Women & Theology from the Global South, week 9

Week IX: ASIAN FEMINIST THEOLOGIES

Ritual leadership:
This week was led by Cristine (who returned from her visit to Mexico City last week to learn about immigration issues) shared a mantra practice. We all sat quietly and reflected on the Mahamrityunjaya Mantra and the Moola Mantra. (Very briefly) These mantras focus on healing. This link is not the exact mantra she played which was sung by a beautiful feminine voice. Maybe you feel reluctant to press play, however, it is incredibly…meditative.  

Readings:
As we are nearing the conclusion it’s important to slow down and recognize that this course is fast-paced and the material is dynamic and complex. Self-care can be a priority, that means sometimes letting assignments go or not getting To-Do List items done.  Suggestion: Read the material and express your response in a new medium for you. If you are analytically minded, write a poem. Do an interpretive dance. Draw a picture. If you are already artistically minded write a mini academic-style paper like Jordan’s lead post (she’s also a poet!) or RE-Annotate the bibliography below.

Adrianne Dianne Isabelle R. Saldua, “The Role of Women from Pre-Hispanic to Spanish Era.”

Alfredo V. Baldemor, Jr., “The Filipino Woman in Pre-Hispanic Times.”

From Jordan:
“For this week, we are delving deeper into Asian’s women’s theologies, and I will be focusing on the indigenous women of the Philippines and their societal contributions before the colonization by the Spanish (and later, American) brands of Christianity. One of the interesting roles available for women during the pre-colonial era was that of a Babaylan, who is a well-respected healer. Adrian Saluda writes “When problems in communities arise and there are no other means to fix it, the Babaylan is the one to be called; she would perform rituals and chants to drive away the spirits that caused turmoil.” They were able to be free members of society and shared in equal status with men.

What spoke to me the most about these readings was the fact that women in the Philippines enjoyed more freedom and equality before the Spanish occupation. In much of my outside reading, supported by what we have read in this class, it seems to be a common theme that many cultures (who were occupied by a Christian colonizer) once had gender equality and respect for women as a norm. It pains me to hear that this faith is being used as the basis for discrimination, when I believe that it is not the true state of nature that God intended.

These readings started out as a twinge of guilt surrounding my newfound Christianity, knowing that it was the reasoning that so many have used to suppress others, especially women of color. But then, in her article, Mary John Mananzan makes the case for Christianity in Asia, stating that the image of Christ for the Philippino people was emphasized under “the suffering rather than the glory” (88), as they had been a poor and oppressed people. It pleases me to know that, though it was the faith of the colonizer, the people of the Philippines found themselves in the Christ story, and were able to embrace it as their own.”

Aruna Gnanadason, “Towards an Eco-feminist Theology,” in Listen to the Women! Listen to the Earth (Geneva: WCC, 2005), 81-106.
From Anon:
Misguided human action has led the world’s descendants to a melancholia. Aruna’s article addresses it by drawing and playing out prescriptive words such as Dr. Tink Tinker’s, “God’s salvific act in Christ Jesus is thought of as efficacious only for human beings, and hence God’s salvific love for the world must imply logically that the world is here limited only to those who are most privileged in creation and are the proper object of God’s affections. The danger of such privileging of human beings should be obvious. It runs the risk of generating human arrogance, which too easily sees the world in terms of hierarchies of existence, all of which are ultimately subservient to the needs and whims of humans.” (83) and Jose Miquez Bonino’s belief “that the promise of the covenant offered by the grace of God does not reduce God’s “partner” (co-creator)…Rather, the covenant directs itself to the human being, invites that being to respond, and to act, and in that way holds open permanently the door to human collaboration with God.” (85). “On the theme of grace” (89) Aruna examines the work of Elsa Tamez and Leonardo Boff, “Here, the emphasis is not on talking about grace but on letting grace to the talking (though all talk is about something)…we want to create an idiom and a line of reflection which will make us conscious of the divine grace in which we now live, which will allow us to detect the presence of God and his love in the world, quite apart from the fact that we may be thinking and talking about it.” (89) 


Nantawan Boonprasat Lewis, “When Justice Collapses: A Religious Response to Sexual Violence,” in Off the Menu: Asian and Asian North American Women’s Religion and Theology (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2007), 217-30.
From me: In this dynamic text, Lewis exposes the wheel of the ‘oldest business’ in order to address what is and isn’t being done, “How do we, women & men of faith, together, address this ongoing crisis of sex trafficking in women? What are some of the new perspectives or strategies, theologically, ethically, socially, and politically–that need further development to prevent or stop sex trafficking?” (220). Lewis proposes legal support is one response (Ibid). One organization doing this is Bridges Across Borders Southeast Asia a non-profit offering ethical legal advice, assistance, and collaborative educational projects that champion human rights (not in article).

IMG-2170
Mary John Mananzan, “Paschal Mystery from a Philippine Perspective,” in Any Room for Christ in Asia, eds. Leonardo Boff, and Vigil Elizondo and Aloysius Pieris (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1993), 86-94. (Series Concilium, no. 2)



Mananzan, “Globalization from the Perspectives of the Victims: Survivors of History,” in Time—Utopia—Eschatology, ed. Charlotte Methuen (Leuvens: Peeters, 1999), 27-41.
From me: Mananzan draws a map of globalization’s benefits and limits. The overwhelming limits are responded to by organizations such as GABRIELA and AMIHAN who focus on sustainable education and growth through grassroots projects.

Wu, Rose, “A Story of Its Own Name: Hong Kong Tongzhi Culture and Movement,” in Off the Menu, 275-92.
From me: Wu explores the diversity of issues that arise in identity politics wherefor “Hong Kong’s culture, as a Chinese society, was strongly influenced by Confucian and Taoist teachings…We have jiaobe, which means sexual intercourse; fangshin, which means things one does in his or her private room; and se, which has multiple meanings of erotic and sexual sensation and pleasure.” (276) Wu questions the income of asymmetrically heteronormative dominance by asking, “What is a spirituality of solidarity…if it only negates, or even destroys, the strength of our differences?” (288)  

Student Responses:
As academics sometimes it’s great to dig into our artistic side or to respond with anything other than academic work. This week I took my experiences and turned them poemish.

Telephoned Introduction
I need a moment of self-care.
Just got back from Birmingham. Twas at the Southern Atlantic Modern Language Association conference at the BJCC/Sheraton/Stanley Hotel  
I wasn’t prepared
wrote no speech
had no paper to read
because a.
i wanted to act like Antonio and just
Go up there
b.
My “ugly scares” (Townes, Min 3) can no longer merely be an audience member or theatre ghost under ‘stained “glass ceilings”’ (Gianna?, and Ibid 6:30)
And see, travelers,
what was i supposed to propose? i’m not southern. sew i introduced myself and said (translation via google, so pardon and question inaccuracies)

Tengo una gran familia
que viven alrededor del mundo
¿Por qué estamos en la diáspora?
porque …
no lo se
Déjame preguntarle a mi amigo,
aquí.”

overall, it went okey. Luckily the other two panelists resurrected an academic aire
rounding out hominess with productivity by talking about V For Vendetta’s shakespearean qualities and things on Changamire’s Bookshelf.
it wasn’t perfect, i(t) went too fast yet the room felt tied together
Friday and Saturday
i heard and saw many eco and linguistic warriors
caw out like swampt things
As “hot as a boiled egg in a the shell”

about unthought “landscape” “cannibalisms”
and so were prophesying weltian welps about “the Hats!” “The Beards!” and
other chaotic phenomena destroying bad fassionism.

I heard swear words like
As “An escape into aesthetics” “Watch Stonewall” and “Okja”

Where “a villain of the people” is “Oblique rather than straight forward”. And some threats of a “Non-linear” storytelling horizon working as a cultural palimpsest.

I heard a “stream”
Toeing the line towards
Multi-dimensions and Transgender Identities: Fighting for the Margin’s panelist, Sean Robinson barked about “Intellectual Violence” resonating with
Heroes of Native American Resistance A panelist Maria Orban’s “TransMotion” and
Heroes of Native American Resistance B panelists throwing around references to Lianne Howe (check spelling)’s “eco-erotic space”, stories of some “Corn Woman”’s weed mapping “Tribalography” & Meeko King (check spelling)’s “multi-model” something, like, one of those deities with many faces(?)
Particularly not to mention
Panelist Joanmarie Banez (accent on n missing)’s “Transpositionality” something like ‘place is fluid’ i think. And Panelist Luis Marin quoting Layli Long Soldier “I must art” with his “small (so microphoned) voice”
There we were
In the good fight. some of us left with ink on our hands and/or book in our laps

On the return flight, i met a couple visiting their children
in the conversation we bonded over the shared love of the body temple yoga and
Odissi Dance PART 3 | Indian Classical Dance by Sujata Mohapatra
Odissi Dance Performance by Sujata Mohapatra – Part 4 DVD
Odissi Dance Performance by Sujata Mohapatra – Part 5 DVD

And so this is my self-care these days

Thanks for reading,
Emily Nagle

Photography by Seth Nagle

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