Women At The Edge: Female voices in innovative Christian theology

I gave a talk in 2014 at the AJC Conclave in Chicago about five women theologians who have particularly influenced me. Here’s the original description:

In the last twenty years, some of the most interesting, challenging and spiritually enlivening work in Christian theology has come from women. Initially, in challenging patriarchal traditions in theology, feminist theology has opened greater space for the participation of all people in the discourse of the tradition. Recently, women, particularly women contemplatives, have opened further space at what has classically been the edge of acceptability with thinking and approaches characterised by a fiery courage and a willingness to challenge orthodox thinking.

This talk will give a brief overview of five contemporary women theologians who have touched my own journey: Cynthia Bourgeault, Bernadette Roberts, Maggie Ross, Mary Coloe and Margaret Barker. Each of these women simultaneously reaches deeply into the history of Christian tradition as well as generating a sense of the freedom and possibility of genuine newness. I hope to share some sense both of the richness of their thinking as well as the effect they have had on me and my view of the tradition.


Stations of Faith

This is a recording of a workshop from AJC Conclave in 2012 exploring James Fowler’s developmental model of faith. I use Ken Wilber’s notion that any stage in the faith journey can become a station, at which a person stays for the remainder of their life.

James Fowler’s popular book “Stages of Faith” outlined for a general audience the results of a long-term study of how one’s faith – one’s holistic orientation to and relationship with the universe – develops through life. Fowler’s model of faith development provides a framework for guiding and companioning each other as our faith shifts and changes. This session outlines and explores Fowler’s model through a sequence of experiential exercises, drawing participants recalling and reflecting on their own journey of faith and that of the people around them.

Dwelling in the Household of God

A talk in Sydney about two books by Dr Mary Coloe which explore the deep patterns of symbolism in the Gospel of John.

The Gospel of John, according to Australian scholar Dr Mary Coloe, pivots on two key symbols: the Temple and the Household. The symbol of the Temple lays out a narrative through the Gospel explaining that God dwells amongst the members of the community. The symbol of the Household details the forming of the community as a kind of divine household. This session gives an overview of Dr Coloe’s theology of the Johannine community and reflects on its relevance for a Johannite church in the 21st century.

The Practice of Christian Mysticism

This is part two of a workshop about spiritual practice – drawn chiefly from the teaching of Rev. Cynthia Bourgeault. The first part (not recorded) was a short workshop on the practice of Centering Prayer and this second part is a talk about the other key practices.

Building on the Centering Prayer session, this workshop explains three other classic practices in the Christian mystical tradition: psalm chant, lectio divina or sacred reading and the eucharist or holy communion. Christians all over the world sing, read the Bible and attend services – attending to the stillness within these everyday activities reveals a powerful system of transformation practice.