Sunday, August 29, 2010

a correctiong, of sorts

A few posts back, I gave a quote from the book "The Heretic's Guide to Eternity" which was itself a quote attributed to one Carter Heyward. In that post, I referred to Heyward at least one time as "Mr. Heyward".

Silly me.

Carter Heyward

Isabel Carter Heyward (b. 1945 in North Carolina) is a lesbian[1] feminist theologian, teacher and priest in the Episcopalian Church - the province of the worldwide Anglican Communion in the United States.

Well, this was...enlightening.

Theology - the Nature of God
Author of a number of books and numerous articles, Carter Heyward's most distinctive theological idea is that it is open to each of us to incarnate God (that is, to embody God's power), and that we do so most fully when we seek to relate genuinely to others in what she calls relationality. When we do this, we are said to be 'godding', a verb Heyward herself coined.[4] God is defined in her work as 'our power in mutual relation'.[5] Alluding to mainstream Christian views of God, Heyward has stated 'I am not much of a theist'.[6] For her, 'the shape of God is justice',[7] so human activity can, as theologian Lucy Tatman has observed, be divine activity whenever it is just and loving. In her book Saving Jesus From Those Who Are Right, Heyward asserts that 'the love we make... is God's own love'.[8] In Heyward’s work, God is therefore not a personal figure, but instead the ground of being, seen for example in compassionate action, which is 'the movement of God in and through the heights and depths of all that is'.[9]

[edit] Theology - Jesus in Carter Heyward's thought
Again in contrast to the more traditional Christian focus (on Jesus Christ as God incarnated as a redeemer), Heyward believes that 'God was indeed in Jesus just as God is in us - as our Sacred, Sensual Power, deeply infusing our flesh, root of our embodied yearning to reach out to one another'.[10] This power works to change despair, fear and apathy to hope, courage and what Heyward terms 'justice-love'.[10] But God's Spirit is not contained 'solely in one human life or religion or historical event or moment'.[11] God was Jesus' relational power for 'forging right (mutual) relation, in which Jesus himself and those around him were empowered to be more fully who they were called to be'.[12] Insisting on the God-incarnating power of all, Heyward observes that 'the human act of love, befriending, making justice is our act of making God incarnate in the world'.[13] Interestingly, in her recent work she suggests that even the non-human creation may incarnate God, commenting that 'there are more faces of Jesus on earth, throughout history and all of nature, than we can begin even to imagine'.[14]. Not unrelated to this perception, Heyward founded the Free Rein Center for Therapeutic Horseback Riding and Education at Brevard, North Carolina, where she is an instructor[15]

Well, no wonder the Oozers quote her so favorably. And no wonder she wants people to belief it's ok to read the Bible in such different ways than those people long ago. She certainly does.

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