Mujerista Theology Part II

3 comments Written on September 28th, 2016     
Filed under: Testimonies and Stories
Evelmyn Ivens graduated from North Park Theological Seminary in 2013 with a MA in Theological Studies. She enjoys traveling and learning about other cultures. She’s passionate about issues of immigration, hunger, poverty, and human trafficking.

I recently started my third read of Mujerista Theology: A Theology for the Twenty-First Century by the late Ada María Isasi-Díaz. The first time I encountered this awesome book I was doing research for my thesis, and just by reading the first pages I was so impacted. It was a theology book that actually spoke to my experience as a Latina and follower of Christ. Mujerista Theology is a liberative praxis that provides a platform for the voices of grassroots Latinas, the everyday Latina experiences, lo cotidiano.

This is one of those books that every time you read it you learn something new. This time around it feels more like a much needed affirmation of my calling and really for myself. Serving in justice ministries it’s not only rewarding, engaging, a blessing, and many amazing things, but it is also exhausting. Being a woman in ministry is hard, it is demanding, and many times your service and education go unappreciated, and because of your gender you are dismissed. Not to mention the layer of ethnicity and culture. In spaces where one believes it will be safe, encouraging, empowering, and supportive, at times it becomes a hostile, hurtful, and a toxic environment.

The way the late Isasi-Díaz writes makes me feel appreciated and that voice very much counts. She says that,

“When Latinas use the phrase permítame hablar – allow me to speak – we are not merely asking to be taken into consideration. When we use this phrase we are asking for a respectful silence from all those who have the power to set up definitions of what it is to be human, a respectful silence so others can indeed hear our cries denouncing oppression and injustice, so others can understand our vision of a just society. We know that if those with power, within as well outside the Hispanic [any]  communities, do not hear us, they will continue to give no credence to the full humanity of Latinas.”

For me this is the challenge, how can we make safe spaces not only for Latinas, but for women of color, a space where we are appreciated, respected, and valued for our work and ministry. A good example of this is the retreat for women of color that was organized by a group of wonderful women to give a space for those who needed healing, encouragement, and to have the freedom to be themselves. My hope is that the church and Christian organizations do a better job with the treatment of women. We are not going anywhere, we contribute, we lead, and all we want is to be treated with respect and that our gifts and abilities are valued, and used to the fullest.


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3 comments “Mujerista Theology Part II”

I love the concept of lo cotidiano in Mujerista theology. By focusing on the deep theology present in the everyday experiences of people, especially Latinas, we are re-focused on the integration of faith and life, on true discipleship.
Thank you for continuing to share the gift of your research, your experience, and your prophetic voice. May those with power, including those of us who are white women, work harder to make more space for your voice and the voices of other women of color to be heard in the church, in our denomination, and in the world.

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Evelmyn — “Permitame Hablar” — so simple, yet it’s a question that is so layered in meaning. Thank you for sharing your encouragement and your struggles. The link to the other article was also an eye-opener for this white male. I’m so glad that you and your sisters are “not going anywhere”, and will continue to contribute and lead. You are needed!

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Evelmyn – So thankful for your voice in our conversation! So thankful for your insights! So thankful for your perseverance! So thankful you are not going anywhere! I have long been an advocate for a bigger table, not a different table so that everyone can learn from one another. When someone has to get up in order for me to sit down, systemic change rarely happens. Let’s stay committed to being at the table so we can have the conversation with everyone.

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