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Karl Rahner and the Contemporary Exploration for Meaning
In Theology, Empowerment, and Prison Ministry Meins G.S. Coetsier offers a new scholarly account of Karl Rahner’s theological anthropology and the prison pastorate with a contemporary expansion for meaning, seeking an antidote to the suffering and isolation of those incarcerated with a “theology of empowerment.” Drawing on prison ministry theorists and practitioners, and on the experiences of Viktor Frankl, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Etty Hillesum, the book argues that Rahner’s views on prison ministry are significant and encouraging but limited regarding the needs and demands of 21st-century prison ministry. In a convincing, perceptive, and groundbreaking study, Coetsier goes beyond Rahner with ecumenical and interreligious perspectives, reminding us all of our human dignity, of meaning and transformation, of our liberation, creativity, hope and community.
Author: Ladan Rahbari

Abstract

The phenomenon of faking orgasms has been the subject of extensive feminist inquiry, but in contemporary Iran, where sex and sexuality remain sensitive and controversial topics, the topic has not received much scholarly attention. This exploratory pilot study uses qualitative methods to explore the prevalence and the reasons for faking orgasms among a group of women living in urban Iran. The study addresses the possible consequences and implications of faking orgasms for women’s sexual life. Eleven female participants took part in the study. The data revealed that the topic was considered taboo even among highly educated working women. It also showed that faking orgasms were related to perceived female moral responsibilities and marital self-sacrifice and the lack of sexual education and knowledge, machismo, male infidelity, porn culture, and sexual performance ideals.

Open Access
In: Religion and Gender
In: Religion and Gender
Author: Susan Harper

Abstract

This paper explores and attempts to propose a NeoPagan, or Contemporary Pagan, ethics of abortion. As a still relatively new religious movement, Contemporary Paganism and the various earth-centered religions (including Wicca) that fall under that umbrella are continuously in the process of creating theology, morality, and practice. Within the religious landscape of the United States in particular, this means engaging with the fraught issues of reproductive healthcare broadly and abortion specifically. This article explores the paradox of Contemporary Paganism’s overall ethic of affirming life and holding all life sacred while also giving primacy of place to individual Will, bodily autonomy, and personal and sexual freedom—ethical principles that lead the overwhelming majority of practitioners to adopt a pro-choice stance. The article describes an ethics of abortion in which Contemporary Pagans find that their pro-life politics and their life-affirming spirituality are not paradoxical but in fact are a coherent whole.

In: Religion and Gender

Abstract

The Finnish author Pauliina Rauhala’s award-winning debut novel, Taivaslaulu (2013; Heaven Song)—which investigates the nexus of gender, agency, and familial and religio-communal belonging—is set in the world of Conservative Laestadianism, the largest revival movement within the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland. This conservative pietist movement is known, among other things, for its birth control ban, which extends not only to artificial contraception but also to fertility awareness methods and, in its most extreme form, even to marital celibacy. This article argues that “continuous traumatic stress” (CTS)—a term that, unlike post-traumatic stress, focuses on chronic, ongoing trauma—and “religious trauma” together constitute a relevant conceptual lens through which to examine Rauhala’s depiction of the life of her female protagonist under the Conservative Laestadian birth control ban, a prohibition operating in the realm of religious regulation of both body and mind. More generally, this article posits that examinations of gendered and gender-specific traumas resulting from “destructive uses of religion” (psychiatrist James L. Griffith’s term; italics added) are an integral part of the interdisciplinary study of religion and gender.

In: Religion and Gender
Author: Iman Lechkar

Abstract

This article explores the role of temporary marriage in the formation of a ‘modern’ Islamic sexual and relational ethics for ‘halal’ (religiously permissible) dating. Based on ethnographic research on the Shiitization (at-tashayyu’) of Moroccan Belgian Sunni Muslims, this article argues that temporary marriage is endorsed by young pious Muslim men who want to date in a religiously observant way. This article illustrates how temporary marriage figures as a site for private relationships and a framework for a modern sexual and relational ethics that permits halal dating for young Muslims. The call of young pious Muslim men to a general Muslim endorsement of temporary marriage brings together both their secular and religious sensibilities whilst simultaneously endeavoring to undo the Sunni-Shia divide in terms of sexual and relational ethics. By drawing on Joan W. Scott’s notion of ‘sexularism’, this article not only deflates the sharp opposition between Islam and secularity, but also provides analytical strategies that disentangle commonplace tropes surrounding Islam and the (sexual) oppression of women.

In: Religion and Gender
In: Religion and Gender

Abstract

Based on ethnographic materials, the article discusses Muslim women’s narratives as an expression of the process of identity negotiation in the post-Soviet cultural context. Muslim women’s narratives based on Islamic, ethnic, gendered epistemologies are intertwined with each other and hybrid. Muslim-Tatar women’s identity as women, Muslims and Tatars is tied together, while simultaneously being fragmented and peripheral to male identity. Since the Russian state imbues veiling with political meaning, Muslim women identity is politicized, therefore veiling as a part of Muslim-Tatar women’s identity is negotiated not only inside of the Muslim-Tatar community, but outside due to external discourses.

In: Journal of Religion in Europe