Rev. Dr. Japinga teaches a number of courses that are cross-listed between Religion and Women’s & Gender Studies at Hope College–and she teaches WGS 494 Keystone Seminar. But she might be best known on campus for her WGS cross-listed course, REL 264 Christian Feminism.

This year, the WGS blog is excited to showcase the final course projects of five students: Grace Mitchell, Grace Kennedy, Katy Smith, Riki Ediger, and Rachel Johnson. Even in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, Hope’s students’ learning and insights are remarkable.

Grace Mitchell rendered her learning as a short story titled The Prodigal Daughter. This story imagines sisterhood and community, contrasting cycles of insecurity with cycles of grace.

Grace Kennedy artistically rendered her learning through this artwork, “She, God’s Masterpiece.” This artwork incorporates quotes from feminist theologians and visually echo’s van Gogh’s “Starry Night.”

Katy Smith created a poetic video to express women’s voices and history. Through prayer, dance, and poetry, Katy Smith celebrates the lineage and holy callings portrayed through the lives of biblical women and women from more recent history. Throughout, Katy calls upon God as El Shaddai, a maternal name for God.

Riki Ediger’s artwork focuses on the way humans reflect God’s glory, depicting God as a black, queer, feminist woman. Riki describes her painting, saying, “She wears the pride flag on her shoulder to represent her queerness. She is depicted as naked to show her femininity and the vulnerability that goes along with that.” The globe’s symbolism is twofold: God is pregnant with the earth and she is holding the weight of the world. Riki doubled this imagery in order to “encompass what it means to be a woman and what it means to carry the weight of the world.”

Rachel Johnson featured her learning through a portfolio that highlights the voices and ideas that most influenced her thinking. Her portfolio answers the intertwining questions, “Why would a self-respecting feminist be a Christian?” and “Why would a self-respecting Christian be a feminist?”

As these final course projects demonstrate, Rev. Dr. Japinga teaches her courses with the same creativity and expertise that led to her most recent book, Teaching the Women of the Old Testament. This book is intended for anyone interested in learning more about these under-taught portions of the Old Testament, and especially for pastors who can learn to incorporate these scriptures into their sermons.

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