Tag Archives: James Bradford Pate

Can The Subaltern Blog? Part 3: On "Invitations" And Safe Spaces

An attempt at a discrimination graphic.

An attempt at a discrimination graphic. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Can the subaltern blog? Part 1: Institutional Sexism & the Biblioblogs (from 2009)

Can The Subaltern Blog Part 2: Theology Studio And The Rhetoric Of Gender Dialogue (from last December 2012)

After last week’s conversation on race and emergence Christianity had died down somewhat, Tony Jones went back to work with an invitation to Christian feminists and womanists to submit entries (accepted by a small group of people without Jones) to be posted on Theoblogy, without comment or moderation from Jones himself. A few questions have come up: Is TheoBlogy really a safe place for dissenting voices? (I don’t even know if PJ is a safe place for others sometimes, but its my and the other authors’ safe space so there!). Why was this particular invitation given by a person who has derided womanists and feminists as angry, emotional, unreasonable (to the point of not meeting him face to face for “reconciliation”), and too dedicated to identity politics to validly critique his “incarnational” theology.

A more important question that we should be asking, like Caryn Riswald did yesterday; by the way, please read her post, A Blog Of Our Own. Why should womanist and feminist Christians be concerned to “teaching” Jones and his audience what they are doing wrong? Why is this their responsibility, their burden to bear? Why should the experience of Jones and his audience be placed at the center? Isn’t that the problem to begin with?

The problem I brought up in my previous two parts, “Can The Subaltern Blog?,” is the question of power and gender relations, and marginalization of women in the real world in seminaries and Bible colleges.

From Christianity Today, The Seminary Gender Gap:

“Perhaps the lack of job prospects is a deterrent: Why pay the tuition if you are not guaranteed a job afterwards? Or perhaps it is a matter of theology since some traditions discourage women from the pastorate on biblical grounds. Still, other churches support the idea of female leaders in principle, but simply fail to take the steps necessary to cultivate women’s gifts.

Combined, these factors produce a persistent minority of female, evangelical seminarians with a rather tumultuous seminary experience. Evangelical women who discern a call to seminary often find themselves without much community and without many resources. Whether or not they are seeking ordination, women report feeling ostracized by male classmates.”

The quest for safe spaces for women and racial minorities to work out their own faith journeys online is important. As one person on twitter pointed out, with one fewer moderater (the author), it would be open season on feminists and womanists whose articles were accepted by Jones’ “committee.” From what I have seen and read, Jones’ supporters use ad hom attacks themselves on the blogs of his critics. So, yeah, the lack of a safe space is a pressing issue.

I have two examples of constructive actions that Tony Jones and whoever else is interested in seeing things from “the Other’s” perspective: it starts with reading books by people who do not look or think like you do. Reading is just the first step, the second step is something my friend J.K. Gayle calls “rhetorical listening,” actually hearing out “the Other’s” argument and maybe engaging in some self-criticism. This part of listening happens when we let other voices than our own define themselves, and maybe even re-define you in the position that you see yourself. For an example of this, see J.K.’s reflections on racial gazes and rhetoric: About Biblioblogging…?: Jacqueline Jones Royster’s voices.

The other example is my friend James Bradford Pate, who regularly reads and blogs on books about controversial issues, even by authors he does not agree with. Like last year, he did series during Women’s History Month and Black History Month. James uses rhetorical listening to give authors who may not look like him a fair hearing. Both JK and James regularly blog about religion, race, gender, and politics. In both instances, these white men did the hard work themselves and were changed for the better. The oft-quoted, oft-attributed quote from Ghandi, “You are the change you seek” comes to mind.

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James Bradford Pate's Top 15 SMALLVILLE Moments

Title letters of the television show Smallville

Image via Wikipedia

Blogger James Bradford Pate has a similar relationship to SMALLVILLE as myself.

Today is the day of the very last Smallville episode—after a remarkable ten-year run. Although I have been dissatisfied with the last four seasons, I still want to pay homage to the series, for it has been a comfort to me for the past three years, as I have watched all of the seasons. I promised to discuss my fifteen favorite episodes, and here they are. It was a tough choice! And I’ll confess that I cheated a few times by talking about a few episodes that are not among my top fifteen!

Read Them  Here.

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Blog Posts of Note: Week of Feb 27th-March 5th 2011


I have appreciated very much so the kind words that have been given about the post
Katie’s Cannon(ization): Inerrancy as White Evangelical Folklore.

In the spirit of that, I would like to make you aware of two other posts.

First Erin of UNDONE responds to “Katie’s Cannon(ization)” and add some thoughts of her own, including her impression of my view of plenary inspiration as a disembodied concept: “Inerrancy & Biopolitics: Our Bodies Are The Texts.” Erin’s blog is fascinating, by the way; she writes on race, biopolitics, Foucault, and theology. Glad to have found it.

Secondly, admittedly although I had read this second article earlier this week, Erin made the connection between my post aforementioned and Katie from Women In Theology, and the problematic creation theology of Pope Benedict XVI‘s Deus Caritas Est: “It’s Adam and Eve AND Adam and Steve”. I think the article offers a critique to theologies of creation that prioritize Genesis 2 over Genesis 1 in general as well (meaning: not limited to the Pope’s encyclical).

April DeConick argues for a trans-tradition criticism in the area of biblical studies. which will be “a pragmatic and embodied view of human beings as personal and social agents who actively and constantly (re)shape the t/Traditions to align with their experiences of themselves and their world. They are participants in personal and social conversations that support, create, modify and destroy t/Traditions” : “Transtradition Criticism”

Cynthia R. Nielsen continues her series on Fanon, Foucault, humanism and interhuman solidarity: “Part III: Fanon and Foucault on humanism and rejecting the Enlightenment.

Suzanne McCarthy continues her conversation with two other blogging scholars, one a complementarian and the other an egalitarian who defends the complementarian hermeneutic of Scripture; I know what it is like to not have my questions addressed, and that’s only a sign of one thing (I’ll let you guess): Invitation to Mike Heiser and John Hobbins.

Julie Clawson problematizes the traditional Christian reading of Joshua (as we all should): Conquest, Empire, and Irony in the biblical text

James Bradford Pate should be commended for being one of the best bloggers out there. He has challenged himself to read literature written by people who do not look like him, in particular, by African-Americans and women.  During black history month, James reviewed (chapter by chapter, mind you all while being a PhD student), Booker T. Washington‘s Up From Slavery & W.E.B DuBois’ The Souls of Black Folks.  This March, for Women’s History Month, James is beginning a series on Jacquelyn Grant’s White Women’s Christ and Black Women’s Jesus.

Amanda Mac of Political Jesus and Cheese-wearing theology provides us with a list of women theo-bloggers/bibliobloggers that she reads: Blogs I Read: A Shout Out To Women.


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