Tag Archives: blogging is only for priveleged folk

Difference, Diversity, and Reading Choices: Blog Lists & Popularity Contests

I have written about my issues with blogging lists before so this isn’t a new topic. Running a popular blog means writing is relevant, chasing after hits and going after the latest controversy. As a blogger this means we have to keep our eyes on the 24 hour news cycle, or try to keep up with who said what publicly.

Part of the reason I chose to blog six or seven years ago, or if you want to go back to my Myspace and Facebook and Xanga notes I wrote during class in seminary, was because I wanted to express myself. I had no desire (at the time) to be a writer. But that has changed, but my approach is still the same. I know that recently I have hurt people’s feelings with my posts on here and on Tumblr and facebook, and I do not apologize for that. If you take something I have written personally, the fault may be your own especially since I have only gone after systemic forms of oppression. I know this approach does not win me any more followers, but I don’t write for the majority. What I do is write for myself, and for those who dream of justice. I realize that the words I type can give life to others, and they let me know, and that’s a reason to keep writing. For Resurrection.

An interesting conversation developed on Twitter and other blogs today. First, it started with the publishing of Christian Piatt’s 25 Christian blogs You Should Read. One of the problems was that only one person of color’s blog was posted on the list, Christena Cleveland. Cleveland responded with a list of her own making, and I suggest you check it out: People Of Color blog Too: 25 Christian Blogs You Should Be Reading. I am fortunately mentioned on the list. If you know of any other Christian blogs by POC mentioned, comment on that post or on this one, and I will submit it for Christena.

However, the trouble began when (mostly) white Christians started to criticize Christena for adding Thabiti Anyabwile, who stirred up things with his post on same sex marriage and the gag reflex. As I have noted many times, I was the first person really to criticize Thabiti, both in his blog post comment thread and in a separate blog post. Thabiti’s inclusion is problematic because his post disregarded the Imago Dei in persons who identify as LGBTQIA persons. However, I think is inclusion was probably needed for theological diversity and because he is very influential as a writer. I will go on to say a few things: Yes, I was angry this afternoon that the criticism (which I figured was coming)that a conversation on race had been once again derailed by issues of sexuality and same sex marriage. The reason I did so was because Pat Robertson prophelied an all out race war last week, and no white emergent Christian said a word. Robertson’s white supremacist rhethoric is just as harmful as Thabiti’s words.

Secondly, as Sarah N Moon pointed out on Twitter, none of the white emergents took issue with Tony Jones, among others, being on Christian Piatt’s list. This is because it is far too easy for blacks to be seen as having a culture of backwardness, that’s misogynist (people always bringing up hip hop on my facebook) and homophobic (let’s ignore all of Russia’s policies, but whitesplain progress to Africa!). This is just yet another example of white supremacist double standards at play.

While theologically I am in primarily disagreement with Anyabwile, I think it’s important to note why Cleveland added him in the first place:

Thank you for asking about this. I am so sorry that Thabiti’s comments have caused you pain. As someone who has been negatively affected by hurtful language, I think I understand, in part, how unbearably painful blog posts like Thabiti’s recent one can be.

I think of the body of Christ as a family of imperfect people who are irrevocably interconnected. Each of us is an unfinished work-in-progress with great capacity to love others and also great capacity to hurt others. Despite the risk and inevitable pain that this type of relationship brings, I believe that followers of Christ (of all persuasions) are called to be in interdependent relationship with each other, humbly informing each other’s perspectives.

To this end, I listen to and maintain relationships with many people with whom I do not always agree. It is in this same spirit that I continue to listen to and dialogue with various voices within the body of Christ who have said and done racist/sexist things. We all have blind spots (myself included) that lead us to oppress and it’s in the context of relationship and interpersonal dialogue that blind spots and oppression are exposed.
This list represents a wide variety of theological, social and political viewpoints – and not one viewpoint is perfectly complete. As iron sharpens iron, we gain better perspective in relationship with diverse others.”

From the comment section

Bruce Reyes-Chow’s post today also rang with me, as I thought about this discussion:

“Simply put, I refuse to give up on the idea that being community across lines of difference is holy and I remain committed to the idea that we will only get there if more if us embrace the transformational power of extending our spirit, hands and words of graciousness and not rhetorical or physical violence. Words or actions of graciousness are not weak or soft, in fact, they are powerful and strong and find a way to confront injustice without denying the humanity or stripping the dignity of the one who needs to be held accountable.

So no matter how often I am mistaken for that other Asian Presbyterian or told to go back to where I came from, or hear my ancestral language mocked, read racist blogs or feel unsafe, marginalized or excluded because of what I look like . . . I choose the power of graciousness. It may feel better to strike back hard, but that is a choice I must force myself NOT to make at every turn, every day.

A difficult choice for sure, but one I hope more of us make.”

Bruce Reyes Chow, How I Survive Everyday Racism

I would say that existing alongside difference is a very difficult choice to make, as Reyes Chow put it, but it is the right one. It is the more peaceful and just one.

Blogging Has Become Fun Again.

The past two weeks have been really fun and a nice break from the prior months blogging-wise. I decided that rather than pay attention to people I disagree with, the same people who just thrive on being the center of attention, and whose experience have been made the center of Amerikkkan Christianity, just to ignore them and not give them what they want.

So, I am going to continue to blog about what I want, when I want, pay no attention to the echo chamber, and do my own thing. If I want to blog about race and theology, for example, it will be on my own terms, and not because Paula Deen was exposed as a NeoConfederate. Same for anything else, church history, theology, biblical interpretation, postcolonialism, you name it.

I think also the advantage of blogging this way is that I don’t have to keep up with “my brand” because there is none. It’s just me and my friends’ interests.

So. Deal.

Can The Subaltern Blog? Part 2: Theology Studio, Gender, And The Rhetoric of "Dialogue"

From over three years ago, in case you missed it, my first post on gender and blogging and religious studies: Can the Subaltern Blog: The problem of institutional sexism and the biblioblogs.

It’s been a while since I first started my own individual campaign to recruit more women religious studies bloggers. Part of the confusion, last year, was what exactly do biblical and theological studies blogs look like, is there a community out there for people to get connected with, who determines what as a theoblog/biblioblog? According to one Biblioblogging group (biblical studies blogging), the Biblioblog Top 50, which PJ remains relevant most of the time (okay, just barely!), there are limits to who can be considered “BIBLIOBLOGGER” and who can’t: Biblioblog Top 50: About page, authoritative it is not, but persuasive and influential, yes. So, any denial of hold of power/influence in this community on the part of the adminstrators just doesn’t hold water.

Last week, we saw a few way in which gender relations work online and in the meat world when it comes to theological studies. For example, the conversation that became a lecture circuit with the Theology Studio folks was a classic case. First, Tony Baker posted “Gender and the Studio, which made the Nephilim taking of the human women sexually in Genesis (ummm rape?) as a potential model of gender and theology (men as giver, women as recipient—i.e., still no mutuality really). Theology would remain a space of white male patronage allowing the womenfolk and minorities to dance before the crown. Brandy Daniels of Vanderbilt responded with a three part series on AUFS, I would recommend all three posts, but especially Part I.

Both on the blogosphere and on the Theology Studio facebook group, a conversation was sparked, and even when persons like myself, Tim McGee, and Jay Carter were asking questions, at least one commenter or admin for the group wanted to shut down the conversation at 92 comments. That was way less than our comment section on Milbank and Military schools in the U.K.

After all of the talk that went on Twitter, facebook, and various blogs, Baker has, after being the one to initially want to talk about gender, wants to close the facebook group where a number of both those sympathetic to Theology Studio’s RadOx/postliberal leanings as well as critics encounter each other daily. Baker claims that it’s impossible to have patience and talk about these issues online, but the fact is is that we were talking about these issues, GENDER specifically; the fact is is that YOU did not like reading the criticisms of your interpretation of Genesis (one I am sure Augustine himself would not hold), and facing the heat. Phasing out the Facebook group means shutting down detractors who hold many of the same theological concerns and methodologies as TS.

So, what do I think should be done?

First, we should rid ourselves (us, independents and religious scholars) of the rhetoric of dialogue. People who say “they just want to have a conversation” are just plain lying to themselves. Come dialogue with me when you are willing to take action. Conversation is for people fooling themselves who say they want to talk with people they disagree with, but ind the end, they just want to lecture others.

Second, I would like to affirm Jimmy’s suggestions in Stop Collaborate, And Listen: On Gendered Absences in the theological blogosphere, that we male religious scholars just stop, listen (and read and write with) women scholars.

Thirdly, it may be time to start an informal theology blogging community, perhaps separate but along with Biblioblog Top 50. I don’t know how it would work, but it’s a starting point, perhaps to have a few rules to intentionally include the voices of women and marginalized voices, something that is far more decentralized and hegemonic than the “Biblioblogs” and for persons who sympathies do not rest with the Society of Biblical Literature, as good as those people are.

I would love to hear/read your thoughts.

What do you all think? Time to give up the rhetoric of dialogue?

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