Monday, July 03, 2006

coming attractions for the nerdly

Here are some things that I am thinking about/ want to research sooner of later.

1. Non-geographic church affiliations. My Baptist church in Oberlin is a member of the Rochester region, mostly because we got kicked out of our local association for our views on including GLBT folks in the full life of the church. (Hint: we're for it.) I'm interested in looking at the history of other non-geographic regions and bodies, and seeing if any of that can inform Baptist life these days, which is seeing more and more of this non-geographic alignment stuff. I'd like to see how the old segregated Central Methodist Jurisdiction operated in a non-geographic space, and also how ethnic groups like the UCC's Calvin synod operate.

2. Both Anabaptist theologians and post-colonial theologians have written about the necessity of reading the gospel and the Bible in its context of empire, and the importance of framing Jesus as an enemy of empire. (And perhaps of seeing the contemporary church as called to oppose empire.) I would be interested to see how these multiple discussions of empire differ and over-lap. What do the mennonites and the po-co's have to say to each other? Are there any po-co anabaptists running around? I would be relatively surprised if no one's done this work already, but if they have, I haven't heard about it. Let's get some John Howard Yoder in dialogue with Kwok Pui-Lan or Sugirtharajah.

3. I've been taught to see most oppressive forces, and therefore movements as linked. For example, I can't talk about peace adn non-violence without talking about anti-racism and civil rights work, or at least I think I shouldn't. Lately I've heard a least a couple people around the age of 50 bemoan this kind of linking, or at least the way they play out. One of them complained about the number of different issues represented at a national anti-war demonstration. Another couldn't really see a connection between working for civil rights and working for non-violence. What is this about? And how do we as activists work on all these issues, that are linked, all at once, or properly work on one issue while acknowledging its connections to other oppressions? Anybody?

I'm in Oberlin this week, and resting at Beth's house. I'm spending today in Mudd to learn more about Dorothy Day, Catholic Worker, and the fundamentalist take-over of the Southern Baptist Convention. I'm excited about the prospect of living at a Catholic worker house next year, and I think that reading about the SBC can inform my own actions regarding denominational politics. I want to know enough about it to be able to talk about it with non-Baptists, and draw parallels with contemporary groups, movements, and ecclesiastical structures.

Any ideas or resources on these, let me know.


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