“If you ban it, they will read it” is certainly true. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops suggested that Elizabeth Johnson’s book Quest for the Living God: Mapping Frontiers in the Theology of God might not be appropriate reading for Catholics, the press took note, book sales soared, and now I want to read the 2007 book, too.
But it turns out my library system doesn’t own a copy, and probably I wouldn’t find it particularly shocking reading anyway. At least that’s what the New York Times implied when it reported
Stephen J. Pope, a theologian at Boston College, said: “The reason is political. Certain bishops decide that they want to punish some theologians, and this is one way they do that. There’s nothing particularly unusual in her book as far as theology goes. It’s making an example of someone who’s prominent.
So this morning I’m settling for looking back over my several-year-old reading notes from Johnson’s important book She Who Is: The Mystery of God in Feminist Theological Discourse. In that book she describes God as “pure aliveness in relation” and further articulates this vision:
The mystery of God, Holy Wisdom, SHE WHO IS, is the dark radiance of love in solidarity with the struggle of denigrated persons, including long generations of women, to shuck off their mean estate and lay hold of their genuine human dignity and value.