Anna Marsiana and Yong Ting Jin facilitated a 5-day feminist theology workshop for theologically trained women in Eastern Indonesia.
Attended by 30 ordained pastors, theological school teachers and lecturers in theology, the workshop was held in Toraja, South Sulawesi from 3-7 December 2012.
The workshop was the beginning of a series of Feminist Theological Courses for theologically educated women in Indonesia to be conducted in the western, middle, and eastern parts of the country. It aims at engaging participants in a more critical feminist reading of the Bible and equipping them with a critical perspective about being women and feminist. It is also hoped that the materials used in the workshop would be published in Bahasa Indonesia to be shared more widely in the local context.
Contents of the program include (a) locating self and hermeneutics of women’s experiences; (b) critical feminist analysis of self and social location; and domination-subordination; (c) critical feminist reading of biblical texts; and (d) practising re-reading texts in small and large groups.
Through the “dance of liberation” methodology, participants were encouraged to share their experiences and stories, and guided in a critical analysis in locating Self with its multiple constructed identities – i.e. as kyriarchally constructed self who is a gendered woman, the woman non-person or non-self.
The problem of gender was analysed, along with many intersecting factors of race, culture, nationality, colonialism, age, sexuality, sexual orientation, geographical location, education, religion. Through the multi-pyramid analysis, the participants analysed their own social locations and multiple identities. They realized how deep their internationalization has been of the constructed self that they could not recognize what comprised the pyramids anymore and they have even become comfortable with them.
Although participants understood the importance of breaking the pyramids and replacing them with circles, they realized it is a huge task which would involve struggling with themselves before they could struggle with others.
The workshop included a one-day cultural exposure to Torajanese culture. Using the pyramid analysis to critically reflect on the exposure, participants realized that they were not free from the cultural construction of power domination that has been taking place from the womb to the tomb.
At the end of the workshop, both PERUATI and AWRC made further planning for the next series of workshops in Western and Central Indonesia scheduled tentatively between April-May 2013.