Rev Dr Mary Caygill

14.  Rev Dr Mary Caygill, Senior Lecturer, Pastoral Theological Studies, Trinity Methodist Theological College, Auckland, New Zealand

Outside the ‘Commons of Social Flesh’: Moving Towards a Liberatory Theological Anthropology of Equal Worth and ‘Precarious Vulnerability’.

The purpose of this presentation is to engage in a critical conversation between voices of lived experience – fleshly reality – and selected voices from the fields of disability studies and theology, feminist, queer, and post-colonial theologies. The structure of the presentation will take the form of a hermeneutical cycle and model of practical theological praxis beginning with a narrated pastoral case study of an individual living with severe physical impairment and her experience of ‘creeping exclusion’ within her faith community as her ‘condition’ becomes perceived and assumed to ‘cross over boundaries’ between acceptable pastoral care and professional care.

The second and third movements of the presentation draw on material from a range of sources and theological frameworks for the purposes of critical analysis and interpretation allowing for the post-colonial stance of “writing back” in order to both disclose and speak into the concrete expression of oppression, and lack of dignity, freedom and equality of human worth which has been given flesh in the narrated case study.  The concluding movement aims to give expression to a ‘praxic’ liberatory theological anthropology of equal worth in the manner of what Judith Butler refers to as ‘precarious vulnerability’.