Inaugural Essay Contest

To whom should we, working in political theology, listen, and how?

This autumn, for our inaugural essay contest, The Political Theology Network put out a call for essays that responded to a question of crucial importance to those of us interested and invested in political theology: To whom should we, working in political theology, listen, and how? The essays we received centered voices and issues often overlooked, challenged us to re-examine familiar sources, and engaged urgent problems. Taken as a whole, these essays both illustrated the breadth of possible applications for the resources of political theology and pointed us toward some of the many concerns that may well help shape political theology’s future.

We received a number of strong submissions, and ultimately named “The Powers of Powerlessness” by Carlota McAllister and Valentina Napolitano as our winner, with “Friendships of Listening in Creating Just Societies” by Krista Stevens as a runner-up. Stevens advances an argument for the imperative of cultivating intentional friendships in endeavoring toward a just society. McAllister and Napolitano proffer a call for political theologians to “learn to listen to the dead of the Americas” and to make recourse to ethnography when doing so. We’re pleased to be sharing both of these essays here.

Symposium Essays

Krista Stevens

Friendships of Listening in Creating Just Societies

Fostering cross-cultural and cross-racial friendships of listening are essential to creating virtuous and just societies, especially in a fractured political climate that fails to serve the human good.

The Powers of Powerlessness

Our modest proposal is for those of us who work in political theology to listen to the Americas and to do so, insofar as possible, ethnographically.