12 Statement of the Indian Women Theologians’ Forum (IWTF)

posted May 18, 2017, 7:59 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 18, 2017, 7:59 AM ]
We, the members of Indian Women Theologians Forum met for our annual meeting from April 21-24, 2017 at De Nobili College, Pune, to deliberate on the theme: 'The Politics of the Reign/"Kin-dom" of God in the Indian Context: A Feminist Theological Search'. We based our reflections on the notion of "Kin-dom" popularised by mujerista theologian Ada Maria Isasi-Diaz, as it reminds us that we are all kin to each other in the family of God. Understanding the 'Reign of God' as "Kin-dom" has special significance in the Indian context, as it serves to challenge the hierarchical implications of domination and power associated with the term 'kingdom', which is an expression with patriarchal overtones.

Enacting the foot-washing ritual Jesus instituted as the example of service and subversion of existing hierarchies was a spiritual experience of bonding, reconciliation and an invitation to constant transformation. Conducted at the start of our meeting, this ritual offered us an occasion also to connect to the community of some of the tribes in North-East India, for whom foot-washing is a gesture of purification and connectedness. It was an exercise that motivated us to assert that we are Church and to commit ourselves to the Kin-dom of God that welcomes, with humility and loving care, the least and the last.

Our sharing on the lived experiences of the 'Kin-dom' of God in our personal lives brought out the different facets of the Reign of God in the context of India. It was an invitation to engage consciously in the politics of inclusion against the backdrop of the practices of exclusion, as exercised by the mainstream systems of power, including that of religions.