Joerg Rieger’s theology has been hammered out on the anvil of resistance to contemporary struggles for power and domination, set before the backdrop of the conservative worlds of the south, both in Germany and the United States, with the intention of providing genuine alternatives.
During his seminary education and internships in German Methodist churches, Rieger became increasingly aware of deep-seated problems in church and theology, which helped to perpetuate unjust structures like gender inequality and exploitation of the environment. Moving to the United States where he received his Ph.D. in Theology and Ethics from Duke University, Rieger became further aware of issues of racial discrimination and economic injustice and of how church and theology were complicit. Neither the conservative, rules-based Christianity of the Methodist church in which he grew up nor the liberal theology of his early theological education provided the resources to address such forms of systemic oppression. Rieger’s work is based on the recognition that more radical and faithful visions of Christianity were needed, and that such visions were already emerging from grassroots communities both locally and globally.
Having taught at Perkins School of Theology from 1994 -2016 and now at Vanderbilt University Divinity School, Rieger continues to develop this more challenging vision of Christianity in close collaboration with colleagues both nationally and internationally and with emerging grassroots movements.