Friday, 12 November 2010

Is Shopping a Sin?

What could be more mundane or less religious than shopping? Yet shopping asks us to choose our values and weigh the good in everyday terms. It also brings us instantly in contact with the myriad relationships and labor of people all over the world who have grown, harvested, or crafted the food, clothes, and other items with which we sustain and adorn our lives.

Michelle Gonzalez, whose work on spirituality has lifted up the life practices of Latina women, explores the rich material on economic activity and relationships in the Christian tradition and the larger pertinence of our actions in an era of globalized economic interconnection. Shopping focuses on the practice of shopping and its relationship to Christian spirituality and asks: How do Christian justice and solidarity play a role in how we value and spend our money? Can shopping be a Christian act? Can it be a sinful one?

Professor Michelle Gonzalez Maldonado earned her Ph.D. in Systematic Theology from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. Her research and teaching interests includes Latino/a, Latin American, and Feminist Theologies, as well as inter-disciplinary work in Afro-Caribbean Studies. She is the author of Sor Juana: Beauty and Justice in the Americas (Orbis, 2003); Afro-Cuban Theology: Religion, Race, Culture, and Identity (University Press of Florida, 2006), Created in God’s Image: An Introduction to Feminist Theological Anthropology (Orbis, 2007), and the co-author of Caribbean Religious History: An Introduction (New York University Press, 2010).

"Winsomely weaving together cultural analysis, Christian scriptures, Saint Augustine, Catholic social teaching, and theological construction, Michelle Gonzalez's Shopping fashions a delightful tapestry illuminating the borderlands between temptation and tradition, wants and needs. Her incarnational theology refuses an easy Puritanical anti-materialism and suggests a practical reverence for life that can help readers keep shopping-for all its quotidian joys-in its proper place." --Jon Paul, Professor History of Christianity in North America. Author of Shopping Malls and other Sacred Spaces: Putting God in Place.

"Gonzalez not only provides some welcome remedies for the never-ending spiritualization of Christianity and the economy, she also proposes concrete steps for a new relation to the material world and even another materialism. This is where our work now begins." --Joerg Rieger, Wendland-Cook Professor of Constructivce Theology

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