A website and blog of



Karen Bloomquist

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Subversive practices of being church

This book (to be published in 2016 by Wipf & Stock), draws from the author's many years and formative experiences as a pastor, theologian, activist, teacher, and speaker in a number of settings in the ELCA, ecumenically and globally, to propose a new “church in society” framework, that draws from a number of sources, and is especially urgent today.

An autobiographical preface

1.  “Church in society” today?

2.  Toward a subversive church of the cross

3.  How Luther challenged the dominating power of his day

4.  Theologically engaging domination today

5.  Why “seeing-remembering-connecting”?

6.  Subversive seeing

7.  Subversive remembering

8.  Subversive connecting

9.  An ecclesia for the sake of the world


Why are churches in North America not more forthrightly speaking out and acting to transform today’s blatant realities of injustice, illusion and amnesia that fly in the face of the faith they confess? How might churches become places where “subversions” of reality can be nurtured and alternative public visions held forth and pursued by the people of God, for the sake of the world?

“Seeing-remembering-connecting” permeates the heart of what theological practice is about ---- not theology as abstract or theoretical but living, embodied, real. These ordinary practices become extraordinary when viewed through theological lenses. God is revealing, remembering, and connecting, becoming manifest in and through what these verbs imply, but always as far more than what we can grasp, comprehend or realize – as transcendently immanent.

How can the practices arising through “seeing-remembering-connecting” be nurtured over the long-term in and through communities of faith, and lead more deeply into understandings and actions that are subversive of the systemic injustices that pervade our world? How might these verbs link with the those who have little or no relation to the institutional church? How might this provoke new expressions and practices of what it means to be ecclesia in our world today, as a “place” of seeing, remembering and connecting, of putting together what is fragmentary, pointing to what is true, enabling us to see and act, including in organized actions with others, communities today that are intentionally collaborative across boundaries of religion, geography and self-interest.