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Raced, Gendered, Faithed, and Sexed

In: Pneuma
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Abstract

In this paper I address constructions of race and white supremacy, diversities of religious faith, and constructions of genders and sexes together with the concomitant ongoing inequalities for females and limitations on discourse regarding LGBT+ realities. I use First Nations, liberation, and postcolonial methodologies and hermeneutics to interrogate constructions of whiteness and I theorize beyond whiteness by offering readings of the exodus, the subsequent conquest of Canaan by Joshua (Yeshua), and the Canaanite woman’s interaction with and transformation of Jesus (Yeshua). I provide data that shows the significant gender disparity among university and seminary faculties and I argue for intentionality in the uses of power to achieve parity. I encourage interfaith and interreligious dialogue and cooperation. Finally, I conclude by acknowledging the diversity of perspectives regarding LGBT+ and encourage more space for the presentation of research and argumentation regarding the many issues of sexualities, faithings, genderings, and racings.

Abstract

Abstract

In this paper I address constructions of race and white supremacy, diversities of religious faith, and constructions of genders and sexes together with the concomitant ongoing inequalities for females and limitations on discourse regarding LGBT+ realities. I use First Nations, liberation, and postcolonial methodologies and hermeneutics to interrogate constructions of whiteness and I theorize beyond whiteness by offering readings of the exodus, the subsequent conquest of Canaan by Joshua (Yeshua), and the Canaanite woman’s interaction with and transformation of Jesus (Yeshua). I provide data that shows the significant gender disparity among university and seminary faculties and I argue for intentionality in the uses of power to achieve parity. I encourage interfaith and interreligious dialogue and cooperation. Finally, I conclude by acknowledging the diversity of perspectives regarding LGBT+ and encourage more space for the presentation of research and argumentation regarding the many issues of sexualities, faithings, genderings, and racings.

Introduction

In this paper I address constructions of race and white supremacy, constructions of religious faith, and constructions of genders and sexes and the concomitant ongoing inequalities for females and limitations on discourse regarding LGBT+ realities.1 I intend for the title of the paper, in which the “ed” turns the nouns back into the verbs created from the nouns, to signal that each of these are processes of socialization. Humans have been and are being raced, gendered, faithed, and sexed by powers external to themselves, with varying degrees of volitional cooperation, and then they often see themselves “as” “being” or “having” a race, a gender, a sex, or a faith. I interrogate these constructs and these processes in order to create space to resist the oppressions that can accompany them. In this particular address, I devote much more print to “raced” and use different methodologies than for the other three, but that does not mean that I view gendering, faithing, and sexing as less significant for humanity or for Pentecostalism.2

Raced

White american Christians need a liberation theology of their own to free them from the denial of their own past. . . . White Amer-europeans must courageously own their past — without guilt but with great intentionality — to change the present and the future. This means Amer-europeans will have to engage in a collective or corporate type of confession and repentance that looks incisively at the systemic and ingrained violence that has been such a consistent part of the american experience. . . .3

Pentecostalisms emerged in the spaces and times of white supremacy and light-skin privilege when the oppressive systems of whiteness had for centuries been racing people as white for privilege and as less-than-white for exploitation.4 The construct of whiteness was created for oppression. It magically transformed diversity into uniformity for the sake of privilege. This magic was enforced with law and violence. The “many” of some parts of Europe become the “one” of whiteness, and this whiteness sought to colonize and “civilize” the rest of the world. Whiteness had a beginning, however, and it is going to have an end, and I want to theorize toward that end with the metaphor of a biblical story.

“Whiteness” is a system in which people with lighter-toned epidermis use power (violence, the threat of violence, constructed knowledge, information, and so forth) for wealth, social status, and control. Alice Walker coined the term colorism to address the social inequalities that result from socially constructed meanings attached to skin pigment.5 “Pigmentocracy” is another term for a society in which social status is connected with epidermis.6 Pigmentocracy occurs in human populations throughout the world. As a Homo sapiens whose ancestors evolved to have lighter skin to protect against vitamin D depletion because they lived in geographical areas with relatively less sunlight than equatorial regions, I am working to dismantle privileges based on this adaptation.

If you think of yourself as white, consider instead thinking of yourself as “raced as white.” More particularly, think of yourself as “raced-by-whiteness-as-white-for-privilege.” White racing is a superordination that subordinates the Othered, and we need to get beyond it.

Egypt as Whiteness

It is well known that Israel’s exodus from Egypt is a central story for liberating theologies, and it could be a way for people who have been raced by whiteness as white to “inhabit the world beyond the theological problem of whiteness.”7 I am inspired by African American biblical hermeneutics and the lyrics of slave spirituals that underline the resonances of exodus within enslaved Africans’ hearts and their hermeneutical freedom to identify the Egypt land with the US south.8

When Israel was in Egypt’s land: Let my people go,
Oppress’d so hard they could not stand: Let my people go.
Go down, Moses,
Way down in Egypt’s land,
Tell old Pharaoh,
Let my people go.9

While most liberation theologies have used the exit-from-Egypt narrative for liberatory purposes by identifying with the oppressed in Egypt, I shift methodologically and “identify” with the Egyptian power structures as ones who were socialized to perform as ones raced for privilege.10 I offer a liberation reading of the exodus as one raced by whiteness as white. While I hope that this reading resonates with and can be liberatory for those raced by whiteness in Othered ways, my intention is to struggle with this story as a person raced for privilege and oppression who seeks to resist and exit that racing and “spacing.”11

I read Egypt as the construct of whiteness, the systems and structures of white supremacy and oppression. Whiteness is an all-encompassing eschatological and teleological vision that defines all people through its gaze; it is a soteriological hope that seeks to save all people either through their becoming white or through their annihilation. Where in the exodus story is the oppressor who ceases oppressing? Where are the Egyptians who change, who transform, who as disoriented and then reoriented become in solidarity with the oppressed? Where are the bodies raced as white that exit whiteness? Can people who have been raced as white exit whiteness? If so, how? Who are the raced-as-white people in this story, and do any of them ever get out of whiteness alive?12

Racing, Raising, and Razing Moses as White

Only one person raced as Egyptian (white) exits whiteness alive: Moses. Can people raced as white locate themselves in Moses’ narrative and escape? Moses was not raced as “white” from his mother’s womb. He was raced by whiteness as Other. Being raced as nonwhite in the space and time of whiteness meant he would be controlled, subjugated, exploited, and oppressed by the coercive voice of whiteness and all systems that obeyed it. He survived long enough to be assimilated into the systems of whiteness, was re-raced as white (Egyptian), and could have experienced the privileges of white supremacist power, for Moses became the grandson of Pharaoh, the coercive voice of whiteness. But when Moses saw the abusive labor system and the beating of “his own people” by a person raced as white, he began a journey of excising whiteness. He killed part of the white domination system (the slave master), and the coercive voice of whiteness responded by seeking to kill Moses: assimilation had failed and Moses had to be terminated.

Moses fled from whiteness into the desert, where he worked with women who were drawing water. Women and water had saved his life before,13 and now in his exit from whiteness he journeyed with women and water toward a new post-white identity, another birth: “I have become an alien in a foreign land.” Moses un-asked and re-asked the questions of identity while in the desert, remembering his racing as nonwhite, then as white, and now as something else.

Moses discovered he was not white — he was of the slaves, he was Hebrew. And he walked back to the bodies that enforced the structures of whiteness and said, “I am not white and I reject all the privileges whiteness provides.” In exiting whiteness and deconstructing that identity, he became an enemy of the whiteness that sought to destroy him. Is Moses a way for people raced as white to renounce white privilege and cease to swear allegiance to the past or future of whiteness? To stop defending the centuries of colonialism and genocides, to leave the country (the space and time of whiteness), to journey into the desert of new identities and perhaps into a promised land beyond whiteness? Can people raced as white experience conscientization — becoming aware that they have been deceived by systems of oppression and then engage in work to change them?14

Moses as exemplar does open space to separate from and criticize the practices that sustain white supremacy and white oppression even in its subtle institutional forms. But this is neither the end nor the exiting of whiteness; it only initiates episodes of conflict with the coercive structures of whiteness within whiteness itself. Much more is required if whiteness is to be exited and a promised land entered.

Moses is told to speak a liberating message to the coercive structures, but Moses explains to God that he himself is afflicted with a stammering tongue. Is this the stammering speech and tongue of whiteness and white-racing?15 Moses cannot say what God wants said to the white powers without the assistance of his brother, who has not been raced as white. Moses needed the voice of one raced only as Other and never raced as white. Are those raced as white less capable of speaking such strong truth? They stammer. In this reading Moses had been raced as white by whiteness but he “re-raced” himself in the desert as “alien,” “immigrant,” and “foreigner” and then accepted his “pre-racing” as Israel. Even as re-raced and pre-raced he suffers from the stammer of white racing, a stammer that is transformed into clear speech only through Aaron. Moses and Aaron together, as Israel, approach the coercive power structures of whiteness and speak the liberating message together.

But Moses cannot be the body through which people raced as white from birth enter into the promised land. With Moses as the exemplar of exiting whiteness, people raced as white may learn that they have hybrid identities — that they have been raced by a system — but they still die overlooking the Jordan River unable to enter the promised land beyond the desert.16

Pharaoh (and His Son) as the Sexed-as-Male Raced-as-White: Coercive Voice and Structures of Whiteness

Pharaoh is the coercive voice and structures of whiteness, the power violently maintaining the dominations of white supremacy. Pharaoh is the whiteGodFather who sustains the spatial and temporal dimensions in which all those raced by whiteness live, die, suffer, and prosper. The character of Pharaoh in this story is frustrating for those who want him to recognize his evil ways and let the Hebrews go. But the organizing principle and purpose of lighter-skin privilege and white superiority cannot repent; they are in opposition to the God of this narrative.17 Pharaoh can be confronted with truth and power, but cannot be reconciled with God and remain Pharaoh. The defense of whiteness is opposed to the anti-racist, anti-whiteness liberating God. The coercive voice of whiteness at times apologizes, at times asks forgiveness, at times offers freedom, but it always — every single time in this story — goes back on its false promise. Whiteness, understood as this system of oppression, cannot be redeemed. Whiteness is a construct that must be exited completely so that it can deconstruct to nothingness; it cannot be redeemed — it must be outnarrated and outlived.18

Some people raced as white function as Pharaoh and his officials, as coercive voices of whiteness enforcing the structures of oppression. This first way actively sustains, defends, and expands the powers and privileges of whiteness. Other people raced as white function as Pharaoh’s daughter, willing to rescue the occasional exploited nonwhite “individual” by assimilating him or her into the white power system so at least “this one” will not suffer as badly as the rest under the crushing weight of modernity and colonialism. They do what they can, within the system of whiteness, to bring less physical death by trying to transform those raced as nonwhite into adopted grandchildren of whiteness. This ameliorates some destructive aspects of white supremacy, but only by substituting other insidious forms of destruction, all within the system itself. Yet other people raced as white function as “the Egyptians.” These raced-as-white people urge those not raced as white “to hurry and leave the country. ‘For otherwise,’ they said, ‘we will die’ ” (Exod 12:33). They want what they perceive as the problem to go away so that they can live in peace without “them,” even if this means financially helping to enable their departure. A person raced as white may operate in each of these modalities at different places and times, yet none of these options allow them to fully exit whiteness. None of these Egyptian options delivers any Egyptians out of Egypt. None of these white ways of engaging race delivers people raced as white out of whiteness.

God tells the coercive voice of whiteness that God will kill his firstborn son — the construct of the white Jesus will die at the hand of God. Why is Pharaoh’s son the white Jesus? He is the heir and future of the whiteGodFather who religiously and theologically sustains whiteness and the domination system, and the white Jesus must die if humanity is to be delivered from the oppression of whiteness and live in the promised land. That son, that construct, that image — that system of conflating whiteness with the powered norm — must die.19 The only way Pharaoh sees the power of the “true God” is when Pharaoh’s own son dies: the white Jesus is the creation of Pharaoh, the only begotten son of empire. The white Jesus is very real, ubiquitously looking down on church folk: Pharaoh’s firstborn son, protector of dynasty and white supremacy. God kills Pharaoh’s son and then and only then are the captives (almost) free. Imagining life beyond whiteness where white is a past-tense identity is life beyond the heir, life without the white Jesus living and sustaining Egypt’s hopes and dominations.20

Who is the sexed-as-male raced-as-white in the exodus? As I began this journey through these biblical narratives, I had hoped to find the white male in a slave, or a woman, or a foreigner so that he could be saved. Even though I have worked to locate males raced as white with Moses so that deliverance could be possible, I conclude that the male raced as white is Pharaoh. The “I” that is sexed as male and raced as white is not the multiraced Moses finding “true” identity in Israel and abandoning whiteness in solidarity with the oppressed. The “I” who is sexed-as-male raced-as-white is the organizing principle, the coercive voice and power of whiteness, and it is “his” firstborn son of whiteness — the beliefs and structures for sustaining and continuing whiteness — who must die. The white male is the whiteGodFather that fights on even after God has killed the firstborn sons, even after the stubbornness of white supremacy and whiteness has destroyed the entire land — the nonhuman animals, the crops, the environment, the people, even their own children. Even after the slaves are free, the male who has become God through white racing pursues them into the sea to reorder the world according to whiteness, according to male supremacy, seeking to put them back into their subordinate place. In Egypt, Pharaoh was God. And in whiteness, the male raced as white functions as God.

In a world beyond whiteness there can be no males raced as white. The construct of the white male must die.21 The “I” who is a male raced as white must die. All white male constructs must die, and leave it at that. There is no life for them beyond whiteness. The white male God who resists God until the wheels fall off in the sea must be crucified with the white Jesus. Whiteness brings together kyriarchalism22 and patriarchalism — male supremacy — with racism — white supremacy — to support class supremacy, with white males as God. In this reading God killed the firstborn son of whiteness, God killed the white male God, and God delivered Israel (the world).

The Resurrected White Male and the Conquest of Canaan

Israel has now exited whiteness and the white male is dead; the organizing principle of white supremacy died in the sea. Yet, after the exodus we encounter a serious problem raised most pointedly by First Nations theologians. Robert Warrior criticizes the liberationist use of the book of Exodus because

the liberationist picture of Yahweh is not complete. . . . The land, Yahweh decided, belonged to these former slaves from Egypt and Yahweh planned on giving it to them — using the same power used against the enslaving Egyptians to defeat the indigenous inhabitants of Canaan. Yahweh the deliverer became Yahweh the conqueror. The obvious characters in the story for Native Americans to identify with are the Canaanites, the people who already lived in the promised land. . . . I read the Exodus stories with Canaanite eyes. And it is the Canaanite side of the story that has been overlooked by those seeking to articulate late theologies of liberation. Especially ignored are those parts of the story that describe Yahweh’s command to mercilessly annihilate the indigenous population.23

The book of Joshua (Yeshua) claims that “Joshua defeated the whole land, the hill country and the Negev and the lowland and the slopes, and all their kings, he left no survivors, but he utterly destroyed all who breathed” (Josh 10:40). In my literary reading of these stories, the firstborn son of whiteness is resurrected in the conqueror Joshua — the white male principle of supremacy that operates through annihilation, control, and assimilation — the white Jesus. The male raced as white appears in the desert to lead the conquest of Canaan.24 But now, similar to the shift in white supremacy and white racism in the space and time that is the “United States of America,” it is less visible.

Critical whiteness theories postulate that the old Jim Crow era of ideology of white supremacy has been replaced by a more subtle justification of structural dominance, the equation of whiteness with American civic identity. . . . This conflation of white cultural dominance with the “mainstream” creates a situation in which whiteness can be “taken for granted.” . . . Most importantly, the “taken-for-granted” nature of white cultural, political, and economic power both creates and is created by a situation where whiteness is a hidden or invisible racial identity.25

In the exodus, God kills the sons of whiteness and the whiteGodFather: the white male drowns in the sea. In the subsequent conquest of Canaan, led by the first Yeshua, God kills the sons of the indigenous on behalf of a resurrected, yet unnamed-at-the-time, whiteness operating through Joshua. Just when it seems possible that whiteness has been exited, the coercive voice and structures are at work again.

Exiting whiteness and then entering the promised land with the conquering Yeshua and the conquering God still does not yield the world beyond whiteness that humanity needs. Theories, methodologies, and theologies raced by whiteness while in Egypt enter into a pseudo–promised land in which the Canaanites are “utterly destroyed” because they are raced differently. At this point in the dangerous transition from deliverance to conquest, a transition in the narrative that has been employed to justify genocides and destruction, Warrior expresses a deep sadness and asks a further crucial question drawn from Central American liberationist hermeneutics.

Whatever dangers we identify in the text, the god represented there will remain as long as the text remains. . . . The peasants of Solentiname [Nicaragua] bring a wisdom and experience previously unknown to Christian theology, but I do not see what mechanism guarantees that they — or any other people who seek to be shaped and molded by reading the text — will differentiate between the liberating god and the god of conquest.26

The Jewish rabbinic traditions have developed mechanisms to avoid this prescriptive destruction in the texts, and I am so thankful they have. But a Christian “mechanism” that can help differentiate between liberation and conquest is a Canaanite Jewish Yeshua hermeneutic that exchanges Yeshuas in the narrative and offers a counternarrative. In order to locate an exit from Egypt that does not resurrect white supremacy, we have to find another Yeshua.27

A Canaanite Jewish Jesus

The second Yeshua can be the body that gets bodies raced as white to the open future — a Canaanite Jewish Jesus.28 Following the first Joshua out of the post-whiteness desert only leads to a recapitulation of the wealth-through-poverty and life-through-destruction trope of whiteness. If we are to hear Warrior when he says that “the Canaanites should be at the center of Christian theological reflection and political action,” and if we are not to suffer from the “blindness . . . evident in theologies that use the Exodus motif” without “concern for the status of the indigenes,” then we must have a reading with a new Yeshua in a new promised land in which the Canaanites are not destroyed through conquest or assimilation. Warrior gestures toward this christological possibility:

Do Native Americans and other indigenous peoples dare trust the same god in their struggle for justice? I am not asking an easy question and I in no way mean that people who are both Native Americans and Christians cannot work toward justice in the context of their faith in Jesus Christ. . . . No matter what we do, the conquest narratives will remain.29

No, indigenous peoples dare not trust the god of conquest in their struggle for justice. It is Joshua the Christ not Joshua the Conqueror that provides the way into this new reading and the new society that Warrior envisions.

I propose an intertextual reading of Yeshua the conqueror in which a Canaanite Jewish Yeshua of the first century CE critiques the conquest of his namesake: a post-white liberation from whiteness that imagines a world in which liberation does not lead to the conquest of the Canaanites/First Nations/Other by reifying whiteness. Yeshua contra Yeshua, with the second Yeshua following the lead of the Hebrew midwives and disobeying God’s commands to the former Yeshua: “you must utterly destroy them; you shall make no covenant with them, and show no mercy to them” (Deut 7:1, 2).30

Where in the Joshua the Conqueror narrative can Joshua the Christ enter and open up a new trajectory for the people of God so that they do not reify whiteness in a pseudo–promised land? In a prostitute, in the womb of the Christ’s great-grandmother: Rahab, the Canaanite prostitute in Jericho. According to rabbinical thought, descendants are present in the “loins” of their ancestors. I think it is poetic that Jesus was present in the womb of his grandmother Rahab before Joshua entered Canaan. I propose that a Canaanite Jewish Jesus hermeneutic can deliver us from the re-embodied conquests of whiteness, but we have to hear him as the grandson of Rahab the Canaanite prostitute and as student of the Canaanite woman who bested him with witty repartee.

The Canaanite Woman Who Heals Jesus

One of the most troubling stories about Jesus in the gospels is his interaction with the Canaanite woman.31 In unmasking and retelling this story, New Testament scholar Leticia Guardiola-Sáenz uses her own “[Mexican woman living as a resident alien in the United States] identity as a hermeneutical lens to approach and understand [her own] reality . . . aiming at the construction of reading strategies that will support a practice for historical change and social transformation.”32 Her reading, which I read from my own identity-in-process, is as follows.

[T]he Canaanite woman . . . had a spirit of protest and reclamation. What if . . . the Canaanite was aware of her dispossession? What if . . . she was not begging Jesus for a favor but demanding restitution? . . . she was not worshipping Jesus but defying him? . . . She is a dispossessed woman who has awakened from her position as oppressed and now is coming to confront the empire and demand her right to be treated as human. . . . The presence of the woman as a resistant oppressed who has gained consciousness of her oppression is breaking the dominant system. She is confronting the oppressor. . . . The Canaanite woman comes to break the bread together with him as an act of restitution and humanization.33

The Canaanites had been plundered by Joseph; destroyed, plundered, and occupied by Joshua; and were to be nonrecipients of mercy. The authors of Matthew make the point to include Rahab the Canaanite prostitute in Jesus’ genealogy (Matt 1:5), and now in Matthew 15 the dispossessed Canaanite woman (read Rahab) commands Jesus (read Joshua) to have mercy on her. The verb that she speaks — ελεησον, “have mercy!” — is in the imperative mood, the mood of command. The imperative mood can be the mood of “entreaty or request,” but I resist that reading here because it seems to protect Jesus from interrogation. Christology does not need this protection. If there is anyone in Scripture who should have the power to command the Messiah, it is the Canaanite woman. Furthermore, I read her here as Rahab the Canaanite re-entering the world to issue a new word to this new Joshua.34 The first Joshua conquered the Canaanites; this time the Canaanite conquers Joshua and helps him become the Messiah.35

Jesus experienced a three-staged transformation enabled by the persistence of the resistant oppressed. This three-staged transformation is a journey out of oppressive whiteness that those raced as white can follow. First, when told to have mercy on these Canaanite women who are “suffering terribly,” Jesus “did not answer a word.” This passive silence in the face of suffering does not violently inflict suffering, but it is not engaging in any action to alleviate it. There is no solidarity with the oppressed. At this point in the narrative, Jesus is ensconced in a whiteness that has raced the Other outside the boundaries of his aural receptivity. He did not have “ears to hear”; he did not listen. Those raced as white sometimes hear the descriptions of suffering and the commands for restorative justice when confronted by the dispossessed identified-as-Other, but they do not always have ears to hear.

Second, others complicit in whiteness become angry at the Canaanite woman’s demands for justice and ask Jesus to exclude her: “Send her away, for she keeps crying after us.” Passivity, nonaction, and silence are ways to be complicit with white oppression; exclusionary violence is another. Jesus affirms their exclusionary request with a raced statement: “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”

But the woman speaks another command, “Help me!” and Jesus shows that whiteness is capable not only of ignoring and excluding but it can also degrade, demean, and insult. Jesus calls the woman and her daughter “dogs” not worthy of bread. Jesus treats her as a sata — a mongrel.

This ignored, excluded, insulted woman raced by the power structures as unworthy now responds to Jesus one more time and “hits a straight lick with a crooked stick.”36 That is, she gets her message through the closed ears and blind eyes of whiteness with cleverness and wit. Following Jesus’ continual rejections of her direct appeals for mercy and help, her desire for solidarity en la lucha (in the struggle), she mockingly embraces, and therefore rejects and resists, the derogation of “dog” and transforms the dog into a being worthy of bread — “even the dogs eat the crumbs.”

I can wish that she would have hit a straight lick with a straight stick and said something like, “I am not a dog. I am a person made in the image of God. Stop ignoring me, excluding me, and insulting me and my daughter. Give me justice!” Nevertheless, “by her action she is challenging the dominant paradigm of relationships that discriminated against her both because she was a polluting outsider and because she was a woman.”37

The Canaanite woman’s reframing of the dog/bread metaphor elicited the transformation in Jesus that he needed to escape the confines of whiteness. Those who hold to certain conceptions of the divinity of Jesus wonder whether he could learn. The authors of Hebrews thought “he learned obedience from what he suffered” (5:8), and he certainly learned something in this story. Here he suffered the humiliation of being schooled by the Canaanite woman and learned deeper obedience to what the authors of Matthew must have thought was God’s will. Jesus recognized her humanity and, in opposition to the biblical commands against mercy for Canaanites, showed her mercy and helped her. “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” In recognizing her humanity and her challenge, Jesus exited whiteness. The Canaanite woman healed and saved Jesus. The sata (dog) becomes santa (saint) and becomes an agent of healing and salvation.38 The story concludes, “And her daughter was healed from that very hour.” Jesus was also healed from that very hour. The daughter who was possessed by a demon — an effect of the domination system — is healed.39 Jesus is the descendant of Canaanite women, and in this final sentence I read the-Jesus-recapitulating-the-structures-of-whiteness as (an)other Canaanite woman’s daughter who was healed. I read the Canaanite woman as not only healing Jesus’ temptation to be the white Jesus, but also redeeming his maleness as he becomes her healed daughter.

The Canaanite woman is the prophet in this story. She is the only person to outwit and defeat Jesus in an argument.40 She is the voice of God in this story. Gnanadason reads her as a Dalit woman, “at the bottom of the pyramid of oppression.”41 She confronts Jesus and commands mercy, deliverance, help, and healing. She is able to move Jesus from passive silence, through exclusionary justifications, through dehumanizing name-calling, eventually to the recognition of her humanity and solidarity. In asking for deliverance she offered the gift of deliverance to Jesus. When Jesus finally had “ears to hear” her lesson and gave her what she sought, he finally received her gift to him, which was to become her healed Canaanite daughter.

If Jesus had asked the Canaanite woman, “Who do you say that I am?” she could have responded, “You are the one who called me ‘dog’ and said I am not worthy of bread.” J. Kameron Carter claims that Christ leads human nature out of the disposition of whiteness and that Christ inaugurates a revolution, but the Canaanite woman led Christ out of the disposition of whiteness and she helped initiate a revolution that revolutionized Jesus.42

Toward Post-Whiteness Identities

The structures of white supremacist oppression depend on compliance with the system, and not to cooperate is to engage in the process of confusing and dismantling these powers. As Latino ethicist Miguel De La Torre says, this is “jodiendo con el sistema” — screwing with the system.43 There need to be “white” people to sustain whiteness. It is not as simple as not checking “white” on all official forms, however, as much as I like this way of screwing with the system. All manifestations of lighter skin privilege and silent conflations of “whiteness” with superiority and the norm must be openly challenged and dismantled.

First, identities are constituted by power relations: they are created in relations to outsiders, the “other.” . . . Second, identities are not unified: they are fragmented, ruptured, discontinued, and contradictory. We are split among political allegiances, and we have multiple identities that struggle within us. Third, identities are constantly in flux: they are not final productions but productions in process.44

Whiteness must be “discontinued” as we produce identities not designed for oppression but produced for equity. The scriptural stories have to be re-narrated from beyond whiteness because as they stand, even the liberation narratives operate within destructive systems of domination. Canaan is never entered or experienced justly, or righteously, in the biblical text. Where is that Canaan? Where is that promised land? It is here, in this space, in our bodies and the different systems and structures we create.

The planting and uprooting of power and powerlessness is not at all a smooth, sequential plot. Colonising and imperialising powers, as we know, have a chameleonlike capacity for persistence. Decolonisation and liberation are, therefore, not a given, nor an unfinished business. . . . To be in the struggle for justice and liberation is, therefore, to be in la lucha continua, the struggle that always continues.45

I want there to be the day when the identity of “white” is a historical marker used by humans hundreds of years ago. To get there, those raced as white can let God kill them in the sea, resist the temptations of whiteness in the desert that follows, and begin to enter a post-whiteness promised land with the hybrid, mulatto, mestiza Canaanite Jewish daughter Jesus who has been schooled and liberated by the indigenous Canaanite woman.46

Since this is a presidential address I would now like to shift from theorizing and working with Scripture the way I have been to addressing briefly other significant issues facing the world and the Society for Pentecostal Studies. These are not fully developed arguments, but by raising the issues I hope to bring them before us for more focused and intentional conversation.

Gendered

As of February 2013, the faculties of seventy of the schools represented at SPS in 2013 have the following distributions of females and males.47

Table 1.

Faculty Gender Parity of Institutions Represented at SPS 2013

Table 1.
Table 1.
Table 1.
Table 1.

I will not provide an in-depth analysis of the ranking of institutions that emerged from or continue to self-identify as within the pentecostal or Charismatic traditions. I do invite you to locate your own institutions and evaluate both the gender equity and the processes that are in place in order to reach greater gender parity.

In the United States, females hold 38 percent of full-time faculty positions in the academy; our seventy institutions in aggregate are nine percentage points below the national average. In the United States, less than 19 percent of chief executive officers, 28 percent of physicians and surgeons, and 29 percent of lawyers are female. “Higher status jobs, with better pay, go disproportionately to men.”48 An analysis of the promotion and tenure of females as compared to males reveals that the disparity is even greater among full professors at our institutions.

Tenured professors are four times more likely to be male . . . the average salary for female faculty is roughly 80 percent of their counterparts. . . . The aggregate statistical data thus suggest that academia as a whole fare no better than the general workforce at large in terms of gender equity. Women are still underrepresented in almost all disciplines, and men are more likely than women to hold tenure track positions, be promoted to tenure, achieve full professorships, and be paid more than women of equal rank.49

Administrators and faculty members who are sexed as male and gendered as man can and should advocate for intentionality in hiring practices to diversify our faculties and administrations.50

Faculty discourse in class that supports females in leadership positions, although important, is less significant than structural change that intentionally places females in these positions when one has the power and opportunity to advocate and vote. We all have varying degrees of power and influence, and I think we should use our power and influence to increase gender equity.51

The Society for Pentecostal Studies has elected thirty-five male presidents and eight female presidents (18.6 percent), eight male executive directors and one female executive director (11 percent).52 Six males have served as editors of Pneuma and there have been no female editors of Pneuma since it was established in 1977. Biology is not the limitation; the obstacles and hindrances to parity are socially constructed and they can be dismantled if we are intentional.53

A Scripture passage often touted by some Pentecostals is Acts 2:17, “your sons and your daughters will prophesy.” I think a 3:1 ratio of “sons” and “daughters” on our faculties, a 4:1 ratio of SPS presidents, and a 6:0 ratio of Pneuma editors is not the gender parity that best embodies that Pentecost text.

Overt discrimination has largely given way to less obvious but still deeply entrenched inequities. Despite apparent increases in women in positions of authority, discrimination continues to manifest itself through gender devaluation, a process whereby the status and power of an authoritative position is downplayed when that position is held by a woman, and through penalties for those agitating for political change. Female faculty find legal mechanisms and direct political action of limited utility, and increasingly turn to more subtle forms of incremental collective action, revealing an adaptive response to discrimination and a keen sense of the power dynamics within the university.54

These findings emerged from one of the most thorough studies of females in academia, and I am glad female faculty engage in subtle collective action to challenge the discrimination they face. However, systemic problems make these “adaptations” necessary and penalize direct action. This study concluded that “having more women and minorities in positions of power helps sometimes but it is not enough.” Males must not only commit themselves to gender equity in spirit; they must also incorporate policy changes with their voice and vote, for “gains for underrepresented groups are not extending to upper-level management positions,” and this needs to change.55

Faithed

I would now like to address issues of religious diversity and suggest that the Society for Pentecostal Studies continue to be a place where scholarship of all kinds can be explored, even scholarship that is at odds with dominant aspects of Christian traditions in general and pentecostal traditions in particular.

Some pentecostal scholars want to further Pentecostalism, but one can always ask the question regarding which particular pentecostalism they (or we, or I) are seeking to advance. There is no capital “P” pentecostalism. What are advocated are particular visions of what particular traditions think (or feel) Pentecostalism should be. Failing to recognize one’s own particularity among the diversity universalizes oneself and excludes alternatives. For, as one scholar or pastor or denominational official advocates for one particular type of pentecostalism (Pentecostalism A), another scholar or pastor or denominational official will advocate for a different or even opposing pentecostalism (Pentecostalism B). These pentecostalisms can be in direct disagreement with each other, and the proponents can honestly think the other, competing vision is destroying capital “P” Pentecostalism. A third pentecostal scholar might enjoy studying the conflict between these two competing visions of Pentecostalism and develop a typology. A fourth scholar who is neither pentecostal nor Christian might enjoy studying the typology developed by the pentecostal scholar who was studying or critiquing the two (or hundreds) of competing descriptive or prescriptive visions of Pentecostalism.

As a young pentecostal scholar and scholar of Pentecostalism I was able to present at SPS and argue for nonviolence. It was a minority position in the society, in the movement, in Christianity, in world religions, and among those not of any faith. To some it is offensive. There is much Scripture, theology, philosophy, and tradition to support killing people. I imagine there are just as many people in the world today who support killing as there were eleven years ago, when I presented my first paper at SPS arguing for nonviolence.56 But I could do it here, and I thought it was important. I think SPS should be a place where all competing interpretations of pentecostal faithings, and scholarship in any number of other fields, are welcome.

SPS has been a welcoming home to ecumenical dialogue and encouraged it even as it was resisted by some pentecostal institutions. I hope that SPS can become a hospitable home for interfaith and interreligous dialogue as well so that Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Baha’i, Jains, and many others are welcome.

Sexed: LGBT+ Realities

There are Christians who are gay. There are Christians who are lesbian. There are Christians who are bisexual. There are Christians who are transgender. There are Christians who are intersex. Some of these Christians are Pentecostals and Charismatics. Some of these LGBT+ Pentecostals attend and work in pentecostal universities and seminaries and worship in pentecostal churches. These are historical and spatial realities.

Some pentecostal churches believe that homosexuality is a sin and oppose civil and human rights for LGBT+ people. Some believe that homosexuality is a sin but support civil and human rights for LGBT+ people, and some believe that “same-sex” attraction is an orientation and not a sin itself, but argue for celibacy. Some pentecostal churches believe that homosexuality is not a sin. Some members of SPS think homosexuality is a sin, others that homosexual intercourse is a sin, and still other members of SPS think homosexuality is not a sin and want to work against heteronormativity and heterosexism. These are historical and spatial realities.

Our diversity of perspectives is a reality, and it should continue to be acknowledged so that we can engage these issues openly and without fear of reprisal. The vast majority of the time SPS members are gracious in disputation, but last year a member presented a paper on sexuality and another member videoed it without her consent and then contacted the presenter’s denominational officials informing them of her paper. This society should not be a place where anyone uses fear to limit discourse and argument. This behavior inspired the SPS executive committee to consider adopting a Civility Statement. Well beyond civility on the spectrum of engagement with others, however, is charity. It is reasonable to expect that papers generate disagreement. I certainly expect this one to do so. When members disagree, they should present their best counterarguments charitably and, at the least, remain civil.57

We currently have ten interest groups in SPS, and scholars in each of these disciplines (and others) should be welcome to research and write about sexuality in whatever ways they prefer. Pentecostalisms and SPS members have a diversity of hermeneutical methods and a diversity of understandings of Scripture and tradition. We do not even agree on the Trinity (or lack thereof). Yet the decision by our predecessors to invite in Oneness pentecostal scholars, and even to ask one to head the society as president, reminds us of the society’s unique vocation of charitable, critical scholarship. I am hopeful we can thrive as a society even as we argue civilly and charitably about biblical, theological, ethical, historical, philosophical, practical, ecumenical, missional, and cultural perspectives regarding LGBT+ realities both within and beyond the pentecostalisms we experience and study. SPS should continue to be an open space for the presentation of research and argumentation regarding the many issues of sexualities, faithings, genderings, and racings.

Conclusion

There is no conclusion, as this is simply a solo in the ongoing jazz sessions of pentecostalisms, so I now decrescendo and pass it on to you.58 Thank you.

1 LGBT+ is an acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender and includes others as well, such as intersex, questioning, and queer.

2 I refrain from citing the works of pentecostal scholars, for I do not want to implicate anyone as a collaborator, even though many pentecostal scholars have written on these topics. I would, however, like to thank Carol Robb for her invaluable critique.

3 George E. “Tink” Tinker, American Indian Liberation: A Theology of Sovereignty (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2008), 150, 160.

4 I do not intend to communicate that nothing good has happened in pentecostalisms and that only pentecostalisms are hopelessly mired in whiteness. I think that much of the world remains mired in whiteness, and the construct of whiteness must become history.

5 Alice Walker, In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens (New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1983), 290-91.

6 Richard Lynn, “Pigmentocracy: Racial Hierarchies in the Caribbean and Latin America,” The Occidental Quarterly 8, no. 2 (2008): 25-44.

7 J. Kameron Carter, Race: A Theological Account (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 379.

8 This includes African American Pentecostals such as William Seymour, Charles Harrison Mason, and Robert Lawson.

9 “Go Down Moses.”

10 An example of the racings of whiteness is the fact that for census purposes in the United States of America “white” includes people “originally from North Africa and the Middle East.” I am consciously employing the metaphor of Egypt and Egyptian power structures as whiteness, even though a colleague pointed out that most Egyptians and people of Egyptian descent are generally darker skinned than most “people of northern European descent” (that is, the lighter skin–toned folk who created the construct of “whiteness”) and this reading could be seen as a hegemonic move on my part. But I resist that essentializing of skin tone as I employ a methodology used by liberation theologians, but I do so from a different social location.

11   By “spacing” I refer to Vine Deloria’s argument that “white” culture is temporally focused while First Nations are spatial. God Is Red: A Native View of Religion (New York: Putnam, 1973). Also Tinker, American Indian Liberation.

12 Sigmund Freud argued that Moses was an Egyptian. Der Mann Moses und die Monotheistische Religion (1937), published in translation as Moses and Monotheism (New York: Random House, 1955).

13 Moses was saved by the midwives, his mother, his sister Miriam, the Pharaoh’s daughter, and her female servants (Exodus 2).

14 Paolo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed (New York: Herder and Herder, 1970), 35, 36, 109. From the Portuguese conscientização, “Learning to perceive social, political, and economic contradictions, and to take action against the oppressive elements of reality. . . . The awakening of critical consciousness.” “The deepening of the attitude of awareness characteristic of all emergence.”

15 J. Kameron Carter, Race: A Theological Account. The Pentecost story in Acts 2 presents public discourse in a way that challenges structures of domination — young male and female slaves are empowered — but the initial glossolalia had to be translated into a discourse understood by the people. The message that Moses could not present well had to be delivered clearly.

16 For instance, I can acknowledge my ancestry, which includes France, Germany, Ireland, The Netherlands, England, and Wales. The reality of this hybrid genealogy was conglomerated into a false “purity” of whiteness. See Bryan Bantum, Redeeming Mulatto: A Theology of Race and Christian Hybridity (Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2010).

17 Here I am accepting and riffing on Carter’s genealogy of whiteness in Race: A Theological Account, especially chapters one, “The Drama of Race: A Theological Account of Modernity” and two, “The Great Drama of Religion: Modernity, the Jews, and the Theopolitics of Race.”

18 I recognize that this is a strong claim; however, I work from the perspective that whiteness was created as a construct for the purpose of dominating people raced as inferior to white.

19   I use language like “God kills” not as a theological or historical statement that “God” did in fact “kill” anybody. I am using the language of the received text and exploring how it can be used for liberation. Throughout this paper I use the word God as a character presented in the texts without any attempts to defend actions carried out or commanded by this character.

20 As the Hebrews eat the paschal meal during the Passover, God concurrently kills the firstborn heirs and sustainers of the future of whiteness. As Christians eat the Canaanite Jewish flesh of Jesus, God kills the white Jesus — the firstborn son of oppression, exploitation, and injustice built on racism and white supremacy. When communion (or Eucharist) is the body of a white Jesus, whiteness is reified. When communion (or Eucharist) is Canaanite Jewish flesh, whiteness can die.

21   The white male construct is a construct of superiority and privilege. These constructions are often left uninterrogated; I am inviting people who consider themselves to be superior because of their maleness and their whiteness to realize they are not.

22 Elizabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, Wisdom Ways: Introducing Feminist Biblical Interpretation (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2001), 118. Fiorenza uses the term kyriarchalism to refer to a “socio-cultural and religious system of domination . . . constituted by intersecting multiplicative structures of oppression.”

23 Robert Warrior, “Canaanites, Cowboys, and Indians,” Christianity and Crisis 49 (September 11, 1989): 261-65. Reprinted in Union Seminary Quarterly Review 59, nos. 1-2 (2005): 1-8.

24 These conquest and holy warfare narratives have been used to justify conquests and warfare by many people since they were written, and they are even sources for the practices of “spiritual warfare.” My sustained argument against white supremacy may even be taken to be a form of theological warfare, if that metaphor is desirable, but I prefer to see it as an argument against destructive constructions.

25 Eric Tranby and Douglas Hartmann, “Critical Whiteness Theories and the Evangelical ‘Race Problem’: Extending Emerson and Smith’s Divided by Faith,” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 47, no. 3 (2008): 347.

26 Warrior, “Canaanites, Cowboys, and Indians,” 6.

27 One may question why I focus on Christology when Pentecostalism is expected to have a pneumatological focus. One pentecostal reading of Luke-Acts finds that the Spirit is continually leading people to Jesus. In the Lukan narratives when the Spirit enters a person, that person talks not so much about the Spirit, but about Jesus.

28 I write “bodies” because the constructions of race evaluate and categorize the bodies of Homo sapiens. This includes, but is not limited to, skin pigmentation.

29 Warrior, “Canaanites, Cowboys, and Indians,” 7-8.

30 There are many ways in which Jewish, Muslim, and Christian traditions interpret the genocide texts. These range from the belief that God commanded the acts exactly as written in the received texts to the perspective that these stories are human constructions, for there actually is no God at all. Some people of faith — Jews, Muslims, and Christians — try to reconcile the morality of the commands with the character of God. Others argue that there was really no conquest, for it failed. I am not engaging conversations about the historicity of the events or theologies of God. I am providing a reading of these texts attuned to the humanity of the Canaanites.

31   Some might seek to defend more positive perspectives of Jesus by appealing to the stories of his interactions with the Samaritan woman, Mary Magdalene, and others, as well as the epithet against him of being a drunk, a glutton, and a friend of tax collectors and sinners (Luke 7). I acknowledge, however, that those texts are preferred and present other perspectives of Jesus. This is one of the reasons I am dealing with this particular text.

32 Leticia A. Guardiola-Sáenz, “Reading from Ourselves: Identity and Hermeneutics among Mexican-American Feminists,” in A Reader in Latina Feminist Theology: Religion and Justice, ed. Maria Pilar Aquino, Daisy L. Machado, and Jeanette Rodriguez (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2002), 93. Also see Kwok Pui-lan, Postcolonial Imagination and Feminist Theology (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2005).

33 Guardiola-Sáenz, “Reading from Ourselves,” 93-96.

34 Musa Dube developed a methodology of biblical criticism she calls “Rahab’s Reading Prism” by which she reads the Canaanite woman and Rahab as women encountered in foreign lands by divinely empowered traveling heroes. Postcolonial Feminist Interpretation of the Bible (St. Louis: Chalice Press, 2000).

35 Grant LeMarquand, “The Canaanite Conquest of Jesus (Mt 15:21-28),” ARC 33 (2005): 237-47. I am thankful to Dale Coulter for pointing out that Richard Bauckham suggests that the reference to Tyre and Sidon in verse 21 is an intentional textual connection to the uncompleted conquest of the Sidonians in Joshua 13:6: “As for all the inhabitants of the mountain regions from Lebanon to Misrephoth Maim, that is, all the Sidonians, I myself will drive them out before the Israelites.” Gospel Women: Studies of the Named Women in the Gospels (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2002), 44. Although the conquests were never completed — the indigenous were never entirely killed or driven out — the texts remain as conquest commands from the divine.

36 James C. Scott, Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008).

37 Aruna Gnanadason, “Jesus and the Asian Woman: A Post-colonial Look at the Syro-Phoenician Woman/Canaanite Woman from an Indian Perspective,” Studies in World Christianity 7, no. 2 (2001): 163.

38 I am thankful to Loida Martell-Otero for sharing this turn of phrase with me. See Loida I. Martell-Otero, Zaida Maldonado Perez, and Elizabeth Conde-Frazier, Latina Evangélicas: A Theological Survey from the Margins (Eugene, OR: Cascade, 2013).

39 Walter Wink, Engaging the Powers: Discernment and Resistance in a World of Domination (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress, 1992).

40 Mary Ann Tolbert, “Mark,” in Carol A. Newsom, Sharon H. Ringe, and Jacqueline E. Lapsley, eds., Women’s Bible Commentary (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2012), 269.

41   Gnanadason, “Jesus and the Asian Woman,” 168.

42 Carter, Race: A Theological Account, 353. I am not claiming that any single act of resistance is revolutionary; however, this is a story in Christian scripture about the Messiah that can be read as the Messiah learning and changing because of his encounter with the Canaanite woman. Influencing or transforming the Messiah, or the God, is revolutionary. “The Messiah, son of David, was expected not only to overthrow the Roman imperial power but also to repossess the land for Israel and to cleanse it by slaughtering or driving out the idolatrous pagans. . . . What the Canaanite woman does, with the clever twist she gives to Jesus’ own saying (Matt 15:27), is persuade Jesus that he can act compassionately to her without detracting from his mission to Israel . . . it is a precedent that will be followed.” Bauckham, Gospel Women, 43, 45.

43 Miguel A. De La Torre, “Rejecting Euroamerican Ethics for a Latino/a Ethics of Jodiendo,” Society of Christian Ethics Annual Meeting, January 8-11, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. Miguel A. De La Torre, Presidential Address, Society of Christian Ethics Annual Meeting, January 3-6, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois.

44 Guardiola-Sáenz, “Reading From Ourselves,” 86. Emphasis added.

45 Dube, Postcolonial Feminist Interpretation of the Bible, 197.

46 I recognize that the concepts of “hybridity” and “mestiza” are contested; however, I think hybridity holds promise for those raced as white for privilege. Any construction can be used for destructive purposes, yet I find these to be liberatory.

47 This data was compiled from the websites of each institution in February 2013, and each school was contacted by phone and email to verify accuracy. Forty-eight schools verified or corrected the data, twenty-one schools did not respond and so the table reflects what was on their website, four schools had no data on their website and did not respond to inquiries, and one school refused to respond. Although there are other sexes and genders beyond “male” and “female,” I employ the categories of “male” and “female” for this analysis to empower those gendered and sexed as “woman” and “female.” I also support policies that provide “other” as an option for self-identification, such as Australia’s passports (F, M, X) and Google’s Gmail accounts (Female, Male, Other).

48 Kristen Monroe, Saba Ozyurt, Ted Wrigley, and Amy Alexander, “Gender Equality in Academia: Bad News from the Trenches, and Some Possible Solutions,” Perspectives on Politics 6 (2008): 216.

49 Monroe, Ozyurt, Wrigley, and Alexander, “Gender Equality in Academia,” 217.

50 Some intersex people were “sexed-as-male” when they were children, although they could have been “sexed-as-female” or not sexed at all. Physicians and parents made these decisions for them, resulting in surgical operations to sex the children since some societies do not easily accept humans who are not “clearly” male or female. Intersex is a term describing people who have “atypical congenital physical sexual development.” People who are born on the spectrum of intersexuality embody ambiguity regarding genitalia, reproductive organs, and chromosomes. For instance, it is possible to be born with one ovary and one testis or even to have an ovotestis — one structure that is both ovarian and testicular. Some people are born with a phallus as well as a vaginal opening. There are people who are XX (female) with a penis and testes or XY (male) with a vagina, clitoris, and labia. There are a wide variety of “variant genitalia.” Many of us, if we volunteered for chromosomal testing, would find that we have both XX and XY chromosomes, for “chromosomal mosaicisms” abound. Some people are XXY, others are XYY, and others are XXXY. J. David Hester, “Intersexes and the End of Gender: Corporeal Ethics and Postgender Bodies,” Journal of Gender Studies 13, no. 3 (2004): 217. Sally Gross, “Intersexuality and Scripture” Theology & Sexuality 11 (1999): 67.

51   “Globally, only one quarter of senior officials or managers are women. . . . Women are slowly gaining political power, mainly thanks to quotas and special measures. . . . In 2010, just nine of 151 elected heads of state and 11 of 192 heads of government were women. Globally, women hold only 16 per cent of ministerial posts. Affirmative action continues to be the key driver of progress for women. In 2009, the average share of women elected to parliament was 13 percentage points higher — 27 per cent as opposed to 14 per cent — in countries that applied such measures.” “We Can End Poverty 2015, Millennium Development Goals: Goal 3, Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women,” United Nations, 2010. Sources: The Millennium Development Goals Report 2010, United Nations; UN MDG Database (mdgs.un.org); MDG Monitor Website (www.mdgmonitor.org); What Will It Take to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals? — An International Assessment 2010, UN Development Programme (UNDP); UN Population Fund (UNFPA); UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); World Food Programme (WFP); Give Girls a Chance: Tackling Child Labour, a Key to the Future, International Labour Organization (ILO), 2009; UN Development Programme (UNDP).

52 I include Arlene Sanchez-Walsh, who was elected by the Society but later resigned. As of February 2013, SPS membership has been approximately 18.6 percent female (N=364), 80.4 percent male (N=1571), and 1 percent institutional and undetermined (N=18). The source for this analysis is the membership role that includes all members since the founding of the society.

53 I propose that all Pneuma editorial teams henceforward be comprised of at least one female.

54 Monroe, Ozyurt, Wrigley, and Alexander, “Gender Equality in Academia,” 215.

55 Matt Huffman, “Introduction: Race, Gender, and Management,” The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 639 (2012): 8.

56 Paul Alexander, “Spirit Empowered Peacemaking as Opportunity: Toward a Pentecostal Charismatic Peace Fellowship” and “A Pentecostal Theology of Peacemaking,” Society for Pentecostal Studies Annual Meeting, Lakeland, Florida, 2002.

57 I recently saw two elementary school posters with pictures of children. The first one says, “I don’t tolerate cyberbullying. What is cyberbullying? Sending hurtful text or images using the Internet or cell phones. What can I do about it? Sign off the computer or delete messages without reading them. If you feel afraid, turn to a parent or other adult for help.” A second one reads, “I don’t stand for intimidation. What is intimidation? Frightening someone into doing something he or she doesn’t want. What can I do about it? If you’re being threatened, tell a teacher or other adult. If you see someone else being intimidated, offer your support.”

58 Many have compared Pentecostalism to jazz. See Harvey Cox, Fire From Heaven: The Rise of Pentecostal Spirituality and the Reshaping of Religion in the Twenty-First Century (New York: Addison-Wesley, 1994).

  • 3

    George E. “Tink” Tinker, American Indian Liberation: A Theology of Sovereignty (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2008), 150, 160.

  • 5

    Alice Walker, In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens (New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1983), 290-91.

  • 6

    Richard Lynn, “Pigmentocracy: Racial Hierarchies in the Caribbean and Latin America,” The Occidental Quarterly 8, no. 2 (2008): 25-44.

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    • Export Citation
  • 7

    J. Kameron Carter, Race: A Theological Account (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 379.

  • 14

    Paolo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed (New York: Herder and Herder, 1970), 35, 36, 109. From the Portuguese conscientização, “Learning to perceive social, political, and economic contradictions, and to take action against the oppressive elements of reality. . . . The awakening of critical consciousness.” “The deepening of the attitude of awareness characteristic of all emergence.”

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  • 22

    Elizabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, Wisdom Ways: Introducing Feminist Biblical Interpretation (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2001), 118. Fiorenza uses the term kyriarchalism to refer to a “socio-cultural and religious system of domination . . . constituted by intersecting multiplicative structures of oppression.”

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  • 23

    Robert Warrior, “Canaanites, Cowboys, and Indians,” Christianity and Crisis 49 (September 11, 1989): 261-65. Reprinted in Union Seminary Quarterly Review 59, nos. 1-2 (2005): 1-8.

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  • 26

    Warrior, “Canaanites, Cowboys, and Indians,” 6.

  • 29

    Warrior, “Canaanites, Cowboys, and Indians,” 7-8.

  • 32

    Leticia A. Guardiola-Sáenz, “Reading from Ourselves: Identity and Hermeneutics among Mexican-American Feminists,” in A Reader in Latina Feminist Theology: Religion and Justice, ed. Maria Pilar Aquino, Daisy L. Machado, and Jeanette Rodriguez (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2002), 93. Also see Kwok Pui-lan, Postcolonial Imagination and Feminist Theology (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2005).

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    • Export Citation
  • 33

    Guardiola-Sáenz, “Reading from Ourselves,” 93-96.

  • 35

    Grant LeMarquand, “The Canaanite Conquest of Jesus (Mt 15:21-28),” ARC 33 (2005): 237-47. I am thankful to Dale Coulter for pointing out that Richard Bauckham suggests that the reference to Tyre and Sidon in verse 21 is an intentional textual connection to the uncompleted conquest of the Sidonians in Joshua 13:6: “As for all the inhabitants of the mountain regions from Lebanon to Misrephoth Maim, that is, all the Sidonians, I myself will drive them out before the Israelites.” Gospel Women: Studies of the Named Women in the Gospels (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2002), 44. Although the conquests were never completed — the indigenous were never entirely killed or driven out — the texts remain as conquest commands from the divine.

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  • 36

    James C. Scott, Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008).

  • 37

    Aruna Gnanadason, “Jesus and the Asian Woman: A Post-colonial Look at the Syro-Phoenician Woman/Canaanite Woman from an Indian Perspective,” Studies in World Christianity 7, no. 2 (2001): 163.

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  • 39

    Walter Wink, Engaging the Powers: Discernment and Resistance in a World of Domination (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress, 1992).

  • 41

      Gnanadason, “Jesus and the Asian Woman,” 168.

  • 42

    Carter, Race: A Theological Account, 353. I am not claiming that any single act of resistance is revolutionary; however, this is a story in Christian scripture about the Messiah that can be read as the Messiah learning and changing because of his encounter with the Canaanite woman. Influencing or transforming the Messiah, or the God, is revolutionary. “The Messiah, son of David, was expected not only to overthrow the Roman imperial power but also to repossess the land for Israel and to cleanse it by slaughtering or driving out the idolatrous pagans. . . . What the Canaanite woman does, with the clever twist she gives to Jesus’ own saying (Matt 15:27), is persuade Jesus that he can act compassionately to her without detracting from his mission to Israel . . . it is a precedent that will be followed.” Bauckham, Gospel Women, 43, 45.

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  • 44

    Guardiola-Sáenz, “Reading From Ourselves,” 86. Emphasis added.

  • 45

    Dube, Postcolonial Feminist Interpretation of the Bible, 197.

  • 49

    Monroe, Ozyurt, Wrigley, and Alexander, “Gender Equality in Academia,” 217.

  • 54

    Monroe, Ozyurt, Wrigley, and Alexander, “Gender Equality in Academia,” 215.

  • 55

    Matt Huffman, “Introduction: Race, Gender, and Management,” The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 639 (2012): 8.

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