Item description for Models of God by Sallie McFague...
Overview MODELS OF GOD - Theology for an Ecological, Nuclear Age MODELS OF GOD is in fact a new systematic theology, indeed a new way of thinking about metaphorical theology and materially a radically new presentation of Christian themes.. The power of Mc Fague's work is in its ability to speak to the American Protestant mainstream, challenging Christians with models of God that reflect both ecological sensitivity and concern for justice.
Publishers Description In this award-winning text, theologian Sallie McFague challenges Christians' usual speech about God as a kind of monarch. She probes instead three other possible metaphors for God as mother, lover, and friend.
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Sallie McFague has been the Carpenter Professor of Theology at Vanderbilt Divinity School, where she taught for thirty years. She is now distinguished theologian in residence at the Vancouver School of Theology in Vancouver, British Columbia. Among her many influential works, all from Fortress Press, are: Blessed are the Consumers (2013); Life Abundant: Rethinking Theology and Economy for a Planet in Peril (2000); Super, Natural Christians: How We Should Love Nature (1997); The Body of God: An Ecological Theology (1993); Models of God: Theology for an Ecological, Nuclear Age (1987), which received the American Academy of Religion's Award for Excellence; and Metaphorical Theology: Models of God in Religious Language (1982).
Sallie McFague currently resides in Nashville. Sallie McFague has an academic affiliation as follows - Vancouver School of Theology.
Reviews - What do customers think about Models of God?
McFague's Most Important Book- even if you disagree with her Oct 6, 2004
McFague is a likeable and thoughtful scholar. I've had the good fortune of studying with her and found her to be kind, gentle, and full of wit and understanding.
McFague's books may be divided into two sections. The first includes Speaking in Parables and Metaphorical Theology, books primarily concerned with understanding and interpreting Christian metaphors at a time in which traditional Christianity appeared to be losing purchase on the world. Of these two, Metaphorical Theology is the more important one (explores the paradigmatic shape of theology and the role of its images -- incorporates holistic insights from philosophy of science and studies of metaphor).
Models of God represents the beginning of a new stage in McFague's work. It is more than just the crystallization of her feminist and ecological convictions and the further development of models suggested in MT. Really, it is a development from a call to understand the world to a call to change the world.
As such, the gloves are off and McFague refuses to mince words --- I call it 'antithetical speech' --- she means to have it out with all of the things that has brought the world to the brink of nuclear and ecological disaster (nuclear threat especially, written at the time of Chernobyl and Ronald Reagan). At the heart of the problem, McFague argues, is a hierarchical, patriarchal, monarchial, dualistic view of the world (bad). McFague proposes a new theology which is tentative, prophetic, iconoclastic, and egalitarian (good).
As an evangelical Christian (here it comes!), however, I find Models of God to be prematurely dismissive of biblical and historical theology. McFague paints with a broad brush when talking about why we are where we are. It's okay to claim that traditional Christianity is a complicit and hurtful factor in the world. To some extent, fine, let's face it. At the same time, however, it is certainly a lot more complex than that (what about Enlightenment/Rationalistic ideals which were quite hostile to orthodox Christianity and friendly to liberalism? What about Christian simplicity?).
The replacement of traditional models with "more suitable" metaphors or models, for our time, seems to me problematic for several reasons: 1. The grounds for suspicion --- you don't dismiss some models as idolatrous and dangerous without seriously jeopardizing your own. McFague's criticisms take place from a stance of transcendence --- how can she declare unequivocally what is relevant and what is irrelevant? Yet she seems to do precisely this. She believes that no one has access to pure reality, but she seems to declare her beliefs triumphantly and without an ounce of self-doubt (Kantian arrogance?). 2. Pluralism as a means for overcoming idolatry --- I'm not sure that a plurality of models is going to do anything but muddle what you have to say and make you prone to follow whatever comes down the pipe five minutes from now. 3. Models/Metaphors --- McFague's accent is on the static, ahistorical, atemporal. Metaphors, on the contrary, come within a temporal, narrative context. McFague's models are interesting 'thought experiments' but little more than that. She tends to be atomistic (what about paradigms?). 4. Metaphors --- I find it hard to claim this as a metaphorical theology because it doesn't seem to take Christian models and metaphors seriously. This is evident in the very attempt to change/correct images, a view of metaphors which most studies (including McFague's) deny possible. Her treatment of Christian metaphors is purely interested in their ornamental value (deprecating content but keeping form). Thus Jesus become a destabilizing, nonhierarchical figure who ate with everybody. Yes, but Christians have always said more (and less) than this! McFague identifies the function of the parables (destabilizing) with the normative content. This is Christian only by accident (i.e. comes from Episcopalian/liberal Protestantism).
It is not simply a matter of thinking Jesus is the central metaphor/model for your tradition, and a nice guy to boot --- but taking the New Testament witnesses seriously in all their variegated splendour, that makes a theology distinctly Christian.
All said and done, Models of God is important for several reasons. First, beyond the thundering declarations are some pretty sensible arguments --- McFague is one of the most balanced and important feminist and ecological theologians of the first generation. Second, she is a damn good writer --- it is colourful but not maudlin. Third, she draws attention to matters epistemological and metaphysical without being wordy or pedantic. Fourth, she may be right in her assessment --- Christianity may be more hurtful or idolatrous in the long run. I just don't believe it is.
Breakthrough Contemporary Theology! Jun 2, 1997
Sallie McFague's book excellently redefines how God should be envisioned in the current, postmodern society. McFague does an excellent job constructing a positive image of God that should be considered by any modern reader, especially one interested in the ecological crisis or the nuclear threat. Drawing upon the progress of earlier theologians in these areas, McFague has written an intense and incredibly important book for the modern era, and one that should be seriously considered by every person who is concerned about the state of the planet and of all humanity.
In addition to the above positive points, McFague's book is an enticing read; it is also very thorough and scholarly in its development. Simply stated, it's a "must read."