“Kitchen Theology?”

Art by Joachim Beuckelaer, 1533-1575, Wikimedia Commons

One of my favorite activities — when studying what the Biblical text means for the universal church — is to gain a richer and broader understanding of it by reading what scholars from differing backgrounds and different countries have to say about it. Since the Body of Christ is richly diverse, this helps me appreciate that diversity.

Without their perspectives I too easily become bogged down in one way of seeing things, convinced my way of interpretation is the only way to interpret and apply the truths of the Bible.

This is either an exhilarating exploration on my part, or it becomes a discombulating one. One that causes me to rethink my way of thinking!

And this, my friend, may be the very reason why we are uncomfortable encountering diversity, learning from those different from ourselves. It demands a long look at ourselves, and frankly, too many of us are quite content with who we are.

Kat Armas, is one of these scholars. She is the author of the book, “Abuelita Faith” which releases August 10. Armas is a Cuban-American with an MDiv and MAT from Fuller Theological Seminary. I haven’t read the book yet, but that alone is enough to sell me on her work. 

Excursions through the previews provided on books.google and reading the Amazon samples have convinced me this will be an excellent work. I can’t wait to ‘meet’ her and the women she writes about.

But there is even more. The book will address this question: “What if some of our greatest theologians wouldn’t be considered theologians at all?”

Who might they be? Are you one of them? 

What is this ‘Abuelita theology’ that she speaks of?

Here’s what Kat Armas says: 

“[I]ntroducing an abuelita theology first through the everyday lives of women, is important for me because that’s the essence of abuelita theology. It’s a theology birthed through lo cotidiano, the everyday. It is not lofty but informal. Some call abuelita theology “kitchen theology” because it is formed in the kitchen—while the frijoles negros (black beans) ae simmering on the stove, the floor is being mopped, and the cafecito (coffee) is brewing. Abuelita theology takes form while family members are sitting around la mesa (the table) discussing la lucha, the struggle of everyday life. Thus, this book is an invitation into la sala (the living room) of my experience and my perspectives from growing up as a daughter of Cuban immigrants” (Amazon preview). 

I haven’t even read the book, but it already reminds me of the many women I’ve met and admired from Haiti—Magdala, a midwife praying down Satan when a young mom is near death while delivering her first child.

Women from India, who chop, peel, fry, and wrap hundreds of meals, day in and day out, to hand out to the hungry living on the streets during the time of Covid!

It brings to mind women who lived bold lives behind the Iron Curtain under the communist regime, teaching their little ones the songs and stories of exile, in hope of something better!

It reminds me of women throughout history who stepped into action when compelled by the Spirit to do so, even when cultural systems set in place block their paths. This is my takeaway from the book, “The Making of Biblical Womanhood: How Subjugation of Women Became Gospel Truth.”

And, it brings to mind today’s women — daring to do the bold work of ministry, preaching, teaching, evangelizing — all without the coveted ‘ordination’ certificate.

Kitchen theology! Yeah, it’s real! How do we know?

Because more theologizing took place sharing meals around the tables within the house churches in the first century than we realize!

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