About Willow Loves Thexlogy!
Here at Willow Loves Thexlogy! (hereafter "WLT"), you will gain an understanding of the diverse landscape of religious beliefs in North America (and beyond!) and how theology affects your everyday lives, such as our cultures, interpersonal relationship, unspoken social assumptions, and political discourse.
The mission of WLT is to make theology understandable, relevant, and accessible to people who are outside of seminaries and church conventions, and to offer it in a size you can read in one sitting.
The purpose of WLT is to promote mutual understanding between believers and non-believers, and among thousands of religious groupings in North America, with the focus on being educational and informational -- To make you think, not to make you believe!
Whether you are one of those people who accidentally comes across "The 700 Club" on television and can't stop scratching your head appalled by what you're hearing, likes to attend public lectures on religions and spirituality or is an avid reader of books by authors like Marcus Borg and Karen Armstrong, you will find something for you here.
Whether you are an Evangelical or conservative Christian who is starting to look outside the church bubble or a "recovering Catholic" who is eager to explore ways to re-negotiate your relationship with God, or someone who likes to explore different denominations of churches before settling in for one, you will find something for you here. Conversely, if you are a liberal or progressive Christian who is seeking information about the beliefs of a more conservative church, you will find something for you here, as well.
If you are a curious learner interested in all the different ways people believe what they believe and practice what they practice, you will find something for you here. After all, theology and religion inform a great deal of North American cultures and the "Western Civilization" at large. The United States is perhaps the most religious country in the world outside the Islamic world. American politics, of both major parties, have a strong religious undertone. To understand America is to understand the interplay of theological beliefs in society.
If you are a high school or college student looking for materials to do your homework assignments or to write a paper, you've come to a good place, too! Most articles here are well-sourced and come with footnotes with appropriate citations, so you can also check the materials cited here.
What you will learn here
The articles on Willow Loves Thexlogy! are written on five different tracks:
- Basic theology: This beginner-friendly series explores the facets of theology and its schools of thoughts, their historical and cultural contexts, key points of their beliefs, and theological methods in general. Think of this as an introductory course.
- Public and applied theology: This track explores theology's roles in current social issues and political controversies, as well as case studies on how theology can be a driving force for the common good beyond one's own religious organization or sect.
- Theology and ethics in news: This track focuses on recent news stories as they relate to theological discourse.
- Minorities and theology: Too often, theology has been guilty of Eurocentrism and racist bias, and it has been seen mostly as "white people's" scholarship. This track explores an alternative way of doing theology that centers and does justice to the non-white people, Global South, and indigenous nations.
- Queer and feminist thexlogy: This track follows the history and latest development of Christian, Jewish, Islamic, Neo-Pagan, and other thexlogies along with the evolution of queer identities and feminism at large.
What you can expect
As a graduate student myself, I understand how scholarly writings can be intimidating and too "dry" for most people to read (though I do enjoy reading them)! Here, you can expect my well-researched yet witty and humorous writing.
WLT beyond the Web
Willow Loves Thexlogy! also will be offering consultation services on interfaith understanding and sensitivity, as well as on personal explorations of one's own belief system and spiritual development. These services are offered for an affordable, sliding-scale fee.
Other future offerings will include more structured online learning experiences (non-accredited and non-credit classes for your own enrichment), as well as possible weekly or biweekly community gatherings.
How to support WLT
If you like what you read here, consider becoming a supporter.
Who the h-e-"double hockey sticks" is this Willow person anyway?
Hi, I'm Willow.
People make silly assumptions so they think I'm the least likely person to be talking theology. I'm the Evangelical Christians' worst nightmare, the kind of weirdo they'd tell their kids to stay away from so they won't become like me.
Like, I'm this super-queer (-1500 points!) vegan (-30 points unless you're a Seventh-Day Adventist!)
anarchist libertarian socialist (-800 points!!) who wasn't even born or raised in a Christian family. I've never had the pleasure of sitting through Sunday Schools as a kid. I was not raised Catholic, but Cat-holic, as in a feline addict, by a Siamese cat that lived for 14 years.
My mom was a card-carrying Communist (-1000 points!) and my dad simply wanted to strike rich and play golf (+1200 MAGA points). But it was this upbringing that made me a lifelong theology geek. Think about it, when your parents were anti-religion and deprived you of childhood spiritual development altogether, the most natural way for you to be a rebel is not to do drugs or join a gang, but to try to join the Jehovah's Witnesses, fail, and then become a fundamentalist Baptist just to own the atheist, "satanic," parents. The grown-ups who didn't know this thought I was such a "great Christian kid," but I was giving my parents some serious grief. So between age 15 and 36, most of my life revolved around one faith community or another. I attended churches multiple times every week, volunteered many countless hours for their ministries.
When I was baptized at age 15, I was such a devoted firebrand that the pastor had faith that I would become a missionary or an evangelist. I had not forgotten that part. It's just that I did not have a sense of clarity about how my vocation to ministry would take shape. I went to a Bible college only to get into a severe clinical depression, could not survive the culture of it, began exploring the world outside the literalist interpretations of the Bible, became enamored by feminist and liberation theologies, and was eventually forced to drop out. After I've studied the Scriptures in the original languages and its historical contexts, I came to a rude awakening that everything I was taught to believe--the Made-in-the-USA brands of Evangelical Christianity, the only kind of Christianity I really knew--was wrong. But this discovery made me even a greater theology geek.
In 2005, I was ordained priest in a small, breakaway "Reformed Catholic" denomination. Having come from a very Protestant background and no childhood recollection of liturgical worship, this seemed like a joke. In fact, I became ordained there because I had a vision of starting an alternative Christian community that was a cross between an emergent church, a Punk house, and a Catholic Workers commune. That did not work out at all, although I have developed a deep appreciation for the ritual beauty of traditional liturgies as a result. I lasted for nine months, was forced to transfer to another organization of similar denominational orientation, then expelled from there a year later.
When the Occupy movement swept through the world, I started and organized a local chapter of Protest Chaplains. I lived in an Occupy encampment, in a tent, for 39 days straight, organized the weekly interfaith service and several faith-specific events such as Sukkot and Samhain. I was the quasi-official camp chaplain who could be reached day and night and handled a few crisis incidents at the encampment at the request of the Safety Team.
Unlike most people, I have a very ecumenical experience. Between 1991 (when I was baptized) and 2019, I have been a member of (or in process of joining but having given up): three fundamental Baptist churches affiliated with the Baptist Bible Fellowship International, three Pentecostal churches (Assemblies of God, International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, Fellowship of Christian Assemblies), two "non-denominational" Charismatic megachurches, went through a year-long process to convert to Judaism and then decided not to, two Unitarian Universalist congregations, two United Church of Christ congregations, a Metropolitan Community Church, two Anglican parishes, a Wiccan commune, a Neo-Druid community, an eclectic Neo-Pagan congregation, and a Unity church -- in addition to my two-and-a-half-years as a Reformed Catholic priest.
Despite all this, I have no ill will toward the Evangelical and conservative Christians. I disagree with many aspects of their doctrines, and am often horrified by how they support certain political ideologies, but I have a great affinity and respect for them and understand why they believe the way they do. I'm a bit like Bishop Carlton Pearson (go watch Come Sunday, if you haven't yet), like Bishop Carlton, I see myself as a "Metacostal." Some call that apostasy or heresy, others call that a rather natural progression of expanding consciousness. (And I've been a long-time fan of Hillsong praise-and-worship music even before most American Christians have heard of them, when it was still a typical music ministry of an Assemblies of God church then-called Hills Christian Life Centre. In fact, even as I write this, I have my Spotify playing a Darlene Zschech song on full blast.)
I am currently working toward my M.Div. degree. My research interests are the roles of women, femmes, and queer people in North American church history.
I love some good theological discussions, so I instigated this one.