Online Reading Group – Daniel Barber’s Deleuze and the Naming of God

Cross-posted at AUFS

Hello friends!

A very brief history
Since taking a year off school, and not having any classes to attend and no one to hold me accountable to my perpetual reading list, I came to the realization that reading with others is a lot more fun (and productive) than reading on my own. So, I started an online reading group that has met twice (once last summer and once last fall). This is the first time it is being advertised on this blog and I’m hoping it will reach a wider audience this way.

What you need to know
On February 1 Daniel Colucciello Barber’s most recent book Deleuze and the Naming of God: Post-Secularism and the Future of Immanence will be released on paperback (making it more affordable – thank you EUP!).  The reading group will meet starting the week of the 9th or the 16th (depending on our schedules – that should give everyone enough time to order the book).  Those who are interested in participating can send me a note at mtkampenATgmailDOTcom. I will then send out a doodle with a few potential meeting times and will try to coordinate schedules as best I can (most likely a weekday evening CST).  Then we will read through the book together, meeting once a week on Google hangouts for about an hour to discuss one chapter of the book (so it’s about a 7 week commitment).

What former participants have to say!
“The reading group allowed me to engage a text in an environment that was safe with like minded persons. But also was a relaxed way to step away from my normal school work and enjoy the company of people smarter than me and learn.” – Jonas, Michigan

“The diverse interests of the group members tend to bring out unexpected facets of the material. Also, I’m looking forward to discussing the extent to which Dan’s hair resembles Jim Reid of Jesus and Mary Chain c. 1985.” -Sean, California


Upper Midwest AAR Presentation

If you’re in St. Paul, MN this weekend you can check out the Upper Midwest AAR conference. Today is the last day to register. I’ll be presenting a paper on Saturday at 10:15 in Session 6: Philosophy of Religion/Systematic Theology #3. For your interest, here’s an abstract of my paper.

“Eating from the Sacred Tree: Decolonzing Western Interpretations of Original Sin in Genesis 3” Continue reading

Top 13 Books of 2013

Marta Minujin’s “Tower of Books,” Buenos Aires, 2011.

At the year’s end I try to take some time to consolidate my reading into a list of my favourite books of the year. They can be  my favourite for several reasons including most impressionable, most challenged my thinking, most persuasive, etc.  I always admire bloggers who actually take the time to provide brief reviews of their top books, but I’m way too lazy to do that. So, here’s a list of my top 13 books of 2013 without reason or review. (Hey, at least I included pictures – that counts for something, right?)


Paulette Regan, Unsettling the Settler Within: Indian Residential Schools, Truth Telling, and Reconciliation in Canada






Steve Heinrichs, ed., Buffalo Shout, Salmon Cry: Conversations on Creation, Land Justice, and Life Together

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Postmodern Theology: An Outdated Survey

Postmodern Theology

Žižek, Badiou, Caputo and Eagleton


In recent decades there has been a surge in both deconstruction-and-religion and secular Christologies. The premise of the following piece is that both of these areas of study have significant insight to offer, but are incomplete without the other. Where deconstruction-and-religion offers a Derridean understanding of a postmodern Christ, the secular interest in Paul (Badiou, Agamben, Žižek) offers an understanding of truth in an age of fragmentation. In order to move beyond the deconstructive Christology as proposed by John Caputo, and the secular interest in Paul, to a more holistic, we must attempt the difficult task of constructing a more cohesive postmodern theology. The following will attempt to provide a ground from which to work on this task, while not presuming to offer any new or original insight. While making this move, the fundamentalism and the foundationalism of previous modern theologies must be stripped away in order to see a more robust postmodern theology that can hold up under the demands of contemporary thought. The following will attempt to (a) move beyond the traditional interpretations of salvation, (b) re-explore Christ’s human and divine natures, and (c) to propose a manner in which to transcend the name of God. This Christology is built upon two major premises which are as follows: (1) God possesses and is beyond both the properties of being (persona) and event (occurrence) and, (2) Christ is the universalize-able finite transport of both the being and the event of God.

The following theology (and Christology) is a generous reading of four philosophers which many would consider to be ‘postmodern’: Slavoj Žižek, Terry Eagleton, Alain Badiou and John Caputo. These four thinkers will form the backbone of the following constructive exercise and an effort will be made to distinguish between what the thinkers themselves write about Christ and what is being constructed. Section 1 will outline the similarities existing between Žižek and Eagleton so far as they inform a demythologized theology of the Being of God. Section 2 will deal with the relationship between Caputo and Zizek and their respective creation narratives. Section 3 will examine Badiou and Caputo’s philosophical theology of the event, and lastly, section 4 will deal with Caputo and Zizek and the non-dichotomized nature of the Being of God.

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Reflections on Anabaptist Mennonite Systematic Theology


After reading the second section of A. James Reimer’s Mennonites and Classical Theology for a class this past term, and after discussing the theme of Anabaptist Mennonite systematic theology, I feel compelled to reflect on the topic in more detail. My intent in the following is to critically engage with the idea of an Anabaptist Mennonite systematic theology (particularly Reimer) in such a way that may raise more questions than it answers. In this way it is more of a general reflection than an in-depth scholarly essay, although I hope to use the themes and directions present in it in the future.

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On Being an Academic Mennonite Woman

Sitting at Statue by Ruth Orkin

Sitting at Statue by Ruth Orkin

A few weeks ago I was at the AAR meeting in Baltimore.  I was at a reception with two of my colleagues (who are young, white, men – also exceptional scholars and great friends!) when a young man approached us. He introduced himself to my colleague, shook his hand enthusiastically, and before I could introduce myself he launched into some scholarly soliloquy (I don’t even remember what they talked about).  My colleague took notice and interrupted his self-important networking speech introducing me as his colleague. The young man paused, glanced at me, and promptly continued speaking with my colleague. Needless to say, this awkward interaction didn’t last long, considering neither my colleague nor I  were all that impressed with this character. This interaction reminded of how often women experience this kind of treatment, and much worse. (Don’t believe me? Go read this blog on being a woman in philosophy -or any male dominated discipline in the academy).

I also reflected on how isolated these kinds of experiences have been for me, realizing that most of the push-back I’ve encountered as a woman academic has been less in the academy than it has been in the church – specifically, among Mennonite churches. Continue reading

History, Power, and justice

I’ve been spending most of my time reading for my thesis. Here is a rather astute quote from Linda Tuhiwai Smith’s Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples. 

Decolonizing Methodologies“Indigenous attempts to reclaim land, language, knowledge and sovereignty have usually involved contested accounts of the past by colonizers and colonized. These have occurred in the courts, before various commissions, tribunals and official enquiries, in the media, in Parliament, in bars and on talkback radio. In these situations contested histories do not exist in the same cultural framework as they do when tribal or clan histories, for example, are being debated within the indigenous community itself. They are not simply struggles over ‘facts’ and ‘truth’; the rules by which these struggles take place are never clear (other than that we as the indigenous community know they are going to be stacked against us); and we are not the final arbiters of what really counts as truth. Continue reading