The Rev. Dr. Monica Coleman has a lot of labels, beyond the two in front of her name: Theologist. Feminist. Scholar. Advocate. Church elder. Professor. Author.
On Wednesday, during a lecture at Pacific Lutheran University, she’ll talk about another aspect of having it all: how religious scholars can better understand how people view religion.
“I’m really interested in the places religious pluralism doesn’t know how to deal with: people who believe in more than one religion, or people who believe religions all believe the same thing,” she said in a recent interview.
“Scholars don’t like that. But people do do it. So then, how do religious scholars understand how it works?”
Coleman spoke to The News Tribune about the part of her work that focuses on social justice.
You have to get to the concrete issue. Everyone can get together with a hammer and nail and work for Habitat for Humanity. Plenty of people who are secular and faithful care about the environment. Just doing the actual work is easier than figuring out how to come together.
At certain points, faith doesn’t matter to people in need. If you’re going to a shelter for help, I don’t think you care about the faith of the person you are going to for help. Now, later in a longer conversation, it might matter, but not at first.
Does the religious left need better public relations? Yes. Many organizations in the Pacific Northwest are doing good work, like Earth Ministries.
Things like, “That happened for a reason.” “God has a plan and this is part of the plan.” Lots of people say, “God hates divorce and wants the family to stay together” to people in abusive relationships.
The implication is you weren’t called, or don’t love God the right way.
Patriarchy is accepted in almost all the world’s religions.
Now the good news is, every religion also has a good feminist movement. But because religions deal with the core of who we are — how we were put together and our core purpose — it’s sensitive. And we’re socialized: Most of us are the religion we are by tradition and not choice.
Not everything is as I would like it to be. But compare 2014 to 1914. We are doing better. Now when domestic violence hits the news, people are saying, “This is a bad thing.” Fifty years ago, people weren’t saying that. They were hiding.