored with this issue at every stage of development. Former Managing Editors Layla Karst and Lisa Hoelle Portilla encouraged and shepherded this issue from its very beginning, creating a productive space for staff members to brainstorm and support one another. Reviews Editor Keith Menhinick did an exceptional job soliciting and editing the book reviews for this year’s issue. Furthermore, Assistant Editors Palak Taneja and Chelsea Mak dove in enthusiastically to editorial work alongside the rest of the Practical Matters staff. Finally, I extend a heartfelt thanks to Don Seeman for lending his wisdom as Faculty Advisor to this issue. Without each of these capable and kind colleagues, this issue would not have been possible.

endnotes 1 Indeed, a “turn to practice” had been building within practical theology and religious studies for some time. See Mary McClintock Fulkerson, “Theology and the Lure of the Practical: An Overview,” Religion Compass 1/2 (2007): 294-304; and Ted Smith, “Theories of Practice,” in Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore, ed., The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Practical Theology (Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012), 244-254. 2 Letitia M. Campell and Donna S. Mote, “A Transdisciplinary Multimedia Journal of Religious Practices and Practical Theology: Introducing Practical Matters,” Practical Matters 1 (2009): 2.

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Going Live: The Making of Digital Griots and Cyber Assemblies Melva Sampson Wake Forest University School of Divinity

Abstract In this essay I make explicit my own positionality as a black woman who preaches and as a practical theologian who studies the connections between digital worship, gender, performativity and preaching. I examine how religious hybridity informs my preaching practice from unconventional pulpits. I assert that ritualized speech—preaching—in sacred digital space—specifically on social media livestreams—intentionally disrupts the popular religious and everyday landscapes, where marginalized bodies are disembodied. Situating myself as a digital griot and those whom frequent my weekly Facebook livestream as a cyber assembly, I offer a thickly described case study of the digital worshipping community Pink Robe Chronicles (PRC). I conclude that alternative mediated pulpits and religiously fluid cyber assemblies are spaces where interlocking cycles of freedom occur. Interlocking cycles of freedom are used, therefore, to remember the sacred worth of black lives and repair the connection between the mundane and the spiritual realm by bearing witness to communities that are strong enough to hold the truth of their members. The impact on current practices is this: through alternative pulpits and consecrated key strokes the practitioner/scholar offers to the community the ability to experience spiritual and cultural freedom in self-determining ways and to the fields of religious practices and practical theology a fresh vantage point from which to observe and be observed.

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oing Live is an autoethnographic account that examines how a theologically progressive and religiously hybrid black preaching woman utilizes livestreaming on a social media platform to preach in multifaceted ways while creating brave, ritualized and inclusive space. I am guided by Practical Matters Journal, Summer 2019, Issue 12, pp. 4-21. © The Author 2019. Published by Emory University. All rights reserved.

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three formulative queries: how do forward thinking black preaching women circumvent traditional spaces of religious authority to achieve trans-marginality—the ability to ascend hegemonic powers reinforced by imposed margins? Moreover, what is the role of digital interactive media in this circumvention? Situated at the intersections of gender, digital interactive media, performance, and preaching, Going Live builds on existing scholarship that locates preaching within the black griotic tradition and communal survival within African American hush harbor rhetoric. Hence, I theorize a forward-thinking black preaching woman as a digital griot and the livestreams I deploy as a cyber assembly. Here, a digital griot is “an intervening figure who unites the past, present and future, refuses the divide as a barrier to black [sacred] engagement with technology and utilizes specifically African American rhetoric.”1 In this case, I am the digital griot. Autoethnography allows me to do what Robin Boylorn explains, “examine my lived experience through a cultural lens using creative writing techniques and research methods to interrogate my experiences while making sense of cultural phenomena.”2 To this end, I offer a thickly described case study of Pink Robe Chronicles (PRC), a cyber assembly I convene weekly on Facebook Live. Cyber assemblies, also known as digital hush harbors, are “alternative rhetorically and ontologically liberated transformative spaces—spaces for agency creation not simply agent expression.”3 I assert two claims. One, livestreaming is an important category of critical analysis, a complementary practical theological model for preaching and a new mode of inquiry for qualitative research methods. Two, livestreaming, a religious and digital technology, is both reparative and disruptive. When certain black preaching women proclaim the value of black life by going live on social media platforms they intentionally disrupt the popular religious and digital landscapes where they are frequently silenced and disembodied. I conclude that ‘going live’ counters interlocking systems of oppression by tendering disregarded flesh as salvific, creating interlocking cycles of freedom in its place.

Naming Myself, For Myself In Deeper Shades of Purple, womanist ethicist Stacey M. Floyd-Thomas posits radical subjectivity as the first tenet of womanism. Providing a three-part definition Floyd-Thomas defines radical subjectivity as the moment black women understand our agency as a tool of resistance, powerful in naming our own experiences and foundational to our identity politics.4 In a 1982 address delivered at Harvard University entitled “Learning from the 60’s,” prolific writer Audre Lorde declared, “There are no new ideas, just new ways of giving those ideas we cherish breath in our own living.”5 As Lorde further pondered about living fully into her intersectional identity, she concluded that self-definition was not negotiable. She stated, “If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies of me and eaten alive.”6 The complexity of humanity is not new. Similarly, the struggle to names one’s self for one’s self is also not novel. Who we are and how we identify has largely to do with either how we’ve been socialized to feel about ourselves or the development of our own self- interventions. This makes subjectivity elusive and objectivity a never-ending obstacle in the process of knowledge validation. In the tradition of radical subjectivity and the type of ethnographic work black women scholars and practitioners of religious practices and practical theology have conducted for decades, I commence by identifying my social location as it is pivotal to my position as both researcher and researched.7

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I am an Afrocentric womanist Christian inspired by the sacred feminine wisdom tradition within the Yoruba religion, Ifa. Afrocentricity as defined by Molefe K. Asante “is a paradigm that enthrones the centrality of the African that is black ideals and values, as expressed in the highest forms of African culture and activates consciousness as a functional aspect of any revolutionary approach to phenomena.”8 The womanist paradigm privileges the everyday experiences of black women as essential to the knowledge production process.9 Along with radical subjectivity a womanist perspective is grounded in traditional communalism i.e., “committed to the survival of an entire people—male and female;”10 redemptive self-love i.e., regaining possession of self-hood; and critical engagement. These methods privilege my lived experience as the focus of the story, the one who tells and the one who experiences. As an ideological paradigm and a methodological approach each privilege black bodies as viable agents that assert meaningful agency in the knowledge production process. An Afrocentric womanist ideological and methodological framework contends that black women must see themselves as subjects in a realm that so often objectifies them. Afrocentrism forces the subject and the object to always consider the history, current experiences and hopes of African diasporic people in contrast or in relation to what is being posited by a hegemonic, colonial and imperialist view. I am an ordained minister in the Progressive Baptist denomination, a ruling elder in the Presbyterian USA denomination, and a member of the Gelede Society, a spiritual work group dedicated to the Iyami— Great Mothers. I am a religious practitioner and a practical theologian with specialized commitments; I fit within what anthropologist Deborah Thomas identifies as a “hybrid category. Somebody who creates in an embodied way and yet is able to think how the body theorizes well.” In short, I am a spiritually malleable black preaching woman. I study and theorize about other spiritually fluid black preaching women. I am particularly interested in the ways we use digital media to combat Christian hegemony and patriarchy by curating brave, new and sacred digital spaces to construct liberating religious identities through personal narratives. The case I am making is that radical subjectivity offers a different and necessary methodological shift for ethnographic inquiry. In the past fifteen years there has been a movement in social science research methods toward more reflexive and context-centered approaches. These methods allow the researcher to privilege lived experiences in the context of research inquiry. Evidenced in the fields of education, sociology, and communication to name a few, autoethnography is the offspring of this evolution. The revolution and re-imagination needed to mine new directions in the study of religious practice and practical theology in general and innovation in ethnographic methods specifically combines life history, ethnographic methods and digital media. Part ethnography and part autobiography by elucidating the self, one’s personal history/ auto is and must be an integral component of one’s politics, creativity and scholarship. Radical subjectivity, then, connects with methodology as an act of self-authorization. That is, when black women name us for ourselves both as a method and methodology we become what bell hooks refers to as “the spatial location of radical openness and possibility.”11 In this vein the power is taken from the controlling body i.e., sexism, racism, mass incarceration, poverty, etc. and is redistributed into the community via black women’s lived experiences as a call to liberation. The margin becomes an alternative site of self-definition and selfrecuperation because it escapes the knowledge validation process controlled by a dominant white male interest whereby the redistribution of power becomes foundational to collective self-determination.

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In Undoing Fieldwork Deborah D’Amico Samuels states that “the connections between what we describe as social scientists and who we are personally and structurally need to be part of the way we design our methods as well as the way we analyze our data.”12 This is very much the case for practitioner/scholars of religious practices and practical theology. My interest in the connections between black preaching women’s religious identities, ritualized cyberspace and digital storytelling “reexamines knowledge construction from a new orientation.”13 Autoethnography positions the observer also as the observed whereby black women who use digital media to create sacred cyberspace “tell their own story as one has known it and lived it and as we read further even died it.”14 This is significant because “for generations black women have overlooked themselves as they have been overlooked, accepting, without critique the versions of their lives and realities that were offered back to them.”15 Utilizing positionality as a complementary data set and as an interpretive lens redistributes power from perceived dominant methodological sources often endemic of bias toward particular populations. The next section situates my own subjectivity within the phenomena of the black griotic tradition and black women’s divine speech. In subsequent sections the autoethnographic accounts appear italicized followed by analysis.

Fetching Roots Research in practical theology tends to overlook non-Christian or religiously hybrid God-talk and praxis. Commitments to the Christian enterprise by both scholars and practitioners leave little room for new discoveries to emerge. Within traditional graduate programs both university and stand-alone institutions practical theology concentrations highlight Christian practices like homiletics, religious education (Christian), and pastoral care. Understandably, such practices edify the church and its leadership. What these practices are unable to do is capture the “common heritage and contextual language,” of those who identify as Christian and embrace other religious teachings as expansive practices. In my search for new sources and methods of inquiry, I realized that I compartmentalized my personal and research praxis. The reflection surfaced as I researched the roots of the African American preaching tradition and the role of black preaching women played in its development. I had to go back to the source—my sources. It is this reconnection that aids in “addressing and readdressing deconstructing and reconstructing while simultaneously subverting forces”16 that limit my religious belonging. June 5, 2018 new Facebook post: I preach because, despite what the mired U.S. criminal system posits, I don’t have the right to remain silent in the face of savage church and government politics. I don’t know how to not raise my voice on behalf of the least of these who are they/us that sit at the dehumanizing intersections of white supremacy, patriarchy and unbalanced socioeconomic class strata. I preach as an act of resistance and acceptance. I resist the backward thinking that relegates women and other marginalized people to the periphery of organized religious proclamation while exploiting and policing our/their bodies. I accept that I am a thinking woman of faith. Because, I know what I know, and it cannot be contained in one religious tradition or flat spiritual trajectory. I preach Oludumare and Yahweh; Jehovah and Nzambi Mpungu; Yeshua and Shango; Mary and Oshun. I preach because it is nefarious

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not to shout out the worth of black lives, the value of black girl brilliance often referred to as magic and the innovation that is black embodiment. I preach because I was “once a colored girl who considered suicide when the rainbow was enuf.”17 Then one day “I found God in myself and I loved her, I loved her fiercely.”18 I learned that within me was buried a deep well, known as Source. I learned that I carried “womanist ase”—spiritual power invoked by black women for our well-being from traditional and unconventional sources to unfetter ourselves and our communities from the vestiges of interlaced oppressive systems.19 I preach not to save sinners from external forces of evil but to emancipate many from the church industrial complex where souls desiring redemption are on lockdown in pews beholden to tragic theologies; where Jesus is a bearded white man and God is a neo-Nazi moving folks to build walls of exclusion instead of bridges of collective work and responsibility. I preach to set the captive free, even when the captive is me. I preach. We preach. My body preaches through womanish gestures and I wish a ninja would standpoints. My breasts preach sermons of anatomical acceptance when they refuse to be disguised by shapeless and non-pink robes that bear the tried marks of truth telling and wisdom sharing. Instead they stand mostly with assistance to proclaim the acceptable day of God. I am fearfully and wonderfully made! My stomachs, yes plural, preach when they refuse to be subdued by corsets and girdles, all forms of patriarchy, misogyny and respectability. My hoseless thighs preach as they thunder to and fro loosening the shackles of the hoodwinked and bamboozled. We preach. I preach with feet marching to freedom’s land, with my hands lifted up whether I’m yelling hallelujah, “fight the power,” “these is bloody shoes,” or “God’s Plan.” I preach because my momma never told me to be quiet. I preach because my great aunt Susie knew how to “talk the fire out” of people. I preach because my ancestors trust me, and our seeds are counting on me. Fetching, a derivative of Sankofa, an Akan term from Ghana, West Africa which means to go back and get what was lost, is an example of circumventing not only traditional spaces of religious authority but methodological hierarchy. Here, fetching is also both a verbal and non-verbal rhetorical Afrocentric philosophical and spiritual practice used to counter interlocking oppressive systems that pose a constant threat to black embodiment. Returning to self and community as subject generates and transmits transmarginality. As the researcher and researched, one ascends hegemonic power by remembering her narrative. She is the griot going back to get the stories of those who have been silenced in order to share them with current and future generations. Retrieving non-Christian practices also supports this ascension without harming the Christian endeavor. It exposes the sometime duplicitous nature of binaries and counteracts the injurious effects of white supremacy and cultural hegemony present within traditional ethnographic approaches and practical theological models. Digital media coupled with cognitive agency humanizes and authorizes experiences that traditional religious and academic spaces have not fully acknowledged. Exploring digital media as a new mode of inquiry provides a different kind of ethnographic context for research and experience and illumines black women’s oracular imagination. I define oracular imagination as the capacity to confront and transform people, places and systems via powerful verbal and non-verbal speech. Digital space preserves self-hood by “bypassing traditional systems of legitimation or recognized gatekeepers.”20 In “Hashtags and Hallelujahs: The Role of #BlackGirlMagic Performance in Spiritual Formation,” Attorney Carla Jackson describes social

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media as a “religious surrogate that provides users with access to community healing and ritual all three which are vitally linked with African spirituality.”21 Jackson contends, “depending on the subject the ideas information shared can be a sort of sacred text for a community of believers.”22 Bodies dismembered by religious, cultural, political and societal hurdles are validated in curated digital space. Hence Jackson, views cyberspace administered by black women both preaching and non, as a means of spiritual formation through which a particular “cyberspace community can be viewed as a congregation where black women and girls share sacred texts that can encourage us to push through our personal struggles.”23 It is also true that the curator can be viewed as a digital griot. The art of black preaching, a form of hallowed storytelling, is rooted in the black griotic tradition. The Griot originates from the West African Mande Empire of Mali in the 13th century and “carries the responsibility of preserving the historical narratives and oral tradition of their people from one generation to the next so that the stories may never be forgotten or lost.”24 Africans who were forcibly brought to the Americas during the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade arrived in North America unsure how to make sense of life once separated from their tribal religions and Supreme Being. It was the griotic tradition that maintained the sacred memory of their cultural and religious history. Life was so cruel in the Americas that enslaved Africans turned to the local reigning deity and sought to learn how that deity operated. Out of this spiritual necessity grew the slow and tedious process of creating black North American religions out of the common practices of many African belief systems. The idea that African spirituality in North America was destroyed is erroneous. In fact, the opposite occurred; African spirituality was transformed and became a fluid stream between African/slave religion and orthodox black Christianity. Religious historian Tracey Hucks proffers, “The tendency among scholars has been to relegate African religious practices in African American religion to the early slave period, thus creating an artificial dichotomy between African/slave religion in the antebellum period and orthodox black Christianity after emancipation and eclipsing the fluid boundaries that have existed and persisted within both periods.”25 Hucks further explains, “The assumption is that the African “survivals” died out rather early or that practices related to African divinities quickly disintegrated in North America.”26 Failure to acknowledge this fluidity led to questionable conceptual frameworks in the study of the Black Church and African American religious experience. Faulty conceptual frameworks led to several problematic trends: that Christianity was blindly accepted and is thus the innate faith tradition of all black people and constant deliberation about whether black people had a viable past in Africa or created new practices in the new world. African spirituality in 19th century black preaching women’s itinerancy was “transformed but not extinguished.”27 African spiritual values became submerged in dominant Anglo Christian rhetoric. Even 19 century black preaching women “drew from conventions of the Anglo Christian conversion narrative to proclaim their equality and salvation, the cultural origins of their spiritual authority prevailed” wherein traditional African rituals, ideologies, and manifestations of spiritual power would remain part of black oral culture most visible in black preaching. The oracular imagination of early black preaching women often unknowingly and sometimes knowingly used conjure as a subversive tactic to exorcise the white supremacist narratives that remain lethally linked to African American sacred discursive activity. They employed various allegories, imaginative language, th

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creative imagery, and their bodies to deliver the message. Coupled with intent to redress evil, black preaching women altered reality to deconstruct the conventional oppressive view of black people as soulless and represented a liberating message that affirmed the value of black and women’s embodiment. From Jarena Lee to Zilpha Elaw and Julia Foote 19th century history is filled with black preaching women’s sacred knowledge production and dissemination of Afrocentric epistemes even if done unconsciously. For instance, Sojourner Truth’s and Maria Stewart’s reliance on the spiritual power of the feminine to affect change. In 1851 before an all-white women’s convention audience, Truth proclaimed, “If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.”28 In 1879 William Lloyd Garrison published a book of mediations by Maria Stewart. In one of the meditations writes, “O ye daughters of Africa, awake! awake! arise! no longer sleep nor slumber but distinguish yourselves. Show forth to the world that ye are endowed with noble and exalted faculties. O ye daughters of Africa! what have ye done to immortalize your names beyond the grave? What examples have ye set before the rising generation? What foundation have ye laid for generations yet unborn?”29 In Yoruba cosmology, the capacity to create and transform people, places and systems and issue balance to imbalanced interlocking oppressive forces via formidable speech and divine authority that summons desires into reality is wielded by a concealed power called Àjé. This power is guarded by three Orisha or deities, Oshun, Yemanja and Oya. Each Orisha embodies specific qualities that represent aspects of the Sacred Empowered Mothers. Oshun is the lead guard of the Àjé. Several Yoruba creation stories depict Oshun as the “protector, savior and nurturer of humanity.”30 While there is no empirical evidence to support the conscious connection between Truth and Stewart’s witness and Yoruba cosmology it should not be blatantly overlooked. The early 20th century also yielded similar examples. As an evangelist in the Pentecostal church, Rosa Horn countered resistance to her female body in the masculine rhetorical pulpit by subverting it altogether. In 1926 Horn organized the Pentecostal Faith Church in Harlem. While some pulpits remained off limits to women, in 1933 Horn accepted an invitation from the radio station WHN in New York City to commence a ministry. Even with the physical distance created by broadcasting her sermons, male preachers, nonetheless—rejected her preaching activities.  Her body was contested. Horn exhibited a remarkable ability to excel despite scant evangelical support. According to Jonathon Walton, “the popularity of Horn’s broadcast caused conflict with the ubiquitous ministries of both Father Divine and Elder Micheaux.”31 The radio station sued Father Divine, “accusing the Harlembased deity of intimidation in attempts to run Mother Horn and her congregation out of Harlem.”32 Their concerted effort to destroy Horn’s ministry strengthened her following and resulted in a radio ministry, spanned thirty years. Ida Robinson is another example. In 1919 Robinson was commissioned as pastor of Mt. Olive, a small church affiliated with the United Holy Church denomination. She stressed and preached holiness as a divine requirement, holiness as the work of the Holy Ghost, and holiness as a condition to seeing God. Though she was senior pastor, women in ministry still struggled to gain approval from male ministerial leaders. In 1924 God appeared to Robinson in a series of visions and dreams informing her that she was to be God’s instrument and start a church that would allow full clergy rights to women. Later that

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year, the State of Pennsylvania granted Robinson a charter for Mt. Sinai Holy Churches of America, of which she became the first presiding bishop. Robinson’s church was peculiar because it was conceived to be a space for women to gain equal footing. In her capacity as bishop, Robinson ordained women throughout the United States.  Robinson used her body to create uniformity within the denomination by instituting plain dress and forbidding make-up, straightened hair, and finger nail polish. In so doing, Robinson deployed sanctification as spiritual armor to counter the cultural views of Black females’ bodies as useful commodity or sexually licentious. Holiness was a symbol of God’s presence and was necessary to exude spiritual power. A black woman’s preaching body held Divine power that was used to affect spiritual, emotional, and social change.   African spiritual values of embodied praxis remain a key component in black Christian cosmology and black women’s oracular imagination. The black griotic tradition coupled with black women’s oracular imagination in digital space unsettles dehumanizing social ordering. In Digital Religion, Mia Lövheim posits that “digital media offers new means of constructing religious identities.”33 Lövheim further expounds that as individuals use digital tools to produce and share religious narratives, they perform a certain form of self that is enacted in relation to others.”34 Agency of presentation is mediated by the desire of self-preservation. Nowhere is this more evident than in live occurrences of social media. As a method of analysis “live social media makes it possible to witness injustice as it unfolds because it provides credibility and truth telling.”35 As Claudia Guzan Artwick reports of John Durham’s words, “liveness serves as an assurance of access to truth and authenticity.”36 Digital media in general and live social video specifically re-members the sacred embodiment of black lives by capturing and engaging collective concern and giving room for those who have been dismembered to express moral outrage. In a 1973 letter entitled, To My People, exiled freedom fighter Assata Shakur said, “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.”37 The reemergence of Shakur’s words in the age of social media make them accessible. For instance, activists and organizers often go live while reciting Shakur’s words. Doing so validates the sacred worth of black embodiment in real time and in digital space.  In June 2015 a gunman walked in and sat amongst congregants of historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. After listening to the Bible study lesson taught by the pastor and other ministerial leaders, the assailant opened fire killing nine people. His response was that he wanted to start a race war. The surveillance video showed that the perpetrator had a confederate flag license plate on his car. This discovery reignited a tense debate about the history of the confederate flag as a controversial symbol of bigotry and the rightness of displaying the flag on and around public institutions. In response, on June 27, 2015 Newsome’s black body affirmed and celebrated the value of black lives through direct action. Newsome boldly scaled a 30-foot flagpole at the South Carolina State Capitol to bring down the confederate flag. When the police motioned for her to come down, Newsome responded, “In the name of Jesus this flag has to come down. You come against me with hatred, oppression, and violence. I come against you in the name of God. This flag comes down today.” As she scaled back down the pole, she announced that she was prepared to be arrested. Newsome loudly recited the 23rd Psalm from the Bible as she was being led away by the police. The moment was livestreamed. Livestreaming is the metaphorical incense smoke that

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ritually purifies cyberspace with its upfront and authentic truth. Aside from mediating the sacred worth of black lives in cyber space, within the current state of domestic and global affairs, livestreaming potentially counteracts the injurious effects of cultural and spiritual amnesia brought on by this matrix of domination otherwise understood as red hot critical times.

Unconventional Pulpits and Black Bodies In Eight Bowls Full of Life, Makungu M. Akinyela defines red hot critical times as “those moments that come without warning or compassion for the needs of African Disaporan people.”38 Since our capture from the West Coast of Africa, our journey across the Trans-Atlantic and our arrival to the Americas, Africans in America have labored for humanization. Despite the physical, spiritual and cultural resistance of many enslaved men and women, the gains achieved by the southern Civil Rights and Black Power Movements, and the election of an African American president in 2008 the struggle for black livelihood persists through today. The term post-racial permeates modern American society but, disproportionate numbers of African Americans remain caught within a debilitating grip. In a statement to the United Nations, Rev. Dr. Iva Carruthers, General Secretary of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference affirms this havoc wrought by such systems. She writes: “The 1955 gruesome murder of Emmett Till and his mother’s courage to show his body to the world became the iconic symbol of white supremacy, racism and terror experienced by African Americans in the United States during the mid-20 century.” Till’s decision to show her son’s maimed and mangled body in the African American owned and operated Jet Magazine served as a disruption to a system left unchecked about the worth of black embodiment. There has been no easing of this tension; only a deafening worsening. Black bodies continue to be compromised in extreme and disheartening ways. Addressing unresolved racial issues Carruthers further illumined that “sixty years after the murder of Emmett Till, the United States is still plagued with killings and murders of black youth with impunity, not only by vigilantes undercover, but by the outright egregious actions of agents of local, county and state governments, police officers sworn to protect and treat all citizens equally.” Much like how the invention of the television brought the inequities between black bodies and white bodies into living rooms across the US and beyond in the mid 20th century, similarly, digital media brings to bear in the 21st century in real time, with more speed and independently controlled content. In Social Media Livestreaming: Design or Disruption? Guzan Artwick affirms that “live visual images increasingly inundate our digital screens.”39 She explains, “While once restricted to broadcast news going live is becoming ubiquitous fueled by smart phones and social networks.”40 This phenomenon shifts control from the usual privilege brokers exclusive of television to everyday citizens. Like the Civil Rights era, live social video brings up front and center the unimaginable. This is especially true for bodies deemed as contested and non-human terrain. Where traditional media governed by the politics of difference and a consciousness steeped in capitalistic gain has historically rendered images of black bodies that are antithetical to human dignity, some streamers of live social video serve as both informant and observer by recording in real time the unending plight of othered bodies. Those holding cameras become street preachers of some sort, evangelizing in public th

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digital space, by displaying societal dysfunction and streaming truth to power on behalf of those who cannot breathe because they have been figuratively and literally suffocated under the weight of injustice. What follows are a just a few instances of mobile technology acting as an alternative pulpit. On July 17, 2014 a community member videoed New York Police officers place Eric Garner in a highly contested choke hold. Garner succumbed to his injuries but, not before gasping for air while yelling, “I can’t breathe.” Weeks later, on August 9, 2014, recorded footage of Michael Brown being shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer was uploaded by eyewitnesses onto Twitter and Facebook, both social media platforms. The world watched in horror as his lifeless body lay on the concrete under the late summer sun for four hours before being removed. The video of Sandra Bland’s arrest surfaced next. On July 13, 2015 a private citizen captured Bland’s encounter with a Waller County, Texas sheriff. Again, social media erupted with righteous indignation because of the brutal nature of what appears to be an unwarranted arrest. She died under suspicious circumstances less than 72 hours later while in police custody. Diamond Reynolds live streamed the shooting of her boyfriend Philando Castille by law enforcement on July 6, 2016. She and her four-year-old daughter would later be placed in the back of police car where they would soon learn that he did not survive. On August 1, 2016 Baltimore County Police went to serve a warrant at the home of Korryn Gaines, a 23-year-old African American woman. Korryn livestreamed part of the five-hour confrontation before she was shot and killed. During the livestream Korryn is heard responding to orders for her to put her weapon down, “put your weapons down and I will put my weapon down, she replied.” She was shot five times in the chest, back, arm, wrist and thigh. Korryn was holding her five-year-old son in her arms when she was shot. He was grazed in the face by a bullet but survived. Gaines recorded her own murder. I could no longer hold my peace. I was swollen with grief. Words that turned into complex compound sentences began forming in my mind and quickly moved to my throat. It felt like I would choke if I did not release them. Void of a physical pulpit and physical congregants, I armed myself with my cell phone and for the first time went live on Facebook. I was now the street preacher standing at the digital intersections of outrage and good news. I realized that my body is its own pulpit, its own raised structure—an interceding and transmitting life force that “sacralizes both human body and spirit,” as sites of embodied knowledge that yield a transformative narrative commensurate with scriptural authority. In solidarity with the many black lives met by questionable existence and ultimately certain death, at the hands of law enforcement and so-called vigilantes, I too placed my body in the center of a people seeking and needing something more graceful than often times racist, patriarchal, classist, homophobic and heteronormative religious verbiage tenders. In the weeks that followed, I would continue to go live on Facebook. Donning a worn and dusty rose-pink robe while often in my kitchen cooking breakfast, I poured libations, a ritual ceremony, enacted to unify the spiritual and the mundane and request repair and assistance with life and everyday tasks, I preached, and I prayed with those that were just as weary as I was. I became a disruptor, the following week came, and I again grabbed my phone and began a livestream. In honor of the memory of my maternal grandmother, Annie Inez, I decided to make a dish that was her specialty—chicken and dumplings. While flouring the rolling pin for the dough, memories of lessons learned at my grandmother’s kitchen table wafted over me.

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Historically male and heterosexist authority has made little room for ‘other’ bodies in traditional pulpits. As a researcher of black preaching women and as a black preaching woman my ability to confront and critically engage hegemony is not solely lodged in the pulpit. My grandmother’s kitchen table was sacramental. It was at my grandmother’s kitchen table, the formidable pulpit in black women’s consciousness, that I was introduced to the verbal and embodied lexicon black women exert to stand firm over and against inequitable existence.41 Black preaching women have always engaged in truth telling from self-authorized spaces without sanction, but not without sanctuary. To circumvent interlaced oppressive structures black preaching women have had to locate alternative spaces to proclaim messages of wholeness and worth. Traditional pulpits are architecturally exclusive and spiritually stoic. They both consume and expose and imprison and stunt. Teresa Fry Brown, Bandy Professor of Preaching affirms, “African American women have preached on street corners, in prisons, by sick beds, in schools, in small groups, in Bible studies, in choirs, in homes, in prayer meetings and in any place, they could say a word for the Lord.”42  Just as black women’s kitchen tables serve as agential sites to combat white supremacy, patriarchy, heterosexism, capitalism, and respectability social media livestreaming as deployed via PRC also becomes an alternative pulpit that affirms the livelihood of all bodies. This is true for bodies that have been sanctimoniously disembodied and dismembered from conventional holy spaces. Jé Hooper, an emerging clergy leader within the Societies for Ethical Culture affirms this phenomenon. On World Aids Day 2018, the PRC livestream invited Jé to serve as a guest griot. As a polyamorous, queer, and HIV positive African American male, I asked Jé, also known as the ethical evangelist, to share his story live on Facebook with our cyber assembly of avid viewers. After the livestream Hooper posted a heartfelt reflection about being re-membered. It’s been a while since I have been in predominantly black spaces especially theologically inclusive spirit-driven black sanctioned spaces of love-working…Since I left seminary and theological education, I have had very few black theological colleagues, pastors, and scholars that promote or present my work as significant, specifically in black spaces. Nonetheless, TODAY that changed; Rev. Dr. Melva Sampson and her Pink Robe Chronicles gave me a new truth, an unthinkable impossible for my intersectionality to be revealed. This creative HIV, pansexual and poly-loving nontheistic-theist from a humanist community was welcomed and affirmed to speak this morning to a wonderful community of lovedoers, love-workers, and love-givers. #PinkRobeChronicles, with the aid and the assistance of Melva’s ferocious theology cultivated a space for me to be and to speak to the “black community”; they actually heard me as ME.43 In many physical spaces of black religious communities there is no place for siblings who are either gender non-conforming or gender fluid. To identify an online community like PRC as a “theologically inclusive spirit-driven black sanctioned space of love working” reveals the power of being re-membered. In real time, Jé preserves his story and his body by sharing it with the online world. As often as Jé and others livestream the intersections of their lived experiences or as often as others go live to capture injustices towards marginalized beings, they proclaim the worth of black embodiment and the utility of the sacred

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in cyberspace amidst a sea of value contradictions. Essentially, livestreaming captures the holy in action and does not need to be mediated by the observer because the observed is presented in real time. Further, a livestream becomes an altar of sorts where even the unassuming are laid bare before the community in search of an acknowledged humanity and expressed identity. As an ethnographic tool, livestreaming on social media re-directs the normative gaze. Disrupting the hegemonic, colonialist and imperialist gaze directed toward black, queer and inter-religious bodies provides the observer and the observed with the ability to “mediate against objective truth as an intervention whereby both become subjects in time and space that has often objectified them.”44 Therefore, livestreaming is an innovative disruption and offers a different lens to survey both the veneration and desecration of raced, gendered, classed and sexualized bodies. As both a digital and religious technology, livestreaming is an act of re-membering that ushers in a necessary disruption of exclusionary practices and maintains that disregarded flesh is salvific.

Reparative Disruption and Popular Religious Landscapes Conventional and digital black religious space is in essence a reparative and disruptive technology. Here, disruptive technologies are methods of knowledge production that improve upon the efficiency of a specific function. In this case, the specific function is humanizing non-conforming, gendered, classed or raced bodies by acknowledging them as generators and disseminators of divinity. From hush harbors to institutional African American denominational churches, black religious spaces and black religious practices historically display the mark of what W.E.B. DuBois explains as double consciousness and what Dianne Stewart calls a “polyvalent theory of meaning making.”45 This two-sided identity performed by a subordinate group within an oppressive society is a mode of survival and resistance discernable in the act of masking. Masking happens when black people across the diaspora force their philosophical, theological, aesthetic and cultural conceptualizations into western frameworks to camouflage the specificity and blunt the sharp edges of what they are protecting while keeping the core intact. The constant search for humanization yielded to problematic respectability politics wherein some black religious spaces and black theological underpinnings became venomous for black people. So, the relationship between certain black bodies and mainly toxic masculine rhetorical pulpits in African American denominational churches is tenuous.46 PRC utilizes digital platforms and specifically livestreaming social media as a reparative black religious space to affirm the value and sacred worth of the most vulnerable. While the meditations delivered are not solely for black people, my social location as a black preaching and spiritually fluid woman living in the American south is privileged. My own intersections disrupt traditional understandings of what it means to be a preaching woman and my research methods reveal my view of deconstruction as only one aspect of an on-going reconstruction. Hence, my praxis exposes PRC’s “commitment to survival of an entire community.”47 To this end, the disruptive nature of PRC livestreaming is reparative. Bob Franklin, series editor of Disruptions: Studies in Digital Journalism, explores the technology of social media livestreaming as a disruption. Franklin contends that “disruptions refer to the radical changes

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provoked by the affordances of digital technologies that occur at a pace and on a scale that disrupts settled understandings and traditional ways of creating value interacting and communicating both socially and professionally.”48 A portion of Jé’s tag team message to the PRC cyber assembly on World Aids Day supports the reparative aspect of livestreaming. So, I just want to give my methodology so when people get into my post, they don’t just ask what is Jé doing? What is the conversation today? Today he’s new. Today he just cursed. Like where is he at? You know like today there is no God, today this is God. And it’s beautiful because as you know I work with a humanist congregation. Also, to be the first African American humanist within ethical culture is a really big thing for me. I see such a responsibility to be in a space of white liberals who focus on social justice, social issues, and ethical engagement. It is vital for me in that space to make sure that our people are completely represented. Not just a modern negro exceptionalism- like when we say Black Lives Matter in my congregation, I want to be clear I’m talking about the nigga too, I’m talking about the hoe and I’m talking about the crackhead and I’m saying they all matter. You know no one is exempt. I don’t care what your degree is and everything like that. So, this is my body; living so intersectional with HIV these are the things that honestly need to be in congregational spaces. They need to not only be in congressional spaces but also about community. So, when I go in, I want people to know oh yes, I am HIV positive. And most people in the black community say, “shhhh don’t talk about that. And baby you just believe that God is going to heal you.” And, I’m saying no, no, no, healing comes through community. But that doesn’t happen because you decide- yes, your faith can make you whole, but your faith is a public declaration, not just a secret declaration. It allows for me to understand- I really have to walk in faith when I step out of my door because I take with me the narrative that everything, is already whole. Nothing about my morning is broken, nothing about my day should be dismantled, nothing about the end of my day should conclude, the end it should be the beginning.49 Jé’s sermon provides an image of a multi-marginalized black body flourishing and thriving. He claims his humanity and the humanity of those who do not fit within the alleged respectable confines of the black religious. Live and in living color yet protected by the barrier of the digital platform Jé fetches his sacred embodiment via a ritual of radical examination. Like me, Jé becomes a digital griot. Jé’s embodiment or performance of aliveness visible in his preaching functions as a liberation strategy that highlights how technology and access to it are vital aspects of the pursuit of creating and understanding black people’s divine autonomy in sacred story.50 Pink Robe Chronicles counters matrices of domination perceptible within the intersections of oppressive structures i.e., racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, etc. Providing space for otherwise bodies yields a revolutionary and embodied rhetoric that is intersectional, imaginative, transformational and revolutionary. A commitment to wholistic healing, redemptive self-love and provocative theological reflection, PRC rejects the debasing of the black body by curating a brave and affirming space. As a ritualized and sacred cyber assembly, PRC acts as a digital clearing for those stifled by hegemony. The connections between gender, cyber assemblies, and preaching “bring together the past and the present to serve as form of social connection and historical understanding that can open new approaches in dealing with present challenges of societal inequities.” Remembering and Re-membering the divine worth of our bodies in red hot critical

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times counters prone, expired black bodies. Prone is the position many black bodies died in at the hands of law enforcement or other acts of violence. Their lifeless bodies on display and their humanity ignored. Keystroke by keystroke viewers re-assemble fragile limbs and tend to deep wounds of hurt by asserting their humanity. By creating new spaces of spiritual authority from manumitted landscapes we embrace our intersections, are comfortable in spiritual malleability, and “love ourselves regardless� even when larger society refuses to acknowledge our humanity.51

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Notes 1 C.L. Jones (2018) “Trying Free Kansas Only”: The Revolutions of Janelle Monae as Digital Griot. Frontiers, 39(1), 43. Retrieved from http://go/library.wakehealth.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.go.libproxy.wakehealth.edu/ docview/2025302175?account+ID=14868 2 Robin Boylorn “Blackgirl Blogs, Autoethnography and Crunk Feminism,” Liminalities: A Journal of Performance Studies Vol. 9, No. 2 (April 2013), 74. 3 Sam Hamilton. Procedural Slaves: Liberating Digital Classrooms. Master’s Thesis, University of Florida, 2012. https:// ufdcimages.uflib.ufl.edu/uf/e)/04/42/72/00001/hamilton_s.pdf 4 Stacey M. Floyd-Thomas, Deeper Shades of Purple: Womanism in Religion and Society (New York: New York University Press, 2006), 16. 5 Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches (Berkley: Crossing Press, 2007) 134-144. 6 Ibid. 7 For more information on other radically subjective ethnographic works that black women scholars practitioners have conducted see the following: Marla Fredrick, Between Sundays: Black Women and Everyday Struggles of Faith (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2003); Teresa Fry Brown Weary Throats and New Songs: Black Women Proclaiming God’s Word (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2003); and Robin Boylorn “Blackgirl Blogs, Autoethnography and Crunk Feminism,” Liminalities: A Journal of Performance Studies Vol. 9, No. 2 (April 2013), 73-82; Francoise, Lionnet-McCumber, “Autobiographical Tongues: (Self-) Reading and (Self-) Writing in Augustine, Nietzsche, Maya Angelou, Marie Cardinal, and Marie-Therese Humbert (Message, Emancipation, Female Textuality, Self-Portraiture, Autoethnography),” Ph.D. dissertation, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 1986 and “Autoethnography: The AnArchic Style of Dust Tracks on a Road,” in Reading Black, Reading Feminist: A Critical Anthology, ed. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (New York: Meridian, 1990), 382-414; Ruth Trotter White, “Autoethnography and the Sense of Self in the Novels of Toni Morrison,” Ph.D. dissertation, University of Iowa, 1992, 12.; and McClaurin, Irma. ed., “Theorizing a Black Feminist Self in Anthropology: Toward an Autoethnographic Approach,” in Black Feminist Anthropology (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2001), 49-76. 8 For more on Afrocentricity see Afrocentricity, Molefi K. Asante. www.asante.net/articles/1/afrocentricity. October 7, 2013 9 Alice Walker, In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens: Womanist Prose (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1983), xi Womanist 1. From womanish. (Opp. Of “girlish,” i.e., frivolous, irresponsible, not serious.) A black feminist or feminist of color. From the black folk expression of mothers to female children, “You acting womanish,” i.e., like a woman. Usually referring to outrageous, audacious, courageous or willful behavior. Wanting to know more and in greater depth than is considered “good” for one. Interested in grown-up doings. Acting grown up. Being grown up. Interchangeable with another black folk expression: “you trying to be grown.” Responsible. In charge. Serious. 2. Also: A woman who

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loves other women, sexually and/or nonsexually. Appreciates and prefers women’s culture, women’s emotional flexibility (values tears as a natural counterbalance of laughter), and women’s strength. Sometimes loves individual men, sexually and/or nonsexually. Committed to survival and wholeness of entire people, male and female. Not a separatist, except periodically, for health. Traditionally universalist, as in: “Mama, why are we brown, pink, and yellow, and our cousins are white, beige, and black? Ans.: “Well, you know the colored race is just like a flower garden, with every color flower represented.” Traditionally capable, as in: “Mama, I’m walking to Canada and I’m taking you and a bunch of other slaves with me.” Reply: “It wouldn’t be the first time.” 3. Loves music. Loves dance. Loves the moon. Loves the Spirit. Loves love and food and roundness. Loves struggle. Loves the folk. Loves herself. Regardless. 4. Womanist is to feminist as purple to lavender. 10 Walker, p. xi. 11 bell hooks, Yearning, Race, Gender and Cultural Politics, (Boston, MA: South Bend Press, 1991), 145-154. 12 Deborah D’Amico Samuels, “Undoing Fieldwork: Personal, Political, Theoretical and Methodological Implications” in Decolonizing Anthropology: Moving Further Toward an Anthropology of Liberation, Faye Venetia Harrison, ed. (Association of Black Anthropologist, 1998) 73. 13 Ruth Reviere, “Toward an Afrocentric Methodology,” Journal of Black Studies, Vol. 31, 6 (Jul., 2000), 709-728. 14  Robin Boylorn, Sweetwater: Black Women’s Narratives of Resilience (New York: P. Lang, 2013), 1.  15 Ibid, 1-2. 16 Floyd-Thomas, 78-79. 17 Ntozake Shange, For Colored Girls who have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf, (New York: Scribner, 1975). 18 Ibid. 19 I first heard this term during a paper delivered by Monica Coleman delivered on the Womanist Approaches to Religion panel at the 2017 American Academy of Religion in Boston, MA. Here, I use the term in similar way as did she, as a container for black women’s spiritual power and oracular imagination. While Coleman situates the term as a supernatural aid that assists with overcoming mental differentness, I deploy it as a spiritual power that some black preaching women embody and utilize to maintain not only self but communal flourishing. 20 Christopher Helland “Ritual” in Digital Religion: Understanding Religious Practice in New Media Worlds, ed. Heidi Campbell (New York: Routledge, 2013) 25-40. 21 Carla Jackson “Hashtags and Hallelujahs: The Role of #BlackGirlMagic Performance in Spiritual Performance.” Paper presented at the American Academy of Religion, Boston, MA, November, 2017. 22 Ibid. 23 Ibid.

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24 Lize Okoh. “What is a Griot and Why are They Important.” The Culture Tip, May 24, 2018. Accessed February 21, 2019. https://theculturetrip.com/africa/mali/articles/what-is-a-griot-and-why-are-they-truly-important. 25 Dianne M. Stewart and Tracey E. Hucks, “Toward a Transdisciplinary Agenda in an Emerging Field,” Journal of Africana Religions Vol. 1, No.19 (2013). 26 Ibid. 27 Elizabeth West, African Spirituality in Black Women’s Fiction: Threaded Visions of Memory (Maryland: Lexington Books, 2011.), 43-49. 28 Sojourner Truth,” Ain’t I a Woman.” Delivered 1851 Akron, Ohio. Accessed on August 5, 2019, https://sourcebooks. fordham.edu/mod/sojtruth-woman.asp. 29 Maria Stewart, “Religion and the Principles of Morality: The Sure Foundation Which We Must Build,” in Meditations from the Pen of Mrs. Maria Stewart. 1879. Accessed August 5, 2019, https://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/stewartmaria/meditations/meditations.html. 30 Bayyinab S. Jefferies, “Yoruba Deities,” accessed February 28, 2016, www.britannica.com/topic/Oshun. 31 Jonathan Walton, Watch This! The Ethics and Aesthetics of Black Televangelism (New York: NYU Press, 2009), 43. 32 Ibid. 33 Mia Lövheim, “Identity” in Digital Religion: Understanding Religious Practice in New Media, Heidi Campbell, ed. (New York: Routledge, 2012), 57-71. 34 Ibid, 147. 35 Claudia Guzan Artwick Social Media Livestreaming: Design or Disruption? (New York: Routledge, 2019) 16. 36 Ibid. 37 Assata Shakur, Assata: An Autobiography (Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books, 1987). 38 Makungu Akinyele, “Eight Bowls Full of Life,” Accessed August 5, 2019, www.academia.edu. 39 Guzan Artwick, ii. 40 Ibid. 41 The kitchen table in Black Women’s vernacular is the meeting place for intergenerational transmission. Black girls and women gather around kitchen tables to generate, receive and exchange cultural values and spiritual wisdom. Black feminists and womanist use the kitchen table as a metaphor to validate alternate epistemological sites and methodologies. For conversations on how Black women talk about the kitchen table see Teresa Fry Brown’s God Don’t Like Ugly: African American Women Handing on Spiritual Values (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2000), 164; Olga Idriss Davis, “In the Kitchen: Transforming the Academy through Safe Spaces of Resistance,” Western Journal of Communication 63(1999):

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364-81; Layli Phillips, The Womanist Reader (New York: Routledge, 2006), xxvii; Barbara Smith and Beverly Smith, “Across the Kitchen Table: A Sister-to-Sister Dialogue,” in This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color (Watertown, MA: Persephone Press, 1981). 42 Teresa Fry Brown, God don’t Like Ugly: African American women Handing on Spiritual Values (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2000) 10. 43 Jé Exodus Hooper’s Facebook page, accessed January 20, 2019, https://www.facebook.com/JéExodusHooper. 44 Reviere, 710. 45 W.E.B. DuBois, Souls of Black Folk, (New York: Dover, 1994), 115-125. 46 Roxanne Mountford… 47 Walker, In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens: Womanist Prose. 48 Bob Franklin in Guzan Artwick, p.iii. 49 Jé Exodus Hooper’s Facebook page, accessed January 20, 2019, https://www.facebook.com/JéExodusHooper. 50 Jones, 44. 51 Walker, xi.

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Bridging the Divide between the Bible and Pastoral Theology in 2 Kings 5 Denise Dombkowski Hopkins Wesley Theological Seminary Abstract Biblical interpreters argue that the Bible is a gapped, polyphonic collection of texts. Pastoral theology argues that we as readers of the biblical text are multiple and fluid. For too long, the interpretive rigidity of the historicalcritical method, with its assumptions of neutrality and objectivity, has kept readers at arms-length from the biblical text. It has flattened characters within biblical stories in favor of monologic readings, and has muted the ambiguities inherent in both reader and text. Cross-disciplinary exchange between biblical studies and pastoral theology can help us as readers become more critically aware of the multivalence and complexities of both our own stories and biblical stories as they intersect with one another during the process of interpretation. The multiplicity inherent in the biblical text and in its human readers invites us to look anew at texts, such as 2 Kings 5, and human situations, such as immigration and forced migration, with fresh eyes. This article draws upon trauma studies within the field of pastoral theology to fill in the gaps of 2 Kings 5 in order to reveal new layers of meaning within the text. Most interpreters see the little slave girl as a pillar of faith because she wishes for healing for her captor, Namaan. When read through the lens of trauma, however, the little slave girl appears to be adapting to her abusive situation in search of security that has been ripped from her in a war raid. Reading the gaps in 2 Kings 5 with this kind of “interruption” (Fewell) challenges us to acknowledge the intersectional ambiguities in the little slave girl’s situation and act accordingly today on her behalf.

Practical Matters Journal, Summer 2019, Issue 12, pp. 22-38. © The Author 2019. Published by Emory University. All rights reserved.

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CROSSING THE DIVIDE

F

rom my perspective as a Hebrew Bible scholar, it has taken too long to cross the divide between the so-called ‘classical’ and ‘practical’ disciplines in seminary curricula. Curricular compartmentalization has made exchange across disciplines difficult1 and blocked the modeling of integration for students. In addition, publishing houses have balked at cross-disciplinary works because of challenges involved in marketing them, though this is changing a bit. Teaching in disciplinary silos, reinforced by financial and workload constraints, can foster fragmented learning that can lead to fragmented ministry for our students.2 I experienced the value of cross-disciplinary exchange when my colleague in pastoral care, Michael Koppel, and I co-taught a course entitled “Grounded in the Living Word: The Hebrew Bible and Pastoral Care Practices” at Wesley Seminary years ago. In order to model integration of our respective disciplines in the classroom for our students, we engaged in what we call ‘partnered teaching,’ rather than team or sequential teaching, which traditionally has meant rotating responsibility for teaching class sessions, sometimes without sharing classroom space with colleagues at all. Instead, we were present together every week in the classroom, structuring the time to model a face-to-face exchange out of our respective disciplines; students enjoyed the exchange most when we disagreed with one another. We met immediately after each class to discuss what worked and what did not, and to plan the next week’s session. That class led us to pursue and secure several grants and to co-write a book on the intersections between the Bible and pastoral care.3 One of our grants, a Wabash Center Large Project Grant sponsored by the Lilly Endowment, enabled us to assemble five teams of Bible/pastoral care colleagues from seminaries across the country for a retreat at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico; we focused on how to craft a partnered teaching course focused on the Bible and pastoral care. Out of the Ghost Ranch experience, Michael Koppel and I began a consultation in the Society of Biblical Literature on the Bible and Pastoral Theology. It morphed into a section with a wider scope—The Bible and Practical Theology—still going strong after nine years. Several of the teams from the Ghost Ranch project co-authored articles for a recently published volume Michael Koppel and I co-edited; the articles engage in “a dynamic, interactive reading of human situations and biblical texts in order to reveal the multivalent complexities of both.”4 The work of these authors is wide-ranging. I present an overview here to illustrate the wealth of possibilities emerging from such cross-disciplinary exchange, and to stimulate other creative cross-disciplinary pairings. Hyun Chul Paul Kim (Bible) and Fulgence Nyengele (pastoral care) explore positive psychology and the pursuit of happiness in dialogue with the wisdom view of happiness in Qoheleth, African ubuntu, and Korean jeong; they draw on Martin Seligman’s PERMA, an acronym that outlines his view of positive psychology research. Deborah Appler (Bible) reads King David’s last days in 1 Kings 1-2 as a story of elder abuse to encourage dialogue in the United States about this “dirty little secret,” noting how family members around David manipulate him for their own benefit. Stephanie Wyatt (Bible) interprets the Shunamite woman’s grief in 2 Kings 4:836 through a post-Shoah lens that challenges traditional theodicy justifying human suffering in relation to God. Her “ruptured” interpretation of the text voices questions of sufferers muted by an insistence upon the redemptive nature of suffering. Jennifer Williams (Bible) uses Job as a vehicle for discussion of bullying among high school students, challenging both conventional interpretations of Job and conventional teaching

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strategies. Nancy Bowen (Bible) and James Higginbotham (pastoral care) examine the contexts that shaped different biblical views of God’s role in suffering and the visceral reactions to that suffering as a means of avoiding simplistic and distorted responses to suffering today. Dombkowski Hopkins and Koppel mine “the poetics of care” in psalm metaphors that require care givers to engage intuition, sense perception, and aesthetic appreciation in being present with the sufferer; these metaphors can help create space for naming unspeakable trauma.5

MULTIPLICITY: TEXTUAL AND HUMAN It was inevitable that Bible would become a conversation partner for pastoral care (and more broadly for practical theology) as illustrated above, once biblical interpretation broke free of the straight-jacket of ‘objectivity,’ reductionism (there is only one meaning of a text), and distancing assumed by exclusive reliance upon the historical-critical method. Thanks to feminist, womanist, mujerista, LGBTQ+, minjung, and liberation theologians, we can no longer hold the biblical text at arm’s length and assume that we will all ask the same ‘correct’ questions of it and receive the same answers, or that one reading is normative for everyone. Instead, we are forced to reckon with the multivalence of both the biblical text and the readers of the text. Any claim to ‘objectivity’ in biblical interpretation must be suspect. Since the biblical text does not come with stage directions, even reading the text aloud constitutes an interpretation of it (unless we read it like we would the now-defunct telephone book; unfortunately, many scripture readers in worship still do). When we pause, speed up, or raise our voice, we engage in the interpretive process. Similarly, in pastoral caring, “therapeutic neutrality is seldom, if ever, possible. When we listen, we interpret, whether we want to or not.”6 “‘Objectivity’ cannot be attained in either biblical interpretation or the pastoral care process.”7 The multi-valence of text and reader creates a frame for pastoral caring that can take place even in the process of group biblical interpretation. Fred Tiffany and Sharon Ringe produced a guide to interpretation that takes such multi-valence seriously: Biblical Interpretation: A Road Map. We use their guide at Wesley Seminary in all biblical courses. Their approach roots itself in three assumptions: “(1) that the text arises from particular social settings, (2) that the reader likewise reads from specific settings, and (3) that neither the diversity of texts nor the multitude of readers stand in isolation one from another.”8 In five steps, it begins with the reader’s location (rather than simply tacking it on at the end of the interpretive process) and then moves to the text’s location, calling on those wrestling with biblical texts to imagine how others different than they might read the text. Assumption #3 demands that we practice mutual and attentive listening to one another as we encounter together a biblical text. If we do not do so, “we are more likely to speak platitudes, engage in moral exhortations, and offer proof texts for complex problems;” these practices “can have the boomerang effect of reinforcing negative [self] images and disempowering people from constructing their own meaningful narratives.”9 Furthermore, our attentive listening to one another as we wrestle with a biblical text “can create a positive silence that allows stories to surface naturally rather than be coerced.”10 The Bible also needed to break free from the constraints of those who viewed it as an “Answer Book” or manual for solving problems,11 before it could be used in fruitful cross-disciplinary conversations. “When lists of chapter and verse are generated for issues such as divorce, grief, conflict, healing, and so

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on and simply ‘applied’ (such a mechanical term!) to a problem, the Bible becomes a ‘prescription’ for ‘fixing’ the problem.”12 Pastoral theologian Donald Capps long ago criticized such “moral instructional use “ of the Bible as a directive process that gives the caregiver an absolute authority that “can make children of counselees.”13 Brueggemann’s argument that Israel’s plurivocal testimony about God resists any kind of systematic organization provides a cogent challenge to viewing the Bible as Answer Book. Core testimony offers basic claims about God over time, rooted in transformative verbs such as save, deliver, create, forgive, lead; this is the God of covenant, doxology, and presence. Counter-testimony, on the other hand, roots itself in Israel’s lived experience of absence and silence; this is the God of exile, lament, and theodicy. The tension between the two testimonies marks Israel’s faith and is echoed by the Good Friday/Easter dialectic of Christian tradition.14 In a similar vein, Carol Newsom speaks of the book of Job as a “polyphonic text” containing a dialogic sense of truth in its “contradictory complexity.”15 This complexity challenges truth as systemic or monological. The unmerged voices in Job form part of the book’s rhetorical strategy to draw the reader in rather than allow the reader to remain a passive observer. Else Holt argues that polyphony is “a result of and a strategy to overcome what became the collective trauma of the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem, its temple, and population.”16 The polyphony of biblical texts is also found among the readers of those texts. As Cooper-White argues, “human beings are multiple, not unitary. The human person is more multiple, variegated, and fragmented than has traditionally been understood, either in traditional Western portrayals of the human person as a somewhat heroic, solitary figure, or our own subjective sense of ourselves as a single, unified ‘I.’ 17 Human consciousness participates in intersubjectivity; we are relational, fluid, and multiple beings. This view emancipates us from rigid and monolithic views of self and can open us up to creativity. Extending the discussion of human multiplicity, Nancy Ramsay’s work in intersectionality assesses “the dynamic complexity of multiple forms of inequality” residing in differences of race, class, and sexuality; these interrelated systems of inequality are “based on social (group) relationships of power and control that arise in every social location and are affected by both macro systems (institutional) and micro systems individual and psychological).”18 The multiplicity inherent in the biblical text and in its human readers invites us to look anew at texts such as 2 Kings 5, and human situations such as immigration and forced migration, with fresh eyes.

PATHWAYS TO MUTUAL EXCHANGE: TRAUMA AND THE BIBLE All theology, but especially pastoral theology, begins with human beings ... Pastoral theology takes suffering as its starting place...” (Pamela Cooper-White) 19 “

The impetus for my long-standing interest in the intersections between the Bible and pastoral theology came from my beloved brother’s drowning death (on my mother’s birthday, no less) when he was just 23 and I was 27; he was my only sibling. In the middle of a PhD program in Bible at Vanderbilt at the time, I clung to Walter Brueggemann’s insistence upon “post-critical” investigation of the function

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of the psalms (to articulate seasons of faith—orientation, disorientation, and new orientation) in the life of believing communities,20 to help me deal with my brother’s death.21 I discovered in my grief that the Bible is uniquely positioned as a conversation partner with pastoral theology because its compelling story offers us characters with whom we can identify and link our own stories, as well as metaphor-anchored poetry that is evocative and performative.22 The Bible can “story” our lives, that is, organize our human experience in relation to God, as Ed Wimberly puts it.23 The lament psalms helped me to ‘story’ my suffering and consequently, to look for loss and trauma experienced by biblical characters that had been muted by interpreters, as for example in the story of the little slave girl in 2 Kings 5. Recent cross-disciplinary conversation between the Bible and trauma studies argues, as David Carr puts it, that “the Jewish and Christian Bibles both emerged as responses to suffering, particularly group suffering.”24 The Bible emerged as survival literature for ancient Israel and the early church as they endured centuries of trauma caused by war, invasion, forced migration, and colonization. In Israel’s case, “the suffering servant, daughter of Zion, Ezekiel, and Jeremiah stand as examples of the processing of exilic trauma through depiction of individual figures to whom exiles could relate.”25 For the church, the apostle Paul took Christ’s crucifixion as a model for his own suffering. “In this way, the trauma of the cross and Paul’s own trauma became a paradigm for Christian living in general.”26 Nancy Bowen used trauma studies as a lens for her commentary on Ezekiel,27 as did Kathleen O’Connor in her study of Jeremiah,28 whom she calls a “model survivor” of trauma. Trauma studies in conversation with biblical interpretation has framed the exploration of so-called “problematic” (read “violent”) texts in the Bible, and that conversation has been extended to other texts, including Job, Qoheleth, Lamentations, and 2 Corinthians.29 I want to uncover the violence that is embedded in 2 Kings 5 but is often overlooked. In light of our multiplicity and intersectionality, however, we must take care not to engage in “selective storying”30 of biblical texts, that is, creating a canon within a canon of our favorites by identifying with those stories (or their interpretations) that make us comfortable, affirm our self-image, or support the status quo, while avoiding those texts (or their interpretations) that challenge us and criticize power structures. I argue that interpreters have engaged in selective storying in their readings of 2 Kings 5 by avoiding the ugly realities of war and confining the little slave girl to a cocoon of faith.

2 KINGS 5: MIDRASH THROUGH THE LENS OF TRAUMA Gapped Text and Midrash The Bible invites our dialogue with it because it is a “gapped text”31 with missing details, silent characters, and purposeful word choice. The gaps prompt our questions and gap-filling, which the rabbis in the Talmud practiced as midrash (from the Hebrew verb meaning “to seek, inquire”). Midrash “assumes that the text has multiple meanings and is relentlessly open to rereading.”32 Midrash also creates a web of interrelated texts that are in conversation with one another and encourage imaginative reading. For the Rabbis the Torah was a combination of black fire (the letters, words, and verses in ink on the page) and white

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fire (the spaces between the letter, words, and verses).33 Midrash can take many forms. Wilda Gafney argues in Womanist Midrash that midrash is “the fertile creative space where the preacher-interpreter enters the text, particularly the spaces in the text, and fills them out with missing details . . .”34 Gafney fills in the details from black women’s experiences. She argues that the “sanctified imagination” of black preaching is “a type of African American indigenous midrash.”35 Bibliodrama, developed by Peter Pitzele,36 offers another way to connect to the biblical text and fill in the gaps. As a contemporary form of midrash, readers can become characters in the biblical story through a form of role-playing that encourages improvisation rather than acting from a script. Ultimately, every biblical text is an intersection with other texts and offers “an indeterminate surplus of meaningful possibilities. Interpretation is always a production of meaning from that surplus.”37 Danna Fewell also emphasizes the importance of gaps in the biblical text. She argues that many texts leave room for and invite “interruption.” “As a strategy of reading, interruption is a way of stopping and questioning the text—of recognizing that, ethically, something is amiss in what we are being told.”38 The questioning can lead to imagining the story being told differently and one’s life being lived differently in light of that questioning. Refusing to be a passive reader, Fewell interrupts stories such as the flood and the exilic divorce of foreign wives both for the sake of the children in those biblical narratives and for children today. Similarly, Eric Seibert in his study of divine violence in the Bible asks us to decide what kind of readers we are: “compliant readers” who trustingly accept the Bible’s claims, values, and assumptions, taking the text “as is,” or “conversant readers” who actively engage with the text, critically evaluate it, and resist what is dehumanizing in it.39 Seibert claims the “compliance is typically the default mode of readers who grow up in the church” and of commentators who confine themselves to explaining the text and suppressing questions of its value.40 As we shall see in the next section, readers have too often been both “compliant” when reading the story of the little slave girl in 2 Kings 5 and reluctant to “interrupt” the text on her behalf and on behalf of endangered children everywhere.

Looking Again at the Little Slave Girl I want to demonstrate here how the Bible/pastoral care conversation can uncover a layer of meaning repeatedly overlooked in 2 Kings 5, the story of the healing of Naaman,41 buried under the weight of monological interpretation. Using the lens of trauma studies to frame my exploration, I focus not on Naaman or the prophet Elisha, but rather upon the young Israelite captive girl who served Naaman’s wife (v 2). I had always been dissatisfied with and a bit suspicious of myriad interpretations that put the little girl on a pedestal, creating a kind of “Super Girl” of faith in our biblical imagination. 2 Kings 5, filled with reversals, contrasts, irony, and humor, forms part of the Elisha cycle of miracle stories beginning with 2 Kings 2:13, when Elisha puts on his predecessor Elijah’s mantle. Jesus cites 2 Kings 5:1–14 about the foreigner Naaman’s healing and conversion in his sermon in the Nazareth synagogue (Lk 4:27). Consequently, many interpreters focus on the themes of God’s universal power and grace in 2 Kings 5 as a foreshadowing and affirmation of Jesus’ inclusive ministry. Often overlooked is the role played by the captive slave girl in the story. When attention is paid to her, she is usually romanticized beyond human recognition.

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Any investigation of 2 Kings 5 must reckon with its place in the Deuteronomistic History (Josh–2 Kgs). Edited in the exilic period, this history interprets events theologically against the standards of covenant obedience and a kingdom united under the Davidic monarchy. This collection was meant to offer hope to traumatized exiles by making sense of what happened to them: God gave the enemy victory over Israel as punishment for covenant disobedience and the split in the kingdom (see 2 Kgs 17:5–7; 2 Kgs 24:20). Tiffany Houck-Loomis terms this interpretation a “dominant exilic trope” that “arose as a necessary means of survival during the exile. However, this narrative became concretized within the dominant history of Israel in a way that understood today, further ostracizes one from mourning the effects of intergenerational and prolonged trauma and potentially inhibits one’s experience of the God beyond the narrative.”42 In addition, we are reminded by Gerald West to search for ‘hidden transcripts’ of the marginalized that are co-opted in this text by its place in the Deuteronomistic History. West, building on James Scott’s work, warns that that “the public transcript” in a text probably does not tell the whole story of power relations; it is “the hidden transcript” that reveals forms of resistance. “Unless one can penetrate the official transcript of both subordinates and elites, a reading of the social evidence will almost always represent a confirmation of the status quo in hegemonic terms.”43 Marginalized voices can reveal the struggle over power in the text on many levels. Interpreters of 2 Kings 5 have largely ignored that struggle and the dynamic complexity of the text in favor of a simplicity that flattens characters and makes for a comfortable reading. Contrasts present themselves in verse 1, where we meet Naaman, commander of the Aramean (Syrian) army, who is called “a great/big man” (’îsh gādol) and “mighty warrior.”44 Yet Naaman’s power is threatened by what translators call “leprosy” (ṣāra‘at). How ironic, since Naaman’s name means “pleasant.” Despite his power, Naaman cannot cure his illness. He probably does not have actual leprosy (Hansen’s disease), but rather one of several types of skin diseases that carries a social stigma and makes one ritually impure. The Deuteronomistic concern with God’s universal sovereignty as a hopeful word to the exiles also expresses itself in verse 1, in which the narrator declares: “by him [Namaan] the LORD had given victory to Aram.” God uses foreign nations and their leaders to punish disobedient Israel. Divine power mocks royal power in both Israel and Aram with comic portrayals of each land’s king. Aram’s king arrogantly sends a letter and gifts to Israel’s king and directs him to cure Naaman (vv 5–6), while Israel’s king panics and tears his robes, fearing the command, which he cannot fulfill, presents a pretext for war (v 7).

The Little Girl on a Pedestal Namaan’s powerful masculinity in verse 1, linked with the violence of war, is contrasted in verse 2 with the vulnerability of a nameless “little girl” (na‘ǎrâ qǝṭānnâ) taken captive during an Aramean raid of Israel. This little one “serves” or is enslaved to, Naaman’s wife (the Hebrew uses only the verb hāyāh with the locative preposition lipnê: literally: ‘she was before the wife of Namaan’). Israel itself knows about taking captives; Deuteronomy 20:14 allows Israel to “take as your booty the women, the children, livestock, and everything else in the town, all its spoil. You may enjoy the spoil of your enemies, which the Lord your God has given you” (cf. foreign raids of Israel in 1 Sam 30:1–3; 2 Kgs 13:20; 24:2). Interpreters romanticize the little girl in various ways, focusing on her wish in verse 3: “If only45 my

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lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” Verse 3 presents “the public transcript” (that is, the Deuteronomistic view) of the little girl’s situation: accept your punishment and “pray for the welfare of the city where I have sent you” (Jer 29:7). The text does not tell us why she suggests a cure for Naaman. This gap in the text invites us to speculate as to the reason for her suggestion, and thus challenges the objectivity that some promote as the goal of biblical interpretation. It is in this gap and in the space between verse 2 (describing her status as captive) and verse 3 (her wish for Namaan’s healing) that we find “the hidden transcript” of the text and a glimpse of the trauma of war. It is this gap that reminds us of our multiplicity as readers and the complexities of intersectionality lurking in every biblical text. Because she believes in Elisha’s power to heal her master, the little slave girl is put on a pedestal by most commentators, obscuring the hidden transcript in her story. These interpretations do fight against an “objective” reading of the text by seeing her great faith in the gaps of the text, but one must consider whether more than one non-objective reading is possible. A review of recent interpretations of the little girl’s situation will show how entrenched this comfortable, faith-affirming approach to the little girl is. Compliant readings abound. Esther Menn argues, for example, that “in a time of killing and destruction, she [the little girl] focuses her attention on healing and restoration, even for the military leader on the other side;” her heart is “full of compassion” even for the enemy responsible for her captivity.46 Menn concludes: “that a little Israelite servant girl should have such insight points to the perceptiveness of children about matters of faith.”47 Jean Kyoung Kim, in her midrashic retelling of the story, insists that “[d]espite her insignificance and obscurity, the little girl becomes the first instrument of God in the narrative,”48 replacing Elisha’s servant Gehazi (both are described by the word na‘ar, servant) because she understands the prophet’s healing powers while he does not. Julie Faith Parker calls the little girl “unique in the Elisha cycle” and maintains that she takes initiative, “possesses the courage of conviction,” “incarnates vulnerability, and yet acts with the compassion and magnanimity that befit greatness.”49 She is “a paragon of respect, composure, knowledge, and wisdom”50 in comparison to the Israelite king. Those who interpret and preach from this text often surrender the little girl to their larger theological point. Barbara Lundblad, for example, asks “what might the mighty learn from other peoples, from the small?”51 Namaan would never have been healed if he hadn’t listened to those who had no power. Stephen Farris rightly sees echoes of Elijah’s miracles for Gentiles in the Elisha cycle, but notes that the exiled little girl does not hate her captors (just as Pharaoh’s daughter who adopted Moses chose not to hate); instead she embodies those “quiet, loving people doing God’s work.”52 Farris’ theological point is that if God’s grace is always for those on the underside, it becomes predictable; grace “is just there when we least expect it.”53 In a similar vein, even Walter Brueggemann waxes rhapsodic about the little girl to underscore his theological point that the good news always shatters contexts and is unexpected: “And while she herself is a war captive pressed into service, she is not mean-spirited. She makes the best of her situation and even cares about the general’s wife and, consequently, she cares about the general.”54 Brueggemann names her a true evangelist because she spoke what she remembered and believed about Elijah and saw the possibility of a different future for Naaman. In his NIB commentary on 1 and 2 Kings, Choon-Leong Seow uses the little girl primarily as a

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foil—a foil for the king of Israel (who does not know what she knows, that a prophet in Samaria can heal), for Elisha’s servant Gehazi (who is a greedy opportunist in contrast to the little girl’s hope and faith), and for Naaman—“this Israelite captive would bring hope for her Aramean captor”55 and demonstrate to the exiles hearing the story that greater good can come from captivity. For Cheryl Strimple and Ovidiu Creanga, the little girl functions as part of a “structuring motif ” in a study of the “contested concept” of masculinity in 2 Kings 5.56 They come closer to the hidden transcript in the story but ultimately settle on the overarching Deuteronomistic theological point. The little girl stands “before” (lipnê) Naaman’s wife (v 2) as she wishes Naaman would stand “before” (lipnê) the prophet (v 3); this repeated word establishes a hierarchy of social and political relations, while the combination of the preposition and the verb “to stand” (‘āmad) in verses 11, 15, 16, and 25 establishes a structure of loyalty and male power. Insiders (Gehazi) and outsiders (Naaman) change places via the vehicle of disability (skin disease; v 27; I note a similar reversal in Josh 2 and 7 with Rahab and Achan).

Children as Spoils of War The little girl in these interpretations seems to tell the exiles what they yearn to hear: that God works across national boundaries for restoration. The same desire seems to drive interpretations of Rahab in Joshua 2.57 No one has suggested that perhaps she seeks revenge by sending Naaman back into Israelite territory, where resentment surely lingers after his victory; such a view would knock her off her evangelistic pedestal. The hidden transcript here suggests that her voice has been co-opted to make a theological point about God’s sovereignty over all political power. I contend that the point is made at the little girl’s expense; her trauma is glossed over58 in subservience to a larger purpose: survival. Throughout history, women and children as spoils of war have understood the brutality of war that drowns out hope (cf. Jael and Sisera’s mother in Judges 5 and Daughter Zion in Lamentations). In our recent history, children have been recruited to serve in rebel armies and young girls have been sexually abused by soldiers. Modern examples of children caught in the cross hairs of political strife abound: in Mali, the Sudan, the former Yugoslavia, and most recently, at the Mexican border with the United States. The president of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Colleen Kraft, has called the separation of immigrant children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border a form of “sweeping cruelty.” According to a news report, 2,342 children were separated from 2,206 parents at the US-Mexico border between May 5 and June 9 (2018) as part of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy of prosecuting people who cross the border illegally.59 Their separation has been coerced, just as was the separation of the little girl from her family in 2 Kings 5. We can argue, as many have, that these children were/are well-cared for in detention facilities and that the little girl was just a servant for Naaman’s wife and not mistreated.60 However, as Dr. Kraft warns: “In fact, highly stressful experiences, like family separation, can cause irreparable harm, disrupting a child’s brain architecture and affecting his or her short- and long-term health. This type of prolonged exposure to serious stress—known as toxic stress—can carry lifelong consequences for children.”61 I want to read 2 Kings 5 with “interruption” (Fewell) for the sake of these children at the border.

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The Little Girl as Trauma Survivor The gap in 2 Kings 5:2–3 is wide. The context of the gap, however, is war and its violence. We are not told what happened to the little girl’s family. Were they killed in the raid that led to her captivity, or sold into slavery elsewhere in Aram? We are not told how old she is. We are not told how long she had been ‘serving’ Namaan’s wife. Was she old enough to bear children? Has she been sexually abused?62 What psychological wounds did the little girl struggle with in captivity? What kind of relationship did the little girl really have with her captor and his wife? Judith Herman, a pioneer in trauma studies argues: “Captivity, which brings the victim into prolonged contact with the perpetrator, creates a special type of relationship, one of coercive control.”63 As we have seen, many interpreters read the little girl’s words in verse 3 positively as her wish for Namaan’s healing. But the possibility of trauma experienced by the little girl suggests a different reading. Noting that enslavement methods are “remarkably consistent,” whether one is a hostage, a political prisoner, an abused wife, or a prostitute, Herman describes the process that we can imagine the little slave girl went through: As the victim is isolated, she becomes increasingly dependent on the perpetrator, not only for survival and basic bodily needs but also for information and even for emotional sustenance. The more frightened she is, the more she is tempted to cling to the one relationship that is permitted: the relationship with the perpetrator. In the absence of any other human connection, she will try to find the humanity in her captor. Inevitably, in the absence of any other point of view, the victim will come to see the world through the eyes of the perpetrator.64 We could view the little girl’s words in verse 3 as the final step in Namaan’s psychological control of her. The little girl wishes health for the man who ripped her from her family, killed her people, and keeps her captive in a foreign land.65 Perhaps the little girl’s wish for Namaan expresses her adaptation to an abusive environment. As Herman notes, “the child trapped in an abusive environment is faced with formidable tasks of adaptation. She must find a way to preserve a sense of trust in people who are untrustworthy, safety in a situation that is unsafe, control in a situation that is terrifyingly unpredictable, power in a situation of helplessness.”66 As a captive of war, this is the little girl’s situation in Aram. Though Namaan and his wife are not her biological parents, they are now her caretakers/owners. This view challenges those who would argue that “despite the trauma she has endured, this girl is faithful, respectful, and considerate.”67 One could argue that instead, she is traumatized, desperate, and angling for protection. In this situation, she “must find a way to preserve hope and meaning.”68 Like abused children, “she will try to be obedient, perhaps to overcome her self-blame” and to earn the protection of her abusers. In effect, she becomes a double self.69 We can only wonder what happened to her after Namaan was cured. Herman warns that the survivor of abusive environments “is left with fundamental problems in basic trust, autonomy, and initiative.”70

Implications for Pastoral Care

How might we explain the more idealized interpretations of the little girl’s wish in verse 3? Herman

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warns that “observers who have never experienced prolonged terror and who have no understanding of coercive methods of control presume that they would show greater courage and resistance than the victim in similar circumstances.”71 Perhaps these interpretations of the little girl are our wishes for our own steadfastness and faith in the face of adversity. So often we desire to see in biblical characters what we want to see in ourselves. My fear is that the little girl’s tiny shoulders cannot bear the weight of the expectations we have placed upon them, and that our unrealistic demands for resiliency from those like her who struggle with trauma today can make developing resiliency more difficult. Herman outlines three steps necessary for recovery from trauma: first, establish safety; second, remember and mourn; and third, reconnect with ordinary life.72 The little slave girl has no safety in her current situation. We do not know what terrors the little girl faced in Naaman’s household. The text does not say. We do know that war is context for her story, and that Aram is a long-standing enemy of Israel, back to the time of King David (2 Sam 10–12). The text does not share her memories of what happened to her; we have no glimpse of her mourning. We will never know if stage three was possible for the little girl. The text glosses over her trauma. Making the little girl a model of faith does not honor her pain. However, we can use her story as a ‘safe place’ for traumatized readers to work through their trauma in a way that does not re-traumatize them. “’Storying’ our lives in conversation with biblical texts invites us into a ‘decentered’ way of being . . . De-centering gives the care receiver an opportunity to step back and identify with a biblical character as well as to view and evaluate that character. This provides distance for seeing, naming, and acknowledging . . .”73 That distance can offer protection from re-traumatizing. Naming aspects of the little girl’s trauma may provide language for those traumatized to begin naming the unspeakable in their own experience of trauma. Part of stage two in trauma recovery involves confronting the horrors and telling the story in detail so that it can be “integrated into the survivor’s life.”74 A caveat to this argument is voiced by Deborah van Deusen Hunsinger who asks, “Is it possible to talk about trauma without causing pain to those already bearing trauma in their bodies and souls?”75 Perhaps not, but avoiding the talk can leave trauma fragments embedded in the mind like “broken glass” that pokes through when triggered in a “mute repetition of suffering.”76 Daniel Smith-Christopher reminds us that we cannot “evade the fact that reading about trauma— ancient trauma and the models from modern trauma—has made us all ‘secondary witnesses’ to the suffering of others in both the ancient and modern world.”77 What remains for us as engaged readers after stepping into the gap of this text is the necessity of examining our own role as individuals and nations in contributing to or overlooking the trauma of others and then to imagine a different way of being and acting as we work toward a more holistic future for all our children.

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Notes 1 A wonderful model of integration can be seen in the jointly authored work by Kathleen D. Billman and Daniel L. Migliore, Rachel’s Cry: Prayer of Lament and Rebirth of Hope (Cleveland: United Church Press, 1999). She is a pastoral theologian and he a systematic theologian. See also volume 9 (2017) of Sacred Spaces, the E-journal of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, co-edited by Dombkowski Hopkins and Koppel. The volume contains articles on the intersections between biblical texts and pastoral care, e.g. Jaco Hamman “plays” with the biblical prophet Joel as a “problem child” who can empower his readers to embrace loss, build community, discover a compassionate God, and be a blessing to others; Terry Ann Smith and Raynard Smith explore matriarch Leah’s story in Gen 29 as an example of a persistent mild form of depression called dysthymia that may resonate with single, African-American women; and Ryan LaMothe draws on the “seeds of subversion” embedded in biblical texts to suggest a hermeneutical stance for counselors that can disrupt dominant narratives that contribute to a client’s suffering. 2 Our resistance to fragmentation is bolstered by C. Foster, L. Dahill, L. Golemon, and B. Tolentino, Educating Clergy: Teaching Practices and Pastoral Imagination (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2006), who focused upon the integration of cognitive, practical, and normative apprenticeships in ministry as a model for seminary education. 3 Denise Dombkowski Hopkins and Michael S. Koppel, Grounded in the Living Word: The Old Testament and Pastoral Care Practices (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2010). 4 Denise Dombkowski Hopkins and Michael S. Koppel (eds), Bridging the Divide between Bible and Practical Theology (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2018), xi. 5 See Dombkowski Hopkins and Koppel, Bridging, for these studies and more. 6 Herbert Anderson and Edward Foley, Mighty Stories, Dangerous Rituals: Weaving Together the Human and the Divine (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1998), 47. 7 Dombkowski Hopkins and Koppel, Grounded, 14. 8 Frederick C. Tiffany and Sharon H. Ringe, Biblical Interpretation: A Road Map (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1996), 18. 9 Ibid., 23–24. 10 Ibid., 35. 11 Ibid., 20. 12 Dombkowski Hopkins and Koppel, Grounded, 20–21. Important in this connection is Phyllis Trible’s discussion of prescriptive and descriptive texts in conjunction with her study of Gen 3. See God and the Rhetoric of Sexuality (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1978), 128. 13 As cited in Hopkins and Koppel, Grounded, 21. See also Edward Wimberly’s critique in Using Scripture in Pastoral Counseling (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1994).

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14 Walter Brueggemann, Theology of the Old Testament (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1997), 117, 401. See also CooperWhite, Many Voices, on her relational understanding of the “multiplicity of God,” 67–94. 15 Carol Newsom, The Book of Job: A Contest of Moral Imaginations (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003). See also O’Connor, Jeremiah, who speaks of the partial and provisional images of God offered by Jeremiah to the exiles as ways to help them work through their trauma. 16 Else K. Holt, “Daughter Zion: Trauma, Cultural Memory and Gender in Old Testament Poetics,” 162–192. In Trauma and Traumatization in Individual and Collective Dimensions: Insights from Biblical Studies and Beyond, eds Eve-Marie Becker, Jan Dochhorn, Else K. Holt (eds.), Studia Aarhusiana Neotestamentica (SANt) 2 (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2014), 169. 17 Pamela Cooper-White, Many Voices: Pastoral Psychotherapy in Relational and Theological Perspective (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2007), 39. 18 Nancy Ramsay, “Intersectionality: A Model for Addressing the Complexity of Oppression and Privilege,” Pastoral Psychology 63,4 (2014): 45–469 at 455. 19 Pamela Cooper-White, Many Voices, 35. 20 Walter Brueggemann, The Message of the Psalms (Minneapolis: Augsburg Press, 1984), 19. See also “Response to J. Mays, ‘The Question of Context’,” in The Shape and Shaping of the Psalter, ed. J. Clinton McCann (Sheffield: Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement Series 159, 1993), 32. 21 Brueggemann’s work opened the door to other investigations drawing upon pastoral theology for the study of Psalms. A most recent example comes from Brent Strawn, who introduces Object Relations theory as part of his psalms hermeneutic. He suggests that “life with God in the psalms consists of a struggle over trust, that is, a struggle over proper attachment.” For Strawn, psalm poetry offers what Winnicott terms a “holding environment” or therapeutic frame within which the damaged relationship with God can be reformed. According to Strawn, “honest disclosure [is] a reflex of secure attachment and a primary means to maintain such.” See “Poetic Attachment: Psychology, Psycholinguistics, and the Psalms.” In The Oxford Handbook of the Psalms, edited by William P. Brown, 404–423. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), 413. Trust also emerges as a key issue for the little slave girl in 2 Kings 5, as we shall see. 22 William P. Brown, in Seeing the Psalms: A Theology of Metaphor (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2002), notes that “Paul Ricoeur’s observation of the formative dimensions of biblical language pertains especially to the psalms: ‘The [biblical] word forms our feeling in the process of expressing it.” See Paul Riceour, “Toward a Hermeneutic of the Idea of Revelation,” in his Essays on Biblical Interpretation (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1980), 90 (emphasis added). 23 Edward Wimberly, Using Scripture in Pastoral Counseling (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1994), 15. 24 David M. Carr, Holy Resilience: The Bible’s Traumatic Origins (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2014), 2. 25 Carr, Holy Resilience, 90.

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27 Nancy R. Bowen, Ezekiel, Abingdon Old Testament Commentaries (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2010). 28 Kathleen M. O’Connor, Jeremiah: Pain and Promise (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2011). 29 See Elizabeth Boase and Christopher C. Frechette C. (eds.), Bible through the Lens of Trauma, Semeia Studies (Atlanta: SBL Press, 2016). Michael Koppel and I have used the trauma lens to explore the violent ‘revenge fantasies’ in communal lament psalms. Mocking and taunting by enemies that fuels revenge fantasies is described frequently in psalm laments (see Pss 22:8; 42:11; 44:17; 55:13; 80:7; 89:51; 102:9; 119:42); see Denise Dombkowski Hopkins and Michael S. Koppel, “Lament Psalms through the Lens of Trauma: Psalms 74, 79, and 137,” in Sacred Spaces 9 (2017): 7–32. To be mocked is to internalize an individual or collective sense of worthlessness, negative value, and deserved mistreatment. 30 Dombkowski Hopkins and Koppel, Grounded, 24. 31 Daniel Boyarin, Intertextuality and the Reading of Midrash (Indianapolis: Indian University Press, 1990), 16. 32 Danna Nolan Fewell, The Children of Israel: Reading the Bible for the Sake of Our Children (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2003), 37. 33 Mark Verman, “The Torah as Divine Fire,” JBQ 35,2 (2007): 94–102 and Rabbi Fern Feldman on Exodus Rabah 2:5 http://www.tikkun.org/nextgen/the-burning-bush-and-black-fire “Rabbi Pinchas [said] in the name of Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish: the Torah that the Holy Blessed One gave, its hide is white fire, its ink is black fire; it is fire mixed with fire, carved from fire, and given from fire: “at His right hand a ritual of fire for them”(Deuteronomy 33). 34 Wilda C. Gafney, Womanist Midrash: A Reintroduction to the Women of the Torah and the Throne (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2017), 3. Gafney notes that “exercise of the sanctified imagination is also a form of what biblical scholars call reader-response criticism” (4). 35 Ibid., 3. 36 Peter Pitzele, Scripture Windows: Toward a Practice of Bibliodrama (Los Angeles: Alef Design Group, 1997). See Dombkowski Hopkins and Koppel, Grounded, (50–51, 174–175) for two Bibliodramas, one based on Gen 32 and the other on Joshua 2. See also Amy Beth Jones and Stephanie Day Powell, who offer a midrash on 2 Samuel 21:114, in the form of a vigil voiced by Saul’s concubine, Rizpah, to surface the displaced grief of mothers who lose their sons to institutional forms of violence, in Dombkowski Hopkins and Koppel, Bridging the Divide, 137–144. 37 Timothy Beal, “Ideology and Intertextuality: Surplus of Meaning and Controlling the Means of Production,” in Reading Between Texts: Intertextuality and the Hebrew Bible, ed. Danna Nolan Fewell (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 1992), 27–39, at 31. The Psalms present a particularly ripe field for intertextual exploration. As Beth LaNeel Tanner has noted, the Psalms present a bricolage or mosaic patchwork “in which other texts are embedded implicitly or explicitly.” She argues that psalm superscriptions are a form of canonical intertextuality that give us permission to read other psalms and narratives alongside one another. See Beth LaNeel Tanner, The Book of Psalms through the

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Lens of Intertextuality, St BibLit 26 (New York: Peter Lang, 2001), 6. This is the approach I used in my recent Psalms commentary [Psalms: Books 2–3. Wisdom Commentary Series (Liturgical Press, 2016)], in which I tried to “imagine a superscription wherever possible that would tie the psalm metaphors and speakers to other biblical stories, especially those with female characters, rather than those exclusively tied to David, who is mentioned in the superscription of 73 psalms.” 38 Fewell, Reading Between Texts,33. 39 Eric A. Seibert, The Violence of Scripture: Overcoming the Old Testament’s Troubling Legacy (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2012), 54–56. 40 Ibid., 55. 41 An earlier, much abbreviated version of this treatment of 2 Kings 5 appeared in Lectionary Homiletics: Good Preacher, July 2013. However, I did not view the text through the lens of trauma study as I am doing here. 42 Tiffany Houck-Loomis, “Traumatic Narratives: When Biblical Narratives of Trauma Re-traumatize,” Sacred Spaces (E-journal of the AAPC), vol 9 ( 2017): 33–65, at 35. 43 Gerald West, “Reading the Bible Differently: Giving Shape to the Discourses of the Dominated.” Semeia 73 (1996): 21–44, at 90. See also James C. Scott, Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 1990. 44 All Bible quotations are from the NRSV unless otherwise noted. 45 Other translations of her opening words include: ‘would that’, ‘I wish’, ‘o that’. The Hebrew is ‘achale’, occurring only twice in Hebrew Bible, here and in Ps 119:5.. 46 Esther M. Menn, “Child Characters in Biblical Narratives: The Young David (1 Samuel 16–17) and the Little Israelite Servant Girl (2 Kings 5:1–19),” 324–352 in The Child in the Bible, Marcia J. Bunbe, ed. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008), 344. 47 Menn, “Child Characters,” 348. Menn opened the door to seeing a hidden transcript (343): “Her marginality as a child captive in enemy territory represents the weakness of the norther kingdom of Israel, which was unable to protect her and no doubt many others like her in time of war.” However, she backed away from the hidden transcript by moving from this comment to a theological point affirming the public transcript (343): “This narrative presents a sustained and ironic contrast between what appears ‘big’ and important and what appears ‘small’ and insignificant that ultimately inverts their usual valuation.” 48 Jean Kyoung Kim, “Reading and Retelling Naaman’s Story (2 Kings 5),” JSOT 30.1 (2005): 53. Similarly, Kyung Sook Lee in “Books of Kings: Images of Women without Women’s Reality” (171), argues that the Israelite slave woman “in a certain sense . . . is a missionary of her God and his prophet.” In Feminist Biblical Interpretation: A Compendium of Critical Commentary on Books of the Bible and Related Literature Eerdmans, 2012): 159–177. 49 Julie Faith Parker, Valuable and Vulnerable: Children in the Hebrew Bible, Especially the Elisha Cycle. Brown Judaic

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Study Series (Brown University, 2013), 161. Parker argues that the little slave girl is too young to pose a sexual threat to Namaan’s wife and suggests that “perhaps they share a respectful closeness from their working relationship (v 2b),” 162. The irony Parker points to in the story is meant to maintain Israelite integrity in the face of foreign domination (168); I maintain that this irony furthers the agenda of the Deuteronomistic Historian. The little girl’s reality is overlooked in sacrifice to that agenda. Most interpreters are co-opted by that agenda. This is a comforting and comfortable reading of the text, that is, a compliant reading. 50 Parker, Valuable and Vulnerable, 169. 51 Barbara Lundblad, Making Time: Preaching Biblical Stories in Present Tense (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2007), 95. 52 Stephen Farris, Grace (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2003), 14. 53 Farris, Grace, 118. 54 Water Brueggemann, “2 Kings 5: Two Evangelists and a Saved Subject,” Missiology: An International Review 35,3 (July, 2007): 265. 55 Choon-Leong Seow, Introduction, Commentary, and Reflections: The First and Second Books of Kings, NIB vol 3 (Nasvhille: Abingdon Press, 1999), 193, 198. Stuart Lasine, in “’Go in Peace’ or ‘Go to Hell’?” in Scandinavian Journal of The Old Testament 25,1 (2011): 3–28 argues for the little girl as a foil of a different kind: she mentions the healing of a prophet in Israel, not God. She helps to set up the contrast between Elijah’s zeal for monotheism and Elisha’s indifference to syncretism or “tolerant monolatry.” 56 Cheryl Strimple and Ovidiu Creanga, “’And his skin returned like a skin of a little boy’: Masculinity, Disablity, and the Healing of Naaman,” in Men and Masculinity in the Hebrew Bible and Beyond, The Bible in the Modern World, 33, ed. Ovidiu Creanga (Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2010), 110–126. 57 See Musa Dube’s critique in Postcolonial Feminist Interpretation of the Bible (St. Louis, MO: Chalice Press, 2000), 70–78. 58 Parker, Valuable and Vulnerable, 171 claims that a slave could access power by gaining favor with his or her master, “often resulting in fierce loyalty” like that of the little slave girl, who “is both strategic and savvy” (172). Again, that seems a bit much to put on the shoulders of a little girl. Parker does admit that “while this story may offer uplifting literary reversals of character portrayal, it also raises troubling historical issues about children and slavery” (170), but she doesn’t take that far enough. 59 “New statistics: the government is separating 65 children a day from parents at the border.” Accessed Sept 8, 2018. https://www.vox.com/2018/6/19/17479138/how-many-families-separated-border-immigration 60 As does Walter Brueggemann, who argues that the ‘rules of engagement’ even in Israel (Deut 20:14) “permitted such a young woman to be taken home by the enemy in servitude . . . This does not mean she was illtreated, only taken from home and made a servant.” See “2 Kings 5: Two Evangelists,” 266.

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61 Colleen Kraft, MD, MBA, FAAP. “AAP Statement Opposing Separation of Children and Parents at the Border.” 5/8/2018. Accessed August 21, 2018. https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/Pages/ StatementOpposingSeparationofChildrenandParents.aspx. 62 Parker, Valuable and Vulnerable, 162 argues that the little slave girl is too young to pose a sexual threat to Namaan’s wife and suggests that “perhaps they share a respectful closeness from their working relationship (v 2b).” This is a comforting and comfortable reading of the text. 63 Judith Lewis Herman, Trauma and Recovery (New York: Basic Books, 1992), 74. Herman counters Brueggemann’s observation that being taken home by the enemy in servitude “does not mean she was ill-treated, only taken from home and made a servant” (“2 Kings 5,” 266). 64 Herman, Trauma and Recovery, 81. 65 Parker, Valuable and Vulnerable, 171 claims that a slave could access power by gaining favor with his or her master, “often resulting in fierce loyalty” like that of the little slave girl, who “is both strategic and savvy” (172). I wonder is she savvy or traumatized? Parker does admit that “while this story may offer uplifting literary reversals of character portrayal, it also raises troubling historical issues about children and slavery” (170), but I argue that she doesn’t take that far enough. 66 Herman, Trauma and Recovery, 96. 67 Parker, Valuable and Vulnerable, 165. 68 Herman, Trauma and Recovery, 101. 69 Ibid., 103. 70 Ibid., 110. 71 Ibid., 115. 72 Ibid., 155. 73 Hopkins and Koppel, Grounded, 15. 74 Herman, Trauma and Recovery, 175. 75 Deborah van Deusen Hunsinger, “Bearing the Unbearable: Trauma, Gospel, and Pastoral Care” Theology Today 68.1 (April 2011), 8–25; 9. 76 Cathy Caruth, Unclaimed Experience: Trauma, Narrative, and History (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996, 2016), 9. 77 Daniel L. Smith-Christopher, “Trauma and the Old Testament: Some Problems and Prospects,” in Trauma and Traumatization, 241–242.

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Faith in Music: Attempting a Free, Public, Online Course in Practical Theology Tom Beaudoin Fordham University Abstract The author reviews a free, open, online course on popular music that he taught from a practical theological perspective. By considering several dimensions of the structure and content of the course, and with continual reference to literature in practical theology and cultural studies, he attempts to identify its practical theological significance and to detail a critique opening onto a reconstruction for future iterations of such a course.

A

round the time I was defending my dissertation at Boston College, Thomas Groome handed me an article titled “Music and Practical Theology� by Bernard Reymond from the International Journal of Practical Theology.1 Having been introduced by Groome to practical theology several years earlier, this was the first work interrelating practical theology and music I had read. Nearly two decades later, I taught a course trying to bring practical theology and music to bear on each other. Having taught the course two years ago, I have spent time reviewing the experience, in its practical theological significance, as I prepare to refine the course for future purposes, including teaching it as a forcredit course, offering it for free in other community contexts, and writing it up as a book. As I reviewed the course, I sorted my learning into several categories. On the one hand are structural and process elements that are theologically saturated: launching the course, motivations for teaching, structure and content, diversity and access; on the other hand are conceptual markers that are theologically saturated: sound theology, God, and faith in music. In what follows, I consider these each in turn and conclude with considerations for the future. Practical Matters Journal, Summer 2019, Issue 12, pp. 39-52. Š The Author 2019. Published by Emory University. All rights reserved.

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Launching the Course My teaching is always an experiment in working out my intention that students go deeper in understanding and acting in their situation, wherever they are. On the “presenting” level, the curriculum is about our studies (topics, themes, readings, lectures, questions), but in depth, the curriculum is about the desires and powers circulating in our situations. I felt these stakes keenly during the four years of preparation and the ten weeks of teaching “Faith in Music: Sound Theology from the Blues to Beyoncé.” Designed as a free, public, and online course, I was trying to utilize digital educational technology to experiment with practices of and purposes for theological education in my context at Fordham University.2 “Faith in Music” was envisioned as a modest version of the “massive online open courses”3 that had captured educators’ imaginations. This one would be more modest than massive, and Fordham did not have a proven infrastructure for producing such courses, but was committed to making it available to anyone who could access it. From the beginning, I partnered with WFUV (90.7 FM), a venerable New York City “rock and roots” radio station housed at Fordham.4 The project enjoyed the support of leadership at WFUV, the Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education (GSRRE), and the wider university.5 I taught the course over ten weeks in spring 2017 on Course Sites, a digital teaching and learning platform produced by Blackboard, an online vendor with which Fordham contracts for its online and hybrid courses. As an asynchronous online course (we did not meet “live,” and students could access the Course Site at any time while it was open), I put together all the course materials beforehand, leaving me free to interact with students (on the discussion board and occasionally over email). I made available ten modules, one week at a time.

Motivations for Teaching Why did I want to get into free online open theological education? One track of my academic career has been about making insights generated in academic theology and religious studies accessible to the larger world, particularly religious communities and the educated public. Practical theology has historically placed itself in service to Christian faith communities, and in its “rebirth” in recent decades has turned more toward service of the world. I also grew up among Midwestern white lower middle-class and working-class kids, many of whom had no access to elite education. Decades later, I am still “that kid” amidst “those kids.” Rock music for me still has the tang of class pushback, even as it also substantiates the middle-class whiteness that was also part of my world. As I have grappled with what to do with this personal heritage of two domains of whiteness (working-class/middle-class) that were both deeply imbricated in rock music, and entangled with what was possible in gender, sexuality and religion, I have often found my way to involvement in projects that redistribute academic knowledge. On the one hand, it is a way of saying I have not forgotten my struggling public-housing peers (and this dimension of myself), and on the other hand it is a way of disposing of social and epistemic advantage accumulated amidst white suburban peers (and this dimension of myself).6 That I teach in a relatively well-off Catholic- and Jesuit-heritage university is also an impetus. Part of this heritage is the social mission of the university.7 I look around me at Fordham and see a university

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that can “afford” to give away some of what we do where we can make a difference. The goal of individual and social transformation has become so frequently invoked in contemporary practical theology that it is in danger of becoming commonplace, yet as a practical theologian in a Jesuit-heritage university I am keen to emphasize the overlap between the university’s ideals and the investments of practical theology in reconstructed practice, faithful action, noble change, and at the limit revolution. These all stand behind my desire to publicize Fordham’s theological education through a free, online, open course.

Structure and Content These commitments not only informed my desire for such a course, but the choices of what to include, of how to structure the topics we would study, and the imagined experiential route through which students would proceed as the course unfolded. I was aware from the beginning that I meant for the course to show what a practical theology could do with popular music for an educated public audience. More specifically, I taught the course as an exercise in practice-minded theology. “Practice-minded” is my way of holding together and holding open the gifts, potentials, and stakes of self-identified practical theologies as well as other cognate discourses on religion and theology (and more) that form the practice-nexus described by terms like: practice, praxis, experience, performance, action. Practice-minded theology includes the selfdesignated professional realm of practical theologies and any other forms of academic inquiry that seem useful for practical theology’s purposes. These purposes are never only formulated from “within” formal practical theological discourse, but are continually revised “within” and at the “edges” by practical theological discourses’ interactions with, dependence on, and at times resistance to and exclusion of, cognate forms of academic inquiry. It is this broad sense of practice-minded theology that I try to instantiate in all my teaching and in “Faith in Music” in particular. The course featured a number of elements that were meant to create a kind of playspace within each “unit.” The first and last weeks were an introduction and summation, and the middle eight weeks were given to the study of eight musicians and their musical catalogues: Robert Johnson, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Elvis Presley, George Harrison, Carlos Santana, Lauryn Hill, Björk, and Beyoncé. Each week with the artists included a suite of materials that I created for students to explore at their own pace and order. For each artist, students had access to an audio lecture I had recorded (typically 30-45 minutes) in mp3 format, a lecture transcription in Microsoft Word, a bibliography of sources that informed the lecture, a list of songs referenced in the lecture, a YouTube playlist of videos that tracked the songs mentioned in the lecture, a list of Internet links to resources related to the artist (interviews, performances, talks), and audio interviews from the WFUV archives related to the artist. In addition, I conducted five audio interviews that I interspersed throughout the course, two with WFUV disc jockeys, two with a theologian and a religious educator with experience in music, and one with the Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Sam Phillips.8 Students could read, watch, or listen to these materials online or download them to their own devices. They could turn to the class discussion board to discuss with other students and with me what they were learning, to share their questions, and to offer a variety of recommendations of music and other resources. How did I choose these eight artists? I wanted to prioritize African-American influence in popular music

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and white reconstructions of that influence with some complexity, while also registering the international character of US popular music. I wanted to underscore the Christian specificity of this musical tradition but also its broader religious/spiritual conditions. I wanted to craft a century-long narrative that took up blues in the American South and addressed Hip Hop and pop music in the present. I was concerned about tokenism and essentialism in selecting artists, aware that my role as a white and male creator of this narrative substantially prespecified what I might see, feel, and select in that narrative. My experience as a musician predisposed me toward valuing accomplished musicianship in popular music artistry. As a result, the guitar and its changing fortunes (and theological significance) were central, but the singing voice was crucial as well. I found I could meet some of my goals for equitable attention by how I told the story of the life and music of the artists. For example, Robert Johnson’s music allowed me to learn and teach about Hawaiian backgrounds to Southern slide guitar, and George Harrison’s music invited attention to the Indian spiritual and musical influences central to his life and work. Including Björk permitted consideration of a modern secular artist claiming no religious affiliation and opened the question of what counts as contemporary secular tradition. Lauryn Hill showed how music can simultaneously embody an inherited Christian background and a newly chosen religious foreground like Rastafarianism. During the long planning process, I realized I needed to try to select artists as much for what they could let us explore as for what role the artists themselves play or played in popular music. Carlos Santana’s life and catalogue exemplify an accessible artist working over the course of a long and productive career across cultures (Mexican, US, global), genres (blues, jazz, Latin, rock), and religions and spiritualities (Catholicism, Sri Chinmoy, and energetic, eclectic spiritual seeking), exhibiting a restless search for faith in music.9 I was not sure how New York-centric to make the course. (How much should such an online course be “rooted” in the geography of its “creators”?) I settled on thinking that the Fordham origins, the WFUV partnership, the use of the WFUV archives, and my inclusion of Lauryn Hill (from across the Hudson River in New Jersey) were enough to register New York-ness. I also felt a certain ragged cosmopolitan spirit about the course symbolized its New York home base, and I had seen several of these artists in concert in the city in the years leading up to the course. (I had also recorded dozens of video segments of these concerts that I ended up not using in the course.) In other words, I felt I was doing some degree of New York in the course. By the conclusion of “Faith in Music,” I was satisfied with the arc of the artists, but I also knew how much of a partial construction it was. During the teaching, I felt regret at leaving out obvious musicians who deserved to be there, famous and not-so-famous. Students would often say, “So-and-so should be in this course!” They were right.

Diversity and Access One hundred and eight students were enrolled. While the course did not survey demographic information, most students seemed to live in the United States. My impression is that slightly more than half of the participants identified as women. Of statements that revealed age or generation, we had a small cohort of 20-30-somethings and over-70s, with probably a majority aged 40-65. Most of those enrolled

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seemed to have at least passing familiarity with Christianity. Some shared their religious affiliation, church commitments, or backgrounds. Several mentioned their lack of religious affiliation. A few were affiliated with religious or spiritual traditions other than Christianity. I noticed that whereas a few students claimed an Asian-American perspective in discussions (in one case occasioned by a section on Hawaiian backgrounds of blues guitar), no one was claiming African-American or Latinx perspectives. I then wondered how white the atmosphere effectively was for those participating on the discussion board. This realization was “feedback” for me on who was actually accessing the course, and who would consider Fordham’s offering of such a course interesting. It was also a revelation of my inadequacy in conceptualizing the discussion board pedagogically in racially and ethnically inclusive terms. Although I was gratified by participation in discussions, I was troubled as well. By the end, I wondered who this learning was “for.” In the planning, I had had a sense of wanting to make the course as “open” as possible to people to come and go as they pleased, without making demands on registrants. I thought it important for this experiment to keep the bar for entry low.10 I realized I did not think well about how to invite specific constituencies, and about how to submit my ideas about course accessibility to critical feedback from other scholars.11 Replicating longstanding racial legacies at Fordham and in my School in particular, I did not effectively intervene in the closed loop of relatively privileged white men, with me at the center, who were crucial to this course development. My goals for theological equity were focused on the “curriculum,” not on advertising, outreach, or recruitment for the course. Even so, given the understanding of “curriculum” above to which I am ostensibly committed (a course of study subtended by plumbing desires and powers that condition our situations), I can see now that I did not adequately conceptualize or sufficiently advocate diverse access as central to “Faith in Music.” There were some questions along the way about who should underwrite advertising for the course (the School, the radio station) and how much advertising, and where, was enough. In retrospect, I did not see the question of advertising and publicizing as something that was my responsibility, and this is one place where administrative and faculty duties are a blurry zone. I understand better now that these questions of outreach and advertising are ways of talking about what and whom the course is “for.”12 They are practical theological matters. Questions of access to theological education matter for practical theology because one of practical theology’s constitutive rhetorics is that of a practice-nexus distinct from a concept-nexus or an objectnexus. By concept-nexus, I mean theology that takes itself to be grounded in concepts and concept-like material, such as ideas, speculations, systems, assertions, propositions, and beliefs. By object-nexus, I mean theology that takes itself to be grounded in objects and object-like material like texts (including scriptures), manuscripts, artwork, buildings, and what is often called “material culture.” By practice-nexus, I mean that practical theology functions as a protest or contrast genre in relation to the “others” of practice (such as concept or object). This practice-nexus is driven by the conviction that what counts as theology is grounded in practice and a constellation of practice-adjacent notions, such as action, performance, praxis, and experience. Practical theology as the rhetoric of a practice-nexus is typically taken to be a protest toward, a contrast to, or meaningfully distinct from the concept-nexus and the object-nexus.13

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The practice-nexus constitutive of practical theology is entangled in an ambiguous history that has invented new freedoms as well as marginalizations.14 Those of us who traffic in practical theology take up with that history. For practical theologians with influence to take up with it in a way that reproduces its exclusions is a misuse or abuse of the heritage we aim to direct in service of others. Practical theology remains a potentially radical project for Christian experience—and because its history and present situations are entangled with other-than-Christian experience, it remains open for that to be its project as well.15 It is consistent with the brokenness I inherited through (but not only through) practical theology that “Faith in Music” fell short of the community it could have welcomed. Indeed, the course was positioned to discourage that fuller welcome. It is also consistent with the forms of attention I have garnered through (but not only through) practical theology that I can articulate this vision anew, work on the “epistemologies of ignorance” informing my teaching,16 the practice of separating teaching duties from outreach and recruitment, and intend a different future, integrating questions about audience, outreach and access into what “Faith in Music” is “about” in its future iterations.

Sound Theology In accord with the course title, my central concern for the study of each artist was to notice and cultivate a “faith in music” that could be part of a “sound theology.” By “sound theology,” I set myself as an advocate in the class for generating theology of and from the “sounds” we studied. This phrase also felicitously suggests that theology be “sound,” which I take to mean striving for public persuasiveness, justifying itself in the measure of truth, beauty, and goodness that it furthers. Practical theological persuasion is itself not only a matter of how sounds become theologically significant, but of how theology sounds—and sounds to—its hearers.17 I teach on the presumption that we have to have good reasons and just rhetorics for practical theological work. By good reasons, I mean reasons that stand up to scrutiny as good argument among those who value good argument inside and outside of theology. By just rhetorics, I mean to recognize that we are persuaded not only by good reasons but by persuasive, poetic, even beautiful writing and other forms of theological presentation; further, that these persuasive rhetorics ought to be ultimately in service of justice toward ourselves and all others in our (local and global) society, as tested by the world it contributes to creating for those with least access to the necessities of a noble life. Good reasons can never be separated cleanly from justly persuasive rhetorics. I consider good reasons, good argument, and justly persuasive rhetoric not as stable descriptors with durable content, but as pragmatic pointers toward a way of managing unavoidable disputes in theology. In other words, I presume good reasons, good argument, and justly persuasive rhetoric to be radically historically contingent, and even my specification of them as an index of my cultural-historical specificity.18 Thus, the course was meant to ride the question: What are good reasons and justly persuasive rhetorics for having this engagement between theology and music happen? Why do we think our theological traditions might have something significant to say here, and how do we convey that with care, style, and beauty? No less important is the moment in theological work where we ask why this theological engagement with

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music matters for us and for those affected by this conversation. Do we see that we or others might become different, gain knowledge, insight, wisdom, or virtue, might simply grow or change, as a result? And will this engagement, which is both ever new and ever rooted in our past, make us reconsider both this music and theological traditions? The point is that despite theology’s historical tendencies to see itself as the protector of divine (private) property known as “revelation,” neither sounds nor theology can stay the same in this kind of engagement, and we will only retrospectively come up with reasons for that novelty. To pursue a sound theology is to find ways to bring together musical culture and theological culture and to find out why and how it matters that that happens, using that knowledge to make wiser future discernments. These discernments are not ultimately for producing specialized knowledge alone, but for learning how to live more fully in such a way that others may also elect life with agency. Theological research must conform to the best standards of research, and at the same time offer the potential for living wisely and well.19

God To take the approach I wish to take in “Faith in Music” raises the question of the understanding of God—usually taken to be the most important matter in theology—to which popular music may be related. Is it possible to maintain a multireligious and multisecular form of attention when teaching a practiceminded course on popular music that is still “theological,” that still deals with “God”? Theology is often defined as “words” (logia) about “God” (theos), or “God-talk.” Many practical theologians will agree that Western theologies inherit two deficiencies in this definition. First, such speech can easily be divided off from action, from practice, from doing. Theologians often characterize such speech as essentially ruminative or speculative: theories for getting closer to the nature of divine things.20 But if speech is also action, then ways of referring to God can be construed not as detached ruminations but as ways of doing something, cutting a path. Speaking about God, in other words, is always effective or ineffective in and for a situation— an action that comes out of our lives and makes a difference in life. Theology’s cutting of a path also shapes the pathmaker, the person doing the “speaking.” In other words, logia about God changes the speaker and all who are affected by their logia. (Of course, that change may be in the form of “maintaining” a situation.) Second, this inherited speech called “theology” typically assumes security in its object, a presumption that speech about God basically knows what it is talking about. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine teaching theology today, especially in seminary or theological-school settings, without this working presumption. Theo-logia tells us that the intended “object” of the logia, the speech, is theos. Religious traditions for whom a God has been central, including Christianities influential for practical theology, tend to make “theology” into “speech about God” in the sense of “speech about our God, speech about the God whose essential character we already know.” This is not “incorrect,” but it is performatively in-group speech. In-group speech can be an effective mechanism for cementing affiliation to a community or tradition. Such language voices ways that religious or other communities talk about ultimate reality, about the God already basically known, as “our God,” as the “God of our people,” and “we the people of God.” It speaks about

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the God who is thought to be, in essential and effectively unchangeable ways, known before theology shows up. Such speech helps build up communities and induces shared habits, which are essential to continuity in any community.21 What that confidence about the “object” of theology lacks, however, is everything excluded by the ingroup appeal: the voices and experiences of those for whom this account of God, this God, does not make sense, the voices and experiences of those who do not experience these repetitions of speech as the kind of adherence that helps.22 Theology and theologians often come from academic and religious communities that charge us with maintaining the group’s borders, with repeating essential authorized claims about the group’s God. The kind of theology I needed to do in “Faith in Music” was to try to unseal the border, a border between religion and nonreligion that was not effectively sealed anyway. In a course that was trying to take responsibility for exclusions in the theological history of popular music, I had to ask about that theos, that “God” so essential to theology. I found it helpful to use the language of “God” less and to return to the language of theos more. Calling theology “speech” about theos can throw off our step a bit, put us slightly off guard, make things helpfully strange, encourage us to wonder once again what this speech-path is for. Theos is the Greek term that different religious communities adopted from ancient philosophical traditions, traditions that already had their own theologies. Theos was the term that, among other functions and effects, came to describe efforts to account for a community’s claiming reality with which one had to contend, for the power of powers as understood by authorizers of a specific community. Theos, this powerrich term, traffics in life-stakes.23 The term’s power cannot be separated from its danger or its possibility. Even though theos is the term Christianities have tended to translate “God,” the critical referents theos and God are not simply interchangeable, despite long centuries of traditions working diligently to equate the word theos to their concept of God, to claim theos for God. I prefer to keep that space open instead of closing it off. I prefer to do so in order to practice hospitality and seek truth beyond the religious or nonreligious in-group—to discipline my attention toward the popular musical world that has so substantially formed me and shapes the society of which I am a part. Theos can be handled (with care) not as a resting place or a secure space, but a provocation. Theology builds paths and persons referred to theos, where theos is itself a concept that is also an activity, a perpetual opening. Thus held, theology can consolidate attention in the direction of claiming power, of becoming more. That claiming power can be called God, Goddess, gods, love, sacred, divinity, and—more. When I do theology, then, in “Faith in Music,” I practice speech about theos. I put into play ways of making sense of a claimed “greater” power. This sense-making can include what in-groups call God. Most important for my teaching was to try to analyze diverse artists’ voices in terms of what theos might be, taking responsibility for what such speech makes possible in their (and our) songs, lives, communities, and world.24 I operationalize this theos through how I present faith in music.

Faith in Music The title phrase, “faith in music,” is a deep theme of the course. By “faith in music,” I mean two things

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at once. On the one hand, “faith in music” means how confidence in what matters most to artists—this is what I mean by their “faith”—gets into their music. We study how values and practices that matter from the artists’ personal or cultural backgrounds end up in the music. On the other hand, “faith in music” means how music itself becomes central to what matters most, how music is that in which the artist (and others) come to entrust their confidence, their hope, their life. They show what a faith in music itself looks like. By “faith in music,” I mean popular music as that in which musicians and fans can have faith, and popular music as an influential way in which religious/secular traditions are articulated and reconstructed. Faith in music is about music being enough to hold or register what matters for individuals and communities, whether or not musicians or fans have an institutionally recognizable religious identity. For such persons, faith in music seems particularly effective at consolidating ways of life, at making certain kinds of people through what music means to those who take refuge in it. In other words, musical experience serves as a kind of spiritual exercise, a force for shaping what matters most, for what we most may be. Music reaches us in deeply holding and motivating ways. We are different for our faith in music.25 I ask students to keep this notion of faith in music in mind as they go from artist to artist. I also invite them to think about what faith in music means for them: How do your commitments and practices get into the music that you make or that you treasure? And how is music itself sufficient for you? When is it enough that you have music? What music can be the most—or even all—that you need? What is your faith in music? By preparing and teaching the course, what I came to see about faith in music is that each of these artists was heir to complex religio-secular heritages that were figured in sound and that they refigured those heritages in the creation and performance of songs. I realized I was trying to help the students and myself appreciate how songs reflect where the artist came from “spiritually,” while the songs are also novel displays, new creations of faith in music. To take this approach is not to short-circuit the commercial/ideological conditions for the production of music or to romanticize the role of a singular artistic genius in musicmaking, especially in the consumer capitalist music business, and the ensemble settings, in which most of the musicians we studied were operating. (That said, I realize in retrospect that I selected musicians who exercise a singular creative force in their work and usually stood out from their bands, so I privileged George Harrison’s solo work over his membership in The Beatles, Lauryn Hill’s over The Fugees, and Beyoncé’s over Destiny’s Child.) We can try to learn what is distinctive about the faith in music of each artist while seeing that faith and that music as inseparable from commercial, ideological conditions. The notion of “God” that I invoke above suggests that the ambiguities of material armature of what comes to be called theological or musical material are always a part of the work. No faith, no music, no faith in music gets to count as pure. At the same time, it is this very “impure” faith in music that goes so far in making artists what they are and making music fans what they are.

Looking Ahead While I had written about music and theology before, the process of creating and teaching “Faith in Music” was my most intensive learning experience since my dissertation, which was the time Thomas Groome handed me that article on practical theology and music. Preparing this course helped me realize

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that I chose these artists not just because they help me teach about music and theology; I chose them because I need them as I work in and out of something like an alternative spiritual tradition that wends its way through popular music, a theological path called faith in music. In teaching this course, I created something like a new pantheon of theology teachers for myself and others. I read, watch, or listened to their interviews, viewed their performances, studied scholarship on their music, and listened to each artist’s entire catalogue on vinyl. I wanted to share with students, and learn more for myself, the prospects for faith in music as a living practice today. The material has proven continually useful after the course ended, and I have continued to share it when the theme of faith and music comes up in conversation. A minister friend used the Rosetta Tharpe material for preaching. I shared the Elvis Presley material with an undergraduate who loved Elvis and spirituality. A campus minister used the George Harrison material in her own spiritual direction. Talking about the course on campus and in the city (and online) spawned its own alternative curriculum as I learned of others’ favorite artists or songs, and religiously or spiritually or otherwise motivating experiences with music. All these “records” exist in everyday life, and I would like to find a way to bring them into theological education. I did keep a record of email exchanges that occurred during the course. I am now thinking about future versions of the course online and on campus. Which artists should be added? How do I improve connecting the material to the range of audiences (public, academic, religious) that might find it helpful? I have begun considering seeking grants for these purposes and will write a book based on the course. The existential, political and professional stakes for me in this work have come increasingly clear. I sense more clearly how practical theology is both a home and not a home for me—because of my faith in music. I have been a practicing rock musician for thirty-five years, and I am at home in the world of bands and live music, a world of now casual, now intentional spiritual exploration. My experience of musicianship is that learning—with others—musical forms of attention is also training in hearing, feeling, and playing what matters. Living substantially with music puts in place a kind of faith. Such attention and exploration is grounded in the rehearsal room, the concert venue, the recording studio, the privacy of the headphone experience and the publicness of the pub. I taught “Faith in Music” aware of that formation. I can only hear and feel practical theology as part of my faith in music. What I tried to show about artists—that their songs pull forward their faith heritages and make something new out of a faith in music—has been true of my experience teaching this course: my new song was the course. It has been a way of living from what I inherited theologically and, through my own faith in music, what I can make of that now for a yes to life in a way that supports the yeses of others to their own lives.

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Notes 1 Bernard Reymond, “Music and Practical Theology,” International Journal of Practical Theology 5, no. 1 (2001). 2 The Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education (GSRRE) at Fordham has been engaged in online education since 2007, and I have been teaching online and hybrid courses since 2014. 3 Popular “massive online open courses” (MOOCS) have been created by contract between companies, such as Coursera, edX, and Udacity, and higher education institutions. Some colleges and universities have made their own freestanding massive online open courses. Among the most popular have been courses in computer science, artificial intelligence, and mathematics. 4 In a theologically evocative example of the semiotics of university facilities management, for many years WFUV resided on the top (third) floor of Keating Hall, the Gothic-style centerpiece of Fordham’s Bronx campus, and the Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education in the basement. In 2005, WFUV and GSRRE changed places. A symbology of “foundations” and “heights” entertained my imagination all along, as I considered music and religion/ spirituality/faith in a commutative relationship grounded in sounds evoking elevation and depth. I mused that long before “Faith and Music” joined cellar and attic, underground and overlook, faith and music occupied both places at Fordham. 5 Encouragement and material support for the course was initially provided by Dean Colt Anderson of the GSRRE and WFUV General Manager Chuck Singleton, and I learned considerably from the creative support of WFUV Director of Communications John Platt, who helped me shape the structure of the course and facilitated access to WFUV archives. I also benefited from technical assistance from Fordham Instructional Technologist Nicole Zeidan and research assistance from GSRRE graduate student Jasmine Gomez. Fordham University Provost Stephen Freedman was instrumental in encouraging the project. 6 On “epistemic advantage” for practical theology, see Courtney T. Goto, Taking on Practical Theology: The Idolization of Context and the Hope of Community (Boston: Brill, 2018), 202-205. 7 Jesuit philosopher Ignacio Ellacuría, in his 1982 commencement address at Santa Clara University, stated that “There are two aspects to every university. The first and most evident is that it deals with culture, with knowledge, the use of the intellect. The second, and not so evident, is that it must be concerned with the social reality--precisely because a university is inescapably a social force: it must transform and enlighten the society in which it lives… [T]he universitv should be present intellectually where it is needed: to provide science for those without science; to provide skills for those without skills; to be a voice for those without voices; to give intellectual support for those who do not possess the academic qualifications to make their rights legitimate.” See Ellacuria, “Ignacio Ellacuria, S.J.’s June 1982 Commencement Address,” Santa Clara University, Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education, accessed 24 May 2019, https:// www.scu.edu/ic/programs/ignatian-tradition-offerings/stories/ignacio-ellacuria-sjs-june-1982-commencementaddress-santa-clara-university.html 8 The WFUV disc jockeys included John Platt and Alisa Ali. The theologian was Michael Lee of Fordham University,

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who is also a guitarist, and the religious educator was Tamara Henry of New York Theological Seminary, whose research focuses on Hip Hop and religious education. 9 I owe the inclusion of Carlos Santana to a suggestion by Colt Anderson, who was then the Dean of the Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education. 10 I was surprised that 156 people had registered to receive information about the course, but the number of people who actually got into the website was 108. I did not know if this was typical, but I wondered how we could have made it easier to get in from the beginning without the added step of registering in the Course Site, which involved registrants creating their own username and password. 11 I should have applied to my online course planning the research collected in Eleazar S. Fernandez, ed., Teaching for a Culturally Diverse and Racially Just World (Eugene: Cascade, 2014). In that book, a number of theologians and educators discuss the politics of access to theological education. For example, Archie Smith, Jr., asks “Who is our student and who ought to be?” See Smith’s chapter, “You Cannot Teach What You Do Not Know,” at 93. 12 The above reflections are embedded in a constellation of work on practical theology on racial-ethnic diversity and hospitality as a generator of or hindrance to theological production, and a critique of white-centrism and white racism in practical theology. See Goto, Taking on Practical Theology; Anthony G. Reddie, “Now You See Me, Now You Don’t: Subjectivity, Blackness and Difference in Practical Theology in Britain Post Brexit,” Practical Theology 11, no. 1 (2018); Phillis Isabella Sheppard, “Building Communities of Embodied Beauty,” in Black Practical Theology, eds. Dale P. Andrews and Robert London Smith, Jr. (Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2015); Gordon E. Dames, “A Multicultural Theology of Difference: A Practical Theological Perspective,” in Churches, Blackness, and Contested Multiculturalism: Europe, Africa, and North America, eds. R. Drew Smith, William Ackah, and Anthony G. Reddie (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014); Tom Beaudoin and Katherine Turpin, “White Practical Theology,” in Opening the Field of Practical Theology: An Introduction, eds. Kathleen A. Cahalan and Gordon S. Mikoski (Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, 2014). 13 In this paragraph, I am informed by Gerben Heitink’s description of practical theology in the Dutch context as emerging out of a twentieth century “crisis of faith” answered by a “theory of action” such that practical theology can be understood in that context as a “theory of crisis.” While I leave the particulars of the Dutch history to Heitink’s analysis, I treat the notion of crisis (and its attempted transformation) as a provisionally salutary bridge across a range of discourses that self-identify as practical theology beyond the Dutch context. See Gerben Heitink, Practical Theology: History, Theory, Action Domains, trans. Reinder Bruinsma (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1993), 3. Obviously, materials denominated “practice,” “object,” and “text” are interwoven with each other depending on what the theologian takes to be the significant matter for situating or grounding theology. “Practice” is famously, and necessarily, contested in the field, which is what gives rise to my prioritizing it as the distinctive “practice-nexus” focus of practical theology. See the range of entries about practice and practices in Bonnie L. Miller-McLemore, ed., The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Practical Theology (Malden: Blackwell, 2012). 14 For example, the field has furthered racialization and disavowed the foundational, formative and ongoing whiteness that funds racist ways of construing theology and of producing theological knowledge through the field’s material practices of writing books, arranging conferences, and more. In Opening the Field, see Courtney Goto, “Asian American

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Practical Theologies”; Ospino, “U.S. Latino/a Practical Theology”; Beaudoin and Turpin, “White Practical Theology.” The field has also largely presumed a Christian-centrism in its theology and tasks. See Kathleen J. Greider, “Religious Pluralism and Christian-Centrism,” in The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Practical Theology. These are the case even as the field has been responsible for curating freeing practices in many communities: see for example Don C. Richter’s chapter, “Religious Practices in Practical Theology,” in Opening the Field. 15 One of the promises of practical theology is as a radical project for the study and generation of plural forms of curating “divine” experience. This is so because of the field’s longstanding prioritizing of the theological significance of practice, a significance assigned Christian significance but not controlled by Christianity, and assigned personal and ecclesial significance but profoundly social-political. The field has not yet taken the measure of the depth of the abandonment to practice its own navigation portends. 16 Shannon Sullivan and Nancy Tuana, eds., Race and Epistemologies of Ignorance (New York: State University of New York, 2007). 17 This approach to practical theology and music has accumulated over my thirty-five years as a practicing musician, and twenty-five years in the study of theology. Some of the most influential literature that has shaped this approach include: the sacred gendered significance of popular musical performance as ritual in Susan Fast, In the Houses of the Holy: Led Zeppelin and the Power of Rock Music (New York: Oxford, 2001); the historically and embodied coding of sounds as sacrally meaningful in Christopher Partridge, The Lyre of Orpheus: Popular Music, the Sacred, and the Profane (New York: Oxford, 2014); the stakes of color, gender and class in the blues ground of US popular music in Kelly Brown Douglas, Black Bodies and the Black Church: A Blues Slant (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012); the sexual significance of theological contestation in ordinary life in Marcella Althaus-Reid, Indecent Theology: Theological Perversions in Sex, Gender and Politics (New York: Routledge, 2001); and the notion that practical theology is an essentially contested discourse of theological significances from different perspectives that I take from the research consortium Action Research Church and Society, including Helen Cameron, Deborah Bhatti, Catherine Duce, James Sweeney, Clare Watkins, Talking About God in Practice: Theological Action Research and Practical Theology (London: SCM, 2010). 18 See a text as curiously underappreciated in USA practical theology as is the pragmatic USA philosophical tradition on which it relies: Sheila Greeve Davaney, Pragmatic Historicism: A Theology for the Twenty-First Century (Albany: State University of New York, 2000). 19 On practical wisdom, see Dorothy C. Bass and Craig Dykstra (eds.), For Life Abundant: Practical Theology, Theological Education, and Christian Ministry, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008); Dorothy C. Bass, Kathleen A. Cahalan, Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore, James R. Nieman, Christian B. Scharen, Christian Practical Wisdom: What It Is, Why It Matters (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2016). I leave for a future work the question of why recent influential practical theology literature advancing the practical-wisdom perspective remains largely the province of white scholars. 20 See Bonnie Miller-McLemore, “The Theory-Practice Binary and the Politics of Practical Knowledge,” in Conundrums in Practical Theology, eds. Joyce Ann Mercer and Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore (Boston: Brill, 2016).

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21 Mi-Rang Kang, Interpretative Identity and Hermeneutical Community (Berlin: Lit Verlag, 2011); Don C. Richter, “Religious Practices in Practical Theology,” in Opening the Field of Practical Theology. 22 Heinz Streib, Christopher F. Silver, Rosina-Martha Csöff, Barbara Keller, Ralph W. Hood, Jr., Deconversion: Qualitative and Quantitative Results from Cross-Cultural Research in Germany and the United States of America (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 2009); Joan Hebert Reisinger, Let Your Voice Be Heard: Conversations on the Margins of the Church (Eugene, OR: Pickwick, 2012); Tom Beaudoin, “Secular Catholicism and Practical Theology,” International Journal of Practical Theology 15, no. 1 (2011). 23 For example, a male/masculine imaginary rarely strays far from the theos that Christian theology inherited, and debates about the viability of the God-concept continue. See Carol P. Christ and Judith Plaskow, Goddess and God in the World: Conversations in Embodied Theology (Philadelphia: Fortress, 2016). On God and/as claiming power with which one contends, see Naomi Janowitz, Icons of Power: Ritual Practices in Late Antiquity (University Park: Pennsylvania State University, 2002); Anna Marmodoro and Irini-Fotini Viltanioti (eds.), Divine Powers in Late Antiquity (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017); Meerten B. ter Borg and Jan Willem van Henten (eds.), Powers: Religion as a Social and Spiritual Force (New York: Fordham University Press, 2010). 24 Evelyn L. Parker, Between Sisters: Emancipatory Hope Out of Tragic Relationships (Eugene, OR: Cascade, 2018). See also the prescriptions for the future in Elaine Graham, “On Becoming a Practical Theologian: Past, Present, and Future Tenses,” HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies 73, no. 4 (2017). 25 Eric Clarke, Nicola Dibben, Stephanie Pitts, Music and Mind in Everyday Life (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010); Tia DeNora, Music in Everyday Life (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000); Christian B. Scharen, “Rocking: Practical Wisdom at Work in Pop Culture,” in Christian Practical Wisdom.

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Judaism, Jewish History and Social Justice: How Defining “Who is a Jew?” Tells Us How to Fix the World Marc Dollinger San Francisco State University

Abstract American Jewish approaches to social justice can best be understood by investigating the various definitions of “who is a Jew?” Those definitions changed over time and place as Jews lived in the ancient land of Israel or in the diaspora. Each approach to defining one’s Jewishness mandates a different understanding of social justice issues and differing requirements to respond. Unlike other religious communities that demand a sole faithbased membership test, Jews define themselves across a variety of identity markers, each with its own social justice imperatives. In Israel, the history of Zionism has splintered Jews into different social justice camps. In the United States, a large majority of Jews identify as liberal, engaging in social justice work from the post-war civil rights movement to contemporary immigration debates. While many American Jews contend their social justice mandate grows from their religious tradition, the larger political culture shaped Jewish activism more than textual mandates. What seemed a Jewish ethnic revival in the 1960s actually reflected an Americanist embrace. Only in that decade of ethnic awareness would Jews present their social justice work in religious terms. In contemporary America, Jews of color are redefining attitudes towards social justice as religious and racial categories merge.

Practical Matters Journal, Summer 2019, Issue 12, pp. 53-66. © The Author 2019. Published by Emory University. All rights reserved.

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T

he study of Judaism offers important new perspectives for clergy interested in how American Jews engage in social justice work. Unlike other religious traditions, Judaism counts multiple definitions of “who is a Jew,” some of which complement one another while others can stand in conflict. When those definitions are imposed over thousands of years of Jewish history, we can learn how different Jews in different times and different places all claim a Jewish basis for their activism, even as each embraces a different definition for Judaism. Sometimes Jewish social justice work grows from classic theological mandates in the Hebrew Bible. Other times, though, Jews credit Jewishness even when they identify secular sources as their inspiration. For clergy across different faith communities, a critical look at American Jewish political activism encourages a re-examination of all religion-based approaches to social justice work. At its most fundamental level, the Jewish mandate for social justice activism depends on how we answer Judaism’s most basic and debated question: who is a Jew? While Christians can offer a straight-forward faith-based test—do you accept Jesus as the Messiah?—Jewish law does not demand faith for membership. Instead, it embraces a matrilineal definition of Jewishness: if someone is born to a Jewish mother, s/he counts as a Jew, regardless of their level of faith, education, or even communal engagement. It is possible, then, never to attend synagogue, refuse all Jewish education, deny the existence of God and, as long as you have a Jewish mother, still enjoy status as a Jew, even among the most stringent rabbis. The definition of “who is a Jew” matters in social justice because it offers guidance on the all-important question of authority. For those Jews who adhere to traditional Judaism, obligations to engage in justice work and the very definition of what constitutes “social justice” must grow from Biblical text, rabbinic text, or other sources of Jewish law. Jews who embraced modern forms of Judaism after the European Enlightenment in the 18th century will apply a rational lens to their definition while nationalist Jews who reject faith but embrace a Zionist outlook will frame their obligations through the needs of a modern Jewish nation-state. Even as these different Jewish notions of what defines social justice may appear confusing, they gain clarity when we connect an understanding of one’s Jewishness to the authority and mandates each “who is a Jew” definition offers. In Judaism’s traditional explanation of who is a Jew, God has chosen the Jews and established a covenantal relationship with them. As quoted in Genesis 22:17, God promised to make Jews as numerous as the stars in the sky and sands in the sea while Jews agreed to accept Torah, God’s word, to guide their lives. The Jewish people’s chosen-ness, then, encourages them to observe the Torah’s 613 commandments, both as a way to become closer to God and hasten the coming of the Messiah. But, even if they reject these covenantal obligations, even if they reject their faith, they will still enjoy standing as full-fledged Jews. Judaism means more than faith. It includes a variety of qualities beyond theology. Jewish sovereignty over the Biblical land of Israel, for example, developed as a critical part of ancient Judaism’s definition. The Torah itself counts a return to Zion as central to what it means to be a Jew. When the Israelites left Egypt and eventually entered the Promised Land, they established sovereignty, built a Temple to practice their faith, and rebuilt a Second Temple after the Babylonian exile. Instead of a pure faith-based religious expression, Jews considered themselves Jews solely because they lived in the Jewish homeland under Jewish rule. Zionism showed their Judaism and Jewish identity as much as faith did. In the ancient period, a Jew’s ability to travel to Jerusalem and offer a sacrifice to God at the Temple fulfilled their

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religious obligations. Without Jewish nationalism as a component of Jewishness, ancient Jews could not practice their religion. The definition of who is a Jew changed yet again when the Romans invaded Jerusalem and destroyed the Second Temple in 70 CE, sending the Jewish people into exile. Jewish leaders faced an unprecedented challenge: how to practice Judaism without a Temple. In the centuries that followed, rabbinic Judaism developed. Individual rabbis formed communities throughout the world, taking direction from the developing Talmud, which offered a set of Jewish laws anchoring Jewish practice. With this new civil code, Jews could maintain their communities even under threat from hostile rulers. The Talmud, then, formed a large part of Judaism’s definition even though it was not strictly a faith-based document. In the modern era, Jewishness added several denominations, each seeking to align the traditional mandates of Judaism with the promised emancipation of Jews in Europe. Reform Judaism, the first group to emerge, applied an ethical monotheist frame to modern Jewish life. Reviewing the 613 commandments in the Torah, Reform theologians held tight to rational religious mandates as relevant in the modern world. They rejected ancient traditions that they believed were superstitious. Unless it could pass a logic and rationality test, a commandment had no place in the modern world. In order to make these changes, classical Reform Jews rejected the divine nature of the Torah and eventually centered on the prophetic writings as key to their theology and the social justice work that followed. Rather than focus on the day-to-day Jewish living mandates of the Talmud, this new group of modern Jews read about the lives and choices of the prophets, aspiring to model their own good work on the examples set by Isaiah and his cohort. Too radical a change for many, Reform met resistance from more tradition-bound rabbis who founded a Conservative movement that sought a middle ground between Orthodox Judaism and Reform. Later, American Jews reinvented Jewish practice yet again with a Reconstructionist movement based on the writings of Mordecai Kaplan and Renewal Judaism that sought to join much of the 1960s counterculture with Jewish spiritual practice. With an ancient definition of “who is a Jew” that extends beyond faith and the development of denominationalism in the modern period, Jews in contemporary America looked as well to a variety of ethnic, religious, and nationalist attributes for guidance on how to live their lives in a meaningful way. Recent demographic surveys report an increasing number of Jews who identify primarily as cultural Jews, secular Jews, Jews with “no-religion,” or, a category growing in popularity, “just Jewish.” These respondents would fail a faith-based Jewish membership test. While theology remains a central feature of Judaism, so too do secular attributes such as culture, law, history, peoplehood, and political sovereignty. “Bagels and lox” Jews, then, reflect an identity deeply-rooted in a definition of Judaism that expands beyond the limits of faith and practice.1 Defining “who is a Jew” made for one of the most fascinating and debated case studies: Brother Daniel. In this example, the Jewish parents of a boy named Oswald Rufeisen hid their son in a Catholic convent when the Nazis invaded Poland. Immersed in Catholic living, the young Jew decided to convert, eventually becoming a friar in the Discalced Carmelite Order. Known as Brother Daniel, he immigrated to the new State of Israel, claiming himself a Jew by virtue of his Jewish mother. Under Israel’s Law of Return, enacted to provide immediate relief for Jewish Holocaust refugees, any person deemed a Jew would enjoy immediate citizenship in Israel. Brother Daniel opted to immigrate to Israel as a Jew because he was born to a Jewish

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mother, even though he was a converted Catholic. When Israeli government officials noticed Brother Daniel wearing a cross and dressed in the clothing of a Catholic religious leader, they refused to declare him Jewish, making him ineligible for immediate Israeli citizenship under the law of return. The State of Israel claimed that a Jew who converts to another religion ceases to be a Jew. When Brother Daniel’s case went public, many Israelis sided with the government’s position. How can a Catholic priest ever be considered a Jew? If Judaism is, at its core, a faith tradition, then rejecting it for a different faith should be disqualifying. By definition, Catholic priests cannot be Jews. Yet, some in Israel’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish religious community backed Brother Daniel. As they read Jewish law, only God can determine who is a Jew, and God determines Jewishness through the religious status of the mother. Since Daniel fit the technical definition of Jewishness, he should be considered Jewish. In this thinking, no ordinary person has the power to undo God’s will. Since it was God who made Daniel Jewish by birthing him from a Jewish mother, God intended to count Daniel as a Jew. Any ruling by the government otherwise would amount to a rejection of the Almighty. In a civil case that moved all the way to the Israeli Supreme Court, a landmark 1962 ruling rejected Daniel’s claim of Jewishness. It amended Israel’s law of return to add a faith-based litmus test for inclusion as a Jew. In Israel at least, Jews are not allowed to embrace a faith other than Judaism. To illustrate these points, I open my lower-division entry-level survey course “Introduction to Jewish Studies” at San Francisco State University with the following statement: “You know, you can be Jewish and NOT believe in God.” Within seconds, half my students drop their chins in a look of surprise and disbelief. These, I figure, are my Christian undergraduates who cannot imagine membership in a faith community without faith. For students raised in Christianity, belief in God must be the central feature defining their religious status. To hear from a professor that an atheist Jew counts equally with a believing Jew confounds logic and their own religious upbringing. Then I proclaim, “You know, if you’re Jewish, you need to embrace Zionism, the Jewish people’s age-old quest for political autonomy in their ancient homeland.” And since San Francisco and my university are situated in a leftist and often anti-Zionist political culture, the other half of the students in the class drop their chins in disbelief (or upset) when they learn that Zionism, most widely known as a modern political movement, rooted itself in ancient Jewish texts. These, I imagine, are my Jewish students. Raised in a nation that bifurcates religious identity from national status, American Jews have always struggled with notions of dual loyalty. How can they be loyal and patriotic American citizens if they owe nationalist fidelity to the Jewish state? Ever since the U.S. Constitution separated Church and State, American Jews have struggled to reconcile the age-old nationalist component of their Judaism. American Zionism, in this framing, proves an oxymoron. With this course opening, I am ready to begin a fifteen-week overview of Jewish Studies focused on answering that basic question: who is a Jew? The very definition of Jewishness, then, offers the platform we need to explore how and why Jewish religious leaders explain their social justice work. Because Jewishness proves so open to varying definitions, Jewish social justice advocates can fashion their political work on competing interpretations of Jewish text and tradition. Neither the political left nor right, the religiously observant nor the secular can claim a monopoly on determining how Jewish beliefs should inform social justice activism. As we will see, Jews from

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different ends of the political spectrum call on differing definitions of who is a Jew to defend their positions. Among faith-centered Jews, denominational differences lend themselves to profound disagreement in social justice viewpoints. Of greatest interest in the current political climate, almost every non-Orthodox Jew opposed Trump in the 2016 election. Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist, and Renewal Jews define Judaism in more universalist language, extending their social justice mandate to all U.S. citizens as well as those who wish to become Americans. The nation’s Orthodox community counts many supporters of the Republican standard bearer in its ranks. Observant Jews adopt a particularist definition for social justice and place religious Zionism at the center of their political agenda. They do not enter the social justice public square, preferring instead to support more Jewish-centered issues and causes.2 Israeli Jews animate this complexity. To the surprise of many, polls indicate that only 1 in 5 Jews living in their ancient homeland identify as “religious” while the other 80% claim a secular nationalist definition of their Jewishness. Belief in God does not determine their religiosity. Instead, their Israeli passports do.3 Nationalism means more than faith in the determination of “who is a Jew.” The recent embrace of President Donald Trump by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu illustrates the point. For the Israeli leader, the U.S. president’s slogan of “America First” and hyper-nationalism aligns with right-wing Zionism’s call for greater and stronger Jewish sovereignty. The move of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem proved emblematic of this new US-Israel alliance, even as the overwhelming majority of American Jews, and almost all American Jews on the left of the political aisle, cringed. They consider President Trump’s domestic and foreign policies antithetical to their Jewish social justice mindset even as nationalist Israeli Jews care less about their expansive rights-based campaigns. Right-wing and religious Zionists, joined by most of America’s Orthodox community, deploy Jewish tradition to back a return of the Jewish people to their ancient homeland. To do God’s work, they advocate the expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, which are called “Judea and Samaria” to denote their status as a part of God’s promised land to the Jews. With scripture as their guide, Jewish settlers seek a restoration of ancient Israel. Democratic understandings of social justice pale in comparison to fulfilling God’s mandate for Jews. For them, Judaism’s social justice mandate begins with the Jewish people’s ability to dwell in their God-given ancient homeland. As these pious Jews reclaim some of the most important sites in all of Judaism and Jewish history, they complicate any political answer to the Israel/Palestine conflict. Their sense of justice does not demand, and for some even opposes, a mandate for Palestinian self-determination. Framed by their read of Jewish text, justice demands nothing more and nothing less than the realization of a reunited ancient Israel under Jewish control. Conversely, leftist Jews in both the United States and Israel embrace a read on Judaism that demands a rights-based approach to justice that includes the Palestinian cause. Without the strict demands of traditional Judaism, they can adopt a more pragmatic approach to the mid-east conflict, trading land, even historic and sacred Jewish sites, for peace. Within the State of Israel itself, progressive-minded Jews focus their social justice campaigns on ensuring that Arab, Muslim, and Christian citizens of the State of Israel enjoy rights on par with Jewish residents. They back the two-state solution because their sense of justice demands that Israel remain both Jewish and democratic while protecting the right of Palestinians to enjoy national self-

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determination. For Jews who have suffered so much for so long under the political sovereignty of unfriendly governments, these leftists argue, the continued Jewish occupation of majority-Palestinian lands proves contrary to their sense of justice. In the United States as well, the application of politics to religion mirrors the complexity of defining Judaism and the social justice mandates that follow. A quick scan of the American Jewish social justice landscape centers Jewish political activism on the traditional concept of “tikkun olam,” repairing the world. Drawn from examples in the ancient text, the Jewish obligation to repair the world enjoys broad currency among contemporary American Jews. For many synagogues and Jewish social justice organizations, tikkun olam has become their guiding light. Popular among a wide expanse of American Jews because it links their religious identities to the mandate of fixing a broken world, tikkun olam gifts its followers with a nearly seamless alignment of their personal social justice orientations with their larger religious obligations. In a sense, social justice-minded Jews, under the rubric of tikkun olam, can count themselves as better Jews merely by acting as they would without Judaism’s mandate to help others. Liberal and progressive American rabbis love this alignment. They can double-down in their sermonizing: fighting for the oppressed inspires otherwise secular Jews to “do Jewish” even if they do not realize they are advancing a religious mandate. Rabbis deliver more people to the pews. Judaism, Americanism, and progressivism align. A tikkun olamcentered approach to American Judaism seems to have it all. Except it does not. As scholar-rabbi-activist Jill Jacobs writes, contemporary Jews have forgotten the textual definitions of tikkun olam, reinventing the phrase to conform to larger American liberal ideas rather than rooting it in the language and context of its textual roots. Contemporary Jews who believe they are following a Jewish social justice mandate know nothing about the concept’s earliest mention in the Mishnah, nor would they embrace the mystical kabbalistic reference to repairing the world that emerged in the medieval period. And, as we learned earlier, if the tikkun olam imperative demanded that Jews engage in social justice work, then we would expect the country’s Orthodox Jews, for whom Jewish law governs their day to day lives, to engage in progressive Jewish politics. They do not, distancing themselves from their lessobservant co-religionists whose sense of justice demands that they cross religious and racial lines. In effect, each differing type of Jew understands tikkun olam through their own lens.4 A quick survey of American Jewish history reveals the problems inherent in equating the Jewish concept of tikkun olam with broader progressive political mandates. For the most part, Jews engaged in social justice causes tended to emulate the political cultures that surrounded them, drawing parallels to pre-selected pieces of Jewish text to rationalize their beliefs. This quest for inclusion into American society proved so important that it guided the course and direction of Jewish social justice work. In the antebellum period, for example, even northern rabbis offered Bible-based defenses of slavery while southern Jewish congregations claimed Judaism as a defense for its Confederate views. In January 1861, New York Rabbi Morris Raphall offered a “Bible View of Slavery,” concluding that “slaveholding is no sin, and that slave property is expressly placed under the protection of the Ten Commandments.” Just four months later, Shreveport Louisiana’s synagogue published an editorial criticizing a northern Jewish newspaper for its anti-slavery stance. “We mistook your paper for a religious one,” it wrote, “which ought to be strictly neutral in politics.”5

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In more recent history, the well-known and celebrated alliance between Jews and blacks during the civil rights movement reveals this dynamic as well. When asked to explain the disproportionate Jewish participation in the struggle for racial equality, rabbis and other Jewish leaders tended to advance one of three arguments; history, sociology, or religion. In the case of history, Jews parallel their own to that of African Americans, drawing comparisons between the experience of Jews as slaves in Egypt to slavery in colonial America and the United States. Most often referenced during the yearly Passover seder meal, Jews recount their experience as slaves and celebrate their exodus to freedom. With this thinking, Jews marched with blacks during the civil rights movement because they too understood what it meant to be a slave. Except the history argument does not work. The Jewish experience of slavery in ancient Egypt does not parallel the experience or the legacy of African American slavery in the United States. As one African American leader remarked after attending his Jewish friends’ Passover seder, “if they tell me they understand the legacy of American slavery because they too were slaves in the land of Egypt, I’ll scream!”6 Continued racism and white racial supremacy remain a powerful negative force in the lives of African Americans today. Even though slavery ended more than a century ago, its impact has not. The American Jewish experience, on the other hand, moved in the opposite direction. Not only did Jews arrive on American shores with thousands of years’ distance from their slavery, but they rose up the social mobility ladder with astonishing speed. Jews earned inclusion in the white middle class by their second generation. The Jewish social justice imperative to join the civil rights movement did not grow from common histories. A second argument focused on an apparent sociological parallel between blacks and Jews. In this telling of Jewish social justice, a strong affinity existed between blacks and Jews because each understood what it felt to be marginalized by the larger white society. While that approach may have been true for American Jews in the early decades of the twentieth century when they had not yet joined the white middle class, Jewish participation in the civil rights struggle did not occur until anti-Semitism, which reached a peak in the 1920 and 1930s, retreated in the 1950s and beyond. As historian Eric Goldstein has observed, American Jews did not enter into a coalition with blacks until they achieved whiteness. While some Jewish leaders aided blacks in the early part of the twentieth century, a broad inter-racial movement could not emerge until Jews left the margins of society and enjoyed enough power to extend their hands in solidarity.7 Finally, and of greatest interest to clergy, American Jews often point to their religious beliefs as the guiding principle driving them to justice work. Yet, deploying Judaism, the religion of the Jews, as a rationale for social justice involvement unearths inconsistencies among Jews. In the Reform movement, especially, prophetic Judaism took center stage. Rabbis from Judaism’s most liberal wing preached the words of Isaiah as the anchor of an activist agenda that followed the Torah precept, “Justice, justice, shall you pursue.” More than any other denomination, Reform Jews took the highest profile in racial justice work. Indeed, the Reform movement’s Religious Action Center in Washington DC has earned an impressive reputation for its work securing the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as well as other vital pieces of legislation.8 Yet, the Reform movement’s strong affinity for social justice work demonstrates the weakness of the religion-based argument. During the protest movements of the 1950s and 1960s, for example, Jews showed

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an inverse relationship between the level of observance and engagement in the civil rights and other reform movements. That is, the least ritual-minded Jews of the Reform movement placed social justice work at the center while the most ritual-minded Jews of Orthodoxy steered clear of it all. Surveys of Jewish participants in civil rights activism also show that only a very few connected their decision to protest with their Jewish heritage. Though disproportionate in number, Jewish civil rights workers tended to affiliate with secular organizations such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), or the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) rather than their synagogue or the national Reform movement’s UAHC (now the Union for Reform Judaism, URJ). The most engaged Jews counted themselves as leftists in either the socialist or communist parties, rejecting organized religion as antithetical to their political approach. 9 These dynamics came to play in the American South as well, where southern Jews did not hop on the civil rights bandwagon. For them, a common experience of social marginalization in the South pushed the Jews of Dixie farther away from activism. Unlike their northern co-religionists who moved into the white suburban middle class by the 1950s, southern Jews still feared anti-Semitism. Overwhelmingly centered in business and commerce, Jewish shopkeepers faced the threat of boycott from whites if they supported blacks or accusations of racism from blacks if they did not. Incidents of synagogue bombings and the wellknown murder of Jewish civil rights workers Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman, along with African American James Chaney, reminded southern Jews that southern Jewish activism would prove threatening and costly. The lynching of Leo Frank in 1913 remained within the memories of many southern Jews who move cautiously and often resented northern Jews for upsetting their lives and livelihoods when they ventured into southern-based grassroots civil rights activism.10 The social justice tensions between northern and southern Jews were best captured by University of Chicago Hillel director rabbi Richard Winograd. During the 1963 annual meeting of the Conservative movement’s Rabbinic Assembly, Winograd and a group of civil rights-minded rabbis left the conference early and headed to Birmingham in support of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. On arrival at the Birmingham airport, local Jews protested, urging the rabbis to return home. At a tense moment such as this, one would expect Rabbi Winograd to educate his southern co-religionists on the need for their support. Instead, the Chicago-based rabbi offered understanding, empathy, and compassion. After reflecting that he must have seemed to be either Haman, the villain from the Book of Esther, or Torquemada, the chief Spanish inquisitor from 1492, to southern Jews, Winograd defended his brethren’s civil rights recalcitrance. He understood the threats posed to their economic, social, and even physical lives in the South. The northern rabbi knew that he lived a far more privileged life: he would be celebrated as a civil rights hero upon his return to Chicago. He did not think he had the right to place southern Jews in a threatening position. From a moral point of view, he wrote in his diary, “the scales were very even.” For Winograd, the most painful aspect of the encounter did not prove to be southern opposition to his civil rights strategies. Rather, it was the division, over political differences, of the American Jewish community itself. Winograd pained “over the circumstances that led to pitting Jew against Jew.” Even as his definition of Judaism demanded civil rights activism, he extended compassion to Jews whose understanding of Jewish social justice did not.11 A decade later, new understandings of “who is a Jew” continued to animate Jewish social justice work

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when a Jewish ethnic and religious revival swept across the American landscape. During the civil rights struggle of the 1950s and early 1960s, American Jews sought integration into the larger white Christian communities around them. For them, Jewishness meant reaching across religious lines. Their approach to social justice work aligned with this assimilationist mindset. Consensus reigned. If the definition of “who is a Jew” meant raising Jewish children in Christian neighborhoods, then their involvement in the civil rights movement would align with the political culture surrounding them. Just as southern Jews during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries defined Jewishness in a way that informed their political views on slavery, post-war suburban Jews redefined their Jewishness, and their resulting social action, to fit the time and place. Beginning in the mid-1960s, American Jews turned inward, shifting their social justice work to Jewishcentered movements aimed at strengthening Jewish identity. They seemed to follow the three-generation model of acculturation devised by University of Chicago sociologist Marcus Lee Hansen: immigrants do all they can to integrate their children into American life only to watch as their grandchildren, sensing a loss of their heritage, reclaim their grandparent’s religious and ethnic traditions in an effort to reclaim their ancestry. For Jews of the mid-1960s and beyond, “who is a Jew” meant religious self-reflection and discovery. That new awareness translated into social justice work laser -focused on the particular needs of Jews rather than the universal hopes of other Americans.12 Among young Jews especially, this period witnessed an unprecedented religious revival. College-age Jewish students, hardly aware of Judaism in their suburban youth, discovered their faith. They learned about the laws of kashruth, keeping kosher, and decided that they could lead a more meaningful life if they thought about the food they ate. For some, their increased level of ritual observance made visits home a challenge: they refused to eat the unkosher food their parents prepared. Embracing Jewish ritual observance, many Jews in this era bought The Jewish Catalog; a counter-cultural do it yourself guide for increased Jewish religiosity. The second most popular book (after the Bible) released by the Jewish Publication Society in this period, The Jewish Catalog and its two sequels offered a Jewish spin on The Whole Earth Catalog. In chapter after chapter, Jews raised in assimilationist times could learn how to braid their own challah (Sabbath bread), knit their own kipah, or create their own tallit (prayer shawl). Across the country, parents offered their children Biblical Jewish names, identifying them in public as Jews in a break from their parent’s generation of post-war Jewish moms and dads who sought the most assimilationist-minded names possible.13 Inward-turning Jews also sought deeper and more intensive Jewish learning. What was in the 1950s a limited synagogue-based education program on Sunday mornings turned into fully-immersive Jewish day school educations that guided students through the rhythms of the Jewish calendar as their foundation to day-to-day Jewish living. Once the exclusive purview of the nation’s Orthodox community, Jewish day schools grew in both the Conservative and Reform movements, enjoying added growth among suburban Jews fleeing court-ordered integration of public schools. In 1940, only seven American Jewish communities counted Jewish Day Schools. That number grew to 117 in 1965 and 425 just ten years later when over 82,000 Jewish children attended. A 1967 survey noted that non-Orthodox Jewish day schools accounted for almost 80% of the national total.14 The ethnic and religious revival during the 1960s translated into what most American Jews considered

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a new Judeo-centered direction for social justice causes. In perhaps the best-known Jewish social justice efforts of the period, American Jews organized a movement to save Soviet Jews. Led by young people with training in the American South aiding African Americans, the Soviet Jewry movement rallied American Jews from across the denominational spectrum, including the Orthodox. Whether in the halls of the U.S. Senate advocating for government support against the Communist superpower or in the streets during 10,000-strong public demonstrations, renewed and reinvigorated Jewish activists translated their social justice mission from African Americans in the South to Jews in the Soviet Union. Their message to Moscow: Let My People Go. In this identity-politics era, to be a Jew demanded particularist approaches to social justice. American Jewish support for the Zionist movement surged in this period as well. In June 1967, the State of Israel launched a pre-emptive attack on multiple Arab armies when it became clear that war would be inevitable. In less than a week, the Jewish state gained control of the Golan Heights in the North, the Sinai desert in the South, and, most importantly, east Jerusalem that included the Old City, the Western Wall, and the Temple Mount. When news of the Israeli victory broke, young American Jews added Jewish nationalism to their definition of “who is a Jew” and leveraged their newfound affection for the Jewish state into a more public and less apologetic embrace of Zionism. In a reaction that surprised even the nation’s organized Jewish leadership, American Jews more than doubled their giving to the Jewish state in the year after the war. 1,000 Jewish college students called their mothers asking for their passports so they could fly to Israel and help the cause. Universities across the country opened junior-year abroad study programs in Israeli universities so that young American Jews could explore their newfound nationalist identities. Between 1967 and 1980, the overwhelming majority of American Jewish immigrants to Israel counted themselves on the progressive left of the political-social justice spectrum. For them, realizing their sense of Jewish nationalism and returning to live in the Jewish homeland reflected a new understanding of what it meant to be a Jew. It was a perspective that embraced identity politics just as it rejected the Jewish community’s historic affinity for maintaining a strict separation between church and state. For these American Zionists, the category “Jewish” would apply to both religion AND nation.15 On the surface, the American Jewish turn inward that began in the mid-1960s presented as a religious and ethnic revival. Social justice causes appeared less secular and more Jewish. Jews rooted their sense of activism in an expanding definition of Jewishness and deepening respect for tradition. In both the academic writing devoted to this era as well as the historical memory of its participants, this Jewish rebirth seemed a testament to a strengthened American Jewish community. Jewish pride skyrocketed in a population that just a generation earlier preferred quiet, assimilationist and consensus-based lives. A closer examination of this period reveals a different story. The social justice shift from inter-group to Jewish-centered movements followed the larger social trends of the decade. When identity politics grew in the mid-1960s, many ethnic/racial/religious groups organized their own returns to their roots. African Americans created the Black Power movement. Latinos launched a student group, Mecha. Indigenous peoples formed the American Indian Movement that showed its inner-directed activism by taking control of Alcatraz Island in the late 1960s. In the early 1970s, second-wave feminists created the National Organization for Women.

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Jews became more Jewish, as it were, because blacks became more black. Even though Jews presented a more tradition-based public face during this revival, they were merely adopting the nation’s larger move to identity politics. Only in the political culture of the 1960s, when so many ethnic, racial, gender, and even religious groups sought a more public and more activist stance could Jews return to their own tradition. Only when secular trends encouraged more religiosity would Jews hop on the bandwagon. In a sense, the Jewish religious revival proved a secularist enterprise: Black Power’s broadening of acceptable ethnic-group expression paved the road to Jewish revivalism.16 In what seems on the surface an irony, the rise of Jewish religious and ethnic politics in the mid-1960s emulated the assimilationist posture of early post-war suburban Jews. In each decade, Jews looked to the political culture around them and followed it. In the 1950s, that meant accommodating to Christian-based neighborhoods. When, for example, a leading national Jewish organization protested against a public school principal that required Jewish children to sing Christmas carols, Jewish parents objected. They wanted their children to fully integrate into their new communities, even if that meant proclaiming Jesus to be the Messiah in song. In the 1960s, American Jews followed larger trends once again, shadowing activist movements as they designed for themselves a Jewish version of group-based advocacy.17 Instead of marching for blacks in Selma, they rallied for Jews in Kiev. Instead of fighting for strong public schools as a mainstay of Jewish values and American Jewish life, they removed their children, especially in districts with court-ordered integration plans, and formed non-Orthodox Jewish day schools. When the Jewish state achieved a dramatic military victory in 1967, American Jews offered public support that outdid even Israel’s very creation in 1948. Despite their outward Jewish appearance, these efforts reflected a changing definition of “who is a Jew” amidst a larger secular political culture that encouraged their Jewish turn inward. In short, were it not for the rise of Black Power, the Jewish revival would not have occurred. In their Jewishness, Jews showed American-ness. Religiosity revealed secularism. In the contemporary period, Jews of color offer an important perspective on questions of who is a Jew and its impact on Jewish social justice. Recent demographic surveys of American Jews report that 20% selfidentify as ethnically diverse.18 The 2018 San Francisco Bay Area Jewish community survey noted that for respondents aged 18-34, an astonishing 38% of family households counted at least one person of color.19 As Ilana Kaufman reflected in a recent Eli talk, “Racism in the Jewish Community: The Uncomfortable Truth,” Jews of color will become a larger and larger portion of American Jewry, even as Jewish communal organizations and institutions still frame their work with an assumption of Jewish whiteness.20 An embrace of Jews of color demands the most basic re-evaluation of how we define American Judaism and its implications for justice work. All too often, Jews of color enter synagogues and other Jewish institutions and are not recognized as Jewish. When they present themselves as Jews, a repeatable and predictable pattern of questions follow: How are you Jewish? Were you born Jewish? Did you convert? None of these questions, of course, are ever asked of white Jews, perpetuating white racial supremacy in the synagogue, alienating Jews of color from organized Jewish life, and forcing white Jews to reflect upon how racism alienates their own co-religionists from the organized Jewish community. Most recently, an African American Jew carrying a Torah scroll down a street in Brooklyn, New York in November 2018 faced an angry mob of white Jews seeking to recover what they assumed was a stolen Jewish text.21

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Jews of color challenge our typical understandings of Jewish social justice work. Until now, almost all research and writing completed on the history of Jews and the civil rights movement, my own included, focus on the relationship between blacks and white Jews. What if a Jew was also black? What if there was no black-Jewish relationship because that person was one and the same? How would that frame force a rewriting of the entire question of Jewish social justice activism? In the examples shown in this article, I have argued that American Jews adopted religious and ethnic positions consistent with the secular world around them. In these cases, white Jews learned that their Judaism proved more secular and more American than it did religious. Perspectives from Jews of color force a basic re-evaluation in thinking. To what extent, could Jews of color ask, does the definition of Jewishness and its social justice platform reflect the privileges of whiteness and white racial supremacy more than it does Judaism itself? An example of this new perspective emerged recently when the movement for Black Lives (BLM) issued a 37,000-word manifesto outlining the many challenges faced by African Americans. Yet, when it included several anti-Zionist lines, including the depiction of Israel as “an apartheid state,� most national Jewish organizations condemned the document and the movement for its anti-Jewish bias. Moreover, they demanded the removal of offending lines before agreeing to offer their support. A black cause that harmed the Jewish state their thinking followed could not expect to receive Jewish support. Except, when framed through the lens of African American Jews, no such dichotomy existed. With their response, Jewish leadership expressed white privilege in the name of Judaism. For Black Jews, victimized by systemic racism even though they are also Jewish, the Jewish communal rejection of BLM stung. It reflected a fundamental racist outlook in white Jewish leaders who seemed ready to sacrifice the needs of blacks until they are satisfied that Jewish needs are met without ever stopping to consider that for an increasing number of American Jews, the two are the same. Over time and place, the very definition of who is a Jew has changed. The social justice imperatives that followed also reflected differing understandings and interpretations of Jewish texts and traditions. Examined separately, this mosaic does not appear to make much sense. Pieced together, though, with an overarching thesis that sees Jewish history, Judaism, and Jewish social justice as reflective of the larger social and political cultures surrounding Jews, we can see a clear consensus emerge: American Jews have been engaged in a dynamic redefinition of themselves, as Jews, as Americans, as whites and people of color, and ultimately as social justice advocates. Looking to the future, we need only look around us to see how different faith communities, ethnic constituencies, and identity groups choose to express themselves in the public square to see what comes next for American Jews.

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Notes 1 See for example Jewish community studies located at https://www.jewishdatabank.org/databank 2 Jewish Virtual Library, “U.S. Presidential Elections: Jewish Voting Record,” American-Israeli Cooperative Exercise, https:// www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jewish-voting-record-in-u-s-presidential-elections 3 About 20% of Israeli citizens claim Christian, Muslim, Druze, or Beduin backgrounds. 4 Jill Jacobs, There Shall Be No Needy: Pursuing Social Justice Through Jewish Law and Tradition, (Turner Publishing Company, 2010). 5 Gary Zola and Marc Dollinger, American Jewish History: A Primary Source Reader, (Brandeis University Press, 2014), 109. 6 Conversation with the author. 7 Eric Goldstein, The Price of Whiteness: Jews, Race, and American Identity, (Princeton University Press, 2007). 8 Deuteronomy, 16:20. 9 See for example Marc Dollinger, Quest for Inclusion: Jews and Liberalism in Modern America, (Princeton University Press, 2000), especially chapters 6, 7, 8. 10 Ibid, especially chapter 7. 11 Ibid, 164. 12 See for example Marcus Lee Hansen, The Immigrant in American History, (Harvard University Press, 1940). 13 Richard Siegel, Michael Strassfeld, Sharon Strassfeld, editors, The First Jewish Catalog: A Do-It-Yourself Kit, (The Jewish Publication Society, 1965). 14 Marc Dollinger, Black Power, Jewish Politics: Reinventing the Alliance in the 1960s, (Brandeis University Press, 2018), 121. 15 Ibid, 163. 16 Ibid. 17 Dollinger, Quest for Inclusion, 156. 18 Be’Chol Lashon, “Counting Jews,” GlobalJews.org, https://globaljews.org/resources/research/counting-jews 19 “A Portrait of Bay Area Jewish Life and Communities: Community Study Highlights,” The Jewish Community Foundation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties, February 13, 2018, https://jewishfed.org/sites/default/files/ BayArea_CommunityStudyHighlights.pdf., 7. 20 Ilana Kaufman, “Who Counts?: Race and the Jewish Future,” ELI Talks: Inspired Jewish Ideas, August 4, 2015, https:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCtBqbsZPLo&t=2s

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21 Ari Feldman, “Black Jew Swarmed by Hasidic Mod—For Carrying A Torah While Not White, Forward, November 16, 2018. https://forward.com/news/national/414373/black-jew-swarmed-by-hasidic-mob-for-carrying-a-torahwhile-not-white/

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Narrow is the Way: Christian Discipleship and the R1 University Todd Whitmore University of Notre Dame Abstract Previous efforts to discern whether Christian scholars have a place in the university have focused on orthodoxy—whether professors can speak and write according to their faith. This article focuses rather on orthopraxy— whether professors’ lives as a whole can take the shape of discipleship while being carried out within the R1 university. The first section of the article sets out a biblical understanding of discipleship as the practice of following Jesus Christ in proclaiming in word and action to and with the poor and the wicked that God loves them. The rise of “conflict of commitment” policies at R1 universities severely delimits the amount of time faculty have for activity outside of university jurisdiction, making all the more necessary discernment about the possibility of discipleship within the ambit of the universities. This article surveys the policies of Duke, Emory and Notre Dame to show the limitations placed on faculty time outside of university activity. It then addresses the possible objections that writing for other scholars and teaching in such settings are in themselves adequate for discipleship. Finally, the author narrates his own efforts to navigate his home institution. The article suggests that ethnographic fieldwork, especially that done locally, can possibly provide room for discipleship among the marginalized within the constraints of the R1 university.

I

n the 1990s, the concern (re)surfaced as to whether it is possible for a Christian to be an academic. George Marsden led the way by arguing that modern universities had moved from “Protestant establishment to established nonbelief,” thereby becoming spaces that were a threat to the free exercise of religion.1 Others concurred with the secularization thesis as it applies to colleges and universities.2 More recently, in the last decade or so, analyses have posited that the problem is more that of fragmentation than secularization stifling the Christian voice in academia,3 with one volume arguing that universities are now Practical Matters Journal, Summer 2019, Issue 12, pp. 67-84. © The Author 2019. Published by Emory University. All rights reserved.

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in a “postsecular” age.4 Still, even with these later volumes, the concern regards primarily professors’ ability to speak and write religiously, with chapter titles like, “Why Faculty Find it Difficult to Talk About Religion.”5 As important as it is for religiously-oriented faculty to talk freely about their beliefs and, particularly, to integrate those beliefs into their lectures and writing, there is another threat to the possibility of being a Christian in the academy, and it comes into focus when we shift our concern from orthodoxy or right belief to orthopraxy or right practice. That the orthopraxy of Christian academics has slipped from view is, I suggest, in large part due to the nature of our profession: we are trained and paid to talk and write, and so that is the first direction of our gaze. However, if, following the gospels’ concern with wealth and poverty, we pay attention to the social and economic matrices of our craft, we find that there are structural obstacles to our living Christian lives in this regard, too. My focus will be on R1 universities for two reasons. First, there is a premium on publication production in this setting, and the nature of the activity of writing is that it physically moves us to solitude and away from our neighbors, rich or poor, whom we are to love.6 Second, the students whom we are to teach in R1 universities in the United States tend to come from families that are already well-off. In the case of my own university, Notre Dame, the median income of the families of undergraduates is $192,000 a year. At Emory University, it is $139,800; Duke, $186,700.7 A professor can spend her entire career at an R1 university and, other than the cafeteria servers and the buildings and grounds crews, rarely encounter a poor person. If book-production and teaching relatively well-off students are the primary activities of the professor, what scope is there for an academic to practice discipleship in a faith whose center and inspiration says, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me” (Mt 25:40)?8 I have previously made a case for fieldwork in Christian ethics on theological and epistemological grounds,9 but it is clear now that another argument, this time within the ambit of Christian practical reasoning, is also necessary: Can a professor maintain fidelity to the Gospel while working for an R1 university? 10 To set the context of this discussion, in the first part of this article I do a brief scriptural analysis to limn the vision of Christian discipleship in the gospels. Here, discipleship is the practice of following Jesus Christ in proclaiming in word and action to and with the poor and the wicked that God loves them. Then, I analyze the rules—now overtly manifested in “conflict of commitment” policies—that govern the lives of faculty at Emory, Duke, and Notre Dame. The formalizing of such policies is in keeping with the general trend of the corporate bureaucratization of American universities, and threatens to turn such universities into what sociologists call “greedy institutions.”11 In Notre Dame’s case especially, we will see that that policy makes official the view that the university has claim on excessive amounts of the professor’s time and energy, such that little is left for being present to “the least of these.” In the section after that, I attend to two possible objections: Does not academic book-writing ultimately benefit the poor? And what about the role of teaching? Here I ague that in R1 universities, the primary audience of the books written is other similarly placed scholars and teaching (again, to undergraduates whose families have a median income of $192,000 a year) has a subservient role in professional advancement. So, can professional advancement in a university that prioritizes book-production and claims jurisdiction over virtually all of the professor’s time be squared with a faith that prioritizes face-to-face encounter with the poor and the wicked? My wager is that such an alignment is possible if the discipleship

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amidst the poor and the wicked becomes the subject of the professor’s research. This is where ethnographic fieldwork plays a critical role. Fieldwork brings the researcher face-to-face with her research subjects. Discipleship brings her face-to-face with them in the context of a particular kind of encounter, that of letting the poor and wicked know in word and action that, although they may be rejected by the bulk of humanity, they are loved by God. Writing up these encounters in articles and books—preferably with prestigious university presses—is the only way to make such discipleship count in the professional context of an R1 university. Ethnography is a way for a Christian to practice her faith and remain a scholar. In the last section of this article, then, I describe how I came about to combine my work as a recovery coach for persons with opioid and methamphetamine addictions in northern Indiana with my given role as a professor at Notre Dame. Getting to this point took a lot of trial and error regarding how to serve both the university and the marginalized. Here, I discovered that what is critical is to discern the shape of one’s discipleship first, and then build one’s research project around that. My research question for purposes of our Institutional Review Board is, “Does recovery coaching reduce rates of relapse among people with opioid and methamphetamine addictions,” but the discipleship is much more than that, and the stakes—if scripture is to be believed—are high. Jesus in Matthew 25 goes on to say to those who do not practice faceto-face discipleship with the poor and the wicked, “Depart from me into the eternal fire . . . Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.” (Mt 25:41 and 45). I suggest that ethnography done locally is somewhat better-placed to succeed in an R1 university than that done afar because the former does not have some of the encumbrances of the latter and the R1 university requires prompt production. Throughout, I focus on three cases, Duke University, Emory University, and the University of Notre Dame (In part because Notre Dame is my home institution, I am able to elaborate somewhat more on its practices). I do so because all are R1 universities, yet each has a different relationship with the religious tradition that founded it. While Trinity College, which was to become Duke University, was founded by Methodists and Quakers, there is no mention of this is the university’s mission statement.12 Emory’s mission statement on its part refers to the religious founding obliquely, as translated into a generalized “strong moral force”: “The university, founded by the Methodist Episcopal Church, cherishes its historical affiliation with the United Methodist Church. While Emory’s programs are today entirely nonsectarian (except for those at the Candler School of Theology), the university has derived from this heritage the conviction that education can be a strong moral force in both society and the lives of its individual members.”13 Notre Dame’s reference to its Catholic inspiration and identity is direct: “The University of Notre Dame is a Catholic academic community of higher learning.”14 What we will find—perhaps counterintuitively, perhaps not—is that the more direct the connection claimed between the school and its religious beginnings, the more detailed and overtly demanding the claims on the professor’s time on the part of the school, with the threat of “severe sanctions” for noncompliance. First, however, we need to get clear on the demands of discipleship.

Following Jesus: Discipleship in the Gospels

Jesus frequently calls upon those who would become his disciples to “follow” him (usually akoloutheo,

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but also deute; see Mt 16:24; Lk 9:23; Mt 4:19), and to follow him means first and foremost to undertake the life project of learning to imitate him so as to be able to act in his name.15 Discipleship, so understood, is reenactment of the Gospel. The call from Jesus to be like him is clear: “A disciple is not above the teacher . . . it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher” (Mt 10:24–25, emphasis added). Biblical scholar James Dunn states that this passage is evidence of “a clear strand of imitatio Christi in the New Testament itself.”16 And being like Jesus involves carrying out his mission. In this regard, Dunn states forcefully, “It was only as they shared in his mission that his disciples shared in his authority and charismatic power. In short, as Jesus did not live for himself but for the kingdom and others, so it had to be with his disciples…Those who gathered around him did so to share in that task, to follow him in his mission, and for no other reason” (emphasis in original).17 The question arises as to whom the mission is directed. Liberation theology has long foregrounded a “preferential option for the poor,” in the gospels, and such preference is evident in passages from the Magnificat (Lk 1:51-53: “He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.”) to the Sermon on the Plain (Lk 6:20: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.”). Some other scholars counter that if there is a preferential option at all, it is for the wicked, and a range of passages backs their argument as well. All three synoptic gospels witness to Jesus’ proclamation, “I have come to call not the righteous but sinners” (Mk 2:17; Mt 9:13b; Lk 5:32).18 The Sermon on the Mount/Plain in Matthew and Luke admonishes us to love our enemies (Mt 5:43–48; Lk 6:27–36), and to forgive the debts or sins of others (Mt 6:12; Lk 11:4). Luke follows the call to love our enemies immediately with the specific command not to judge or condemn, but to forgive (Lk 6:37). And Jesus’s words on forgiveness extend to the parables. Both Matthew (18:12–14) and Luke (15:1–6) tell the parable of the lost sheep, and Luke, once again, spells out its implications: “There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance” (15:7). Luke takes the message of forgiveness all the way to the cross: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they are doing” (23:34). Scholarly debate tends to set up the missions to the poor and the wicked as a zero-sum game—Jesus had to be for only one or the other19—but the biblical evidence does not support such views. Jesus had particular missions to both populations.20 And just what is that mission? Jesus tells his disciples in the same commissioning passage quoted from earlier, “As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near’” (Mt 10:7). To say, “The kingdom has drawn near,” is to tell the listeners in other words, “God has not forgotten you; God loves you.” The evidence of that love is practical: Jesus heals them. It is no surprise, then, that when he sends out the disciples, he tells them that when proclaiming the kingdom, “Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons” (Mt 10:8a). Modern biblical scholarship is often at a loss with regard to how to interpret the healing accounts, and often descends into debates about whether the miracles “really” happened. For our purposes, the key point is that God’s love manifests itself in practical ways, most often in response to specific requests from the people encountered. Peter’s mother-in-law (Mk 1:29–31), a leper (Mk 1:40–45), the servant of a centurion (Mt 8:5–13), a paralytic (Mk 2:1–12), a hemorrhaging woman (Mt 9:20–22), blind men (Mt 9:27–31; Mk 8:22–26), a demoniac (Mt 9:32–34), the daughter of a synagogue

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leader (Mk 5:21–43) and many others (Mt 8:16–17; 12:15–21; 15:29–31; Mk 3:7–12; 7:31–37) all request—or have others request on their behalf—specific practical responses to their ailments. If we are to sum up the gospel understanding of discipleship, then, we can say that it is an ongoing effort to follow and thus imitate Christ in his going out to the poor and the wicked to announce God’s love for them in both word and practical action. Unlike Jesus and his immediate disciples, I am unable to perform miraculous works of wonder. I, and most people like me, are left with things like becoming recovery coaches who help people with addictions get health insurance, find housing, and otherwise rebuild their lives. These are all activities that, if we take them seriously, require significant time and energy. It is not a once-a-month or even once-a-week thing. The presenting problem for the academic is that the R1 university also demands considerable time and energy, and claims that time and energy directed elsewhere constitutes a “conflict of commitment.” To understand just how serious such universities are about the matter, it is helpful to turn to the specific instances of the conflict of commitment policies at Duke, Emory, and Notre Dame.

Regulating the Lives of Professors: Conflict of Commitment Policies The tenure-track professional development structure found in R1 universities has its origins in a medieval apprenticeship model: one apprentices oneself for a certain number of years, and then is allowed into the guild. Performance measures are based on production quantity and quality. For the most part, R1 universities continue to take this approach, with the granting of tenure requiring the production of a certain number of books and articles placed, as a sign of quality, with esteemed presses and journals. Two forces have placed pressure on this model. The first is that modern market competition between schools coupled with a tight professorial job market have escalated the productivity demands, both pre- and post-tenure. Second, modernity has, according to Max Weber, brought with it the increased bureaucratic regulation of human life in its totality through formal policies. It is no longer sufficient to measure productivity in terms of numbers of books and articles; it is necessary also to govern the professor’s use of her time, both on and (seemingly) off the job.21 The result of these changes in the university settings is the rise and formalization of the “conflict of commitment” policy, which requires not just a certain amount of production, but that the professor not spend over a certain amount of time away from production for the university. Such regulations are different from conflict of interest policies, which pertain to whether the professor can do her job well in light of interests—say, significant stock ownership in a company one is researching—that may sit crosswise with scholarly inquiry. Conflict of interest policies are concerned with the integrity and thus quality of the work; conflict of commitment policies are concerned with the quantity of time put into it. Duke University’s conflict of commitment policy is straightforward, and involves little elaboration: A conflict of commitment can be said to exist when a member of the University community has an outside relationship that requires a commitment of time or effort to non-University activities, such that an individual, either implicitly or directly, cannot meet her/his obligations to the University.22

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The lack of detail in the Duke policy leaves much open to interpretation with regard to whether the professor is meeting her “obligations” to the university or not. Presumably, however, as long as such obligations are met, there is no strict time limit on “non-University” activities. The remainder of the policy discusses consulting and government activities as outside activities, suggesting that the policy concerns activity that is professional and remunerated as opposed to personal and non-remunerated. The total policy statement is only 125 words long. Emory’s policy begins with the statement that faculty “owe their primary professional allegiance to the university” (italics added), suggesting again that the focus is on professional, not personal activity.23 Most of the policy focuses on “teaching, research, or service at or on behalf of another institution,” again indicating that the concern is over professional activity. However, the fact that faculty must provide an “overview of all compensated and non-compensated activities” to their deans suggests a wider scope of activity. Importantly, activities considered “outside” the university must be reported to the relevant dean prior to that activity, giving the dean the juridical right to override the professor’s desire to participate in the activity even before it commences.24 The policy statement is 926 words long. If Emory’s policy leaves questions of scope ambiguous, Notre Dame’s does not. At 2,059 words, it is over twice as long as Emory’s and sixteen times longer than Duke’s. As such, it is far more specific than the other two, and provides a more detailed look at the implications of this genre of policy. Though the preamble to the policy states that the university respects faculty time with family and other “outside” activities, and indicates a desire for “dialogue,” the policy itself severely delimits outside time and grants administrators plenary power to prohibit any activity that is not activity for the university. Notre Dame’s policy requires that all faculty report to their department chair or dean any activity of one day a month, whether paid or unpaid, that is not directly in service to the university. Faculty must report any activity of five days or more to the provost. This includes weekends. The document is quite broad with regard to the disallowed activities, which involve all, “Activities not normally defined as a faculty member’s responsibilities to the University. For example, such activities may include paid or unpaid arrangements as an advisor, advocate, arbitrator, consultant, counselor, expert witness, board member, principal or co-principal investigator, or any other arrangement whereby a faculty member agrees to use his or her professional or other capabilities to further the interests or agenda of an outside activity or organization.”25 Paid or unpaid. Professional or other capabilities. Any other arrangement. With regard to the “other capabilities” that are to be monitored by the university, one of the members of the policy-generating body gave me the example of someone involved in her parish council.26 In short, the university is functionally asserting jurisdiction over the entire scope of the faculty member’s life. The policy gives the administrator the juridical prerogative to forbid non-university activity, with threat of “severe sanctions”—including dismissal from employment—if the professor continues in the activity.27 The detailed nature of Notre Dame’s policy allows us to quantify, and so not leave ambiguous, the extent of the university’s presumed scope of jurisdiction. Again, the policy requires reporting of outside activity of one to five days per month to the department chair or dean and of five or more days per month

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to the provost. Assuming at present an eight-hour workday, this means that the employee must report eight hours of outside activity to the chair or dean. The quantitative implications are easy to determine. There are 720 hours in a 30-day month. If we figure 8 hours per day for sleep and four hours for other activities such as personal hygiene and the preparation and eating of meals, this leaves 360 hours per thirty days. Given that the faculty member must report any activity of 8 hours or more, the university therefore lays claim to 352 hours per month of the employee’s time, or 11 hours and 44 minutes per day with no days not under university jurisdiction. Even if we take as the sample case that which lies at the boundary between accountability to the dean and accountability to the provost—5 days or 40 hours per month—this still calculates out to the university claiming 320 hours per month, that is, 10 hours and 40 minutes per day of the employee’s time with no days not under university jurisdiction. Such demands contrast sharply with the widely accepted view that that an employer may justly claim only 48 hours of regular time and request, but not demand, 12 hours of overtime per week, for a total of 60 hours of employer-claimed time per week. In the widely accepted view, the amount of time that an employer can claim from a worker per month is 208 hours (four weeks plus two days). This is the measure that the University itself signed onto when it became a member of the Workers’ Rights Consortium, an organization that monitors conditions in which licensees produce university goods.28 Any claim to more than 48 hours of an employee’s time formally constitutes—according to the university’s own standards when applied elsewhere—a “sweatshop” condition. We can debate whether we want to call the present situation for professors at Notre Dame a sweatshop condition—there is a literature on “white collar sweatshops,”29 yet there are vast differences between the situation at hand and the conditions of factory workers in developing countries—but it remains that the 208-hour threshold for justifiable claims on time by an employer is far below the numbers (320 to 360 hours) claimed, under threat of “severe sanction,” by the university. The conflict of commitment policy indicates that the university lays claim to between 74 hours, 40 minutes and 82 hours, 8 minutes per week of a faculty member’s time. Such a claim is itself in conflict with Catholic social teaching’s longstanding position against excessive demands on employees’ time on the part of employers.30 One of the ironies of the policy is that it states that one of the activities that can trigger a “severe sanction” is the “continual significant disregard for the Catholic character of the University,” a disregard that the policy itself, despite the intentions of its authors, appears to embody. Even more deeply, the problem with the university’s policy is not simply that of the number of hours it requires from its faculty. If we move to a qualitative and not merely quantitative standpoint, we see that the “conflict of commitment” policy begins at the opposite end of the question than is the norm in calculating work hours: most determinations of the work week begin with the idea that the worker’s time is hers to sell; but the policy begins with the idea that all of the faculty member’s time is under the university’s purview and that it is the university’s prerogative to determine how much the professor can keep for herself. It might be objected that while the policy claims a certain amount of the professor’s time for the university, it does not formally require the faculty to be working all of this time; it just rules out working—or any other activity—for an entity other than the university. However, the ratcheting up of production demands on the part of universities that serves as the precursor to such policies indicates that the policies do not

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constitute a call for increased faculty leisure time. On the contrary, a more probable interpretation comes to light when we consider these policies against the background of the disciplining—in the Foucaultian sense of governing persons’ bodies—of the lives of junior professors.31 Up to tenure, academic life —acceptance into a prestigious program, passage of exams, completion of the dissertation, the offer of a tenure-track position, promotion, and ultimately tenure itself—takes place within an all-or-nothing structure: fail at any one of these points and one is often, perhaps usually, shut out of academia altogether, or at best is cast into the academic version of limbo, adjunct status. This structure reduces all of the junior scholar’s activity, professional and personal, to a zero-sum game: any activity that is not activity towards tenure is activity against tenure; it is time that could and (according to the institutionally structured ethos) should be spent on behalf of the university. There is no need for a conflict of commitment policy for junior professors; it is already built into the tenure system itself. The dynamic changes after tenure, and many associate professors use their newfound status in part to seek better life balance.32 Against this backdrop, the conflict of commitment policy functions to re-institute the pre-tenure discipline for post-tenure faculty: the policies (Notre Dame’s in particular) re-describe virtually all activity that is not for the university as sufficiently against the university to merit the threat of “severe sanctions.” More broadly, the policy, with its threat of the severe sanction of removal from employment, functions to override the medieval apprenticeship model of tenure and replace it with a modern industrial time-card structure that maximizes production time on behalf of the employer, with the significant twist noted before that the conflict of commitment policy begins with the assumption that the employer, not the employee entering into the contract, has jurisdiction over virtually all of the employee’s time. The question, then, is that of how the call to follow Jesus Christ to meet the poor and the wicked face-to-face and proclaim God’s love for them in word and action—a calling that demands significant time and energy—fits with employment at a university that claims all of the professor’s time as its own and only then gives back a few hours here and there for “personal” use. One reply might be that there is already room for such discipleship in the academic context as presently structured. It can be argued that the writing and teaching required for advancement provide sufficient space. I take up these arguments in the next section.

Replies to Objections One anticipated objection is that academic writing, especially that on important social issues, is adequate in and of itself and, through some unarticulated social process, the poor will benefit. What this objection misses is that academic writing, even more so now than, say, fifty years ago, is set within institutional structures that obstruct any outside impact. That this is the case came forward in a debate that ensued when New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote that academics write in a “culture of exclusivity” that “glorifies arcane unintelligibility while disdaining impact and audience.”33 A wide range of academics replied swiftly and forcefully. They argued that they were indeed involved in wider public debates, much of it taking place in the blogosphere and social media, about such issues as the gap between rich and poor. What those critics of Kristof glossed over, however, is the question of whether such writing is counted

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as professional production by their home institutions. At Notre Dame, keeping a public blog, no matter how academic its reasoning may be, is not an academic activity and therefore must be reported to one’s chair, dean, or even provost as per the conflict of commitment policy. The most thoughtful response to Kristof came from Joshua Rothman of The New Yorker, who was once an academic. Rothman writes that the academic system discourages writing for anyone beyond a small circle of other academics, and his response—in keeping with the trend of narrowing what counts as academic writing—makes the distinction between a professor’s academic writing and other writing that she may do on her own time. The system that produces and consumes academic knowledge is changing, and, in the process, making academic work more marginal . . . All the forces are pushing things the other way, toward insularity. As in journalism, good jobs are scarce—but, unlike in journalism, professors are their own audience. This means that, since the liberal-arts job market peaked, in the mid-seventies, the audience for academic work has been shrinking. Increasingly, to build a successful academic career you must serially impress very small groups of people (departmental colleagues, journal and book editors, tenure committees). Often, an academic writer is trying to fill  a niche. Now, the niches are getting smaller. Academics may write for large audiences on their blogs or as journalists. But when it comes to their academic writing, and to the research that underpins it—to the main activities, in other words, of academic life—they have no choice but to aim for very small targets. Writing a first book, you may have in mind particular professors on a tenure committee; miss that mark and you may not have a job. Academics know which audiences—and, sometimes, which audience members—matter.34 Especially now, if not before, the argument that theory-weighted scholarly books and articles will eventually have an impact, however indirect, on the lives of the poor and the wicked amount to an invisible hand trickle-down theory of academic capital, with about the same impact as its namesake theory in the field of economic capital. Another objection that might be raised is that teaching can be and often is a form of discipleship. Stated this generally, there is no difficulty with this claim. There are colleges and universities that emphasize and—this is important—reward good teaching. More, there are colleges and universities that take it as a central part of their mission to admit and teach students from the lower end of the economic spectrum. Neither is the case, however, with most R1 universities. They may award, but they do not reward exceptional (as distinct from passable) teaching. It is also not the case that teaching people from the lower economic strata is functionally a significant part of the mission of the R1 schools we have been addressing. As indicated above, the median income of the families of the undergraduate students at Notre Dame, Emory, and Duke is $192,000/$139,800/$186,700 a year, according to a 2017 study on the role of colleges and universities in intergenerational economic

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mobility.35 Notre Dame and Duke are two of 38 colleges and universities—13th and 26th overall—that have a greater proportion of admitted students in the economic top 1% (15.4% in Notre Dame’s case and 19.2% with Duke) than in the bottom 60% (10% Notre Dame and 16.5% Duke). Only Emory reverses this pattern, with 14.9% from the top 1% and 27.7% from the bottom 60%. In terms of admitting and enrolling students in the bottom economic quintile, Notre Dame, Emory, and Duke rank 2,383rd, 1,805th, and 2,140th of 2,395 schools measured. Therefore also, when the focus is on the number and percentage of students who move from the economic bottom 40% to the top 40% as a result of going to a school, the three schools come in 2,190th, 1,785th, and 2,080th.36 If discipleship involves going out to the poor in word and practical action, then the admissions policies of Notre Dame and Duke—and to a somewhat lesser extent, Emory—make it difficult for faculty to carry out their calling. Teaching students from well-off backgrounds can be a part of discipleship—Jesus’ own words are sharp, “Woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. Woe to you who are full now, for you will be hungry” (Lk 6:24–25)—but the One we are to follow makes clear that the primary focus of His ministry is to the poor and those socially marginalized under the rubric of the wicked. For discipleship, then, the primary focus of time and energy must be with these persons. I have tried to move my own activities in this direction, and I narrate these efforts in the following last section.

Narrow is the Way: A Pilgrim’s Progress? My own efforts at discipleship in the R1 context are riddled with trial and error, but perhaps because of that they can serve as a kind of fractured object lesson. After fifteen years of teaching and writing on war, peace, and human rights, in 2005 I decided that I could no longer ply the trade with any integrity unless I placed myself in a warzone where there are significant human rights violations. I went and lived in Internally Displaced Persons camps in northern Uganda during and immediately after the Lord’s Resistance Army conflict. I did this in part for epistemological reasons: most Christian ethicists in the United States adhere to some form of the sociology of knowledge, the idea that where we are socially located shapes what we know, and yet virtually no such ethicists writing on war ever go live in conflict zones. We needed, it seemed to me, to follow through methodologically what our epistemologies told us about the world and our knowledge of it. My reasoning was also theological: Jesus Christ went out to meet the poor and marginalized where they are, and if we are to take on the designation “Christian,” then so should we. I wrote about this effort in terms of “crossing the road,” like the Good Samaritan.37 Unlike the Good Samaritan, however, I was not doing anything practical on behalf of the people I met. This was a mistake. To be sure, the people in the camps often told me that my presence there as a Western white person gave them hope that they had not been entirely forgotten by the “world” in what was, “the world’s most forgotten humanitarian crisis.”38 Still, others made clear to me that this was not enough. One man put it to me bluntly about my research, “What are you going to do for us? You come and steal our knowledge. You steal our culture. You come and talk to us about our knowledge and our culture and then take it all back with you. And we have nothing left. Look at us. You see how we live. What are you going to do for us?” He was telling me that unless it is converted into something that they themselves can use,

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academic research on the poor is simply another instance of colonial extraction, no less so than mining for minerals for its being the culture that one collects and takes away. Without shaping our research in a way that directly serves the subjects of that research, scholarship conducted in such settings is mere plunder, another “scramble for Africa.” He was right. I asked him and others in return, “What do you need?” A frequent answer: “We need oxen.” The war had reduced livestock ownership to 2% of what it was before.39 In 2008, I audited a course in non-profit management, trained as an ox drover, and co-founded PeaceHarvest, a (very) small non-profit organization that combined livestock provision with training in agriculture and peacebuilding. We did ten one- and two-week trainings. I formed the organization in light of Catholic social teaching—my main teaching and frequent writing subject—with its emphasis on positive peace as “right relationship with neighbor,” and Pope Paul VI’s observation and dictum, “Development is the new name for peace.”40 I also consciously designed PeaceHarvest to apply and follow Catholic social teaching’s principle of subsidiarity—we used local practices as well as best practices drawn from other regions of the world; after the first two trainings, we used only local trainers. In other words, I took intellectual skills and insights that I learned through graduate school and eighteen years of university teaching, and combined them with listening-oriented fieldwork to convert my academic capital and co-create something that contributed to the wellbeing not just of humanity abstractly considered, but of specific people. The results were concrete and measurable: each two-week training brought five teams of oxen. Each team served five families. Each family, on average, has six people. So each two-week training helped 150 people feed themselves (5x5x6=150). With five two-week trainings (the one-week trainings were follow-ups), we helped 750 people to feed themselves. Catholic Relief Services invited our Ugandan manager to present on how PeaceHarvest combines agricultural development with peacebuilding at a special in-service on the topic. I knew that such activity does not receive any acknowledgment as academic productivity at Notre Dame, despite the university’s commercials about its service to the poor. Such commercials and the activities displayed in them promote the university, but not, given the narrow account of what constitutes scholarly activity, the professor within the university. The academic field does not recognize such activity as a form of currency. In the meantime, founding and directing PeaceHarvest slowed the completion of my book project by three to four years, which has delayed my becoming a full professor, with the bump of salary that that involves, by the same amount of time. I have made the calculation, and the total loss over the remainder of my career of being three to four years behind in salary each year runs into the six figures (and this leaves out the money I invested directly into PeaceHarvest). Using academic capital for other than academic purposes narrowly conceived has literal cost. I knew this going into the project. But I made another mistake. I knew that PeaceHarvest would not count for my professional advancement, but I did not know that it would count against it. However, after I told administrators about the non-profit as part of a general reporting on my work in Uganda (this was before the formal conflict of commitment policy was articulated, so I did not know better in telling them), my salary was frozen—no cost of living increase—for seven years until my book was out. This was far from a “severe sanction” like tenure or job revocation, but the message was clear: in founding PeaceHarvest, I had, according to the university,

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misappropriated what it felt was its time. I had to discontinue PeaceHarvest. Not long after, the university issued its conflict of commitment policy, formalizing an institutional ethos that was, as I found out, already in place in practice. The sanctioning in my case indicates that such policies are not mere window-dressing, but are meant to be applied. They are specifications of a particular practiced ethos. My mistake was that I was carrying out what I thought of as my discipleship alongside my research, something not permitted in a setting where virtually all activity outside of the university is forbidden. The way is indeed narrow (Mt 7:14). What I needed to do was to discern the shape of my discipleship first, and then build my research around that, and that is what I have done with my current research project among persons with opioid and methamphetamine addictions in northern Indiana. What I have found in this present work is that there are distinct advantages to focusing locally as it pertains to Christian discipleship in an R1 university. Research among the marginalized in far-off locales has multiple complications that make it difficult to complete books on the timeline drawn up by the university, a timeline that is based more on the kind of research that requires little more than a library.41 There is first of all the matter of simply getting to the field site. It took two days of red-eye flights and two days more of overland travel—mostly on pothole-riven and bumpy, unpaved roads—to get to my primary site of Lokung Internally Displaced Persons camp. In one roundtrip, then, eight days is taken in travel. The physical demands of the travel point to a second factor of such research generally—it is hard on the body. Even once on site, “rustic” accommodations—no running water, pit toilets that require deep squatting, small animals in one’s room—and motorcycle intra-site travel on corrugated dirt roads all add to the toll. Care of the body takes time. Care of the soul does too. Seeing and being with persons who have been mutilated by machetes and who then unfold their stories for you requires downtime, and sometimes more than a shot of whiskey. Secondary trauma is real. I returned from one trip with PTSD. Research in such locations also requires learning the local dialects of languages that cannot be found in any Rosetta Stone or university course. When I began fieldwork in northern Uganda and South Sudan, the only English-Acholi grammars and dictionaries were written by early twentieth century Comboni missionaries, and even these could not replace the required on-the-ground, sentence-by-broken-sentence learning of the local language. Much of my “research” time was spent with language tutors. Another factor typically not taken into account by universities is that sabbaticals for an ethnographer working on the edges of war-torn developing countries are for research more than writing. We need big blocks of time—remember, it takes eight days just to get there and back—and going only in the summer misses all of the rest of the seasonal cycle in what are largely agrarian or itinerant pastoral economies. Finding the time to be in the field in a way that is adequate to the lives of the people living there is difficult. Sabbaticals provide that time. Ethnographers—or at least this ethnographer—write when they get back. The problem is that the university expects a written product upon return. The first thing this ethnographer does upon return is get to know his family again. Then the writing begins, and it involves converting a loose array—sometimes coherent, sometimes not—of observations, “thick descriptions,”42 and semi-structured interviews into a narrative with a more or less clear trajectory. Unlike in quantitative social science, the evidence does not come back in the (somewhat)

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neat categories that the researcher sets out in advance. And unlike in library-based research, there is no clear point at which one has “read” all of the relevant sources and can proceed on to writing. Much of the surprise is in the writing itself. I have written in both library-based and field-based forms. With the former, virtually all of the thinking takes place before the writing; I know what I am going to say. Not so with the latter, and the result is many more drafts than would otherwise be the case. In the meantime, the expectation of production continues as before. Going local helps ameliorate some, but not all, of these factors. I chose working with persons with opioid and methamphetamine addictions because they are—at least in the gaze that is from Notre Dame— the marginalized of the marginalized in northern Indiana. I am what is called a Certified Addiction Peer Recovery Coach. The field of addiction recovery services began developing the option of the peer recovery coach after it realized that it had driven out peer-based recovery—that is, recovery built upon relationships with people who themselves are in recovery. Though it was not a conscious reason at first, I am sure that it was in play when I began this research that I battled active addiction myself 38–40 years ago. I am sure that had my recoverees been my age back then, we would have gotten high together. I began by working in the Indiana state prison system, meeting with who I call “my guys,” because I cannot bring myself to call them “my patients” or “my clients,” while they were incarcerated and then continuing to work with them once they were released. I went through both Notre Dame’s and the Indiana Department of Correction’s IRBs so that I could do the research and thus the work. Word that I was doing the work quickly spread in the region, and I have both initiated and been called upon to develop recovery coaching in our hospital emergency rooms, which encounter people who are overdosing on a daily basis. I have written a successful six-figure grant proposal for training recovery coaches for the hospital emergency room. The hospital grant already permits me access to the data for research; now I just have to write it up for Notre Dame’s IRB to make it official academic research so that I do not get sanctioned for conflict of commitment like I did when I founded PeaceHarvest. The work is still emotionally difficult. One woman started heroin when she was 13; she is hepatitis C positive because her parents shared their needles with her. One man’s father had him sniffing fentanyl— which is as much as 50 times more powerful than heroin—when he was 12 years old. He is now thirty, and last week when we were driving along in my car, he pointed out the window at a man filling up his car at a gas station: “That’s my dad’s heroin dealer.” The vast majority of the recoverees with whom I am working had childhood traumas resulting from things ranging from physical and sexual abuse to a parent being murdered. Those who had whatever might be called “normal” childhoods contribute trauma of their own. I meet with mental health professionals to track my own psychological wellbeing. There is always grief work to do. Still, when the day is done, I see my family and sleep in my own bed. The farthest I have to travel to see one of my recoverees—I do home visits in part because many of them do not have their driver’s license or a car and in part because it allows our meetings to take place on their “turf ”—is somewhat over an hour. The nearest recoveree is minutes down the street. With no four-day, thousands-of-miles buffer, the main difficulty now is in maintaining physical and psychological boundaries. None know where I live because

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the first persons someone with an addiction often steals from is persons he knows and even loves. I have changed my Facebook name so that the recoverees I work with cannot readily track my personal life. Still, if I need a break from my work, I do not have to wait weeks for the opportunity. Reduced travel, less toll on the body, perhaps less psychological stress, no foreign language to learn, less need to spend large amounts of time to acquire travel funds, sabbaticals than can be used for writing as well as fieldwork: perhaps following Christ in going out to the poor and wicked locally can combine with a rate and mode of publication that meets the requirements of an R1 university. There is still the difficulty of converting the messiness of life, particularly life on the margins, into a book with a narrative trajectory. And there are still certain requirements of self-care that are not in play with library-based research. But the practical reasoning I have performed in this article suggests that going local can increase the chances, whatever they might be, of a Christian also succeeding as an academic. It is a survival tactic made all but necessary for discipleship in the R1 university.

Notes 1 George Marsden, The Soul of the American University: From Protestant Establishment to Established Non-Belief (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994). 2 See, for instance, James Burtchaell, The Dying of the Light: The Disengagement of Colleges and Universities from their Christian Churches (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1998). 3 Perry L. Glanzer, Nathan E. Alleman, and Todd C. Ream, Restoring the Soul of the University: Unifying Christian Higher Education in a Fragmented Age (Grover, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 2017). 4 Douglas Jacobsen and Rhonda Jacobsen, The American University in a Postsecular Age (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008). 5 Mark U. Edwards Jr., “Why Faculty Find it Difficult to Talk About Religion,” in Ibid., pp. 81-98. 6 R1 universities are, according to the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, doctorate-granting universities with the “highest research activity.” See “The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education,” at http://carnegieclassifications.iu.edu/classification_descriptions/basic.php. 7 For easily accessible data, see, “The Upshot: Some Colleges Have More Students From the Top 1 Percent Than the Bottom 60 Percent. Find Yours,” The New York Times (January 18, 2017), at https://www.nytimes.com/ interactive/2017/01/18/upshot/some-colleges-have-more-students-from-the-top-1-percent-than-the-bottom-60.html ?action=click&contentCollection=Opinion&module=Trending&version=Full&region=Marginalia&pgtype=article; and “The Upshot: Economic diversity and student outcomes at Notre Dame,” The New York Times, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/interactive/projects/college-mobility/notre-dame.

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9 Todd Whitmore, “Crossing the Road: The Case for Ethnographic Fieldwork in Christian Ethics,” Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics 27, no. 2 (2007): 273–294. 10 R1 universities are, according to the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, doctorate-granting universities with the “highest research activity.” See “The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education,” http://carnegieclassifications.iu.edu/classification_descriptions/basic.php. 11 For the corporatizing trend, see, for instance, Gaye Tuchman, Wannabe U: Inside the Corporate University (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009); On “greedy institutions,” see Lewis A. Coser, Greedy Institutions: Patterns of Undivided Commitment (New York: Free Press, 1974); and Marianne Egger De Campo, “Contemporary Greedy Institutions: An Essay on Lewis Coser’s Concept in the Age of the ‘Hive Mind,’” Sociologický Časopis / Czech Sociological Review, 49/6 (2013): 969-987. 12 “Mission Statement,” Duke University, https://trustees.duke.edu/governing-documents/mission-statement. 13 See, “Mission Statement,” Emory University, http://emoryhistory.emory.edu/issues/character/mission.html. 14 See “University of Notre Dame Mission Statement,” University of Notre Dame, https://dulac.nd.edu/universitymission-and-vision/mission/. 15 For a classic statement of the discipleship versus imitation thesis, see Hans von Campenhausen, Die Idee des Martyriums in der alten Kirche, 2nd ed. (Göttinggen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1964), 56–78. For a critique of the Campenhausen interpretation, see Candida Moss, The Other Christs: Imitating Jesus in Ancient Christian Ideologies of Martyrdom (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), 20–23. 16 James D.G. Dunn, Jesus and the Spirit: A Study of the Religious and Charismatic Experience of Jesus and the First Christians as Reflected in the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997), 13. 17 Dunn, Jesus and the Spirit, 81–82. 18 I use the term “the wicked” rather than “sinners” (both are used in the gospels) because of the tendency, following Paul, to water down what constitutes a sinner by proclaiming that we are all sinners. When Jesus refers to his coming not for the righteous, but sinners, he is highlighting that he is going out to a specific subset of people who have been singularly condemned and marginalized by the community, not the whole community. 19 See, for instance, John P. Meier, “The Bible as a Source for Theology,” in The Catholic Theological Society of America, Proceedings of the Forty-Third Annual Convention 43 (Louisville/Chicago: The Catholic Theological Society of America, 1988), 1–14. 20 For the argument that Jesus had missions to both the poor and the wicked, see Todd Whitmore, Imitating Christ in Magwi: An Anthropological Theology (London/New York: Bloomsbury/T&T Clark, 2019), 213–220. 21 Max Weber, Economy and Society, eds. Guenther Roth and Claus Wittich (Berkeley/Los Angeles/London:

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22 “Chapter 5: Research-Organizational Structure for Sponsored Projects and Research Related Policies,” Faculty Handbook 2019, https://provost.duke.edu/sites/all/files/FHB_Chap_5.pdf. The entirety of the rest of the policy simply provides some qualifications: “In addition, the distribution of a faculty member’s effort among, for example, research, teaching, committee responsibilities, and outside consulting or other activities may raise issues of conflict of commitment. Any faculty member planning to do research for the government under a stipulation that a specified fraction of her/his effort will be devoted to the research should check with the Office of Research Support or the Office of Research Administration regarding procedures to ensure demonstrable compliance with the indicated requirements.” 23 “Chapter 13: Conflict of Interest and Commitment,” Emory University, https://provost.emory.edu/faculty/ handbook/conflict-of-interest.html. 24 Ibid. 25 “Conflict of Commitment Policy,” University of Notre Dame, December 2012, https://policy.nd.edu/assets/185214/ conflict_commitmentpolicy.pdf. 26 More, the policy defines academic activity narrowly: while “writing books and articles” constitutes activity that does not have to be reported, “holding office in a scholarly or professional organization” and “editing a learned journal” do constitute activity that must be reported. Professors, according to the policy, are above all and almost exclusively to be book-generators. See, Ibid. 27 Ibid. This part of the policy reads, “Whenever an activity is deemed to compromise a faculty member’s ability to carry out his or her University obligations, the faculty member’s chair or dean has the authority to intervene. . . . If a faculty member disagrees with his or her Department Chair’s or Dean’s determination regarding a compromising activity, the faculty member may appeal the decision in writing to a three-person peer review ad hoc ‘Conflict of Commitment Committee.’ This committee’s determination shall be final. The timing and management of the appeal process will be as articulated in the ‘severe sanctions’ appeal process.” For severe sanctions including dismissal from employment, see Section 3, Article 8 of the Notre Dame Faculty Handbook, at https://facultyhandbook.nd.edu/ assets/276034/academic_articles_effective_october_1_2017.pdf. 28 The university also signed onto the code of the Fair Labor Association, which allows overtime to be demanded, thus allowing a required 60-hour workweek. Even here, the numbers come to 260 hours a month (four 60-hour weeks plus two ten-hour days), still far below the 320–360 hours that the university policy demands. 29 Jill Ayanski Fraser, White Collar Sweatshop: The Deterioration of Work and its Rewards in Corporate America (New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2002). 30 The church’s teaching recognizes that humans are multi-dimensional beings who realize their dignity in a variety of social spheres—familial, religious, political, and cultural, as well as economic. When activity in the remunerative economic sphere overextends into the other spheres in its time requirements or ethos, this violates the dignity of the

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human person. Thus Rerum Novarum, as one instance, warns that the employer “is bound to see that [the employee] has time for the duties of piety . . . and that he not be led away to neglect his home and family” (15). In addition, the employer must not interfere with each person’s obligation, in John XXIII’s words, to “contribute generously to the establishment of a civic order in which rights and duties are more sincerely and effectively acknowledged and fulfilled” (Pacem in Terris, 31). Yet another basis for limits on the time and energy that employees put into remunerative work is related more directly to the capacity of the worker: “The employer must never tax his work-people beyond their strength” (Rerum Novarum, 15). 31 Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, 2nd ed., trans. Alan Sheridan (New York: Vintage Books, 1995). 32 See Robin Wilson, “Why Are Associate Professors So Unhappy?” The Chronical of Higher Education, June 3, 2012, https://www.chronicle.com/article/Why-Are-Associate-Professors/132071. 33 Nicholas Kristof, “Professors, We Need You!” The New York Times, February 15, 2014, https://www.nytimes. com/2014/02/16/opinion/sunday/kristof-professors-we-need-you.html?_r=0. 34 Joshua Rothman, “Why is Academic Writing So Academic?” The New Yorker, February 20, 2014, https://www. newyorker.com/books/page-turner/why-is-academic-writing-so-academic. 35 Raj Chetty, John N. Friedman, Emmanuel Saez, Nicholas Turner, Danial Yagan, “Mobility Report Cards: The Role of Colleges in Intergenerational Mobility,” http://www.equality-of-opportunity.org/assets/documents/coll_mrc_ paper.pdf. 36 For easily accessible data, see, “The Upshot: Some Colleges Have More Students From the Top 1 Percent Than the Bottom 60 Percent. Find Yours,” The New York Times, January 18, 2017, at https://www.nytimes.com/ interactive/2017/01/18/upshot/some-colleges-have-more-students-from-the-top-1-percent-than-the-bottom-60.html ?action=click&contentCollection=Opinion&module=Trending&version=Full&region=Marginalia&pgtype=article; and “The Upshot: Economic diversity and student outcomes at Notre Dame,” The New York Times, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/interactive/projects/college-mobility/notre-dame. 37 Todd Whitmore, “Crossing the Road,” 273–294. 38 There are several close versions of this quote from Jan Egeland, then UN Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, indicating that he said it several times in slightly different forms. See, for instance, Reliefweb, “War in northern Uganda world’s worst forgotten crisis: UN,” November 11, 2003, http://reliefweb.int/report/uganda/warnorthern-uganda-worlds-worst-forgotten-crisis-un; and “Northern Uganda “World’s Biggest Neglected Crisis,” The Guardian, October 22, 2004, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2004/oct/22/2. 39 See Kirsten Gelsdorf, Daniel Maxwell and Dyan Mazurana, Livelihoods, Basic Services and Social Protection in Northern Uganda and Karamoja , Feinstein International Center, Working Paper 4 (August 2012). 40 National Conference of Catholic Bishops, The Challenge of Peace: God’s Promise and Our Response (Washington: United States Catholic Conference, 1983), pars. 27 and 32–33; Paul VI, Populorum Progressio, 76 and 87.

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41 Quantitative research in sociology or political science typically involves a flock of research assistants to undertake the surveys and sometimes do some of the writing; ethnography is most often a solo venture. 42 On “thick description,” see Clifford Geertz, The Interpretation of Cultures (New York: Basic Books, 1973), 3–32.

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Introducing Design Thinking & Practical Theology: A New Interdisciplinary Partnership Kathryn Common Boston University Abstract This paper will introduce design thinking and practical theology as promising new interdisciplinary partners that can enhance their respective methodological and pedagogical approaches. Both share a focus on problem-solving, innovation and transformation and as such a partnership can be quite amenable. The paper will introduce design thinking to a practical theology audience by providing a review of its history, methods, and distinct academic and business discourses and contributions. Key similarities and correlations are explored in relation to their definitions, practical approaches, methodologies, and academic disciplines. Drawing on design theory research, it shows how design offers unique epistemological strengths that are vital in developing innovative solutions to multifaceted and complex ‘wicked problems.’ Concrete examples are discussed that specifically engage how the two can enhance one another in regards to professional practice and pedagogy.

Introduction

I

n this article, I will introduce design thinking and practical theology as promising new interdisciplinary partners. As I will show, they share a focus that circulates around problem-solving and transformation, which makes such a partnership quite amenable. Their unique strengths can make methodological and pedagogical contributions that can enhance one another. Fields such as business have already begun to Practical Matters Journal, Summer 2019, Issue 12, pp. 85-109. Š The Author 2019. Published by Emory University. All rights reserved.

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leverage design thinking as an interdisciplinary partner, driven by the idea that “design is too important to be left to designers.” 1 As explained by design thinking leader Tim Brown, designers have been pulled out of the studio and can now be found in “boardrooms of some of the world’s most progressive companies.” 2 My own passion comes from my education and career as both a graphic designer and now a practical theologian.3 I know firsthand the power of design to shape cultures and organizations as well as lead the way in strategic change. It has informed my own theological work in vital ways and given me the perspective that design is too important to be left to designers or the business world.4 This essay will proceed in three parts, beginning in Part I with definitions and a discussion that draws out the two disciplines’ core similarity as problem-solving and innovation fields. Part II will proceed with an in-depth survey of design thinking with the intent to introduce its rich history and resources to a practical theology audience that may have limited familiarity with the it. These parts provide the foundation for moving into the latter half of the paper. In Part III, I will bring together an overall comparison of both fields, as well as a comparison of different methodologies, highlighting their similarities as well as discussing their respective differences. I will conclude in Part IV by pointing towards potential contributions they can make to one another, both in the classroom and in professional practice. My aim throughout is to introduce design thinking as a promising interdisciplinary partner for practical theology that can contribute new perspectives in disciplinary identity, methodology, and pedagogy.

Part I Definitions and Key Correlation In this next section I will provide key definitions of both design thinking and practical theology drawing out their core similarity as problem-solving and innovation fields. It is this shared foundation that can become an intersectional point for bringing these two fields together in a productive interdisciplinary partnership. Design is a problem-solving process that aims to develop aesthetic and functional solutions to particular problems. Design thinking refers to the process of design, that is the methods and characteristics of the design process. In this paper, I will utilize both terms, referring to design when speaking about the particular art form, profession, and/or the academic discipline of design; and design thinking when speaking about particular studies, research, and methods describing the design process. Design differs from other visual art forms in that it is specifically aimed towards problem solving and not only artistic expression, although aesthetics and expression typically play a strong part of any design. Design theorist Richard Buchanan defines design as “the human power of conceiving, planning, and making products that serve human beings in the accomplishment of their individual and collective purposes.”5 Design is something all people do, as

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design educator Robin Vande Zande explains: “design is a profession with particular skill sets and theories that are taught, but on another basic level, designing is an innate facility apparent in humankind.”6 Buchanan further clarifies that “design is an art of invention and disposition, whose scope is universal, in the sense that it may be applied for the creation of any human-made product.”7 The products of design can be varied such as domestic objects, visual communications such as logos and brands, strategic planning, buildings, urban planning, as well as experience design such as the flow of traffic through an airport.8 As Vande Zande notes, “design is both a verb and a noun, which highlights the essential need to take into account both processes and final results.”9 In this sense, design speaks to both the process of design and the products of design. Though practical theology is not typically described in terms of a problem-solving activity, in many cases it does have this focus as it can seek to guide change in practices, theologies, religious communities, and even cultures. Bonnie Miller-McLemore explains that “practical theology’s objective is both to understand and to influence religious wisdom in congregations and public life more generally. Many would argue that practical theology is, in fact, not complete without a move from description to normative construction and action.”10 These moves to understand and influence or describe and construct is very similar to design methods that seek to define problems and transform them. Practical theologians describe this in similar ways with the nuance of their particular perspectives. For example, Dale P. Andrews states that the core of practical theology from an African American context is “how to shape faithful religious, moral, social, political, and communal practices that in turn shape human thriving, community, and faith traditions.”11 Discussing an empirical practical theology approach, Richard Osmer states, that practical theology, “seeks to learn from the present context, as well as to guide and even transform the current context.”12 As Joyce Mercer explains, foundational to feminist and womanist practical theology is “imagining alternative futures in which women together with others may flourish. Feminist [and womanist] practical theology thus works toward transformation of present injustice in light of these alternative visions.”13 Similarly, Rebecca Chopp explains that feminist theology in general can be understood as a form of practical theology because it “is oriented to what may be, to the promise of hope, [and] to the transformation of the present.”14 My own definition of practical theology, from a feminist perspective, is a method of doing theology (either as an academic scholar, religious leader, or lay person) that emphasizes describing human practices as they are, imagining how they could be, and seeking to transform or design practices to shape particular outcomes. For me practical theology is a design process. However, it is also important to note that practical theology is a broad, multivalent term that can take on many meanings depending on particular contexts and certain approaches may not be oriented towards transformation.15 To speak to this complexity, Miller-McLemore develops a four-fold definition of practical theology: it can be an academic discipline; activity of faith; method for studying theology in practice; or a curricular area.16 In this paper, I will mostly be referring to practical theology as an academic “discipline among scholars” as one of the four areas defined by her. Even within these particular areas, there is still no broad consensus around approaches to practical theology within the field. However, at the heart of these shared interests and concerns is a focus on practices, particularly the theory-practice-theory relationship and how they inform and transform one another. This is another key connection that unites practical

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theology and design thinking. Within academic institutions, they are both considered practical disciplines, seeking to strike a balance between rational knowing and practical knowing (phronesis). In recent decades, trends in philosophy and critical theory challenged the false dichotomy between theory and practice and opened a way for more practical disciplines such as practical theology and design to take root. Miller-McLemore notes that these topics and others led to the expansion of practical theology and generated a “fresh interest in practice, the study of practice, and pursuit of improved pedagogical strategies for cultivating practical knowledge.”17 There has also been a focus on the connection between the “practice-theory-practice structure of all theology.”18 In design, Buchanan notes that the university system used to regard design “as a servile activity, practiced by artisans who possessed practical knowledge and intuitive abilities but who did not possess the ability to explain the first principles that guided their work.”19 This lead to the rise of independent art and design schools and a classification of design as a fine art.20 However, he notes that in the twentieth century a need for practical disciplines emerged that can “connect and integrate knowledge from many specializations into productive results for individual and social life.”21 As such design has started to become an academic discipline in its own right, outside of the fine arts. Practical theology and design are two disciplines geared towards practice and so it is promising that a dialogue between the two could be mutually beneficial. With these definitions and similarities in mind, I move to Part II, where I will provide a fuller survey of design thinking, exploring its history, cognitive features, methodologies, and how the field of business has leveraged it to enhance its own leadership and strategic practices.22 Before moving into this section I want to note that several popular trade books recently published on design thinking are often the entry point for novices interested in the subject.23 However, these texts often provide a limited perspective on what design thinking is, typically describing it as a new method that can aid the reader in becoming a better, more creative problem-solver. This framing covers over the vast array of resources and insights garnered in design for nearly a century. In addition, research shows that learning a distilled method for design thinking may have limited success for shaping non-designers into design thinkers.24 Therefore if a person’s only exposure to design thinking is popular books, their understanding of the subject and success in design thinking may be limited. In contrast, the introduction below points to the vastness of the field and will show that there are no easy shortcuts to becoming an expert design thinker but that there are clear practices and insights that can be leveraged across disciplines to begin this work. For those interested in an even more exhaustive understanding of design thinking, the resources cited in this part are excellent points of departure for further exploration.

Part II Design Thinking Survey: History, Research & Approaches

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During the last century design has been researched and studied in an academic context, by design theorists from a variety of perspectives and approaches.25 Design first became a theoretical topic around the 1920’s as the industrial era complexified the ability to manufacture products. It was assumed that preindustrial artisan and craftsman methods were not complex enough to deal with these new modes of production.26 This became the impetus to discover a scientific method of design that could be replicated to design better products, thus the start of design thinking research. World War II brought both pressing problems and also novel technologies that needed to be integrated into civilian life. This furthered design method inquiries. In 1962, The Conference of Design Methods held in London, “marked the launch of design methodology as a subject or field of inquiry in the western academy.”27 Behind this movement was a desire “to formulate the design method—[as] a coherent, rationalized method, [just] as “the scientific method” was supposed to be.”28 However, this received criticism because of its positivistic approach. Design theorist Donald Schön argued that it assumed designers only worked on solving well-formed problems. In contrast, he observed that designers deal with “messy, problematic situations.”29 Another theorist, Horst Rittel explicated this further by arguing that designers typically work on what he named, wicked problems: A class of social system problems which are ill-formulated, where the information is confusing, where there are many clients and decision makers with conflicting values, and where the ramifications in the whole system are thoroughly confusing.30 Richard Buchanan explains that wicked problems have a fundamental indeterminacy. That is, “there are no definitive conditions or limits to design problems,” in contrast to determinate problems, which exhibit precise conditions that engender concise solutions.31 Simply illustrated, discovering a leak under your kitchen sink is a determinate problem, with a precise condition causing it—a hole in a rusted pipe. However, indeterminate or “wicked problems” are not as simple or linear. Racism in the United States is a wicked problem. It is intersectional, part of a broad range of interlocking systems and it cannot be solved in a simple linear way but must be approached from a variety of different perspectives.32 While these are over-simplifications, they illustrate the fundamental differences between these different types of problems. Because designers work on indeterminate “wicked problems” Schön proposed a search for “an epistemology of practice implicit in the artistic, intuitive processes which some practitioners . . . bring to situations of uncertainty, instability, uniqueness, and value conflict.”33 Design practices were explored with a variety of methods to determine epistemological design features—that is the analytical and creative thinking processes that designers use to develop their work. Several of these key features are discussed below.

Design Intelligence In Nigel Cross’ qualitative research on expert designers, he finds that design thinking is a multifaceted cognitive skill and that expert designers exhibit a type of ‘design intelligence:’ Rather than solving merely ‘the problem as given’ they apply their intelligence to the wider context and suggest imaginative, apposite solutions that resolve conflicts and uncertainties.

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They have cognitive skills of problem framing, of gathering and structuring problem data and creating coherent patterns from the data that indicate ways of resolving the issues and suggest possible solution concepts . . . Good designers also apply constructive thinking not only in their individual work but also in collaboration in teamwork.34 Cross shows that experienced designers approach problems with a ‘breadth-first’ method. This involves broad exploration and the development of many sub-solutions as opposed to a ‘depth first’ approach taken by novice designers. Novices will identify a problem and immediately begin to explore one in-depth solution, slowing the process down and typically not generating a successful resolution. Whereas expert designers widely examine the problem, drawing on the experience they have in their domain and reframing the problem as they go along. Cross shows that experts tend to stand back from the specifics of the problem and form abstractions, looking for underlying principles, rather than focusing on the surface features.35 Cross notes that expert designers deal with ‘ill-defined’ problems as ‘ill-behaved’ problem solvers—they do not take the problem at face value but impose their view of the problem that directs the search for solutions.36 He finds that design intelligence is similar across different fields of design—from graphic design to architecture to name a few. Richard Buchanan’s research clarifies the integral connection between problem naming and solution creating by discussing a key feature of design, what he names the doctrine of placements. He argues that designers reframe problems from a different perspective, opening up a different vista to view the problem, which can reveal solutions inconceivable before. He calls this conceptual repositioning of problems the doctrine of placements: The doctrine of placements provides a useful means of understanding what many designers describe as the intuitive or serendipitous quality of their work. Individual designers often possess a personal set of placements, developed and tested by experience. The inventiveness of the designer lies in a natural or cultivated and artful ability to return to those placements and apply them to a new situation, discovering aspects of the situation that affect the final design.37 This is one way designers can break open fresh solutions for ossified problems. Designers are also astute at reaching across disciplines and finding relevant knowledge for solving a particular wicked problem. Buchanan calls this skill a principle of relevance.38 Because of this, he argues that design carves out a unique place within the academy, as a liberal art that has no subject matter of its own. In solving problems, it gathers and integrates, with relative depth, disparate knowledge across fields. This is a much-needed skill in the current technological era of specialization where “subjects contribute to the advance of knowledge, [but] also contribute to its fragmentation.”39 Others have a made a similar argument that design is uniquely suited for cultivating a much needed ‘meta-disciplinary’ collaboration amongst disciplines and professions to help balance extreme specializations in knowledge fields.40 They argue that there is currently a dual trend in modern science disciplines: On the one hand, specialization is brought to an extreme; people excel in ever more minute

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fields of expertise. On the other hand, our interest in a ‘big picture’ endures. Given the increasing focus on details, mono-disciplinary work is less and less capable of meeting that demand for big picture thinking.41 Design thinking is big picture or meta-disciplinary thinking in that it often ignores “the restriction of admissible questions or analytical schemes typical of mono-disciplinary thinking” and instead uses “strategies that help to develop a common ground of knowledge and agreement between disciplines.”42 These strategies can be transferable to solving wicked problems in any field or discipline. This makes design “a valuable methodology for interdisciplinary creative work as it specifically compliments mono-disciplinary thinking.”43 It can be a way forward for more integrative knowledge production. In sum, designers exhibit a wide range of epistemological skills that make them adept at reframing problems, integrating disparate knowledge across disciplines, and generating novel solutions particularly to wicked problems in a variety of contexts. But how do designers become adept at honing these skills? Cross shows that to achieve a level of expertise in design thinking: A novice needs lots and lots of practice, guided by skillful teachers. The novice designer also needs exposure to many good examples of expert work in the domain, and needs to learn to perceive and retain these examples . . . Like learning a language, it is a matter of immersion and internalizing different levels of understanding and achievement.44 This research casts doubt on whether non-design professionals trained in design thinking will be able to achieve the same creative and strategic results as designers. However, even a novice understanding of design thinking can help people become aware of their problem-solving processes and hopefully improve their skills with practice. As I will show below, the business world has leveraged both design thinking methods and expert designers to improve its own innovative and strategic practice.

Design Thinking and Business Design thinking emerged in the business world after the ‘dot-com’ bubble burst in the early 2000’s, driving many floundering companies to focus on innovation techniques.45 Global design strategy companies like IDEO, began to see that design methods could help organizations at any level as explained by CEO Tim Brown, in his book Change By Design: Rather than enlist designers to make an already developed idea more attractive, the most progressive companies are challenging them to create ideas at the outset of the development process . . . it pulls “design” out of the studio and unleashes its disruptive, game-changing potential. It’s no accident that designers can now be found in the boardrooms of some of the world’s most progressive companies. As a thought process, design has moved upstream.46

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With this change the “design process” itself can be seen as a product—a methodological toolkit that can teach business leaders to think like designers. In the toolkit are typically four or five steps that form a continuous feedback loop: empathy, define, ideate, prototype, and test:

The process is meant to be human-centric and as such is led by empathy—trying to understand the wants and needs of the consumer. There is also an emphasis on problem definition—deep analysis of the stated problem to reveal other, more hidden problems; new definitions of the problem will open up space for new solutions. A vast array of solutions should be brainstormed during the ideation phase—here you should not be afraid to fail, or to think wrong.47 Next, possible solutions should be prototyped quickly and cheaply with any relevant results feeding back into the empathy and problem defining phases. Eventually a product will be completed, however, market testing will continue that will help refine future iterations of the product. Workshops, books, classes and even MBA programs teach this process to organizational leaders in order to improve their creative problem-solving techniques. While this method offers a simple ‘how-to’ on replicating the design process, some believe it’s not this simple. Idris Mootee, CEO of Idea Couture, a global innovation firm, argues that such clear-cut methods can be an oversimplification of design processes.48 Design thinking “can also embrace serendipitous, ad hoc, and adaptive approaches to inquiry, synthesis, and expression to leverage the power of intuition.”49 This is a key part of design thinking, as it can free businesses from the “rational-logical-linear model that keeps us frozen in a fast-moving uncertain environment.”50 However, this is not easy to replicate if you are not a professional designer, as design theorist Nigel Cross explains through his research.51 It may only be a result of years of design education and practice, wielded consistently by expert designers. As such, integrating designers into interdisciplinary teams may be more effective than expecting non-professionals to achieve the same results by simply learning a design thinking method. This realization has resulted in many businesses developing interdisciplinary and collaborative ‘smart teams:’ It is common now to see designers working with psychologists and ethnographers, engineers and scientists, marketing and business experts, writers and filmmakers. All of these disciplines and many more, have long contributed to the development of new products and services, but today we are bringing them together within the same team, in the same

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space, and using the same processes. As MBAs learn to talk to MFAs and PhDs across their disciplinary divides (not to mention to the occasional CEO, CFO, and CTO), there will be increasing overlap in activities and responsibilities. There is a popular saying around IDEO that “all of us are smarter than any of us,” and this is the key to unlocking the creative power of any organization.52 Beyond just ‘smart teams,’ design thinking methods continue to influence business and higher education practices. As reported by the Economist, “companies are keen to attract employees who are innovative and non-traditional thinking to get ahead of the next big disruption.”53 IBM has a large-scale department geared towards making their employees adept at design thinking and they also do design thinking trainings with high school students in order to help cultivate future IBM innovators.54 In higher education, David Kelly, cofounder of IDEO and also the head of Stanford’s d. school (Institute of Design at Stanford) “is on a mission to add “design thinking” to Stanford’s existing competence of teaching analytical thinking. This will result in students who create delightful design experiences and embrace and promote a culture of innovation.”55 Roger Martin, former dean at the Rotman School of Business at the University of Toronto, worked with IDEO to reconceptualize their educational model and now integrates design thinking into their MBA program.56 Rotman also developed DesignWorks, a business design laboratory and offers popular design thinking bootcamps.57 Other design-centric MBA programs can be found at Jefferson University in Philadelphia, Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia, the Department of Design and Innovation at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University, the California College of the Arts, and Aalto University in Finland, to name only a few.58 In addition, a recent study explored fifty-one courses at twenty-eight different universities that taught design thinking in an interdisciplinary context.59 The popularity of these programs and courses indicate that design thinking will likely continue to trend in the business world for the foreseeable future. According to Brown this “reflects the growing recognition on part of today’s business leaders that design has become too important to be left to designers.”60 With this foundational introduction of design thinking I will now move to a more detailed discussion of the similarities and differences between design thinking and practical theology. These will provide the foundation for constructive approaches I point towards in Part IV.

Part III A Comparative Look at Design Thinking & Practical Theology To begin this conversation, I have developed a Venn diagram that highlights the overlapping commonalities and distinct aspects of each. Following the image, I will provide a discussion of these aspects.

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As the above diagram shows, there are significant places of overlap between the two. Below I will briefly discuss these shared commonalities and differences.

Shared aspects As discussed earlier, both design thinking and much of practical theology are oriented around innovation and transformation and as such are fundamentally focused on problem-solving. Secondly, the design thinking concept of ‘wicked problems’ also applies to the types of problems that practical theologians often contend with—they may be ill-defined and based in religious communities or larger cultures, where there are multitudes of issues and stakeholders. Thirdly, both can be considered human-centered in their approaches. For design thinking, particularly in the business literature, there is an emphasis on empathy and human-centered design. Designers are encouraged to put themselves in the position of end users and see if the solutions are beneficial for them. Within practical theology, there is an implicit focus on the needs of particular communities as well as on being guided by religious norms or ethics that emphasize seeking to generate greater flourishing for all. Lastly, as academic disciplines, they both engage with topics of practice

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or practical knowledge (phronesis), and they operate with interdiscplinarity. They both draw on a variety of disciplines to effectively complete their work. In this next section I will highlight areas of divergence between the two fields, which I see as their unique strengths. These provide the foundation for places they can help one another, which I will discuss in further depth in Part IV.

Places of Divergence A significant place of divergence is found in the driving forces behind them. Design thinking processes are typically leveraged for business outcomes. There are many exceptions to this statement, such as designers working for non-profits, political campaigns, or social justice movements, however, the design fields are typically harnessed for business objectives and design thinking has most significantly been leveraged as an interdisciplinary partner in business to help achieve market success. On the other hand, practical theology projects are not typically driven by explicit financial outcomes (though that can be a consideration). Rather than the financial bottom-line making some project successful, practical theologians may look at factors derived from religious convictions or ethical norms to analyze success. For example, they might ask whether a particular project created more gender or racial equality within the leadership of a faith-based community. Other areas of differentiation point to the unique strengths of each. One design thinking strength is the research that has been conducted on the creative process, both exploring “design intelligence” (that is cognition or epistemological features), methods, and understanding design pedagogy. This research can help other fields such as practical theology, more thoroughly understand and improve their creative practices. Secondly, related to design intelligence, is the focus on problem definition and the ability to shift the landscape of the problem through the practice of ‘the doctrine of placements.’ A third strength, is strong ideation and prototyping practices. In design school, designers learn to ideate and prototype quickly—taking a ‘breadth-first’ rather than a ‘depth-first’ approach, which allows for a broader repertoire of solutions. Design thinking has emerged from the visual arts and so solutions are typically geared towards both aesthetics and functionality, typically within particular constraints. This ties back into a human-centered approach because design thinking aims for aesthetics, which ultimately lies in the realm of the human good. Lastly, a strength in design thinking is that it is meta-disciplinary. This is different from interdisciplinary, that is, using methods from other disciplines—rather meta-disciplinary speaks to the process of spanning disciplinary boundaries in a breadth-first approach to gather relevant knowledge to solve problems. These are all particular strengths I have found in design thinking that are different from particular strengths within practical theology. In practical theology, a key strength lies in its attenuation to human practices—focusing on the practice > theory > practice relationship. This approach enables a careful analysis of how practices may be guided by implicit theories or theologies. Without such exploration, change may only have a surface level effect, not affecting the theories below the surface of the practice. This attenuation also makes practical theologians adept at discerning what practices can teach us about theory—learning from the knowledge

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that emerges from the practice. To do this work practical theology draws on rich philosophical and anthropological resources and methods as partners to better understand practices and how they relate to larger cultural realities.61 Secondly, many practical theologians are trained as interdisciplinary researchers, particularly in sociological methods such as ethnographic and participatory action research. Experience in these types of methods can gear practical theologians towards better describing and understanding problematic situations. Using methods such as participatory action research can also empower stakeholders in a given situation to become change agents.62 This may help practical theologians develop more relevant solutions and also generate a level of community support and contribution to the development of solutions. Lastly, particular to liberationist approaches to practical theology (feminist, womanist, post-colonial, to name only a few), there is an emphasis on studying and using critical social theories. These theories carefully parse out the many insidious ways that patriarchal, colonial, and racial systems undergird many oppressive cultural institutions, systems, and ideologies. This knowledge is important if more just and liberative social change and innovation is sought. Because these systems are so ubiquitous and hegemonic, they often go unnoticed and can be mistaken as ‘common sense’—or just how the world works. Because of this, even those seeking social change may unintentionally perpetuate harmful ideologies and practices in their creative solutions. Liberationist practical theologians use critical social theory to help prevent this—pairing critical social theories with innovative practical work. This integrative work can be a useful model for other fields committed to social change, for example, within the for-profit business movement called ‘conscious capitalism’ that aims to develop businesses with just economic practices.63 As this comparison reveals, there are many overlapping characteristics of both design thinking and practical theology. At the heart of this comparison is that they are both problem solving and innovation seeking practices. Although they go about this for different reasons and use different approaches this fundamental similarity provides a strong unity between the fields. I will further elucidate this point through a discussion of methodological similarities below.

Methodological Similarities Like design, practical theology deals with wicked, indeterminate problems and attempts to transform or innovate situations by reshaping or reimagining practices. Both are fundamentally innovation processes. To further illustrate this, I have designed a diagram that draws together two methods of design thinking and three methods of practical theology under an overarching innovation process schema.64 The diagram illustrates the close relation between methods and how they each correlate with an innovation process that has three basic, interconnected, and looping steps: inspiration, ideation, implementation.65 The inspiration phase is where a problem or need is noticed and described giving rise to the project; ideation refers to the solution generating phase; and implementation to the execution of the solution. This basic schema can be detected through the different steps in various design and practical theology methods. Some of these methods contain more than three steps. However, these additional steps still correlate to one of the three basic innovation steps. I have color-coded this so that the correlation can be easily detected. I have added

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descriptors to the practical theology steps, because some of the terminology may not be understood easily if you are not familiar with the method.

As this chart indicates there is quite a bit of similarity between these methods even though differences in nomenclature and focus may be present. I will not go into detail of each method to maintain the constraints of the paper; however, I will draw out broad similarities.66 Each method undertakes an inspiration phase that may include problem definition, planning, research into the situation, and/or studies in tradition or theoretical perspectives. This leads to the ideation phase where solutions are generated. Again, approaches will be different here, but the overall focus is on solutions. Lastly, during the implementation phase, the newly generated or transformed product, practice, and/or system is applied. As already noted, these methods are not linear but each phase will loop back upon itself as the process evolves.67 One key difference between the two is that practical theology methods make a dialogical turn towards tradition that often occurs as part of the ideation phase. What constitutes tradition will be variant depending upon each theologian. This connection to tradition is related to an ethical or religious conviction theologians may hold themselves accountable to when developing their solutions or strategies. At times, their solutions will reshape the traditions themselves in an on-going traditioning process. This comparative study has helped me draw out several ways that design and practical theology can share resources and practices, helping to enhance one another. I will briefly explore these ideas in Part IV below.

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Part IV Sharing Resources A key insight I draw from this comparative study is that practical theology can be understood as a design thinking field within theology. This is an important correlation to make because if practical theologians begin to identify their work in this way, then it opens up new areas of research, practice, pedagogy, method, and collaborative partnerships. With such an understanding, it makes sense that practical theology might consider leveraging design thinking to help hone its innovation skills, as has the business world. This might be particularly useful now within the theological world as there are enormous strategic opportunities as many theological schools and religious organizations are facing institutional shifts and closings. Can design provide vital innovation and strategic help to reorient theological education and religious practice? In turn, if those located within the design fields are introduced to practical theology as another design thinking field, they may be able to leverage several of the strengths found within practical theology to help enhance their practice. In the sections below, I will draw out several ways that such interdisciplinary exchange could occur. While there is not space in this paper to fully expound these approaches, they do point towards promising areas of future research and development.

Educational Practices One avenue for this partnership could be through education. Just as some MBA programs utilize design thinking within their curricula to train more innovative business leaders, practical theology programs could consider a similar path. How could design thinking or design pedagogy be integrated into traditional academic theological programs or courses? One way could be to research how MBA programs are integrating design into their programs and learn from their curricular development. Another approach could be to look directly to design programs as curricular or pedagogical inspiration, particularly because practical theology can be considered a design field in its own right, as I argue above. As such how can we become better designers? Design theorists have shown that expert designers have a specific design intelligence that aids in solving wicked problems. Nigel Cross shows that much of that intelligence comes through extensive design training and emulating expert designers. How could practical theology programs imaginatively modify and integrate design training into their curricula to help foster greater ‘design intelligence’ among practical theologians? Design theorists have explored the ways in which design pedagogy can enhance creative problemsolving in various other disciplines and it seems this could be the case in practical theology as well.68 Robin Vande Zande discusses key aspects of teaching design in the following excerpt: In the problem stage, the student designers identify the parameters of the situation

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through analysis of the problems and objectives and then research information related to the problem. By following this format, students learn problem identification. During the creative stage, students use brainstorming and visualization to produce numerous possible solutions, without jumping to the first, most obvious conclusion. This stage allows them to realize new patterns of thinking or action. Regarding the third creative behavior mentioned in this report, the integration of knowledge, design also lends itself very naturally to interdisciplinary teaching.69 I have italicized the creative or ideation stage that Vande Zande discusses because I think it is here that practical theology could benefit its own pedagogical practice. While design students are typically working on some sort of visual project, whether it be for example architecture, graphic design, or product design to name a few, practical theology students are typically focused on abstract problems such as theological problems or communal problems. And while design students may produce prototypes of their products, practical theologians typically produce scholarship by way of research papers. Design classrooms are set-up for iterative approaches to the design process, with tables for sketching and prototyping, and cork boards for pinning up work for professor and peer critiques. Theological classrooms are not typically set up in this way, nor are they oriented towards iteration and critique of ideas. However, some of these practices could be integrated into theological classrooms, particularly in seminars and colloquia designed to train future practical theologians and religious leaders. Or entirely new courses could be designed as a design thinking and theology methods courses. Such a course could implement weekly feedback critiques, as is a staple in design schools, and this could help students approach their projects from a variety of different ways. This type of critical practice enables peers to learn from one another and helps them practice taking a breadthfirst approach and exploring different problem and solution framing (the doctrine of placements). The practice gained in such coursework could stay with the student throughout their career as future academics or religious and non-profit leaders. The creative outcomes for students engaged in such design thinking practices over the length of a course or two would be greater than simply taking a workshop on design thinking, as design research has shown.70 This classroom approach could be further enhanced if creative practices from the design world, or designers themselves were to come into the classroom to help students work through their projects. Here I draw from an example from my own experience teaching a one-day design thinking immersion class for a Doctor of Ministry course at Boston University School of Theology.71 For part of the day we visited several Boston design studios, meeting with their creative directors and designers. One Boston firm, MK3 Creative, had one of our students bring their Doctor of Ministry project forward as if they were a business client.72 The MK3 Creative team used their creative briefing process to get a fuller account of the project, then had their designers brainstorm, on the spot, through a variety of approaches to the project. At the end of the hour-long session the student had perspectives and possible solutions they had never considered before. Research has shown that such professional feedback can help novice design thinkers become more adept.73 And Vande Zande notes that one way design is taught is “through participatory activities, field trips, and discussions

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with design professionals.”74 Both field trips and/or perhaps a design professional in the classroom as a co-teacher could be an effective way to enhance design thinking in practical theology students and in turn make their projects more innovative. In a similar interdisciplinary exchange, practical theologians could develop an interdisciplinary course in design schools that bring insights from philosophical studies of human practice, social change, and social critical theories in dialogue with design. Part of the course could be to teach how large oppressive systems operate and are often perpetuated through practices and patterns. Such a course could equip designers to be better adept at designing towards the creation of more just cultures and products. It could help designers reflect on their own ethical or religious norms and how they might develop work that is in line with their convictions. It could also be a place to introduce designers to liberatory research models such as participatory action research, which allows various community stakeholders to be part of the process of change.

Enhancing Approaches A second way that design thinking and practical theology could work together is by helping to enhance particular approaches. For example, design thinking and practice could also enhance a poetic or aesthetic approach to practical theology, which draws on poetic mediums as a powerful means for communication and transformation. For example, Heather Walton argues that poetic mediums express what is “unspeakable” through rational discourse.75 As such they can help feminist practical theologians re-imagine oppressive religious traditions into more just ones through a ‘poetics of resistance’—that is a theological process that is transgressive, political and literary.76 She also argues that the task of creating new metaphors is a vital part of Christian practice.77 Here is an example where design could enhance this approach—theologians could partner with graphic designers who are experts in creating simple and impactful metaphors to represent complex information. When businesses need complex stories or information distilled into a powerful metaphor, they work with graphic designers. For example, designers, can take the complex identity of a business and distill it into a simple visual metaphor—a logo. In a similar exchange, designers could work with theologians, like business clients, to help them develop their complex theological constructions into metaphoric form. For example, helping a feminist practical theologian concept a liberative religious symbol or metaphor for God based on their research and theological constructions. Roberto S. Goizueta and Bernard Reymond also advocate for a poetic or aesthetic approach. Goizueta shows that participating in poetic rituals like the dramatic retelling of the Virgin of Guadalupe story can be transformational for oppressed people. For example, playing the part of Juan Diego who discovers his subjectivity during the course of the play can help the actor go on their own journey to discover their own subjectivity. As Gozuieta explains, “the narrative and fiesta of Guadalupe thus reveal and affirm a new way of being human.”78 Thus, this poetic practice can cultivate individual transformation. Reymond argues that a poetic work, such as a piece of music could be considered practical theology in and of itself and therefore, “a theologian should also be able to express in the form of musical composition or interpretation the parts

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of his [sic] thinking or research which cannot be expressed appropriately in the form of words.”79 However for this to be possible he states that practical theology would need to “revise its methods, enlarge the scope of its references, [and] question what it has considered as maybe too established.”80 Goizueta and Reymond’s perspectives open up other areas where a partnership with design could enhance a poetic approach, even beyond the educational examples I cite above. Practical theologians interested in poetics could train in specific design methods to complement their other research and analytical trainings. Just as a student interested in quantitative research might take a statistics course to become adept at their interdisciplinary approach, a student interested in a poetic approach could cross register in a graphic design course on logo development, where they could become more practiced at creating poetic rituals or aesthetic compositions as their theological work. These are just a few examples of how design could enhance a poetic and aesthetic approach to practical theology. As for design thinking and professional design practice, they also can be enhanced by practical theology approaches. For example, professional designers working on projects geared towards positive social change could leverage the practices found in liberationist practical theology in pairing social critical theory with practical work. For example, practical theologians could partner in design projects like those produced from a design group called Project M, described below: Project M is a program for creative people who are already inspired to contribute to the greater good, and are looking for a platform to collaborate and generate ideas and projects bigger than themselves.81 The group has done such projects as creating a Pie Lab—a local business in a rural, impoverished Alabama town that is also a community gathering space.82 Another example is their creation of Plot 63, a horseshoe park in an abandoned lot in Detroit that serves as a vibrant community recreation and gathering area.83 Such projects have community and social justice at their heart. However, as practical theologians have shown, without a strong social critical lens, even those seeking to bring about positive change can sometimes unwittingly perpetuate problematic hierarchical, sexist, and racial systems because our awareness can be lacking, even with the best of intentions. A good example of this found in the work of Xochitl Alvizo, where she studies the emergent church.84 Her research shows that though many emergent churches are driven by a mission to be inclusive and organic in their structure, after careful feminist analysis, many are still implicitly perpetuating problematic sexist structures. This is to illustrate that sometimes even the best intentions are not enough. Deeper analysis is needed. This is not to imply that Project M is doing this, it is merely to note that any group like this stands to benefit from perspectives from those experienced in analyzing problematic gender, race, and economic systems that often go undetected. It could add another level of analysis and awareness to such groups projects to help them more fully live into their mission.

Consultancy Work

Lastly, one hope in writing this article is to introduce the fields of practical theology and design to

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our similarities and our unique strengths—not only to share resources but also to expand our awareness of potential consulting partners when particular needs arise. Just as the business world utilizes the expertise of designers across their organizations, so too could designers directly consult in strategic projects in theological education, practical theology, and/or religious communities. Designers could be included in cross-disciplinary ‘smart teams’ that work directly on ‘wicked problems’ that these institutions might have. Because the strength of design is not in a particular subject matter but in solving ‘wicked problems’ they do not need to be experts in our academic institutions or religious communities to offer vital strategic and innovative solutions. Theorist Charles Owen has argued for the importance of including designers in policy-planning; the same could be said for including designers in re-imaginative or revitalizing projects in practical theology. Designers could be included in grant proposals for projects that are helping imagine the way forward for many of our institutions. Seeing designers as important strategic partners in our research could help to enhance practical theology projects across a broad variety of contexts.

Conclusion In conclusion, design thinking and practical theology both work interdisciplinarily and both push at the boundaries of traditional academic disciplines. They are both interested in change and transformation— that is shaping cultures, solving problems, and designing new practices. To do this transformation they engage in a variety of methods, approaches, and often collaborate with interdisciplinary partners in order to help describe their problems and find potential solutions. Because of these similarities, it is evident that a productive interdisciplinary partnership between these two can be cultivated. It is even possible that practical theology might embrace a new identity—or ‘conceptual repositioning’—for understanding itself as the design field of theology. Regardless of how the two might partner with one another, their connection opens up a new vista of resources that can enhance practices for both.

Notes 1 Tim Brown, Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation (New York: Harper Collins, 2009). 8. 2 Brown, Change by Design, 7. 3 I am a Ph.D. candidate in Practical Theology at Boston University School of Theology working on a dissertation that develops a new feminist ecclesiology. My research draws on intersectional feminist, womanist, and queer theologies, theories of the social imaginary, biblical studies, archeological research, and design thinking creative processes. I also hold a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts in Visual Communication Design from Kent State University and have 10-plus years of experience working as a designer and art director in the business world. In these roles, I have developed brands and

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other design work for clients in sectors such as retail, tech, health care, real estate, and education to name a few. Most recently, I work part time as a Senior Designer for the TJX Companies on their Marshalls brand creative team. 4 Drawing on examples from the business world may generate a visceral, negative response when many theologians critique global injustices perpetuated by neo-global capitalism and business practices. However, design is a human tool that can be leveraged in just or unjust ways. Just as it is too important of a tool to leave in the design studio, I believe it is too important to cede to the business world. 5 Richard Buchanan, “Design Research and the New Learning,” Design Issues 17, no. 4 (2001): 9. Buchanan creates this definition of design with an engagement with Aristotelian philosophy, particularly, in the context of Aristotelian causes. His explanation of his definition of design as connected to Aristotelian philosophy generates further clarity in his definition: “Power” is the efficient cause or agency of action in design . . . It resides in human beings as a natural talent that may be cultivated and enhanced through education. “Conceiving, planning, and making” is the final cause, in the sense that it identifies the sequence of goals towards which design thinking and practice move. “Products” represent the formal cause, in the sense of the formal outcome of the design process that serve human beings. And in the “accomplishment of their individual and collective purposes; represents the material cause of design, in the sense that the subject matter or scope of application of design is found in the activities, needs, and aspirations of human beings.” 6 Robin Vande Zande, “Design Education Supports Social Responsibility and the Economy,” Arts Education Policy Review 112, no. 1 (2011): 26–34. 26. 7 Buchanan, “Design Research,” 9. 8 Buchanan, “Design Research,” 9–10. Here Buchanan describes four orders of design to categorize the many different products that designers create and the respective professional practices associated with them: symbols (logos, brands, photography—graphic design); things (material products­—fields such as industrial or fashion design); actions (design of activities and organized services—interaction design, experience design, strategic planning); and thoughts (design of complex systems and environments—engineering, architecture, and urban planning). 9 Vande Zande, “Design Education Supports Social Responsibility and the Economy,” 28. 10 Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore, “Five Misunderstandings about Practical Theology,” International Journal of Practical Theology 16, no. 1 (2012): 25. Here Miller-McLemore discusses the misunderstanding that practical theology is not also constructive but rather only attends to practice description. 11 Dale P. Andrews, “African American Practical Theology,” in Openings in the Field of Practical Theology: An Introduction, eds. Kathleen Cahalan and Gordon S. Mikoski (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014), 11–30. 11. 12 Osmer, Richard. “Empirical Practical Theology,” in Openings in the Field of Practical Theology: An Introduction, eds. Kathleen Cahalan and Gordon S. Mikoski (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014), 61–78. 61. 13 Joyce Mercer, “Feminist and Womanist Practical Theology,” in Openings in the Field of Practical Theology: An Introduction, eds. Kathleen Cahalan and Gordon S. Mikoski (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014), 97–114. 97.

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14 Rebecca S. Chopp, “Christian Moral Imagination: A Feminist Practical Theology and the Future of Theological Education,” International Journal of Practical Theology 1, no. 1 (1997): 97–109, 98. 15 Bonnie Miller-McLemore, “The Contributions of Practical Theology,” in The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Practical Theology, ed. Bonnie Miller-McLemore (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012), 1–20. 5. 16 Miller-McLemore, “The Contributions of Practical Theology,” 1–20. See page 5 for her fuller definitions of each area of practical theology. 17 Miller-McLemore, “The Contributions of Practical Theology,” 3. 18 Don S. Browning, A Fundamental Practical Theology: Descriptive and Strategic Proposals, (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1996), 9. Here, Browning argues that all theological disciplines, even theoretical ones such as systematic theology, are fundamentally related to practice based on the premise that all of theory is practice-laden. 19 Buchanan, “Design Research,” 5. 20 Schools such as Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and Savanah College of Art and Design (SCAD) are examples of prominent, independent art and design schools. 21 Buchanan, “Design Research,” 6. 22 This survey will be a means of introducing the topic to those in a practical theological context. Since the assumed reader of this article is someone already familiar with practical theology, I will not provide and equal treatment of practical theology in order to maintain the constraints of this article. However, for readers unfamiliar with practical theology I recommend the following introductory texts: Richard Robert Osmer, Practical Theology: An Introduction (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 2008); Bonnie Miller-McLemore, “Introduction: The Contributions of Practical Theology,” in The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Practical Theology, ed. Bonnie Miller-McLemore (Oxford: WileyBlackwell, 2012), 1–20; Kathleen Cahalan and James Nieman, “Mapping the Field of Practical Theology,” in For Life Abundant: Practical Theology, Theological Education, and Christian Ministry, ed. Dorothy C. Bass (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 2008), 62–85; Mary Elizabeth Moore, “Editorial: Practical Theology: Bound by a Common Center or Thin Threads?” International Journal of Practical Theology 10, no. 2 (2007): 163–167. 23 Prominent examples of such texts are: Bernard Roth, The Achievement Habit: Stop Wishing, Start Doing, and Take Command of Your Life (New York: Harper Collins, 2015); Thomas Lockwood and Edgar Papke, Innovation by Design: How Any Organization Can Leverage Design Thinking to Produce Change, Drive New Ideas, and Deliver Meaningful Solutions (Wayne, NJ: Career Press, 2018); Tom Kelley and David Kelley, Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All (New York: Crown Business, 2013); Tom Kelley, The Art Of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from IDEO, America’s Leading Design Firm (New York: Currency/Doubleday, 2001); Tim Brown, Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation (New York: Harper Collins, 2009). 24 Nigel Cross, Designerly Ways of Knowing (London: Springer, 2006). 54. Nigel Cross’ qualitative research suggests that there are particular ways that designers become expert, and simply applying a method does not garner what Cross calls ‘design intelligence.’

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25 Design theorist, Nigel Cross, explains that there have been four distinct trajectories to this academic discourse that include: scientific design, design science, science of design, and design as a discipline. Each one has slightly different methods and approaches to the study of design. He explains these in his short essay: Nigel Cross, “Designerly Ways of Knowing: Design Discipline Versus Design Science.” Design Issues 17, no. 3 (2001): 49–55. 26 Cross, “Designerly Ways of Knowing,” 52. 27 Cross, “Designerly Ways of Knowing,” 49. This desire to formulate the design process is roughly replicated by the business world’s recent embrace of transposable design thinking method to aid non-designers in more innovative thinking. 28 Cross, “Designerly Ways of Knowing,” 52. 29 Cross, “Designerly Ways of Knowing,” 54. 30 Richard Buchanan, “Wicked Problems in Design Thinking.” Design Issues, 8, no. 2 (1992): 16. 31 Buchanan, “Wicked Problems in Design Thinking,” 16. 32 An example of a wicked problem in a design field would be an architectural challenge to design a building to fit in a particular location with geographical factors in mind. For example, the architectural task of designing a building that will withstand earthquakes and hurricanes and aesthetically integrate into a historic neighborhood in Boston. The design of the building is a wicked problem because there is no one right solution to the design of this building, various designs could be drafted depending upon the specific approach the architect would like to take. 33 Nigel Cross, Design Thinking: Understanding How Designers Think and Work (Oxford: Berg, 2011). 54. 34 Cross, Design Thinking, 136. In this book, Cross presents a series of in-depth case studies developed from qualitative observation of expert designers that show evidence of how they think and work. 35 Cross, Design Thinking, 146. 36 Cross, Design Thinking, 147. 37 Buchanan, “Wicked Problems in Design Thinking,” 13. 38 Buchanan, “Wicked Problems in Design Thinking,” 18. 39 Buchanan, “Design Research,” 6. 40 T. Lindberg, C. Noweski, and C. Meinel, “Evolving Discourses on Design Thinking: How Design Cognition Inspires Meta-disciplinary Creative Collaboration,” Technoetic Arts: A Journal of Speculative Research 8, no. 1 (2010): 34. 41 Lindberg, Noweski, and Meinel, “Evolving Discourses on Design Thinking,” 34. 42 Lindberg, Noweski, and Meinel, “Evolving Discourses on Design Thinking,” 35. 43 Lindberg, Noweski, and Meinel, “Evolving Discourses on Design Thinking,” 35.

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45 Ulla Johansson-Sköldberg, Jill Woodilla, and Mehves Çetinkaya, “Design Thinking: Past, Present and Possible Futures,” Creativity & Innovation Management 22, no. 2 (2013): 121–146. 46 Brown, Change by Design, 7. IDEO is described as a“global design company committed to creating positive impact.” See “About IDEO: Our Story, Who We Are, How We Work.” Accessed August 24, 2019. https://www.ideo. com/about. 47 John Bielenberg et al., Think Wrong: How to Conquer the Status Quo and Do Work That Matters (San Fransico: Instigator Press, 2016). Thinking Wrong is an idea developed by the design firm Future. I had an opportunity to meet Future’s founder John Bielenberg and discuss design thinking with him at the Process Theology Conference at Claremont University in June 2015. 48 Idris Mootee, Design Thinking for Strategic Innovation: What They Can’t Teach You at Business or Design School (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2013). In this book, Mootee does not advocate for a clear method of design thinking but rather for recognizing its key principles: action-oriented; comfortable with change; human-centric; integrates foresight; a dynamic constructive process; promotes empathy; reduces risks; creates meaning; brings enterprise creativity to next level; and the competitive logic of business strategy. This is one of the few business texts that references the design thinking academic discourse. 49 Mootee, Design Thinking for Strategic Innovation, 63. 50 Mootee, Design Thinking for Strategic Innovation, 59. 51 Nigel Cross, Design Thinking: Understanding How Designers Think and Work (Oxford: Berg, 2011). 52 Brown, Change by Design, 26. 53 “Design Thinking: People First,” The Economist, accessed July 10, 2019, https://www.economist.com/whichmba/ design-thinking-people-first 54 Description of IBM’s design thinking approach found on their website: “We think the systems of the world should work in service of people. At the heart of our human-centered mission is Enterprise Design Thinking: a framework to solve our users’ problems at the speed and scale of the modern enterprise.” Design Thinking Courses and Certifications,” Accessed August 24, 2019. https://www.ibm.com/design/thinking/page/framework. I recently connected with St. George’s school in Providence who hosted IBM design thinkers that led workshops for St. George’s high school students as part of IBM’s high school design thinking outreach program. 55 “Revs Program at Stanford | Connecting the Past, Present and Future of the Automobile,” accessed August 24, 2019, https://revs.stanford.edu/about/people/557 56 Johansson-Sköldberg, Woodilla, and Cetinkaya, “Design Thinking.” 128. For other MBA programs that integrate design thinking, see: https://www.darden.virginia.edu/online/design-thinking-innovation.; http://designmba.cca.edu; http://www.philau.edu/strategicdesignmba/; http://www.philau.edu/strategicdesignmba/, accessed July 10, 2019.

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57 Th e popularity of design thinking among Rotman’s MBA students is evident in that “a recent bootcamp attracted 220 of . . . 350 MBA students, and the design student club has overtaken the finance club in popularity.” Found in: “Design Thinking: People First,” The Economist, accessed July 10, 2019, https://www.economist.com/whichmba/ design-thinking-people-first. 58 A s The Economist reports: “Since it was first introduced into business schools in 2006 it has become more popular on MBA programmes around the world.” See “Design Thinking: People First,” The Economist, accessed July 10, 2019, https://www.economist.com/whichmba/design-thinking-people-first. See also: Melissa Korn, “Forget B-School, D-School Is Hot,” The Wall Street Journal, June 7, 2012. 59 C ara Wrigley and Kara Straker, “Design Thinking Pedagogy: The Educational Design Ladder,” Innovations in Education and Teaching International 54, no. 4 (July 4, 2017): 374–85. 60 B rown, Change By Design, 8. 61 H ere I am thinking of the fields drawing upon Alasdair MacIntyre, Pierre Bourdieu, and Charles Taylor. 62 E lizabeth Conde-Frazier explains the benefits of this type of research here: Elizabeth Conde-Frazier “Participatory Action Research: Practical Theology for Social Justice,” Religious Education 101, no. 3 (2006): 321–29. 63 R ajendra Sisodia, Conscious Capitalism Field Guide: Tools for Transforming Your Organization (Boston: Harvard Business Review Press, 2018); John Mackey, Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business (Boston: Harvard Business Review Press, 2013). 64 I have chosen these methods as examples and they are not meant to be an exhaustive representation of methodologies in either field. 65 T im Brown discusses this schematic throughout his book Change by Design. 66 Th ose further interested can explore the methods from the sources I drew them from: IDEO’s model found in Brown, Change by Design; Eric Karjaluoto, The Design Method: A Philosophy and Process for Functional Visual Communication (Berkeley: New Riders, 2014), 62; Richard R. Osmer, Practical Theology: An Introduction (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing, 2008), 4; Don S. Browning, A Fundamental Practical Theology: Descriptive and Strategic Proposals (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1991). 6–7 and 55–58; I did not cite a particular source for the Liberationist Practical Theology Approach. See Mercer, “Feminist & Womanist Practical Theology” as one example that talks about this method. 67 A good example of this is found in feminist ecclesiological work that often seeks to reshape patriarchal practices within churches. See for instance, Rosemary Ruether, Women-Church: Theology and Practice of Feminist Liturgical Communities (New York: Harper & Row, 1985). 68 R obin Vande Zande, “Design Education Supports Social Responsibility and the Economy,” Arts Education Policy Review 112, no. 1 (2011): 26–34; Cara Wrigley and Kara Straker, “Design Thinking Pedagogy: The Educational Design Ladder,” Innovations in Education and Teaching International 54, no. 4 (2017): 374–85; Stephanie

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Elizabeth Wilson and Lisa Zamberlan, “Design Pedagogy for an Unknown Future: A View from the Expanding Field of Design Scholarship and Professional Practice,” International Journal of Art & Design Education 36, no. 1 (2017): 106– 17; M. Ann Welsh and Gordon E. Dehler, “Combining Critical Reflection and Design Thinking to Develop Integrative Learners,” Journal of Management Education 37, no. 6 (2013): 771–802; Robin Vande Zande et al., “The Design Process in the Art Classroom: Building Problem-Solving Skills for Life and Careers,” Art Education 67, no. 6 (2014): 20–27; Robin Vande Zande, “Teaching Design Education for Cultural, Pedagogical, and Economic Aims,” Studies in Art Education 51, no. 3 (2010): 248–61,; Adam Royalty, “Design-Based Pedagogy: Investigating an Emerging Approach to Teaching Design to Non-Designers,” Mechanism and Machine Theory 125 (2018): 137–45; McLuskie, Peter. “Design Thinking: Pedagogy and the Promise of Utopia.” European Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (2017): 819-22; and Roy Glen et al., “Teaching Design Thinking in Business Schools,” The International Journal of Management Education 13, no. 2 (2015): 182–92. 69 Z ande, “Design Education Supports Social Responsibility and the Economy,” 29. 70 C ross, Design Thinking. Cross’ qualitative research suggests that there are particular ways that designers become expert and simply applying a method does not garner what Cross calls ‘design intelligence.’ 71 T wice I taught a one-day immersion session on design thinking as part of Boston University School of Theology, Doctor of Ministry course: Leadership and Innovation Practices, taught by Dean Mary Elizabeth Moore (August 2016 and 2107). 72 S ee https://www.mk3creative.com to learn more about the studio and their work. 73 C ross, Design Thinking, 147. 74 V ande Zande, “Design Education Supports Social Responsibility and the Economy,” 29. 75 H eather Walton, “Poetics,” in The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Practical Theology, ed. Bonnie Miller- McLemore (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012), 173–182. 180. 76 W alton, “Poetics,” 175, 180. Here Walton cites Bonnie Miller-McLemore’s call to challenge limitations of imposed frameworks through a ‘poetics of resistance.’ She also draws on Rebecca Chopp’s idea of a ‘poetics of testimony’ that occurs when oppressed groups find ‘narrative agency’ after engagement with literature, poetry or autobiography and are able “to envision life, be it personal, interpersonal or social in new ways.” 77 W alton, “Poetics,” 180. 78 R oberto S. Goizueta, “Practicing Beauty: Aesthetic Praxis, Justice, and U.S. Latino/a Popular Religion” in Invitation to Practical Theology: Catholic Voices and Visions, ed. Wolfteich (Paulist Press: 2014), 149–167. 161. 79 B ernard Reymond, “Music and Practical Theology,” International Journal of Practical Theology 5, no. 1(2001): 82– 93. 80 R eymond, “Music and Practical Theology.” 92.

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81 P roject M was founded by prominent designer John Bielenberg, after leaving a successful career in the corporate world to create more social justice oriented work. See http://projectmlab.com. 82 S ee “PieLab” for more details: http://www.projectmlab.com/PieLab, accessed July 10, 2019. 83 S ee Plot 63 for more details: http://www.projectmlab.com/Plot-63, accessed July 10, 2019. 84 X ochitl Alvizo, “A Feminist Analysis of the Emerging Church: Toward Radical Participation in the Organic, Relational, and Inclusive Body of Christ” Boston University Dissertation, 2015.

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Practical Matters Conference Online Content: Summary Practical Matters Staff Held in March of 2018, the Practical Matters conference celebrated 15 years of the Initiative in Religious Practices and Practical Theology at Emory University. Featuring panels, speakers, and teaching workshops, the event showcased the work in religious practices and practical theology that has blossomed among faculty and doctoral students since the program’s founding. Practical Matters is pleased to publish the video recordings of select conference sessions on our website. Below are brief synopses of these videos, as well as links to view them on the Practical Matters website.

Keynote Panel: Practices of Vibrant Faith Communities

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eaturing Dr. Abdullah Antepli, chief representative of Muslim Affairs at Duke University and their first Muslim Chaplain; Dr. Diana Butler Bass, author, speaker, and independent scholar specializing in American Religion and Culture; and Rev. Brian McLaren, author, speaker, activist, and public theologian. Moderated by Dr. Robert Franklin, Laney Professor of Moral Leadership at Candler School of Theology. This public plenary session featured inter-faith teachers, scholars, and activists to address three big questions: What are the practices of vibrant faith communities? What is the best way to sustain them? And how can we live into them and transform them? In the conversation, Pastor Brian McLaren emphasizes the need to be more inclusive in our common good story and offers a proposal of meta-practices that would bring about practical applications of the core values and traditions. Dr. Diana Butler Bass employs the metaphor of a sinking island to put forward a need for a more outward-looking attitude as a solution to find the core of gratitude in religious traditions. Finally, Dr. Abdullah Antepli recommends exploring differences in the faith traditions to understand the origins of their vibrancy. View the panel discussion here: http://practicalmattersjournal.org/2019/12/04/practical-mattersconference-practices-of-vibrant-faith-communities/

Practical Matters Journal, Summer 2019, Issue 12, pp. 110-112. Š The Author 2019. Published by Emory University. All rights reserved.

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“Big Idea” Presentations In one of the conference’s signature events, four graduates of Emory University’s doctoral concentration in Religious Practices and Practical Theology shared their “big idea” for the study of religious practices. Connecting personal, intellectual, communal, and spiritual sides of their work, the presenters spoke about the impact that the study of religious practices has had on them and can continue to have on the field.

Jennifer Ayers, Associate Professor of Religious Education, Emory University Author of Waiting for a Glacier to Move: Practicing Social Witness, Ayres integrates her research on ecological and religious practices with intimate biographical reflection. Ayres traces her relationship with her father and their love of the outdoors in order to affirm the mutual boundedness of us all to God’s earth and to each other. Ayres calls for ecological and religious practices that center place by emphasizing the connections between practicing, learning, conserving, and loving. View Jennifer Ayres’ presentation here: http://practicalmattersjournal.org/2019/10/24/practical-mattersconference-jennifer-ayres/

Gregory C. Ellison II, Associate Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling, Candler School of Theology, Emory University Author of Fearless Dialogues: A New Movement for Justice and founder of a nonprofit organization by the same name, Ellison poses difficult questions about the future of a world if we could see and hear those “who are screaming from the shadows.” Embodying the vulnerability that he invites, Ellison interweaves his research and his biography with audience participation in order to discuss and perform a fearless dialogue. This is a conversation that is deeply emotional, fiercely passionate, and lovingly open to see and hear those who are different from us. View Gregory Ellison’s presentation here: http://practicalmattersjournal.org/2019/10/24/practicalmatters-conference-gregory-c-ellison-ii/

Amy Levad, Associate Professor of Moral Theology, University of St. Thomas Recounting her own family’s experience, Levad illuminates the human toll of the increasing incarceration rates in the United States, especially among Black and Latino populations. Levad also emphasizes the deep loneliness and alienation that such families feel as a result of the moral superiority and lack of response

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from many churches. However, by highlighting the religious practices among various organizations, Levad asserts that we are at “the cusp of a movement” regarding how to better embody our faith, build coalitions, and practice justice in an age of mass incarceration. View Amy Levad’s presentation here: http://practicalmattersjournal.org/2019/10/24/practical-mattersconference-amy-levad/

Brendan Ozawa-de Silva, Associate Director of Education Programs at the Center for Contemplative Science and Compassion-Based Ethics, Emory University Ozawa-de Silva maintains that it is possible to teach values like compassion, empathy, and gratitude beyond the parameters of one particular religious tradition. Ozawa-de Silva interweaves teachings from the Dalai Lama with insight from evolutionary history and contemporary neuroscience in order to address the need for secular ethics in education. With “compassion at the core,” Ozawa-de Silva invites practical theology and the study of religious practices to both study and teach pro-social ethics and values. View Brendan Ozawa-de Silva’s presentation here: http://practicalmattersjournal.org/2019/10/24/ practical-matters-conference-brendan-ozawa-de-silva/

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Practicing Re-Imagination: An Interview with Vanessa Zoltan of Harry Potter and the Sacred Text Cara Curtis, Emory University Vanessa Zoltan, Not Sorry Productions While many of the articles in this issue address new directions in the academic study of religious practices, innovations and transformations of religious practices themselves are happening among practitioners all the time. To understand more about one way that traditional Judeo-Christian sacred reading practices are being reimagined in contemporary times, Practical Matters recently spoke with Vanessa Zoltan, co-host of the podcast Harry Potter and the Sacred Text. Founded by graduates of Harvard Divinity School (HDS), each week the podcast considers one chapter of the Harry Potter series through the lens of a particular theme. Similarly to studies of traditional sacred texts, the hosts use stories, blessings, and a rotating docket of sacred reading practices to pay close attention to the text and consider its meaning for real lives and communities. And yet, Harry Potter and the Sacred Text is intentionally built to be welcoming of those of any faith, or no faith at all. Practical Matters editor Cara Curtis sat down with Vanessa Zoltan to learn more about the origins of the podcast, the community that has formed around it, and its creators’ thoughts about how the project fits into a changing landscape of religious practice.

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C: Thanks again for sitting down with me; I think this will fit really well with what we’re trying to do in this issue.

VZ: I’m honored that you reached out!

CC: I’m sure you’ve told this story many times, but I thought it would be nice to hear about the origin story of the podcast, your memories of that, and what jumps out from that part of the story. VZ: Yeah, it’s important for me to think about because I can’t remember all of it: it’s like, when did an Practical Matters Journal, Summer 2019, Issue 12, pp. 113-120. © The Authors 2019. Published by Emory University. All rights reserved.

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idea occur to you? So many people helped, so many people are involved in an idea. But I was at HDS, and I was there because I’d worked in education for 10 years, and I came to the conclusion that—I’m trying to figure out how to say this in a non-offensive way—that we basically know how to educate kids. We, as a culture, know how. And America just hasn’t reckoned with this original sin of slavery, and hatred of different races, so we as a culture just don’t believe that black and brown children deserve to learn. And so I was just frustrated working in education. I was like, why are we talking about things that don’t matter? That’s the thing that matters.  It’s not that I thought that I could fix that, it was that I wanted to go where that conversation was happening. It seemed like a more interesting conversation than a fake conversation about education. And so, eventually I did research and was like—okay, the most interesting conversations about race are happening within the field of religion. And then I just didn’t think a whole lot about the fact that I’m an atheist, and I came to divinity school. And, I knew that my interest in having this conversation was tied up in the fact that I’m the grandchild of four Holocaust survivors, so I know, personally, what dumb hatred can do. We see it in this country in terms of things like water access, and education, but my family saw it differently.  And so I came to HDS and I realized, oh, this not believing in God thing is going to be hard. I started going to services, and one of the central prayers in Judaism that’s at almost every service is called the Amidah. And in it, you praise God for his benevolence, and I was like: God sure as hell forgets about a lot of people. And I could just never get past about half the prayer. And so, I asked Stephanie Paulsell, one of our favorite professors, if she would teach me how to pray using Jane Eyre, because Jane Eyre is my favorite book and I only had positive associations with it. And she said yes. She said, “Yeah, let’s do that for a semester”—so we did. And it was great. It was great to spend a whole semester reading one book, and she taught me all these different prayer methods. One of the things that we decided about treating something as sacred, is that a community says it is sacred. That you can’t pray with something in a vacuum: like how you need a “gym buddy.” And so she was like, “Go, find a community.” I was the assistant humanist chaplain at a tiny congregation here, and so I sent it out as an announcement in the newsletter. I was like, “Hey, on Tuesday nights from 7:00 to 8:30 I’m going to be reading Jane Eyre as sacred.” And four amazing women came, and they came every week.  And then on one of the last weeks, my friend Casper came, and he was like, “I think what you’re up to is really cool. I think it would be better with a book people actually read.” [Laughter.] And I said, “Ah, what book do people actually read? People read Jane Eyre!” And he was like, “Um, Harry Potter.” And I thought, oh that’s good. [Laughing again.] And I truly believe you can treat the secular as sacred with almost any book, but Harry Potter is uniquely qualified.  CC: That’s beautiful, the whole story. And the thread that makes me think of is community. It’s so apparent from the podcast that it includes not only you all as hosts, but also your producer Ariana, Stephanie Paulsell, the musicians, and the volunteers, and then the listening community. How do you think the fact of having these multiple layers of community has shaped the podcast, your experience of it, what it’s become? VZ: To some extent I think I’ve created my perfect community, because I’m an introvert, and I don’t

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like to leave the house. And so I get to engage with people, and then I get to go home. I grew up as a pretty typical Jew where you only went on High Holiday services, and going to live shows feels like that: like, wahoo, all these people, and now I’m going to go home to my room. [Laughter.] But the layers of community are incredible. We now have thirty local groups that meet across the world, and we have a closed Facebook group that has 1,500 people in it, who are just constantly talking to each other. And I don’t go to those groups—I’m in the Facebook group, but I’m never commenting or anything. And that’s incredibly meaningful. We say that we will only know that this podcast is truly a success when there’s a baby that came from the community. [Laughing.] So we really tried hard to put some structures in for people to meet each other, because it’s unsustainable for it to be based around us. It can’t be based around our personalities—it has to come from the practices. It becomes cult-like if it’s about the leaders. And so we’re very much not the leaders. We are the text that people meet about, but we are also completely separate from it. Which feels sustainable and good. And then the thing to me that’s so meaningful about the community is just how we would be bad without it. When we decided to switch from a small reading group/class to the podcast, we went and met with all of our favorite professors, and said, “How do we do this?” There are just so many people who we met with, and now we’re in that kind of dialogue with our listening community. I have learned so much about things I’ve said poorly. I worked in education, and 15 years ago in education, you said that someone “had autism,” not that they “were autistic,” and I think we’ve gotten a hundred emails saying, “That’s not true anymore, Vanessa.” So you get to stay up on things that are not in your field.  And then the other really nice thing is that I shared a story about something that my best friend did for me, and she now gets fan mail, which I love. People write in saying, “Please thank Kim. I started antidepressants because of Kim.” So it feels like Kim is a part of it, and other people, because we tell stories on every episode. So it feels like so, so many people are a part of it. It literally wouldn’t exist without a team of people, and then it certainly would be much worse if we didn’t have such amazing listeners.  CC: Yes—and along with that, something else I was really excited to talk about is that process of bringing people in, or creating a space that can hold a diversity of folks in terms of their journeys with religion. And especially, creating a space that is doing this sacred reading but is welcoming in people who don’t believe in God or are alienated from that world. And so I’m wondering if there are reactions or things you typically hear from those folks, and/or practices that you all engage in to create a space that’s welcoming to them as well as folks who are like, “Well, the Bible’s really important to me, and I’m unsure about this from that angle.”  VZ: The title of our project sounds so kooky: “Harry Potter is a sacred text!” But, its accidental genius is that you have to buy in if you’re going to listen. And so I think that true haters just don’t start it. If you are totally not open to religion, a die-hard atheist, you avoid the word “sacred.” And if you’re devoutly religious and would be offended by something other than the Bible being treated as sacred, you’re also not going to listen. What we do have is these people who are right on the margins of that, and who just love Harry Potter so much that they’re like, “Okay, I guess I’ll go with this.” Some of my favorite comments that I get speak to

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this. I used to be a part of an atheist community, and I think everyone knows this, but atheist communities are often incredibly toxic for women. So I hear from a lot of women who are like, “I am an atheist and it’s just so nice to hear a woman talk about atheism”—and to have someone who is respectful and loves religion talk about atheism. And then the other thing I love to hear is people who say, “I have been traumatized by my church” –you know, I’m queer and Baptist, grew up in the South,”—like read from a script—”but your podcast has helped me come back to religion.” You know, not in their congregations of origin. And that feels like a really lovely thing. So, people leaning into their atheism or people leaning back into their religion feels like a lovely thing. CC: To me, it’s incredible to think about the communities that have formed, those folks from different ends of the spectrum finding each other and being in community—because we all know that many of us just don’t really talk to people that are different from us. VZ: Right, right. I keep saying this: I would love for someone to write a thesis on us. The thing that I’m most interested in is whether or not what we’re up to is effective chaplaincy. Because a lot of our chaplaincy at this point happens in our inbox. Is email an appropriate form of chaplaincy? Or are these local reading groups, with no trained facilitators? We’ve applied for a couple of grants to be able to run facilitative leadership workshops for our groups, but we don’t have the money yet. So I’m like, are these terrible for people?  CC: That’s really interesting, because I know there is more and more work around digital and online communities—but email is a whole other angle, and it makes a lot of sense for you guys. Do you all try to individually respond? VZ: We were. We can’t anymore, for a few reasons. It was unhealthy for me to read so many things about myself—or really, it’s that I’m bad at responding (“Screw you! You don’t like my voice? Stop listening to our podcast!”). That kind of thing. So we no longer respond to every email. We read every single one, and we respond with resources to the ones that seem to be in acute crisis. I’d say we respond to over 60%. We don’t respond to negative emails, and we don’t respond to fan theories, just because there’s a Facebook group for that—and they’re fun to read, but we don’t need to respond.  But if somebody is sharing something really personal, we respond with a sort of “bearing witness” message: thanking them for sharing their story, responding to the story a little bit. And that’s it. And I don’t know if we should think of our email inbox as a kind of void that people can just send things into—like I believe in the magic of writing and trusting that that process was enough for them—or if we’re doing something wrong. We have a responder up saying we read every email but can’t respond to them all, so we’re managing expectations. I just think our email inbox would be interesting for a grad student, because all the data is there. Someone do it! CC: Yeah—and hearing you talk about it, all the principles align with my understanding of the

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foundations of pastoral care: you can’t fix, you have to just be there. But I also hear you in this dilemma of, this is a totally new format—so, what are we doing?! VZ: Well, and with a real relationship, like when I was a congregational chaplain, when one of our members was in the hospital, I would go visit them. And then the community would coordinate things like making sure there was soup in their fridge when they got home. And then you asked us to do your wedding, and you came to a funeral with us. And there’s none of that. CC: Right, so it really sounds like this is where it’s at the very edges of being figured out. VZ: But our perceptions of these things have changed. Ten years ago, there was an HBO comedy where Lisa Cooper was playing an online therapist, and it was about how funny that was. But I have a friend now who is a new mom on maternity leave, and she’s really struggling, and she can’t go to therapy—and she Skypes with her therapist, and it’s so helpful. And ten years ago, it was a joke. But what a gift that a mom who can’t get out of the house can still talk to her therapist. So I don’t know if we’re doing a disservice to the world of chaplaincy, or if we’re on the cutting edge of something. [Laughing.] I don’t know! CC: It’s really interesting to hear how you all are figuring that out, (VZ: or, not figuring it out!) well, in process! But I wanted to go back to pick up on a thread you were talking about when you said you loved hearing from women atheists—just because one really lovely part of the podcast has been your choice to always bless a female character in the “blessing” section of each episode. And then, this new podcast you and Ariana are running called the “Women of Harry Potter.” So I wanted to hear a bit about your process of coming to that decision originally, and then whether you’ve changed in how you’ve thought about it over the course of the podcast, this new piece, and just in general how this feminist piece is fitting in for you. VZ: The choosing to bless women—I just love limitations, they create the opportunity to see things that you wouldn’t otherwise get to see. And that’s always exciting. I was an English major, learned a lot from feminist theory, and a lot of my favorite books are retellings from the woman’s point of view. I love retellings because I love spoiled books—like the The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood, where she retells The Odyssey from the point of view of the women back home. And like Longbourn by Jo Baker, which is a retelling of Pride and Prejudice from below-stairs. I always like that. And when we started the podcast—Hillary was about to become president. And Harvey Weinstein was just a jerk. And so the reason for the Women of Harry Potter podcast is that it’s become more and more important to me personally. Accidentally! But the books that I’m drawn to right now: I keep reading these feminist memoirs, just constantly. Jessica Valenti, Lindy West, Roxane Gay—I just can’t get enough of them. It’s an exciting moment in feminism: there were like 30 years where there wasn’t as much of a feminist movement. And there is, again. It’s just super exciting. There is all this content: I’m in the middle of the Lorena Bobbitt documentary, and I loved the Slow Burn season about the Monica Lewinski scandal. So I feel like we’re in this moment of retelling stories from the women’s point of view. Like when the Monica Lewinsky scandal happened, it was all about Bill Clinton. And when Lorena

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Bobbitt cut off John Bobbitt’s penis, it was like, “That poor man!” And so, it’s just an exciting moment in feminism where we are telling these stories that speak to the question, “Where was the woman?” And so I’ve really enjoyed putting my attention toward that in the Harry Potter books. You know, Joanne Rowling was told by a publisher to call herself “J.K.” because little boys weren’t going to read a book about a little boy wizard written by a woman. So it’s just exciting to me. CC: Yeah. And has there been community feedback on that? Or what has that been like? VZ: I don’t get a lot of comments on it, which also means I don’t get a lot of negative comments on it, aside from a couple men saying, “You call yourself a humanist? Men are humans too!” (And actually, I don’t call myself a humanist anymore. It’s not a political stance, it’s not an interesting word to me anymore.) I’ve heard some positive things about it, but generally, it’s similar to the barrier to entry of getting into the podcast: I announced the plan for it on the first episode, so people who have real feelings about it just don’t really engage with Episode 2. I’ve heard a couple lovely comments about how people were resisting the word “feminist” and now they feel more comfortable with it.  CC: Yeah, that’s really cool. And this also makes me think, more broadly: you all have talked on the podcast about the process of choosing the sacred reading practices that you do. Could you talk about that a bit, both the process of choosing them and the process of adapting them for the podcast format, working with them over time, etc.? [Editor’s note: please see http://www.harrypottersacredtext.com/spiritual-practiceresources for more information and resources related to the practices discussed in the following conversation.] VZ: So Havruta was the only one I knew before doing this. And the other ones we had teachers teach us. Like, really simply. So Stephanie taught me Lectio Divina when we were doing our independent study on Jane Eyre, and I just kept hating some of the God language around it. Like, “What does God want you to do with this passage?” I’m like, “I don’t know! Kill babies?” It made me grumpy. And so, you know, Stephanie is always wise, and said, “If the question isn’t helping you, ask yourself a different question.” And so, she and I adapted that one together, to make it more inclusive. And that sort of gave me permission to do that. And Casper uses a word that may actually come from Krista Tippett: “spiritual technologies.” All technologies are meant to be adapted: we all use knives slightly differently. And as long as it’s chopping, safely, it doesn’t really matter.  So Stephanie really gave us permission to do that, and now we invite teachers on to teach us new practices, and then with the help of our producer Ariana, and some thought, we adapt it for the podcast. And some of them evolve over time: I feel like we just recently got good at doing Floralegium. We just added a step in our practice where we talk about why that quote sparkled at us, and that’s been really helpful. But it took us like three years to get there. So it’s definitely a continuous process. The only hard-and-fast rule we have about the sacred reading practices is that while we love having other guests on to teach us about non-Judeo-Christian practices, we do not want to be appropriating other cultures, so we do not continue those practices on our own. I feel very confident owning the Jewish stuff,

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Casper feels very confident owning the Christian stuff, and at this point I will do the Christian practices even when I’m doing something on my own—I feel very much like they’re mine at this point. But, [Buddhist] chanting, for example: chanting is a great practice that I will never lead. CC: And I’ve appreciated how you’ve explained that on the podcast, because I think that’s a thing that might not occur to everyone. So I’ve appreciated the thoughtfulness with which you’ve said: these practices are wonderful, and this is why we’re not doing them. VZ: Right. We’ve gotten a couple requests—and this came from the community, it wasn’t something we had specifically articulated to ourselves—but somebody wrote in and said, “It would be great if you taught us more about religion.” And we thought about it, and we were like, “Well, we’re not a world religion podcast.” And we’re not experts in world religions. We could read you Wikipedia entries, but there are probably great podcasts out there about world religions. CC: Right. And if this podcast is a gateway to that interest, that’s fantastic! VZ: Right. But we’re not religious educators. That’s not what we do. So questions like that are really helpful. You’re like, “Hey, should we do that?” And then you’re like, “No, and this is why.” And it helps you figure out who you are and who you’re not. CC: Yeah. And it’s great to hear you guys think through your process and be transparent about that. And this has been a great conversation overall. One thing I wanted to make sure we got to, because it ties back both to what you guys are doing and to what our journal is about, is this idea of practice. There’s this idea from the Aristotelian tradition about how engaging in a practice over time changes you and shapes you. So zooming out as a closing question, as you look over your time with this podcast over the last few years, are there ways that you feel like you’ve been shaped or changed by this practice? Anything you might not have expected? VZ: Oh yeah. First of all, I think I now believe in just doing things. That feeling of, I don’t know how this will end, but I’ll know it by its fruits. And the process will change it. Which makes you just a little bit believe in magic. “I’m just gonna do this thing, and we’ll see what happens!” And it’s just made me much more willing to do practices and to see them as blessings. Like I always walked my dog, but now I’m like, “No, this is my sacred time,” where I listen to an audiobook or podcast, and am focused on another creature, and it’s changing my body—I am now someone who walks five miles a day every day, and my quads are reflected in that. And seeing that not as a chore, but as part of me.  And so we’re working on this romance novel project. And there’s an app where you can upload a chapter a week until you finish a romance novel. And I was like, “I have no idea what this process will give me, but I’m going to do it.” I’m only a couple of weeks in, but it’s so fun to just have to put words to the page. And so I think I’m more open to the mystery, rather than I used to do things assuming I knew why I did them. And

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this new way I think creates more space in your life to quit things, because you’re like, “I’ll know this by its fruits, and this is stressing me out, and that’s all it’s giving me.” But it’s really created space for me to become more experimental. As someone who loves being home and is a real homebody, that’s been a real gift to me. CC: And that ties back really well to what you were saying about the reading practices. Saying, “We added this piece to Floralegium, and it got so much better.” And I’m similar, I like to have a plan, so that’s really cool to hear about opening to that process. VZ: Yeah. Because I never could have guessed what that Jane Eyre independent study with Stephanie was going to give me. So I’ve really learned about experimenting with things. Which is really what chaplaincy is: it’s about being present, and not knowing what a conversation is going to bring you.  And it’s not always going to be pleasant. Like in treating Jane Eyre as sacred, I realized it is in many ways a racist, colonial, oppressive book. I still love it, but it’s not always going to feel good. And I walk the dog in terrible weather. So it’s not always pleasant. CC: Yeah. And in my experience with the Harry Potter series, similarly, it’s helped me face some of those uglier sides of characters, where you go, “Man, I’d really like to just stay with my image of Dumbledore from the first six books,” and not really wanting to have to deal with everything you find out about him. But I think being able to hold all sides of people in a more intentional way is a good practice to cultivate. VZ: And they really are great books. I think that’s the other thing this has taught me, too. Harry Potter books, before doing this podcast, they were not “my books.” I liked them, but I didn’t grow up with them. I’m a little too old and just missed it. And I just believed in Casper. Casper said that they would work, and I was like, “Casper’s great!” And they’ve ended up being such a gift to me. They’re so good, I love them so much now, and that was just a leap of faith. CC: Yes, and I love that idea of going with something because you believe in a person; I share that. We’re about out of time, but thank you so much again for chatting with me. This has been great.  VZ: Thank you! It’s been a pleasure.

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Teaching Religious Traditions through Place: A Case for Place-Based Associative Pedagogy in Orisha Traditions Elaine Penagos Emory University Abstract Associative place-based pedagogy uniquely provides strategies inclusive of a wide range of traditions beyond those of traditional Western classrooms and provides a foundation for educators to build upon in ways that are practical for teaching traditions courses in Religious Studies. In order to create richer repositories of information for students and minimize comparative approaches in teaching Religious Studies, it is necessary to emphasize the importance of place in its rich and varied expressions and explicitly associate pertinent religious phenomena to ideas of place. Using associative place-based pedagogy helps students form deeper connections with information and create affective links resulting in an overall stronger ability to recall that information. Building on associative learning theories and methods of indigenous discourse, I propose this pedagogical model using the orisha, the deities in Yoruba-derived African heritage traditions like Cuban Santeria. However, my overarching goal is that educators leverage this pedagogical model to offer students a new and radically needed approach to teaching and learning in Religious Studies.

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hat are some of the challenges when teaching African heritage religions to undergraduate students who have had little to no exposure to them? How can we teach students the cosmologies of these religions while minimizing a comparative approach (for example comparing the African orisha to Greek/Roman gods or Hindu gods), which sometimes uses a reductive or essentialist perspective to compare seemingly related aspects of religious traditions? Place-based education, traditionally defined as “an approach to curriculum development and instruction that directs students’ attention to local culture, phenomena, and issues as the basis for at least some of the learning they encounter in school,” serves as a point of departure for a place-based approach to teaching Religious Studies. As such, this essay argues for Practical Matters Journal, Summer 2019, Issue 12, pp. 121-131. © The Author 2019. Published by Emory University. All rights reserved.

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the value of a place-based associative pedagogy for traditions courses in Religious Studies programs by using the Afro-Cuban religion, La Regla de Osha, popularly known as Santería, as a case study. I focus specifically on the orisha, the deities in the Santería pantheon, to demonstrate the use of this pedagogical model. I define place-based associative teaching and learning as a pedagogical approach that emphasizes place elements, like natural and built environments as well as physical locality, in order to reinforce and enrich students’ recall of information. In other words, utilizing place-based pedagogies helps students form deeper connections with information and create affective links resulting in an overall stronger ability to recall that information. Building on associative learning theories and methods of indigenous discourse, I propose a place-based associative pedagogy as a pragmatic model for traditions courses within Religious Studies. Embodiment, for example, and its connection to place through material or consciousness of/ with placement enables associations that increase the breadth of recollection of religious concepts across a broader range and grasp of various phenomena. By paying close attention to bodies in places and as places, and the interactions of bodies within the places and spaces they inhabit, we begin to widen pedagogical borders and perceptions. The process of emphasizing place elements and associating them with other key concepts in Religious Studies develops students’ awareness to place in other disciplines. As such, placebased associative pedagogy can strengthen connections to other bodies of knowledge, as evident in much of the scholarship on indigenous epistemologies. Additionally, a materialist approach such as place-based associative teaching and learning encourages experiential pedagogical practices that leverage embodied experiences and arts-based methods—visual arts, music, photography, narrative arts, etc.—to create and shape enduring understanding for students. In this case study, place-based associative pedagogy focuses on concrete conceptions of place and utilizes arts-based research methods to engage with the orisha.

Scope and Methodological and Theoretical Rationale I developed this pedagogical model for a course I designed as a part of a Place and Space graduate seminar during the spring of 2018. The goal of the assignment was to create an educational unit for undergraduate students that made use of some aspect of place and space. Focusing on Cuba, I designed a course to introduce undergraduates to Caribbean religions and divided it into four modules. The four modules move from a history of the Caribbean to an in-depth analysis of the most well-known orisha in Santería. The course concludes by paying attention to how Afro-Cuban religiosity is articulated through various mediums in popular culture such as music, film, literature, and art. The flow of inquiry commences with a historical overview beginning with the European encounter with the Caribbean and the Americas and culminates with slavery in the Caribbean. The course then examines the development of culture on the island through important Cuban writers from the twentieth century like Fernando Ortiz, Nicolás Guillén, and Lydia Cabrera, as well as artists like Wifredo Lam working during the Vanguardia period of the 1920’s through the 1950’s. Following the section on culture, the course delves into Afro-Cuban religions, looking specifically at Regla de Ocha (Santería), Reglas de Palo, Abakuá, and Espiritismo. Place-based associative pedagogy arises from the final section of the course that focuses on the orisha in Africa and Cuba. A place-based associative approach is not only useful for teaching about traditions; it is also useful

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to teach theories of religions to students. I draw from Thomas Tweed’s theory of religions in Crossing and Dwelling to show how the patakis, mythological stories of the orisha, elucidate a type of fluid place-based religious orthopraxy through their confluences and flows. Santería, while not a land-based religion in the same way as Judaism, is however a religion where place matters; therefore, I suggest it is a place-based religion. Although the orisha are part of a place-based religious structure, they are not geographically confined and can (and do) move with their devotees. The orisha and their implements are portable, but they do not move arbitrarily. A significant part of the ritual knowledge that practitioners must learn deals with place—the placement of the orisha inside their homes, the places in their bodies and in natural and built environments over which specific orisha have dominion, and the places where practitioners must conduct rituals and discard of ritual remains. Knowledge and awareness of place are fundamental to the religious formation that practitioners receive from their godparents, the ones who initiate them into the religion. Religious knowledge, including knowledge that underscores the importance of place, is transmitted by godparents and elders in the religion through the use of narrative and storytelling. Attesting to the power of narrative, Richard Zaner states, “We care for one another with the stories we place in each other’s memory; they are our food for thought, and life.” Correspondingly, Charles Taylor maintains that humans understand our lives “in a narrative” meaning that we are placed through our stories. Stories orient us, telling us not only where we came from but also showing us multiple possibilities of where we can go. This understanding of stories as maps that guide human movement through places is a fundamental aspect that I privilege when teaching Religious Studies classes. Accordingly, I utilize arts-based research methods, primarily narrative inquiry, to show how, through their stories, the orisha are placebased deities. For example, when I teach students about the orisha in the Santería pantheon, I emphasize the natural and/or built environments over which each orisha has dominion and stress that the orisha have dominion over a particular place and are the particular place, as in the case of Oshún who is both the orisha with dominion over the river and the actual river itself. In return, the students often use the place elements related to an orisha to elucidate and elaborate points in arguments in their written assignments. Writing her term paper on Eshu/Elegba and other associated deities like Papa Legba in Vodou, a student in an African Religious Cultures class that I lectured in during Fall 2018, used a place-base understanding of the trickster orisha as the basis for her analysis. She explained, “Eshu/Elegba’s and Papa Legba’s identity as a trickster connects to his role both at and as the crossroads. His identity has been conflated with but is not that of the devil, and this distinction is important. Eshu/Elegba and Papa Legba are tricksters because they are the crossroads.” While I focus on narrative inquiry through the patakis, this method can be exchanged with music, visual arts, or other arts-based methods and still achieve similar results. My pedagogical and research agendas ideally privilege indigenous epistemologies and methodologies—ways of knowing that rely on and are inseparable from spatial orientation as well as narratives revealing space and place. For African heritage and indigenous religious traditions, place and space are both spiritually and physically embodied ways of knowing. These ways of understanding and relating to the world can be seen in the rich oral histories of these communities. Coupling a placed-based pedagogy with arts-based methods is fitting because artistic expressions—song, dance, narratives, poetry, visual arts—are central to the ways in which African heritage and indigenous traditions transmit knowledge.

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The importance of place cannot be understated. Place plays an intrinsic role in how events unfold, and conditions the way in which knowledge is produced, organized, and disseminated. To create richer repositories of information for students, we must emphasize the importance of place in its rich and varied expressions and explicitly associate pertinent religious phenomena to place. The model I propose in this paper is specific to the orisha, but my overarching goal is that this pedagogical model offers a new and radically needed approach to teaching and learning in Religious Studies. It uniquely provides strategies inclusive of a wide range of traditions beyond those of traditional Western classrooms and provides a foundation for educators to build upon in ways that are practical for teaching traditions courses in Religious Studies.

The Orisha in Place and Practice: A Case Study There are multiple ways to present the orisha to students as place-based deities—through their places in the natural world, their places in built environments, and their ritual placement. Focusing on the place elements present in the orisha’s patakis and on the various ways in which the orisha are ritually placed strengthens associative learning pathways for students, giving them rich references with which to recall information about the orisha as well as other relevant information relating to Santería and the sociohistorical environment in which it developed. By understanding the orisha as placed-based deities, students obtain a greater understanding of the catastrophic displacement caused by the trans-Atlantic slave trade, by immigration, and by exile. Moreover, the ways enslaved and displaced Africans were able to reinterpret the orisha in their new place(s) creatively speaks to the resilience and malleability of these traditions that allowed them to survive and flourish in the diaspora. Before exploring the place-based elements of this case study, it is important to understand the cast of characters involved. To employ place-based associative pedagogy, I divide the orisha into three broad and sometimes overlapping categories. The first group contains nature-oriented orisha. The orisha in this group are those who have a direct affiliation, dominion, or stewardship over a specific place or type of place in nature. Examples include Olókun, the depth of the ocean floor; Yemayá, the sea; Oshún, Obá, and Oyá, rivers; and Agayú, volcanoes. To illustrate how these nature-oriented orisha are placed, I focus on a pataki of Olókun. Olókun is the bottom of the ocean, the unknown depth, and unknowable world beneath the salt waters of the known world. As a place-based deity, Olókun represents the place where all that is lost in oceanic voyages ends up, including lives lost at sea. The pataki about Olókun states that Obatalá, the orisha of knowledge, peace, and the white cloth, keeps the androgynous orisha chained to the bottom of the ocean to contain his/her incredible power from destroying the world. From an associative learning perspective, understanding Olókun as the orisha of the bottom of the ocean creates a connection to the horrors of the Middle Passage thereby affectively linking the movement of bodies from Africa into the Caribbean and the Americas with the slaving voyages. Speaking to the unknowability of Olókun mysteries, Lydia Cabrera states that Olókun never allows his/her face to be seen, and practitioners who perform Olókun’s dance must wear a mask that completely covers their face. Olókun’s face, according to Cabrera’s informants, is only visible in

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dreams. Understanding Olókun as the ocean floor invites students to envision the unknowable depths of the ocean, similar to viewing Jason deCaires Taylor’s underwater sculpture, Vicissitudes. Associating Olókun with the mysteries of the ocean’s depth through an image like deCaires Taylor’s Vicissitudes creates affective ties to the catastrophe of slavery, the intercontinental flow of bodies, and the uncountable deaths known only to the orisha of the ocean floor. Comparing Olókun to Neptune or Poseidon fails to convey the level of information that relating Olókun to a place can do. These place-based associations provide a richer and much more nuanced understanding of both Olókun’s place within the orisha pantheon and the conditions under which orisha traditions came to the Caribbean. Oshún is an apt orisha with which to bridge nature-oriented orisha to orisha with connections to built environments. Within Santería, practitioners often associate Oshún with the La Virgen de la Caridad Del Cobre, Our Lady of Charity, a Marian figure who is the patron saint of Cuba. Partly due to her affiliation with brass in Africa, Oshún is related to La Caridad whose effigy was discovered floating in the sea by enslaved workers of a copper mine located in a Cuban town known as El Cobre. The workers brought the effigy back to the mines where Spanish officials installed her in an altar. The faithful attributed miracles that occurred after the effigy’s arrival to La Caridad and stories claim that whenever clergy members relocated the statue out of her altar to more formal setting she would mysteriously disappear and return to the mines. A distinctly Cuban pataki about Oshún tells of her arrival on the island and provides additional context to the affiliation between the orisha and the Catholic Saint. Oshún was watching as her devotees, her children, were taken away on slave ships and sought out her sister Yemayá to inquire about what was going on. Yemayá explained to Oshún that their children were being taken to a new place that was similar to Africa in many ways but different in that white people lived there too. Worried about her children, Oshún tells Yemayá that she will accompany them on their voyage to this new place but first would like Yemayá to lighten her skin and straighten her hair a bit so that all the inhabitants of this new place might better receive her. Contained within this pataki and the story of La Caridad are several place-based elements. First, the Marian effigy is found floating in the sea by enslaved workers from a copper mine, echoing the fluvial orisha who approaches the orisha of the sea for help traveling from Africa to Cuba. Second, Oshún’s association with brass in Africa changes to copper in Cuba, and the statue of La Caridad is installed in the copper mines in a town named El Cobre, literally copper. Lastly, because Oshún crossed from the African continent into the Caribbean with the help of Yemayá, it reasons that she is the only fluvial orisha in Cuba. Embodying Tweed’s definition of religions, Oshún converges into Yemayá and flows through the Atlantic Ocean to accompany her devotees for whom she “intensif[ies] joy” and helps “confront suffering” in order to “make [a] home” in Cuba. The significance of place in the stories of Oshún and La Caridad cannot be overemphasized and stressing the place elements in their stories is crucial for student learning. These stories show how a nature-oriented orisha changes from a single river in Africa to all rivers in Cuba, and how a nature-oriented orisha becomes associated with a human-constructed place like the copper mines in Cuba. As evidenced by the previous example from a student paper, for students, place in these stories has a meaning-making functionality. Place is not an arbitrary part of these stories but rather an integral element that helps students recall important parts of these religious narratives. Students’ engagement with place as a concrete conception rather than an abstraction helps them analyze and even theorize the orisha and their

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respective attributes. The Cuban pataki about Oshún and the myth about La Caridad show how using a placebased associative pedagogy emphasizes connections and therefore associations between phenomena and the environment. This pedagogical approach strengthens learning by establishing connections to material place elements upon which students can draw from combining the power of narrative and storytelling with a sense of embodied placement to which they can relate. The second group of place-based orisha are those connected to built environments. Orisha in this group relate to places imbued with function and meaning through human invention or intervention and include places like crossroads, cemeteries, and agricultural sites. The category of built environments also extends into places like railroad tracks, prisons, courthouses, and women’s shelters. Included in this group of orisha are Eleguá, Oyá, Yewá, Obá, Orisha Oko, Ochosí, and Ogún. To explore an example of built environment associations with the orisha, I examine the pataki of Yewá, the orisha that presides over human cadavers and their decomposition. Among the orisha, Yewá was the last remaining virgin and thus the favored child of Olofi. She lived inside Olofi’s palace and tended his flower gardens. One day while fraternizing with Eleguá, the trickster orisha of the crossroads, Changó, the orisha of thunder equated with male virility, was bragging about all of his female conquests, bolstering that he had seduced every woman in the land. Laughing at Changó’s lack of awareness, Eleguá told him that one virgin remained who lived in Olofi’s palace. Determined to win over the last virgin, Changó went to the palace and made himself known to Yewá. Falling prey to Changó’s temptation, Yewá looked at the orisha of thunder and instantly became smitten. Changó and Yewá ran off together and consummated their passion for one another. Months later, Yewá felt a growth inside her womb and knew that she was pregnant. Ashamed of her indiscretion with Changó and afraid that Olofi would find out, she reached into her womb, removed her unborn child, and buried it amongst the flowers in the garden. After some time had passed, Olofi called Yewá to the garden to inquire about some of the flowers. Yewá told Olofi about the new flowers in the garden and recounted how she had removed the ones that had died to give way for fresh blossoms. Catching Yewá by surprise Olofi then asked her what she did with the flower that was growing inside her womb. Grief-stricken and mortified by her actions, Yewá confessed, asking Olofi to send her away to a place where she would never see another man again. Olofi obliged and sent Yewá to the cemetery. In the cemetery, Yewá became responsible for overseeing the decomposition of human bodies. She dwells within coffins and watches over corpses while maggots consume them and return them to the earth. Placing Yewá in the cemetery, and specifically inside buried coffins, recalls her role as caretaker of Olofi’s garden and her burial of her unborn child in the garden creating multiple place associations for this orisha. First, her transformation from her status as a virgin gardener is an emotional story that locates Yewá’s dominion inside cemeteries, and within the cemetery, inside coffins and caskets. Second, it accounts for Yewá’s placement inside the graveyard along with Obá and Oyá. As an aside, it should be noted that Changó is very afraid of death (Iku) and ghosts and therefore Yewá’s placement within cemeteries assures her that she will never have to look upon Changó again. Finally, this story rationalizes the ritual praxis of Yewá’s cult, namely the observation that all her devotees must adhere to in placing the basket holding her tureen (containing her stones implements) far away from Changó’s batea, a covered bowl made of wood

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used to store his sacred stones and tools. The place-based associations in Yewá’s patakis contain significant data about Yewá and Santería such as information about her origins and instructions for ritual praxis in the orisha’s cult. The accessibility of this information for students is facilitated and enhanced by the emphasis put on the place elements of the story. Yewá’s pataki leads us into the third group of place-based orisha, the ways the orisha are ritually placed. Because the orisha are dynamic entities, many of them can be categorized in more than one place group, but all of them have their own distinct rules for ritual placement. Therefore, all of the orisha fall into the third group as place-based through ritual placement. Ritual placement includes the placement of the orisha within their soperas, soup tureens in which practitioners house their sacred stones and implements, as well as how practitioners situate those vessels within their homes, and how the orisha are placed on and in the bodies of practitioners. As with the stories of Yewá and Changó, the orisha pantheon and Santería’s overall cosmology is revealed through the patakis and is reenacted through the placement of the orisha vessels inside practitioners’ home altars. For example, due to Yewá’s interactions Changó, practitioners cannot keep her sopera and his batea inside the same room. In fact, a ritual convention for Yewá maintains that when consecrating Yewá as a part of an initiation, practitioners must prepare two separate rooms, one for Yewá alone and the other for all the other orisha since it is said that Yewá cannot stand the smell of men. Describing orisha altars, David Brown states, “Thrones of the orishas—special altars . . . are often huge, stunning installations. Composed of colorful cloth, porcelain vessels, and beadwork objects, they rise above bountiful spreads of fresh fruit, flowers, and plates of prepared foods. Wherever important ritual events take place . . . thrones preside as commanding presences in practitioners’ homes.” The use of the word ‘thrones’ by Brown and others (including practitioners) is fitting for many reasons dealing with sociopolitical intricacies represented by orisha altars that fall outside the immediate scope of this project. However, amongst those reasons, and relevant to this study, is the notion that orisha altars present the orisha “in state,” alluding to their kingly or queenly statuses. According to Yoruba myth, Changó, the orisha of thunder, was a king of Oyo who was deified after his death. Although Changó is not place-based in the same way that Olókun and the other orisha we have analyzed thus far are, his ritual placement is particular to his kingly status and the details from his patakis. Due to his constant warring with Ogún, the orisha of iron, Changó’s tools, and his batea must be made of wood. As a reminder of his kingly status, Changó’s batea sits on top of a pilon, a wooden mortar associated with Yoruba royalty. The orisha of thunder is among the five orisha that most practitioners of Santería receive upon initiation. However, his placement in a practitioner’s home altar is distinct in that he is typically not placed within the same hierarchical arrangement as the other four. Instead, practitioners usually place Changó’s batea to the side, on top of his pilon placing him perpetually in state. As we have seen, the patakis in which Changó is featured contain many important details that dictate how this seemingly placeless orisha is placed. While thunder is not geographically fixed to any particular natural or built environment, Changó’s status as king of Oyo, his rivalry with Ogún, and his seduction of Yewá all form part of this orisha’s placement. Chango’s stories, like all of the other orisha, include place-based particulars which dictate ritual practice.

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Conclusion Although the focus of this case study is to advocate for the use of associative place-based pedagogy in the Religious Studies classroom, it is important to acknowledge, however briefly, how educators can assess the efficacy of this approach in the classroom. Ideal assessment types are grounded in an arts-based practice and should be congruent with indigenous epistemologies. Building on recent uses of virtual reality environments in the classroom, example assessments can include having students can create 360-degree videos that virtually recreate their understanding of place-based orisha. Alternatively, students can utilize digital story as well. Other visual arts mediums such as photography, drawing, painting, and collage in addition to poetry and story writing can also be utilized to assess if students have adequately understood the centrality of place in the tradition they are learning. As illustrated by the aforementioned student example, educators can also use more traditional assessments like term papers to effectively assess student learning. Ultimately, the goal is not to assess a student’s artistic capabilities but rather their efficacy and ability to retell orisha myths and Religious Studies concepts through a creative use of place. When I introduce the orisha to students through place-based associative pedagogy, I am also introducing them to the orisha’s relationships with the people and places from which they emerged. Through this indigenous epistemological approach, students become acquainted with ways of knowing that highlight the complexities of reciprocity that are intrinsic to this religious tradition. This case study for place-based associative pedagogy aimed to show how religious traditions, in this case, Santería, can be used to teach students without deferring to a comparative approach, especially with Western traditions. By emphasizing the place elements in the orisha’s patakis, place becomes the stimuli, the association, which triggers responsive learning in students. Calling attention to place elements increases students sensitivity to place and encourages them to focus on the ways place plays a significant role in religious practices. Using narrative inquiry as part of the arts-based methods paradigm shows that stories contain information about the environment that relate to religious meanings. Stories demonstrate that “wisdom sits in places.” Encouraging students to be attentive listeners to indigenous discourses emboldens them to make associations by creating their individual pathways to knowledge. Indigenous discourse also shows students ways of successfully organizing their ideas in a non-linear fashion, privileging indigenous methodologies and epistemologies. In the case of Santería, place-based associative pedagogy highlights the relationships between the orisha and places and creates a language that enables students to understand the relationships between the orisha, practitioners, and rituals. Without using a comparative approach, teaching and learning religious traditions is like teaching and learning another language. Place acts as a widely understood vocabulary through which the words in a story are given functional, instructive, and multidimensional meanings.

notes Gregory A. Smith, “Place-Based Education.” Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education, 2017,  http://oxfordre.com/ education/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780190264093.001.0001/acrefore-9780190264093-e-95. 1

2

Gabrielle Weidemann and Gavan McNally, Neuroscience of Associative Learning, November 29, 2011, accessed May

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5, 2018, http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780199828340/obo-9780199828340-0080.xml. According to the authors, “In the narrowest definition of associative learning, it is restricted to the learning that occurs during classical conditioning and instrumental conditioning. However, associative learning can also be used more broadly to encompass all memory for the relationship between events and as such includes other forms of short-term and long-term memory.” Barbara Alice Mann, Spirits of Blood, Spirits of Breath: The Twinned Cosmos of Indigenous America (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016), 1­–2. Mann describes indigenous discourse as a style that challenges “the Western demand for Categorically Demarcated Linearity with Conclusions” and argues that Indians do not “feel the necessity to provide elaborate apparatuses shepherding the reader to a conclusion.” 3

See Keith H. Basso, Wisdom Sits in Places: Landscape and Language among the Western Apache (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1996); Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples (Dunedin: University of Otago Press, 1999); and Shawn Wilson, Research is Ceremony: Indigenous Research Methods. (Black Point: Fernwood Publishing, 2008). 4

5

Thomas A. Tweed, Crossing and Dwelling: A Theory of Religion (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2006), 54.

Arthur P. Bochner and Nicholas A. Riggs, “Practicing Narrative Inquiry” in The Oxford Handbook of Qualitative Research, edited by Patricia Leavy (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014), 195. 6

7

Ibid.

Ibid. I use narrative inquiry as my method of analysis for the patakis according to the principles put forward by Bochner and Riggs, which state, “Narrative inquiry seeks to humanize the human sciences, placing people, meaning and personal identity at the center, inviting the development of reflexive, relational, and interpretive methodologies and drawing attention not only on the actual but also to the possible and the good.” 8

9

Eshu/Elegba is a name variant for the Santería orisha known as Eshu or Eleguá.

10

Arianna Murray, “The Limping Trickster: Analyzing Eshu/Elegba,” (essay, Emory University, 2018), 1.

11

John Mason, Orin Orisa: Songs for Selected Heads (Brooklyn: Yoruba Theological Archministry, 1992) 4. According

to Mason, the Yoruba conceive of art as “the propagation and investigation of wisdom.” Unless otherwise cited, the patakis in this paper come from memory as multiple practitioners throughout my years of research in Santería communities have taught them to me. 12

The place-based associations for these orisha are broadly based on their Cuban and Nigerian understandings. In Cuba, Obá and Oyá lose their affiliations as fluvial deities with Obá becoming the orisha of marriage and domesticity while Oyá becomes the wind. In Nigeria, Yemayá is a fluvial orisha that resides in the Ogún river while Agayú is associated with the desert and wilderness. 13

14

Lydia Cabrera, El Monte (Habana: Editorial Letras Cubanas, 1986), 37.

15

Ibid.

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Jason deCaires Taylor, Jason deCaires Taylor, n.d., accessed May 5, 2018, https://www.underwatersculpture.com/ works/colonised/. 16

Davide Carozza, “Jason de Caires Taylor, Vicissitudes,” Deeps, The Black Atlantic, Duke University, April 19, 2014, http://sites.duke.edu/blackatlantic. Photographs depicting deCaires Taylors’s Vicissitudes gained viral attention across the internet when the images were interpreted as a memorial of the Middle Passage. However, according to Carozza, the artist did not create the underwater statue with those specific intentions but rather that the image became representative of the ways that viewers interpreted the piece. 17

Michelle A. Gonzalez, Afro-Cuban Theology: Religion, Race, Culture, and Identity. (Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 2006), 80. 18

19

Raul Canizares, Oshun: Santería and the Orisha of Love, Rivers, and Sensuality (Old Bethpage: Original Publications,

2001), 8–9. This Cuban pataki also appears in the work of Cuban-American scholars Mercedes Cros Sandoval’s Worldview, the Orichas, and Santería and in Michelle A. Gonzalez’s Afro-Cuban Theology. 20

Tweed, 54.

These three orisha are all associated with some aspect of cemeteries and burial grounds. Among practitioners of Santería, Yewá, Obá, and Oyá are known collectively as las muerteras, which roughly translates to the death women. 21

David H. Brown, “Thrones of the Orichas: Afro-Cuban Altars in New Jersey, New York, and Havana.” African Arts 26, no. 4 (October 1993): 44–59 85–87. 22

Joseph M. Murphy, Santería: African Spirits in America. (Boston: Beacon Press, 1993), 59. David H. Brown also refers to the orisha as being “in state” in his work. 23

David H. Brown, Santería Enthroned: Art, Ritual, and Innovation in an Afro-Cuban Religion. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003, 270. 24

Upon initiation, most practitioners of Santería receive Obatalá, Yemayá, Ochún, Oyá, and Changó. These five orisha are considered fundamental for any initiate in Cuban Santería. 25

26

Basso, 121.

27

Mann, 2.

Additional Sources Basso, K. H. Wisdom Sits in Places: Landscape and Language among the Western Apache. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1996. Bochner, A. P. Practicing Narrative Inquiry. In P. Leavy (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Qualitative Research (pp. 195222). New York: Oxford University Press, 2014. Brooke, R. E. Rural Voices : Place-Conscious Education and the Teaching of Writing. New York: Teachers College Press, 2003.

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Brown, D. H. Thrones of the Orichas: Afro-Cuban Altars in New Jersey, New York, and Havana. African Arts 26, no. 4 (October 1993), 44-59 85-87. Brown, D. H. Santería Enthroned: Art, Ritual, and Innovation in an Afro-Cuban Religion. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003. Cabrera, L. El Monte. Habana, Cuba: Editorial Letras Cubanas, 1986. Canizares, R. Oshun: Santería and the Orisha of Love, Rivers, and Sensuality. Old Bethpage: Original Publications, 2001. Carozza, D. “Jason de Caires Taylor, Vicissitudes.” Deeps, The Black Atlantic, Duke University, April 19, 2014. http:// sites.duke.edu/blackatlantic. Chilton, G. A. “Arts-Based Research Practice: Merging Social Research and the Creative Arts.” Pages 403–422 in The Oxford Handbook of Qualitative Research. Edited by P. Leavy. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014. deCaires Taylor, J. Jason deCaires Taylor. Accessed May 5 2018. https://www.underwatersculpture.com/works/ colonised/. Gonzalez, M. A. Afro-Cuban Theology: Religion, Race, Culture, and Identity. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 2006. Mann, B. A. Spirits of Blood, Spirits of Breath: The Twinned Cosmos of Indigenous America. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016. Mason, J. Orin Orisa: Songs for Selected Heads. Brooklyn: Yoruba Theological Archministry, 1992. Murphy, J. M. Santería: African Spirits in America. Boston: Beacon Press, 1993. Tuhiwai Smith, L. Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples. Dunedin: University of Otago Press, 1999. Tweed, T. A. Crossing and Dwelling: A Theory of Religion. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2006. Weidemann, G. A. and Gavan McNally. “Neuroscience of Associative Learning.” Oxford Bibliographies. Last Modified November 29, 2011. https://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780199828340/obo9780199828340-0080.xml;jsessionid=4442D040DC093572A7ED9279AA28D1F5. Wilson, S. Research is Ceremony: Indigenous Research Methods. Black Point: Fernwood Publishing, 2008.

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review Reflective Research: A Review of Three Recent Works in Religious Practices and Practical Theology Invitation to Research in Practical Theology By Zoë Bennett, Elaine Graham, Stephen Pattison, and Heather Walton New York: Routledge, 2018. 194 pages. $140 Hardback; $39.95 Paperback; $39.95 Ebook. Imitating Christ in Magwi: An Anthropological Theology By Todd Whitmore London: T&T Clark, 2018. 400 pages. $44.99 Paperback. Women Leaving Prison: Justice-Seeking Spiritual Support for Female Returning Citizens By Jill Snodgrass Lanham, MD: Lexington, 2019. 254 pages. $95 Hardback; $90 Ebook.

N

ew texts in qualitative research in theology and religious practice emphasize reflection and reflexivity in methodology, research practices, writing, and teaching. They challenge researchers to engage in a rigorous level of self-examination and transparency. They also inspire both creativity and collegiality in the course of such challenging work. A recent volume from the UK plumbs the depths of practical theological research: Invitation to Research in Practical Theology, by Zoë Bennett, Elaine Graham, Stephen Pattison, and Heather Walton (Routledge, 2018). Other recent works foreground reflective pedagogy and feminist practical theology.1 In terms of exemplary reflective studies, Todd David Whitmore’s Imitating Christ in Magwi: An Anthropological Theology (T&T Clark, 2018) stands out, not least for the author’s clarity in identifying what he calls his “theo-social location.” Another notable new study is Women Leaving Prison: Justice-Seeking Spiritual Support for Female Returning Citizens, by Jill Snodgrass (Lexington, 2019), a book that uses social science and qualitative research to identify practical guidance for congregations ministering to the growing number of women leaving prisons in the US. I will consider each of these contributions, in turn, showing how they enhance and enlarge our understanding of the purpose and possibilities of reflective Practical Matters Journal, Summer 2019, Issue 12, pp. 132-141. © The Author 2019. Published by Emory University. All rights reserved.

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research in practical theology. While these texts complicate and challenge the field, they also demonstrate a diversity of approaches that meet these challenges. In Invitation to Research in Practical Theology, four distinguished scholars—Bennett, Graham, Pattison, and Walton—offer a truly collaborative volume that takes readers deep into the journey of research in the field of practical theology. Relying on their extensive troves of knowledge in the field of practical theology, these authors draw readers into their on-going conversation. The authors begin by individually reflecting on the lives, social locations, and scholarly trajectories that brought them to their current views on research in practical theology. They then set out a list of shared theses, stressing the revelatory potential of research undertaken in the here and now. The authors initiate a discussion of reflection and reflexivity in research that challenges simple definitions and assumptions that these practices are easily understood or implemented. For example, Stephen Pattison reflects on his experience of researching chronic shame, which he came to define as “toxic unwantedness.” This research led him to the interdisciplinary study of shame theories, therapeutic practices, and Christian theologies of atonement. He also had to come to terms with his own experience of shame.2 Yet he claims that working through this complexity brought him to a new understanding of theology and practice (24). The authors augment their discussion with many such examples from their own work, their students’ research experiences, and the literature of the field. Through these examples, readers gain an appreciation for both the challenge and the wonder of reflexive research, likened here (as elsewhere) to a journey. The first chapter demonstrates how a researcher’s patient attention to the self—the whole embodied self— cannot be avoided or treated lightly. If a researcher feels uncomfortable, for example, while participating in a ritual practice, this discomfort must be examined lest it results in an unwitting tendency to objectify the other, such as by projecting a description of something strange or exotic onto research partners. The level of self-reflection that is required—some even engage in the more formal practice of auto-ethnography— may seem daunting, and the discussion of this becomes dense at times. Helpfully, the authors also offer lists of concrete questions that give students and other researchers a way into the practice of reflexivity. Questions such as, “How does my personal history influence my approach to this topic?” and “What is my own entanglement in what I am trying to understand?” invite readers and researchers to embark on the journey of reflexivity (42). The recognition that knowledge production is always a political act underlies the importance of not only reflexivity but also what the authors call connectivity, by which they envision “research as a spiritual journey towards the ‘other’” (53). Research in practical theology, the authors assert, “should be participatory and dialogical to the core” (51). Chapters 3–6 explore the concepts of religious practice and performance; communities of practice; and tradition. The discussion of practice is particularly illuminative for understanding the ways in which theology is instantiated within practice, both shaping it and being shaped by it. The authors explain how practices constitute our lives, how practices both construct and maintain certain social realities that we might otherwise think of as natural, such as concepts of gender. We learn through various culturally embedded practices how to define our identities. By engaging in reflection and reflexivity, researchers may

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find some “disruptive self-knowledge” to be the historical root of taken-for-granted concepts and identities. The authors assert that the lived quality of religious practice is value-laden; practices perform certain values that may or may not match professed beliefs. Critical reflection on the practice of faith can lead to both new theology and new, potentially more faithful practices. While many points in this discussion are not new, these ideas are deepened here, especially through vignettes that illustrate researchers’ struggles with and intuitions of the limits of reflexivity. Bennett, Graham, Pattison, and Walton explore the notion of “communities of practice” that are committed to phronesis or practical wisdom in chapter 4. Such communities may form among researching practitioners, who inhabit both academic and professional spaces and must negotiate resulting complex identities. Although others have noted the need for communities of accountability in research,3 a more robust concept of communities of practice is offered here and is explored in a thorough and candid way. Communities of practice are needed, the authors claim, to encourage critical thinking, which is enhanced through diversity in the community and mutual encouragement to reflexivity (90). The authors also highlight the challenges of collaborative approaches to research: although collaboration adds richness and integrity to the work, it is frankly difficult in practice. The varying styles and schedules of colleagues require negotiation, as does the work of discerning meaning and agreeing upon phrasing. Despite these challenges, dialogue between authors is a practice that can interrupt closed systems of thought in favor of more open and responsive narratives. In a chapter on “Finding a Critical Space,” the authors explore the meaning of tradition in research and the researcher’s challenge to find a place to stand in relation to tradition. The authors employ the idea of “home” and all its imaginative associations as analogous to the shifting yet stable weight of tradition: “The word ‘home’ here indicates several things of importance about our relationship to religious and other traditions: recognition, belonging, emotional investment, ambiguity of feeling and of relationship, the dialectic of leave-taking and return. . .” (105). A researcher’s journey into a study of religious practice can involve all these dynamics. Rich examples from the authors’ own studies are supplied here, illustrating the work of wrestling with tradition that is characteristic of research in this field. This wrestling may involve obedience to the past, some kind of organic development of tradition, “resistance, refusal, and revision” of tradition, and/or “a call from the future” that anticipates a new kind of faithful response (117–123). The authors conclude their discussion of tradition by returning to four provocative themes noted earlier as characterizing research in practical theology: “rooted, changed, lost, and claimed” (129). This chapter highlights the challenge that reflexivity presents to all researchers, that of recognizing how much we are part of the social worlds we study. By engaging in theologically grounded qualitative research, we raise the stakes. The need for clarity and transparency about our social and theological locations is heightened when we interpret situated faith claims and practices. A chapter on method, “Framing the view,” plumbs the connections between worldview and research strategies, noting, for example, tensions between feminist scholars and proponents of empirical theology (136–7). Mundane and practical matters also have an impact on research design. Bennet et al. note a more recent emphasis on ecclesiology as the locus of research, which they find salient. However, the authors assert that “the divine calling frequently addresses us from unexpected and ‘unholy’ places beyond the Church

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as we currently understand it” (147). Bennett and her colleagues also lift up more creative approaches to research, such as arts-based research, including auto-ethnography and other forms of generating knowledge by making something new. As one who has grown weary of evidence-based approaches to all things spiritual, I heartily welcome this “poetic turn,” with its emphasis on practice as “creative making” as a counterbalance to “notions of useful doing” (155). This rich and thoughtful book concludes with a chapter on research ethics, arguably the most difficult and important topic for any researcher to consider. Rather than providing a list of rules, the authors offer many questions for researchers to ask themselves at the start of and throughout the processes of researching, writing, publishing, or in other ways presenting their findings. Reflexivity is again brought into focus, not only in terms of understanding the researcher’s role and influence on the research but also in terms of understanding the larger socio-cultural issues at stake. The authors explore the themes of trust, complexity, relationality, and vulnerability that run through researchers’ efforts to seek the good in and through their work. Questions of costs and benefits, and of whose interests the research serves are pertinent throughout. Social inequalities of race, gender, class, and so on must be considered at every point along the journey. Risks to all parties must be considered, including risks to researchers and their families, as well as risks to research partners and especially to vulnerable groups. The authors lift up the importance of a community of practice at the point of analysis and before publication. They recognize the time and space that such ethical considerations require but note the critical value of this work if research in practical theology is to promote individual and communal flourishing. This book may serve as a handbook for both new and experienced researchers. Indeed, reading it has renewed my sense of appreciation for the wonder of the work, despite (or because of?) the critical challenges met along the way. I am left with a sense that clear-eyed companions are coming along on the journey, pointing out both the pitfalls and possibilities of such travel. Reflexive researchers always keep an eye trained on power dynamics, both within research relationships and in wider cultural and political spheres. One example of a reflexive researcher (as described above) is Todd Whitmore, whose recent study, Imitating Christ in Magwi: An Anthropological Theology (T & T Clark, 2019) is exemplary. The book is the first in a new series, T & T Clark Studies in Social Ethics, Ethnography, and Theology. Whitmore, who teaches at Notre Dame, is both a Catholic moral theologian and an anthropologist. His research is with the Acholi people in northern Uganda and South Sudan, who negotiate life in war zones and post-war zones. Whitmore describes himself as someone attempting to do theology, which means, for him, to live the Gospel. Thus, divides between systematic and practical theology do not obtain for this scholar seeking to understand what it means to imitate Christ. Whitmore glimpses mimetic faith in his fieldwork in South Sudan and Uganda, and his awareness of it stays with him long after he returns from the field to his life as an academic at a prestigious university. Following Bourdieu, Whitmore turns his reflexive lens onto himself in relation to the research field and to the academic habitus that shapes scholars, but he adds a third dimension to such reflexivity, that of his theology. Whitmore calls this his theo-social location, which he describes as “not just an account of our social location relative to those whom we are studying, but of all of that in relation to God” (15). Whitmore organizes his project into four categories or movements: attention, discernment, commitment,

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and return. He begins with attention to the history of the region and to the ravages of British colonialism and its practices of indirect rule, which trade on notions of “primitive” vs. “modern” people. Such distinctions have become excuses for brutal oppression and violence toward the Acholi people and their efforts to resist. Aware of this history and of himself as a white researcher coming into the region, Whitmore learns to tread lightly. Living with a family in a refugee camp in Northern Uganda, he learns their ways of communicating and the terms upon which a relationship can be built. He names two practices—“originating hospitality” and “approaching softly”—as key to his research. Originating hospitality has to do with recognizing the hospitality of one’s hosts, to whom the researcher is in debt. For the researcher, this involves recognizing yourself as a stranger in this setting and that, as such, you are also the researched.4 Approaching softly has to do with patience in research. When Whitmore realized that his initial interviews were not yielding much in the way of helpful and honest responses, he changed both his tactic and his original research topic. He learned “to go drink the wind,” a translated Acholi phrase meaning “to walk about, to meander, to greet whomever you happen to see, and if asked, to hang out a bit with them.”5 One night a group of teachers at the Pabbo refugee camp asked Whitmore, “What are you going to do for us?” From his fieldnotes, he writes: Olum is the macro-theorist among the teachers. To him, it is not a matter of the rebels versus the government. “The white man gives us guns so that we keep busy killing each other.” The others look away, or take another sip of their mash, but none say anything in disagreement. Perhaps they are uncomfortable because they might lose a potential patron. I have promised to see their school tomorrow before heading to Gulu. Olum is undaunted. “Then you come and steal our knowledge. You steal our culture. You come and talk to us about our knowledge and our culture and then take it all back with you. And we have nothing left. Look at us. You see how we live. What are you going to do for us?” (19) Whitmore clearly takes the question to heart; in some ways, it seems to hover over his whole project. Upon asking the people what they needed and being told, “cattle,” Whitmore decided in 2008 to audit a course in non-profit management, train as an ox drover and co-found a small non-profit, PeaceHarvest, that provides livestock and training in agriculture and peacebuilding to the local people (23–4). This effort at recompense is only the beginning of Whitmore’s commitment to his research partners; the harder and riskier commitment comes much later. Whitmore also pays attention to the religious history of the area, including the history of the Camboni missionaries who first evangelized the region, and who were the forerunners of the Little Sisters of Mary the Immaculate of Gulu, who currently serve the region. Complicated as this history is, the Little Sisters appear to Whitmore as among those who fully embody the Gospel in their willingness to die for the people they serve. Whitmore allows the Sisters to speak for themselves, quoting large portions of their interviews so that readers can be drawn into their mimetic witness. Whitmore’s erudite prose is punctuated with vivid passages from his field notes that convey both the wisdom of the people and the atrocities, stark poverty, and political dangers that they face. While the public narrative blames the madman Joseph Kony and his henchmen for all of the killing, raping, and pillaging of the people, Whitmore hears a more complex story from the people. They narrate the moral culpability of

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the government headed by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, which is supported by Western powers, including the US. Whitmore is challenged to come to terms with what he learns. The people beg him to share their story openly—something they themselves cannot do. Stereotyped as the “backward” Acholi, they simply do not have the social capital needed to tell their story of the genocidal violence of Museveni’s regime and be believed. Informants pass extensive documentary evidence to Whitmore before he leaves the region, and he must decide what to do with it. Whitmore asked, “How is a Western scholar to try to follow Christ in this situation?” (34). After three years of research, and weighing the risks and consequences, in 2010 he published an article describing the atrocities that the Museveni government had committed against the Acholi people.6 The article caused a stir in Ugandan news publications, and Whitmore participated in the conversation, knowing that this would mean he could not safely return to Africa for some years and that this would delay the publication of his book. Other consequences, perhaps unanticipated, included critiques from colleagues and administrators at Notre Dame, who seemed more concerned about the reputation of the institution than about what it means to follow Christ. Whitmore eventually returns to Uganda and Magwi, South Sudan to complete his research, encountering the people’s ancestral spirit world and its syncretistic blend with Christianity. Whitmore suggests that this spirit-filled world is closer to the cultural world of Jesus, and thus might become a bridge to the gospels for those of us in the West. He elaborates upon on his experiences in the field and his return, a difficult transition, during which his learning from the field continues. He adds an appendix entitled “From Gospel Mimesis to ‘Theology’: How a Discipline Lost Its Senses,” in which he narrates the history of the textualization of culture and its implications for the scholarly discipline of theology. Whitmore’s theo-social reflexivity, in concert with his extensive knowledge of Catholic moral theology, his historically grounded, multi-year anthropology, and his searching biblical scholarship make this an exceptionally reflective study. Reading it is a stretching and enriching experience, one that poses new questions for researchers and co-religionists alike. If research and writing are understood as the practice of theology, reflexivity then requires such rigorous self-interrogation as well as the plumbing of social and political histories, in the field and the academy. A very different form of reflective research is displayed in Jill Snodgrass’s Women Leaving Prison: Justice-Seeking Spiritual Support for Female Returning Citizens (Lexington, 2019). Although her two research studies are smaller in scope and take place closer to home, the author demonstrates an approach to research that is, like Whitmore’s, theologically grounded and motivated. Snodgrass, a pastoral theologian at Loyola University Maryland, considers the situation of mass incarceration in the US and, in particular, the plight of the nearly 700,000 persons per year who, upon leaving prison and reentering life outside, struggle to survive and to avoid re-arrest and re-incarceration. Snodgrass brings a considerable review of social science theory into conversation with her findings from two qualitative studies. In these, her focus was on identifying the lived experiences of female returning citizens as they themselves describe them in the first study and as faith-based mentors report in the second study (see appendices A and B for respective descriptions of these studies). Snodgrass uses a methodology known as interpretive phenomenological analysis.7 She culls from this research, recommendations for a model of ministry that congregations can use in order to support

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returning women’s successful reentry. The model, dubbed Project Sister Connect, is designed to address the twin goals of justice and care for this population that Snodgrass, after thoughtful reflection on her use of language, decides to call, “returning sisters.” Snodgrass identifies her political and theological positions early in the book. She is in favor of the abolition of the political-industrial complex. She approaches this material as a Christian, believing in the mercy and justice of God. Her analysis is both feminist and intersectional. She begins with attention to the broad issues underlying the incarceration of women in the US. Reviewing the social science literature, she chooses to focus on studies based on a feminist perspective that emphasize distinct pathways to prison in women’s lives.8 Snodgrass notes that many incarcerated women are multiply marginalized by social factors including race and ethnicity; experiences of psychological, physical, and sexual abuse; substance abuse disorders; mental illness; poverty; and the challenges of motherhood. She notes that these “intersecting social locations and experiences ensnare them in a web of structural injustices, [which] contribute directly to their pathways to crime” (25). Snodgrass shows how combinations of these factors constitute distinct pathways to prison. For example, one pathway termed “battered women” involves women who engage in criminal behavior as a result of or in retaliation against abusive partners (26). Snodgrass also delineates the differences in the kinds of crimes women most frequently commit, often drug-related or minor property crimes as opposed to violent crimes, and shows how these are largely related to macro-level injustices and experiences of victimization. She stresses the need for political and advocacy work to challenge the macrolevel injustices, including racism and culturally sanctioned violence against women. With this background, Snodgrass describes the religious and spiritual landscape of life inside women’s prisons, tracing the historical roots of religion in the US prison system. She then highlights passages from her interviews with nineteen returning sisters. The sisters describe their religious practices and spiritual lives in prison, which are complex and varied. Analyzing her interviews, she identifies four superordinate themes in these women’s accounts: God’s role in incarceration (39), whereby God is understood to “sit down” a woman in prison in order to get her attention and possibly get her to change her life; the benefits of faith behind bars (40), whereby participants describe the helpfulness of religious programs, ranging from a feeling of calm and peacefulness to a way to stay out of trouble; corporate and individual faith practices (42), which involve things like worship but also private prayer, Bible-reading, or the reading of the Moorish Science Temple of America’s divine principles; and the role of relationship in faith behind bars (47), which includes relationships to chaplains and outside visitors, as well as inside sisters’ relationships to each other. This comprehensive account helps readers understand the complex backgrounds that provide pathways to prison and the ways in which religious and/or spiritual practices may be a part of the women’s lives while they are incarcerated and as they move toward reentry. Chapter 2 depicts the experience of release from prison, highlighting the many barriers to reentry that women typically face. Barriers to housing and employment are often steep and present immediate practical concerns. If a woman has nowhere to go and is forced to return to an abusive home, old patterns, including those of intimate partner abuse, may re-emerge. The barriers to reintegrating with family also include the challenge of reconnecting with children who have grown and changed in the intervening months or years and the legal burdens involved in regaining custody. Medical issues such as diabetes, asthma, and HIV/

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AIDS, especially if untreated during incarceration due to the lack of availability of medical services or the poor quality of health care afforded to prisoners, can often present significant problems (66). Mental health disorders and substance-use issues also frequently spike in the context of the stress of transition. Snodgrass enumerates the barriers to satisfying parole conditions, which might require a woman to find a job within a very short period of time. This, too, causes stress, especially when the stigma against ex-convicts is so pronounced and frequently prevents their hiring. In interviews, returning sisters explain how hard it is to come home, how overwhelming all of these barriers to reentry can be. Snodgrass also cites excerpts from her interviews with faith-based mentors trying to assist returning sisters. They, too, attest to the challenges and also help delineate the factors that support successful reentry. Snodgrass summarizes: “Returning citizens need a network of support comprised of caring individuals that can help them overcome the barriers of reentry and become an integrated member of community in a way that many of them have not experienced before” (94). She goes on to describe returning sisters’ “faith beyond bars,” which is often characterized by a search for a church home, and a need for mentors and caregivers who will stay in close touch and offer practical, moral, and spiritual support. In light of this, Snodgrass crafts a well-informed, gender-specific program for reentry ministry: Project Sister Connect. This project is “grounded in practices of radical acceptance, connection, and righteous indignation in the face of structural injustices, as exemplified in the ministry of Jesus” (141). This congregation-based approach combines a partnership model of direct service to returning women citizens before, during, and after their release, with a guide to political activism needed to challenge and change unjust aspects of the system. It is designed to involve a 6-member team or “sisterhood” for returning sisters who want spiritual support, though there is no requirement of any profession of faith. This circle of justice-seeking support is designed to closely accompany returning sisters, utilizing best practices identified through this research. Sponsoring congregations supply financial and spiritual support for the work of the sisterhoods. Evaluation is built into the project so that the needs of the particular returning citizens in differing groups and locations can be met. This a wide-ranging study of the holistic needs of women leaving prison. By listening attentively to the stories of the sisters themselves and those of their mentors, and reflecting on the themes and insights that emerge from her analysis, Jill Snodgrass arrives at a sense of the breadth and depth of care that returning sisters require. Snodgrass brings her practical wisdom to bear on a creative program design for ministry that involves both sensitive support and justice-oriented work for structural change with an often-forgotten population. While Snodgrass does not describe her practices of reflexivity in great detail, she does include summaries of her research plans and procedures. She explains her member check processes, whereby study participants could review summaries of their interviews and offer feedback, corrections, and so on. The researcher also used a process called bracketing whereby she wrote memos after each interview attempting to identify “vested interests, personal experience, cultural factors, assumptions, and hunches that could influence” her analysis of the data and added more comments to the memos after analyzing her transcripts (178). I think that these studies can be deemed participatory and dialogical. Perhaps more importantly, the author is open about her theological commitment to justice, and her goal of using research to improve the plight of

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returning female citizens. Thus, Snodgrass fulfills the constructive task of pastoral theology as a discipline “growing out of the exercise of caring relationships.”9 The author models the kind of critical reflection on practice that Zoë Bennett et al. require, especially in her research choices and in her commitment to the well-being of her research partners. These three contributions to the literature lift up the possibilities and promise of theologicallyrooted research projects and research-rooted theologies-in-practice. Research in practical theology can serve many aims, including but not limited to informing and improving the ministries of local congregations in an age of mass incarceration. Anthropological theology challenges us to look more deeply into political situations that we might otherwise choose to ignore and to re-imagine practices of mimetic faith. Artsbased research can re-inspire us, spurring the creation of the good, making a way toward the love and mercy of G-d. These three volumes encourage further reflection on the range of purposes, methods, theologies, theories, and practices researchers employ. The complexity of such research projects may seem staggering, yet the challenge of reflexive research is one that spurs us on in the quest to understand human life and, in particular, religious life, more deeply. Reflexive research can motivate us to grow in self-understanding even as we strive to live out our values in and through our work. These volumes demonstrate both the need for more reflective theologically based research projects and a variety of approaches to this challenge and offer clarity about the purposes such projects can serve. These authors model ways of practicing one’s faith in and through relationships formed in fieldwork and back home in academic and ecclesial communities. These books thus contribute to the interdisciplinary and international conversations needed to increase our common trove of practical wisdom in the conduct of truly reflective research.

Mary Clark Moschella Yale University

Notes 1 See Mary Clark Moschella and Susan Willhauck, eds. Qualitative Research in Theological Education (London: SCM, 2018); and Nicola Slee, Fran Porter, and Anne Phillips, eds. Researching Female Faith (New York: Routledge, 2018), respectively. These books are beyond the scope of this article. 2 Stephen S. Pattison, Shame: Theory, Therapy, Theology (United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, 2000). 3 See Mary Clark Moschella, Ethnography as a Pastoral Practice: An Introduction (Cleveland, OH: Pilgrim, 2008), 108–109. Institutional Review Boards offer one form of accountability, but ethical questions arise in the midst of research that require explicitly theological reflection and discussion. See Elaine Graham and Dawn Llewellyn, “Promoting the Good: Ethical and Methodological Considerations in Practical Theological Research” in Qualitative Research in Theological Education, Moschella and Willhauck, eds., 39– 59. Theological Action Research, with its use of advisory groups, also offers structures of accountability. See Helen Cameron, Deborah Bhatti, Catherine Duce, James Sweeney, and Clare Watkins, Talking About God in

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Practice (London: SCM, 2010). 4 These reflections are found in: Todd David Whitmore, “The Askesis of Fieldwork: Practices for a Way of Inquiry, a Way of Life,” in Qualitative Research in Theological Education, Moschella and Willhauck, eds., 76–99. 5 Ibid., 88. 6 A version of this article is reprinted in chapter 7 of Whitmore’s book. 7 Jonathan A. Smith, Paul Flowers, and Michael Larkin, Interpretive Theological Analysis: Theory, Method and Research (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2009). 8 Stacy L. Mallicoat, Woman and Crime: A Text/Reader (2nd ed.) Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2015). 9 This language comes from the Mission Statement of The Journal of Pastoral Theology, Taylor & Francis Online; see https://www.tandfonline.com/action/journalInformation?show=aimsScope&journalCo de=ypat20.

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review Egypt in the Future Tense: Hope, Frustration, and Ambivalence before and after 2011 Joska Samuli Schielke Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2015. 260 pages. $30.00.

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hat does it mean to “live the good life?” How do individuals navigate the spaces between frustration and hope, dreams and thwarted realities, and piety and anxiety? Samuli Schielke’s second monograph, Egypt in the Future Tense: Hope Frustration, and Ambivalence before and after 2011, asks us to attend to these questions, drawing us to the ways in which young Egyptians inhabit the intersections of modernity, Islam, and politics. His ethnography follows the lives of primarily young, Egyptian men from 2006–2013 as they attempt to escape boredom, live religiously sound lives, find meaningful work, foster romantic relationships, and advance socially and economically in the pathways connecting their village located in the Egypt’s Nile Delta to Alexandria and Cairo. While the 2011 revolution is not the explicit focus of his book, it emerges in several chapters (and is included in the book’s title) as a key moment in the consciousness of his interlocutors. Schielke is both a filmmaker and a photographer, in addition to his work as a research fellow at Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient and as an external lecturer in Visual and Media Anthropology at the Free University of Berlin. As such, his work not only engages the medium of print but photography and film as well. This multi-faceted way of sensing, perceiving, and being is reflected in his turn to ontological and affective states of frustration, boredom, and failure that shape how his interlocutors navigate their everyday selves and their ideals. The book is divided into two parts: the ambiguities of grand schemes and the ways people inhabit and interact within grand schemes. The first five chapters focus on themes of a purposeful life, striving to be a good person, embodying religious knowledge (following the straight path), longing for romantic love, and the relationship between capitalism and religious revival. In the first chapter, Schielke examines the ambiguity of life-purpose through the lens of boredom and killing time. The second chapter explores the multivalent and, at times, contradictory ways of embodying living a “good life.” Chapter three builds from this multivalence and ambiguity to unpack ideas of moral perfection as constructed through Salafi revivalist practices and discourse in Egypt. Chapters four and five consider the grand schemes of passionate love, religious revival, and consumerist capitalism. The second half of the book shifts from a focus on the grand schemes and their frameworks to the quotidian strategies people develop to navigate them. In chapter six, Schielke examines questions about commitment to the Salafi path, moving from there to the avenues opened by dreams of migration to the other side (i.e. Europe) in chapter seven, and the constraint of the Practical Matters Journal, Summer 2019, Issue 12, pp. 142-144. © The Author 2019. Published by Emory University. All rights reserved.

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neoliberal bureaucratic, educational, and political systems in chapter eight. Finally, chapter nine concludes with his interlocutors’ experience of the 2011 revolution and its aftermath. Schielke’s epistemological critique of the anthropology of Islam developed by Talal Asad, Saba Mahmood, and Charles Hirschkind is key to the book’s argument. He takes particular issue with Mahmood’s conceptualization of embodied piety and the Aristotelian tradition of ethical self-cultivation, explicitly and implicitly deploying Mahmood as a foil throughout the book. In response to what he views as Mahmood’s (as well as Asad’s and Hirschkind’s) theoretical abstraction, reliance on Foucauldian understandings of subjectivation through discourses of power, and an almost pure, or capital ‘I,’ Islam, Schielke offers a theoretical framework drawn from his interlocuters, whom he calls his co-theorists, that is attuned to the ambivalence and human-ness of being Muslim. In addition to troubling normative configurations of an anthropology of Islam by attending to the everyday moments of Muslim-ness, Schielke engages in existential and ontological play with time, which Ahmed Ragab and others have referred to as timeplay.1 His analysis of time’s sporadic movements and its lapses highlight central tenets of his book: ambiguity and ambivalence. While Schielke would perhaps refer to his use of time as interacting with an anthropology of time, I would argue that his attention to the particular timeplay of modern Egypt as lived in the spaces intertwining urban and rural is also reminiscent of dystopian fiction, as well as recent work in queer and critical theories, and the history of science.2 This timeplay highlights the tension Schielke mentions between acceptance of one’s fate and destiny (qadar) and working towards one’s ambitions, aspirations, or dreams (see chapters 2–3). Surprisingly, while marriage, love, flirtation, sexual tension, gender control, and men feature prominently in his ethnography, gender and sexuality are not engaged in a rigorous manner. Schielke occasionally gestures to the gendered nature of these experiences, strategies, and anxieties, yet does not fully interrogate the ways in which the existential realities and concerns he observes cannot only be considered gendered experiences but are also constitutive of his interlocutor’s performance gender. It would be interesting to see Schielke return to his discussion of boredom, anxieties, and frustration to consider, for example, the relationship between these existential states and masculinity in Egypt today. This book is a noteworthy contribution to the study of Islam specifically and anthropology of Islam more broadly. It should be read in connection with the theoretical works it engages, namely that of Asad, Mahmood, and Hirschkind, as well as recent attempts to move beyond their theoretical tradition, such as Amira Mittermaier’s Dreams That Matter (2010), Su’ad Abdul Khabeer’s Muslim Cool (2016), Shahab Ahmed’s What is Islam (2016), Anand Vivek Taneja’s Jinnealogy (2018), and Sylvia Chan-Malik’s Being Muslim (2018). Schielke’s Egypt in the Future Tense asks us to reconsider the quotidian experiences of being Muslim in a rapidly reconfiguring world. For Schielke, to live the “good life” is to perform a technology of a fractured self, revolving around in the continual negotiation between dreams and frustrated desires, faith and anxiety.

Brittany Landorf Emory University 143


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Notes 1. Ahmed Ragab, “Eliminate the Muslim,� Cosmologics, October 8th, 2018, http://cosmologicsmagazine. com/ahmed-ragab-eliminate-the-muslim/. 2.

Ragab, 2018.

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review Big Ideas, Vibrant Faith Communities, and the Future of Religious Practices: A Practical Matters Journal Conference Review March 22-24, 2018

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he Emory Practical Matters Conference was a culminating event following 15 years of intellectual and practical community engagement through the Emory Initiative in Religious Practices and Practical Theology. Thanks to a grant from the Lilly Foundation and the faithful and creative shepherding of Emory faculty, it made the study of practices an intrinsic part of the programs of formation for PhD students in the Graduate Division of Religion and ministry students at the Candler School of Theology. The initiative also sparked new lines of scholarly research and programmatic initiatives. The conference brought together scholars across disciplinary lines, many of whom had participated in the program at each of its stages, to gather insights on the state of religious practice and to nurture creative conversations with an eye toward opportunities for research and practice in the academy and church over the years ahead. Asking the provocative question: “What’s your big idea?” the initial session set the tone for the conference’s focus on the broader cultural landscape and compelling approaches to complicated problems. Brendan Ozawa-de Silva, Jennifer Ayres, Gregory Ellison, and Amy Levad each offered brief TED-style talks, putting forward their “Big Idea” for practical theology and religious practices. Ed Phillips, the program director, framed the project well as an exploration of the kinds of practices that will build up vibrant communities of faith amidst the shifting norms and challenges of American culture. These practices, we learned, will demand a focus on constructive and often non-traditional imagination of the future. Jennifer Ayres, of Emory, made the case for a beginning to the project rooted in a sense of personal identity and location. She convincingly argued that only through the experience of “love, profoundly located” could meaningful religious practices authentically arise. And that through these practices it becomes possible to live deeply and well. Worldview, affection, and commitment are all part and parcel of participating in practices. Cultivating a desire to live well is at the root of humanly re-inhabiting our places and engaging them through practice. Her use of personal narrative, with real locations and relationships evocatively conveyed the sense and purpose of passion in the process of personal and communal formation. Brendan Ozawa-de Silva, of Emory and Drepung Loseling Monastery, asked from a primary and secondary educator’s viewpoint: “Can we teach human values?” He observed that through the repetition of practices we shape who we are, even alter our very brain structures. In this light, he stressed the importance of social and emotional learning throughout childhood, giving children access to sources and resources for wellbeing, and cultivating the moral emotions necessary for a good life. We are shaped, he taught, by the Practical Matters Journal, Summer 2019, Issue 12, pp. 145-148. © Messner 2019. Published by Emory University. All rights reserved.

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experience of moral emotions, as much as other practices. Amy Levad, of the University of St. Thomas, brought her study of incarcerated persons and the profound collateral effects on their families. Leveraging her personal experience, she gained particular insight on a widespread yet often hidden problem in an era of mass incarceration. Shame and embarrassment in families degrade family life. Churches ought to be in a place to perform a reconciling function, but they do not always succeed in this way. In prison settings, Levad studied practices including ministry, education, and community organizing, assessing how each practice had the potential to reinforce the others. Traditional forms of prison outreach often got the relationships among these practices wrong. A new generation of practices must start with self-transformation (changing congregational culture around “mercy, forgiveness, and restoration”). Such regrounded approaches offer the chance for reconciliation and relationship rather than reinforced isolation. Offering a hopeful note, Levad argues that the church needs to re-center and transform itself to engage in necessary practices by building coalitions that disregard historical boundaries. Greg Ellison, a former post-doctoral fellow, invoked the words of William James in the sensation of being “cut dead by non-recognition.” The sense of belonging is fundamental. As he states, “The unacknowledged are all around us,” which brings light to the painful and common experience of feeling invisible, unseen, and excluded. Practices of recognition are needed to weave communities together. Powerful common themes emerging from these theologians included the idea that good practices begin with a new awareness of who we are, where we come from, what we love, and who is beside us that we have not seen sufficiently before. This new awareness is the ground of the formation of practices. And practices are the root and road to a good common life. The “Practices of Vibrant Faith Communities” were explored in a panel including Abdullah Antepli, Diana Butler Bass, and Brian McLaren, with Robert Franklin moderating the conversation. The senescence of traditional religious communities was a common diagnosis among the panel that simultaneously entailed ambitious ideas for the future of renewed forms of religious practice. It is noteworthy that none of the panelists speaking of the future of faith communities are themselves currently leading faith communities in congregational setting, so perhaps it is expected that the future they envisioned is outside the traditional church setting. Brian McLaren delivered a keynote by declaring that religion plays the part of either destroying or saving the world. The difference depends on our collective capacity to engage constructively in new practices of resistance. He challenged us to accept radical discontinuity, to turn toward the common good, and to “judge religion by the benefits it brings its non-adherents.” He reinforced a call for a new awareness of mutual interdependence and a necessary concern for the most vulnerable. We need to look for opportunities to reframe our faith to become more expansive and generative of the transformative liturgies of daily life. We have the power and imagination, urged McLaren, to create new liturgies that speak to the stages of spiritual development throughout life. We can regain a necessary capacity for storytelling. In these projects, curiosity is a root virtue in the world ahead.

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Diana Butler Bass leaned into the theological consciousness of the community through the metaphor of a religious community facing literal rising waters and the way practices of reflection and hospitality can be key in achieving a greater collective “spiritual buoyancy,” which refers to living more connected and more grateful. She counseled us to focus on the Earth because it sustains everything else. Her words resonated with a core theme of the conference—the need to return to that which is real and fundamental, in order to go forward in developing new ways of being together. She took up the work of McLaren, joining him with the sense of breadth and critical importance of the renewal of religious life right now. Against this backdrop of global urgency, Abdullah Antepli challenged the group by declaring that the Sunday morning model is not working any more, reminding us of “God telling David, sing me some new songs.” We need to get unstuck and learn new practices as the old ones are in evident decline. There has been a generational shift such that younger generations have far less appetite for membership and are not looking to be held captive. We need to extend the tradition ambitiously and reach into secular spaces; traditions must confront a new pluralistic reality. An important takeaway is the necessity for re-grounding in the commonplace activities of daily life and reorienting to an interfaith context as a new cultural given. He called for expanding the scope of religious concern beyond the church into secular spaces of everyday life and stretching beyond the tight confines of ritual time to pervade ordinary time. Imagining religious practices and the formation of practical theology in the University setting is helpful in that it creates a coherent and cohesive yet pluralistic community of people engaged in certain common practices with a range of common resources. It does not, in those regards, reflect the backdrop of American society as a whole, and it is therefore a compelling but perhaps occasionally misleading laboratory for the study of practices. A key question lingering in the background of many of these conversations, and perhaps the basis for another conference, is whether vibrant and innovative faith communities also need durable institutions. What do the institutional structures of the church, including its economic models and its learned clergy, need to look like in order to support the faith communities of the future? Can the community-based religious institutions as we know them take a form that meets the call of these bold and boundary-dissolving visions of the beloved community? Moving from ideas and ideals to concrete practice, the conference turned in its latter half to case studies of formation in religious practice and approaches to the pedagogy of practice. Good examples of these conversations could be seen in projects at Emory on the formation of future scholars in the GDR’s PhD program and the advancement of theological education of high school students and incarcerated women. Ted Smith explored how teaching practices is about the formation of habits. Returning to the difficult question that Ozawa-de Silva explored with regard to the education of young people, Smith asked whether a habitus, in Bourdieu’s sense of the term, can actually be taught. Smith offered perspectives on the innovative pedagogies at work in the Emory GDR practices class, with the central example of doing close readings as a pedagogical method and collaborative practice of habit formation. In the business of ensuring that practices are shared, Smith prescribed taking advantage of every chance for mimesis, learning through imitation, arguing that “Practices are better caught than taught.”

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In a separate session, Elizabeth Bounds picked up on themes presented earlier by Levad in sharing about the Theological Studies program and its evolution at the Arrendale State Prison. She reinforced the power even within captivity through religious learning and practice to open space for a very different and liberated kind of life. A pedagogy of respect and care is a central touchstone to practices within the Arrendale program, this pedagogy counteracts the systemic exclusion and degradation that are often the baseline for these state institutions. This transgressive attitude of universal dignity is a core feature of the program’s success in building relationships and offering transformational opportunities in the incarcerated learners’ lives. In the main sessions and break-out conversations among scholars, the conference succeeded in creating an unusual kind of space, resting at the intersection of the church and the academy, scholars and practitioners, tradition and possibility. Values and themes that resonated through many of these sessions included cognizance of location, groundedness in place, and experience that equips one (and the many) to engage in and develop authentic and creative religious practices. This sort of grounding is necessary for achieving a second major theme of relationality, which is tied to principles of interdependence, mutuality, and reciprocity that must be part of creating communities of practice. The work within the Emory initiative and by the scholars present particularly showed how generative and durable communities of practice can be formed across old lines of division. With the benefit of new forms of religious practice and the adaptability needed to shape them, religious life can render denominational divides obsolete, penetrate into secular spaces, and bridge differences in education, wealth, class, and race in novel ways. The development of such ambitious forms of religious practice will depend on our capacity to create ongoing spaces for the gathering of diverse community and our willingness to enter into the conversation and experimentation that this conference so well modeled.

David Messner Emory University

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review Vulnerability and Valour: A Gendered Analysis of Everyday Life the Dead Sea Scrolls Communities Jessica M. Keady London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2017. 240 pages. $120.00.

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essica Keady’s work sheds light on the complex and dynamic relationship between gender and impurity in the sectarian Dead Sea Scrolls communities. Because the scholarship of ancient Judaism has tended to privilege the recorded practices of elite society, it has mistakenly characterized purity laws as static and uniformly observed. In her own words, however, Keady aims “to bring the non-elite male and female experience of impurity into the fold of discussion” (3). In so doing, she uses the Dead Sea Scrolls to explore the way ordinary gendered bodies interact with concepts of impurity on an everyday level. Keady accomplishes this by introducing a wide range of theoretical and methodological frameworks including, but not limited to, those established by Judith Butler, Raewyn Connell, and Susie Scott. These studies frame gender as performative, dynamic, and constantly changing. Vulnerability and Valour’s primary contribution is to say that impurity is equally fluid, complex, and gender-specific. Keady’s book is a welcomed addition to the study of gender in the Dead Sea Scrolls and an impressive advancement in the application of theoretical avenues to the study of ancient Judaism. Following a brief introduction in which Keady defines her terms and maps out the layout of the book, the second chapter surveys the history of scholarship in regards to purity and gender in the Dead Sea Scrolls. The first twenty years of Qumran studies privileged classical sources such as Josephus and Philo in its reconstruction of the Dead Sea Scrolls sectarians as the Essenes. This led scholars to study the movement as a group of celibate men. However, the development of feminist-critical approaches in the 1970s marked a turning point, one in which scholars uncovered female voices and regulations in the extant documents. This awareness resulted in the amplification of purity studies beginning in the 1990s, which focused almost exclusively on the ritual standards of female bodies. Rejecting the systematic and static approach to purity offered by previous scholars such as Jacob Neusner and Hannah Harrington and taking her lead from the diachronic and fluid perspective according to scholars like Ian Werrett and Maxine Grossman, Keady proposes to study the dynamic nature of purity regulations and how they relate to both men and women in everyday experiences. Chapter Three offers a reflection on the theoretical models employed throughout the subsequent chapters; namely, Masculinity Studies, embodiment theory, and the study of the everyday. Keady stresses that the fluidity of masculinity demonstrated in Masculinity Studies — a fluidity indicated along a spectrum Practical Matters Journal, Summer 2019, Issue 12, pp. 149-151. © The Author 2019. Published by Emory University. All rights reserved.

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ranging from the ideal hegemonic to the effeminate male — is a helpful heuristic for the study of purity in ancient Palestine. Embodiment theory, moreover, emphasizes the socially constructed significance of impure bodies and bodily experiences. This approach allows Keady “to reconstruct the possible ways in which men and women reacted to purity and impurity to determine how others may have perceived them within the communities when their status changed” (59). Finally, this book adopts Susie Scott’s study of the everyday, which accentuates three qualities of everyday life: its mundaneness, its routine repetition, and its potential to be transgressed. Keady maintains that this method offers a window into the mundane life of ordinary people and helps scholars to identify the repercussions of breaking accepted social conventions. Each of the subsequent three chapters of the book is structured around one of these methodological perspectives. Chapter Four applies insights from Masculinity Studies to the Rule of the Community (1QS) and the War Scroll (1QM). This chapter suggests that each of these texts functions to construct an ideological hegemonic male image. Scholarship in Qumran studies has often reconstructed a hyper-religious lifestyle among the movement based on the intense standards of purity and comportment detailed in these discourses. Keady, on the other hand, suggests that 1QS and 1QM offer quixotic representations of an ideal male who observes impossibly rigid purity laws. Rather than provide a snapshot of lived experience at Qumran, both of these texts present their readers with a model by which to perform masculinity. This illuminates the community’s perception of ideal masculinity and, at the same time, places members along a concrete hierarchy in relation to how well (or poorly) they meet the masculine representation. In other words, the hegemonic male image in 1QS and 1QM both influences the way men carry themselves and makes men vulnerable to emasculation within the community. Keady posits that discourse of the hegemonic male pins men against men as they actively direct themselves in the pursuit of masculinity. Chapter Five brings embodiment theory into conversation with Cave Four D materials and 4QTohorot. This methodological approach allows Keady to consider the way discourses about purity affect bodies in real ways, including performance, seclusion, and modesty. In other words, the acknowledgment of a body as impure involved significant social and performative repercussions, such as its ability to participate in ritual celebrations, partake in meals, or reside within the sectarian settlements. The primary argument in this chapter states that impurity makes men vulnerable with respect to their communities, but that impurity, in fact, empowers women. This imbalance is attributed to the fact that male impurity (e.g., nocturnal emissions) is sporadic and uncontrollable whereas female impurity (e.g., menstruation) is anticipated as part of a regular cycle. In that case, male impurity disturbs the rhythm of everyday ritual activities, as men are expected to participate in the public life of the communities. On the other hand, female impurity offers an opportunity for seclusion, rest, and comfort among other women from the congregation, whose menstrual cycles, Keady argues, may have synchronized after long periods of time together. Chapter Six analyzes impure bodies in relation to space — and, more specifically, imagined space — in the Temple Scroll (11QTa) and the Rule of the Congregation (1QSa). Keady posits that 11QTa demonstrates the limited access to specific ritual spaces afforded to impure men and that 1QSa provides a look into the educational practices of the movement. Education in the sect, according to Keady’s reading of 1QSa, involved

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— 11QTa illustrates an imaginary temple institution while 1QSa portrays a post-apocalyptic congregation — Keady argues that they held a functional value to the everyday life of sectarian members at Qumran and beyond. The occupation of particular spaces by pure or impure bodies reflected the significant status of spaces designated as clean or unclean and equally male or female. Keady argues that “the specialization of gender within communities is based upon the disciplining of the body, which is carried out with fluidity through, and occupation of, diverse space” (168). Chapter Seven offers a brief conclusion that restates the argument of this work; namely, that impurity in the Dead Sea Scrolls communities is performative, fluid, and tied to gender dynamics. I find her analysis of impurity as a feminizing and deleterious agent for men in Chapter Five, a particularly compelling argument. Many of the suggestions established in this book are necessarily speculative, as present evidence does not provide a full account of daily life within the sect, but each is derived from solid sociological foundations and reasonable assumptions. Keady notes that questions concerning the origins of the Qumran movement are not the main emphasis in this book. Yet, I would have liked to see a more thorough reflection on the structure of the sectarian organization. It is unclear whether Keady imagines these texts addressing a multiplicity of groups, all of which follow the same general code of conduct, or a single one. This seems like a significant step towards elucidating the common lifestyle of people behind the Qumran texts. Altogether, Keady’s work provides a provocative interpretation of everyday life in the Dead Sea Scrolls communities based on stimulating theoretical perspectives and represents a valuable contribution to scholarship on gender and purity in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Giancarlo P. Angulo Florida State University

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Profile for Practical Matters Journal

Practical Matters Issue 12: Revolutions and Re-Imaginations  

Practical Matters' Issue 12 takes a close look at new directions in theory and method in the study of religious practices. Topics include in...

Practical Matters Issue 12: Revolutions and Re-Imaginations  

Practical Matters' Issue 12 takes a close look at new directions in theory and method in the study of religious practices. Topics include in...

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