More About Dori Grinenko Baker & Rosemary Radford Ruether
Dori Grinenko Baker is a consultant with the Fund for Theological Education and their Calling Congregations and Vocation CARE programs, which support young people as they seek out their call in the world. She is also the author of "Greenhouses of Hope", "Doing Girlfriend Theology", and "Lives to Offer".
Reviews - What do customers think about Doing Girlfriend Theology: God-Talk with Young Women?
Doing Girlfriend Theology Mar 7, 2008
This book Doing Girlfriend Theology introduces its readers to the image of God. For feminist theology, it made a great contribution toward depicting God as a woman giving birth and using inclusive language both masculine and feminine. The author, Dori Baker writes about her adolescence as a silent girl, shares collected life stories from others who have found their voices, and translates the resources of women's theological thought into the context of female adolescence (17). Baker offers new insights about identifying our callings and taking steps toward finding our vocation as a member of the faith community.
Baker attempts to awaken her readers to "the problems of silenced selves, missing voices, and girls in the footnotes" (17). When reflecting on their lives, the girls recover their human dignity. Through sharing of life stories, several kinds of images of God came out, not only a male image, but feminist, womanist, liberation, and process theologians might all endorse. After finding their identities, they would change from making meaning to taking action and building solidarity to heal another's oppression as echoing a major theme of liberation theology. Thus, image of God is as community in relationship because theology is communal rather than individual.
This book introduces an inclusive and diverse image of God rather than emphasizing the image of God's fatherhood. The author points out that God's imaginations came from cultures and social boundaries. To understand the image of God, Baker makes connections between God, our lives and the world as a magic cure.
Baker presents two additional emancipatory theologies: mujerista theology, a Latina frame of reference, and Asian-feminist theology. She uses these theologies as key sources for girlfriend theology in order to create a method of religious education for female adolescents, to be able to critique the dominant culture in which they find themselves and to name this act as a necessary part of their Christian vocation and to practice. Baker believes that these sources are helpful in order to recognize varying social and cultural contexts and to approach a wider understanding of what it means to be a woman in contemporary American culture (pp. 118-141).
Furthermore, she criticizes all systems of class, race, and gender oppression, those "engaged subjective reason that takes sides," tradition, and scripture so that she points out these discriminations still exist between the oppressed and the oppressors, and that this must change.
In conclusion, Baker offers two guidelines for girlfriend theology and story theology. She believes that learners not only engage in the practice of testimony in girlfriend theology, but experience of God's work when they share the little life stories (7). She thus, encourages her readers to consider the following questions: "what image of God do you have?", "what had you done when you were an adolescent?" that relates to our adult life and also our faith. She suggests that we not judge but try to understand other's lives.
Thoughtful, useful. Nov 25, 2007
Grinenko Baker provides a thoughtful and useful model for doing liberation-minded theological reflection with groups of adolescent women and others. She takes seriously traditions of storytelling, and also provides useful and respectful readings of liberation feminists from a wide variety of backgrounds to inform her work. As a seminarian, I see this book as a model of the theory/practice combination that can be so theologically potent.
A Fun Cluster Muster Apr 26, 2007
As I first picked up this book I thought, "this is going to be fun". Who hasn't had a girlfriend who also didn't want some theological assistance? However, "Doing Girlfriend Theology" (2005 paperback) has suggested a difference- the profound need for adolescent God-thought!
It is a genuine delight to hear of American teens' resiliency and fortitude in the face of societal victimization. Baker's "female clusters" groups, where everyone tells her story, reminds that teen girls need a safe place to talk. The author's notion for safe sharing is honestly brilliant and necessary for "doing" theology, (or as Girlfriend's Theology suggests "from making meaning to taking action").
Addressing the problems of girl teens' missing voice (as a footnote to contemporary theology) Baker identifies feminist theology's 30-year disregard for teenage girls. She admits early on that the research result for this book was "to lead girls to more fulfilling lives because of a connection to their feminist inheritance" (page 20). Girlfriend Theology anticipates assisting marginalized teen girls in reclaiming their God-given humanity.
One possible downside of the book is Baker's cluster muster. Her group composition decisions present the potential for reducing participant theological flexibility and spontaneity. (The bigger the group, the smaller the involvement.) Additionally, the book has the feel of a teenage philosophical "self-helper" rather than of divine discovery instrument.
This IS a fun read! You'll laugh and you'll cry as you hear these narratives. And you will wonder at God's special giving to this diverse, yet composed, forgotten stratum of the human experience- white teen girls.
This book is recommended to everyone interested in emergent 21st century theology, feminist theology, and the American adolescent female experience.
Disappointing experience of Girlfriend Theology Aug 11, 2006
Despite a strong outline and excellent chapter titles, the book feels and reads too much like a dissertation and is not engaging. The actual stories were better but there were not enough.
For our part we tried to read the book as a group of women wanting to sink our teeth into a "beginning" theology book that would raise questions for our reflection as we try to be intentional about our spiritual journey.
Perhaps a "Girlfriend" Theology Devotional book would be good.