Sacred hearts : feminist theology interrogated by the voices of working-class women
This thesis brings together the spiritual and theological insights of feminist writers
with those of working-class church-going women from the council estates in the east
end of Newcastle upon Tyne, opening up new possibilities for a theology based on
feminist methodology. The central argument of the thesis is that feminist theology, in
order to avoid becoming just another theology of the elite, needs to attend to the
theology and spirituality of women outside the academy, and outside the feminist fold.
The findings include areas of overlap, relationality for example, and points of conflict,
empowerment through relationship with a male God as opposed to valuing a female
divine horizon, being one such. Thus a richer 'choral' theology is engendered in
which the experiences of a wider group are valued and included, beginning the
process of discovering a true 'theology of the church' .
The thesis is divided into seven chapters. Chapter 1 sets out the epistemology and
methodology that underlies the thesis, while Chapter 2 goes on to provide an
ethnographic description of the area, and the churches, in which the study is set.
Chapter 3 examines the images of God, and the language used of God, by feminist
theologians and compares this with that of the working-class women. Chapter 4
discusses the place of relationality within the two different contexts. Chapter 5 looks
at the different places that God is located for the different groups, considering both
transcendence versus immanence and different ecclesiologies. Chapter 6 continues
issues of transcendence by looking at issues of death, finitude and eternity. In Chapter
7 theological conclusions are drawn out and questions for further study are identified