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Doing Theology in Red Shoes

"Don't take yourself too seriously." (The best advice a friend ever gave me).

There is one dangerous science for women—one which they must indeed beware how they profanely touch—that of theology. (John Ruskin)
Woman can neither pray nor sacrifice to this god. Before the causa sui, woman can neither fall to her knees in awe nor can she play music and dance before this God. (Heidegger, adapted)

What does it mean for a woman to do theology—that most androcentric of disciplines? Here are some thoughts.

Matthew 11: 16-19 (New King James Version)

"But to what shall I liken this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their companions, and saying:

We played the flute for you,

And you did not dance;

We mourned to you,

And you did not lament.

For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, 'He has a demon.' The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' But wisdom is justified by her children."

Hans Christian Anderson, The Red Shoes

"Everybody looked at her feet, and the whole of the way from the church door to the choir it seemed to her as if even the ancient figures on the monuments, in their stiff collars and long black robes, had their eyes fixed on her red shoes. It was only of these that she thought when the clergyman laid his hand upon her head and spoke of the holy baptism, of the covenant with God, and told her that she was now to be a grown-up Christian. The organ pealed forth solemnly, and the sweet children’s voices mingled with that of their old leader; but Karen thought only of her red shoes. In the afternoon the old lady heard from everybody that Karen had worn red shoes. She said that it was a shocking thing to do, that it was very improper, and that Karen was always to go to church in future in black shoes, even if they were old.

On the following Sunday there was Communion. Karen looked first at the black shoes, then at the red ones—looked at the red ones again, and put them on."

The Wizard of Oz (film script)

DOROTHY: The Wizard of Oz? Is he good or is he wicked?

GLINDA: Oh, very good, but very mysterious. He lives in the emerald City, and that's a long journey from here. Did you bring your broomstick with you?

DOROTHY: No, I'm afraid I didn't.

GLINDA: Well, then, you'll have to walk. The Munchkins will see you safely to the border of Munchkinland. And remember, never let those ruby slippers off your feet for a moment, or you will be at the mercy of the Wicked Witch of the West.

DOROTHY: But, how do I start for the Emerald City?

GLINDA: It's always best to start at the beginning - and all you do is follow the Yellow Brick Road.

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Pat Ellingham
Pat Ellingham
Dec 31, 2021

Oh Tina you have made my day for me! Wisdom, indeed, justified by her children.

Happy new year my brilliant friend and I look forward to seeing you in 2022

Pat x

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