This urgent work of love: Beverly Wildung Harrison remembered

Beverly Wildung Harrison



Sad to hear that  feminist theologian Beverly Wildung Harrison died  15 December. She was a pioneer in feminist religious ethics and all of us who read her essay The Power of Anger in the Work of Love were inspired to  do more hard thinking about ethics and patriarchy. I met her years ago when she came out to South Africa, a gentle uncompromising fighter for women’s rights in both church and society

“We do best politically when we make the deep connections between the full context of this issue in women’s lives, including this society’s systemic or patterned injustice toward women.”


Numerous tributes around the  Internet. More here  and  here,

“I believe that our world is on the verge of self-destruction and death because the society as a whole has so deeply neglected that which is most valuable and the most basic of all the works of love — the work of human communication, of caring and nurturance, of tending the personal bonds of community…. Those who have been taught to imagine themselves as world builders have been too busy with master plans to see that love’s work is the deepening and extension of human relations. This urgent work of love is subtle but powerful. Through acts of love — what Nelle Morton has called “hearing each other into speech” — we literally build up the power of personhood in one another. It is within the power of human love to build up dignity and self-respect in each other or to tear each other down. We are better at the later than the former. However, literally through acts of love directed to us, we become self- respecting and other-regarding persons, and we cannot be one without the other….The power to receive and give love, or to withhold it — that is, to withhold the gift of life — is less dramatic, but every bit as awesome, as our technological power. It is a tender power….rooted in our bodies, ourselves.”

Beverly Wildung Harrison, Making The Connections

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