“Can a feminist call God Father”, then? One might more truly sist that she, above all, must, for it lies with her alone to do the kneeling work that ultimately slays patriarchy at its root. (Sarah Coakley, God, Sexuality, and the Self, p.84)
Ultimately there are no short cuts in the battle against repressive patriarchy: the demons have to be slain one by one, and indeed over and over; and it is the task of us all to slay our own demons. (Sarah Coakley, God, Sexuality, and the Self, p.323)
All in all, theologie totale is hard work. But it is not the hard work of a Pelagian ‘works righteousness’. It is the graced work of contemplation and theology and ethics and politics – without division, without confusion. The greatest of these, the essential work of love, is fostered in contemplation. (Sarah Coakley, God, Sexuality, and the Self, p.92)
We can therefore conclude that non-reductive sociology, and especially non-reductive sociology of religion, has a vital role to play as handmaid to a theologie totale. God ‘in the field’ is found by lifting the decks on the grimy ills of ‘Wigan Pier’ without getting stuck there, not by fantasizing about a postmodern theme park ‘Wigan Pier’ of unreal nostalgia (for a lost past of neo-Gothic liturgical enchantment), nor by denying that the sea of faith is often awash with muck. But sociology of religion does not only expose ills and abuses; it can also turn up unexpected arenas of grace and faith: it can discover ways in which doctrine can be made newly alive by reference to its earthed manifestations, as well as ways in which doctrine is abused in its earthed distortions. That is why the feminist hermeneutics of suspicion, while never rendered otiose, can never represent the last word either. (Sarah Coakley, God, Sexuality, and the Self, p.85)
Hence a théologie totale refuses to reduce doctrine to a mere effect of social, political, or patriarchal conditions. For once such a reductive hermeneutics of suspicion is allowed to triumph over the (eternal, divine) invitation to charity, forgiveness, and reconciliation, a new idolatry has also triumphed: that of anger stuck in victimology, and the implicit recreation of a ‘God’ made merely in my own image. (Sarah Coakley, God, Sexuality, and the Self, p.84)
My next book will be the excellent book by Sarah Coakley, God, Sexuality, and the Self – An Essay ‘On the Trinity’ (2013). In it she gives an compelling systematical theological account of the trinity and shows that sexual desire is comparable to the desire for God. In my opinion her theologie totale – which she presents in this book – has a huge potential for a systematic theology engaged with instead of against the world.
I unfortunately don’t have many quotes from this book. The ones I have you can see here.