Why we do what we do
"As a theologian, Luther began to ask question through the radical wager of justification by grace through faith. In a similar fashion, feminist, womanist, and mujerista theologians ask questions through the radical wager that women and girls in all their multiplicity are fully human─equally created, equally sinful, and equally redeemed" - Dr. Mary Streufert,
Transformative Lutheran Theologies
Theology is both an art and a science, a prayerful, disciplined and creative search to express Christian faith. As a centuries-old tradition, the Christian theological tradition is rich with multiple voices, contexts, struggles and answers. In its emphasis on God’s grace given for all, without distinction, Lutheran theology distinctively supports the full humanity of all people. Read more.
Bible study series
The following two Bible study series are designed to help men and women talk together biblically and theologically about sexism and patriarchy. Printed copies also available.
Series 1: Speaking of Sexism: Called to Trust and Risk
In the three sessions of the first series, participants study parts of the story of the Israelites in the wilderness and the gospel of Mark in order to talk about resistance and readiness for change and power and privilege.
Series 2: Humanity in God’s Image
Now Available! The second series explores the ways we are all loved, known, chosen, forgiven, and bidden by God through the stories of the Samaritan woman, the angel's visit to Mary and Mary's visit to Elizabeth, the woman who anoints Jesus' feet, and Jesus' named female disciples.
Transformative Lutheran Theologies Video
Filmed at the Transformative Lutheran Theologies conference in January 2009, the video provides a basic introduction to theology from women’s points of view. A study guide and English and Spanish transcripts are also available. Printed copies also available.
Transformative Lutheran Theologies Book
This book holds some of the most exciting recent work from Lutheran perspectives in systematic theological subjects, such as the doctrine of God, sin and grace, christology and the Holy Spirit. The contributors seek to be faithful to the witness of the Christian tradition and the central wager of the Protestant Reformation — justification by grace through faith — while at the same time raising the critical and constructive wager that all humans are equally created, broken and redeemed. Taking this equality to heart changes how theology is done and what theology says. (from the introduction to Transformative Lutheran Theologies Feminist, Womanist, and Mujerista Perspectives) Learn more. Order online.
More about theology
As equally created, equally sinful and equally redeemed, all members of the body of Christ are set free by God’s grace to live our baptismal identity. In baptism and the Eucharist, Christian identity does not dwell in individual, particular selves; rather, our identity in Christ is beyond ourselves.
However, this does not mean that our bodily differences are changed or that diversities of ideas and cultures are flattened into homogeneity. As Paul’s pivotal claim in Galatians makes clear, difference is different in Jesus Christ: Christian unity is located beyond our differences, whether those differences are biological, social, cultural, or ideological.
When the ways in which we live give privilege to and oppress people based upon these differences, Christians are called to seek change towards ways of thinking and acting that support the full humanity of all people. As mandated in the Constitution of the ELCA, this church is called to address sexism, one aspect of a patriarchal social system affecting all of creation.
That “difference is different” in Jesus Christ is a distinctive gift of the church catholic to the burden of sexism throughout the world. As a body whose identity lies beyond its individual members and in God through Jesus Christ, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America cannot but think, speak and act theologically in all its work.
Need more? Look to these resources for further exploration.
- Thompson, Deanna A. Crossing the Divide: Luther, Feminism, and the Cross. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004.
- Solberg, Mary. Compelling Knowledge: a Feminist Proposal for an Epistemology of the Cross. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1997.
- Riswold, Caryn D.. Feminism and Christianity: Questions and Answers, in the Third Wave. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2009.
- Lois Malcolm, “The Gospel and Feminist Theology: A Proposal for Lutheran Dogmatics,” Word & World 15 (Summer 1995): 290-298.
- Brigitte Kahl, “Gender Trouble in Galatia? Paul and the Rethinking of Difference,” in Is There a Future for Feminist Theology?, ed. Deborah F. Sawyer and Diane M. Collier (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic, 1999), 57-73.
- Streufert, Mary J. (ed.). Transformative Lutheran Theologies: Feminist, Womanist, and Mujerista Perspectives. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2010. Order online.