Tuesday, September 10, 2013
“What do you do when you find out the theologian you respect is kind of slimy?”
On her Tribal Church blog for The Christian Century, Carol Howard Merritt addresses the hypocrisy she has seen and the painful disillusionment she has felt upon learning of certain attitudes and behaviors of various highly respected theologians, professors, and other religious leaders of the past and present. “I don’t know what it is but when I hear stories about men I respect (I haven’t heard of any women), I breathe deeply with disappointment,” she writes. She wonders, for example, why sexual harassment is so prevalent in religious fields as she listens to the accounts of women academics and graduate students. “Is it a field that’s not used to women so men don’t quite know how to act?” she wonders. She talks about the disenchantment she experiences after admiring great theological writings like those of Augustine, or Martin Heidegger, or Paul Tillich, and then learns about aspects of their lives that are less than admirable. Merritt’s essay is composed mainly of questions. But they are good questions that others might be wondering, too —and we might even have more of our own to add.