notthemarimba: Mark Gatiss in LoG looking fab (suspiciousladygatiss)
[personal profile] notthemarimba
you thought you would never have to hear my mundane thoughts about what I am reading again, BUT YOU WERE WRONG. I read a bunch of stuff over the semester for class but am way too lazy to try to reconstruct any of it so I'll just start fresh from the beginning of winter break.

American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us by Robert D. Putnam and David E. Campbell
This book was so incredibly hyped to me that I am wondering if that's part of my vague disappointment with it. The vignettes with various congregations were interesting, and I think if the book had mostly been focused on that I would have enjoyed it more. The analysis of their survey results in an overall feeling that the authors think they're telling you something shocking when really it's nothing too outlandish (Americans have high rates of interfaith marriages? Fetch me my smelling salts!). I dunno, maybe I'm just cranky and I would have liked it better if half the people I know hadn't acted like it was the greatest thing they'd ever read.

From Feminist Theology to Indecent Theology by Marcella Althaus-Reid
I got this because I thought I would need it for a paper, and then when I didn't need it I decided to read it anyway. This book was such a mixed bag for me. The good: really interesting critiques of Mariology and gender in liberation theology as well as what she calls "the process which made liberation theology as a theological bestseller in North Atlantic bookshops." (106). Things that were more iffy for me: her analysis of the bleeding woman in Mark 5 (Althaus-Reid interprets her as a woman past the age of menopause who has continued to menstruate and sees Jesus's stopping her bleeding as "symbolically accepting that in the menstrual blood is the occasion requiring laws of oppression and discrimination" [51] and thus as an oppressive act, which made me write "ehhhh" in the margin; I have never heard anything remotely approaching the interpretation re: post-menopause-age woman still bleeding, but ymmv), and how, despite what seems like a rigorous defense of the rights and humanity of trans women in part four of her book, earlier she repeatedly writes about childbirth, breastfeeding, and especially menstruation as "defining" a woman. I'd be interested in reading some of her other work to get a fuller picture of it to see if some of this is resolved.
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notthemarimba: Auntie Val from League of Gentlemen (Default)
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January 2013

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