I teach a Christian Ethics course with the subtitle, Sex, Politics & Violence. The cool thing about it is (beyond the obvious), I can pretty much do whatever I want with it. Sometimes I stress one facet over another, focusing on certain ‘areas’ more so than others. Sometimes it stays in the realm of marriage, family, sexuality and the state, other times I include race, class and gender. And sometimes I just talk about how awesome it would have been had Michael Foucault and Mother Teresa secretly had fraternal twins that were raised by Kurt Vonnegut. But, only sometimes.
I’m interested in knowing what you think are ‘must-reads’. I’ve used some pretty awesome books thus far, but I know there’s always more I’ve missed, looked over or ignored. Here’s a list of books I’m thinking about using in the Fall (not all of them, of course, I’m just beginning the ‘narrowing down’ process) as well as a few others I’ve used in the past. Yeah, they’re a bit all over the place, but, since I get bored easily, I tend to mix this course up each time I teach it. Here you go:
Margaret Farley, Just Love
Anne McClintock, Imperial Leather (I know, I know . . . way too dense for my undergrads . . . still tempted by it)
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale
Nick Hornby, How to be Good
David McCarthy, Sex and Love in the Home
Susan Okin, Justice, Gender and the Family
Jennifer Knust, Unprotected Texts
Judith Butler, Gender Trouble (yeah, I know . . . too thick–it’s so helpful though)
Jenell Paris, The End of Sexual Identity
Stephanie Coontz, The Way We Never Were
Kathleen Sands, ed., God Forbid
Phyllis Trible, Texts of Terror
Carol Adams, The Sexual Politics of Meat
bell hooks, The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love (actually, I haven’t read this one yet, just ordered it)
Eugene Rogers, Theology and Sexuality
Thistlethwaite & Engels, ed.s, Lift Every Voice: Constructing Theology from the Underside
Erickson & Jones, ed.s, Surviving Terror: Hope and Justice in a World of Violence
Rob Bell, Sex God–aaaaaaaaaahahahaha, I’m just kidding. Just kidding. Oh man. I’m funny.
Wendell Berry, Sex, Economy, Community & Freedom
Wendell Berry, The Hidden Wound
Tripp York (hi), Living on Hope While Living in Babylon (of course, of course)
D. Stephen Long, Christian Ethics: A Very Short Introduction
Helen Prejean, Dead Man Walking
Hauerwas and Vanier, Living Gently in a Violent World
Nancy Eiseland, The Disabled God
Mark Taylor, The Executed God
JHYoder, The Politics of Jesus
Urusla Le Guin, The Dispossessed
James Cone, The Cross and the Lynching Tree (just started reading it…intense!)
Michael Ignatieff, The Needs of Strangers
Okay, those are some front-runners. Oh, and I’ll definitely use the film Breaking the Waves (it’s a must) and, maybe, the film, Priest.
So, yeah, think: sex, sexuality, race, gender, violence, politics, what have you. Fiction, non-fiction, memoirs, plays, films, documentaries (anyone seen, It’s a Girl, yet?), etc. And remember: these are undergrads (2-300 level), hence, why a number of books that I would consider using at a seminary or divinity school, I will not be using here (I’d love to use Coakley’s Powers and Submissions or Irigaray’s Sexes and Genealogies, but, you know . . . that won’t work). So, please, make suggestions with that in mind. Accessibility is definitely NOT overrated.
Have at it!! (Because, um . . . my book list was due last week).
About the Author
Tripp York teaches religious studies at Virginia Wesleyan College in Norfolk, Virginia. He is the author of more than half a dozen books including, Third Way Allegiance, The Purple Crown, and Living on Hope While Living in Babylon. He is the co-editor of the forthcoming three-volume collection called the Peaceable Kingdom Series. An actor and a lighting designer, Tripp also surfs and spends his weekends shoveling elephant and giraffe poop.