When God Becomes Goddess suggests that one way in which Americans may keep the traditional Western idea of God alive – paradoxically – is to embrace the Goddess of feminist theology. Collecting a variety of feminist theologies under the rubric of enactment theology, Grigg demonstrates how these theologies offer much more than a critique of patriarchy; indeed, her gender aside, Grigg suggests that the Goddess may create an avenue through which the concept of God might be rescued from the pressing forces of secularization.
From Marc Lalonde’s introductory essay which delimits Davis’ fundamental position, that the primary task of critical theology is the critique of religious orthodoxy, the essays examine Davis’ distinction between faith and belief and build upon the promise of critical theology as inextricably bound to the promise of faith. They ask: What is its promise? What particular religious ideas, themes, stories are appropriate for its concrete expression? How can the community of faith receive its transformative message? What might be the contribution of other religious traditions and philosophies?
Essays by Paul Lakeland, Dennis McCann, Kenneth Melchin, Michael Oppenheim and Marsha Hewitt respond to these and other questions and critically relate Davis’ work to ongoing developments in modern theology, critical theory, philosophy and the social sciences. Their diversity attests to the comprehensive scope of Davis’ thought and exemplifies the progressive character of contemporary religious discourse. They honour Davis and illuminate the promise of critical religious thinking in itself.
This unprecedented co-existence of religion and secularism is sometimes termed the “postsecular,” and in this book Elaine Graham considers some of its implications for the public witness of Christianity. She argues that everyone, from church leaders, theologians, local activists, and campaigners, needs to learn again how to “speak Christian” in these contexts. They need to articulate credible theological justifications for their involvement in public life and to justify the very relevance of their faith to a culture that no longer grants automatic privilege or credence.
This entails a retrieval of the ancient practice of apologetics, in order to encourage and equip Christians to defend and commend their core principles and convictions in public. This “new apologetics” involves discerning the actions of God in the world, participating in the praxis of God’s mission and bearing witness in word and deed. Rather than being an adversarial or argumentative process, this is an invitation to dialogue and to the rejuvenation of our public life.