Gay Liberation Theology: An “Exodus”

In the introduction to “Gay & Lesbian Theologies: Repetitions With Critical Difference“, her account of the historical development of gay and lesbian / queer theology, Elisabeth Stuart describes how they originated in three strands of more general twentieth century theology:  the “turn to the self” which was the defining characteristic of liberal theology; the “turn to others”, as shown in liberation theology; and the “turn to the text”, in post-modern theology. The second of these turns, “to the other” in liberation theology, worked in different ways for gay men and for lesbians.

For women, the ideas of liberation theology first had an impact in feminist theology, and only then on lesbian theology, which at times is barely distinguishable from specifically lesbian thinking. For men, the impact was much more directly on gay liberation theology. For both strands, the essential method was the same – drawing on the formation of base communities for prayerful reflection on their real life situations and conditions to draw theological insights.

The feminist / lesbian theologians I will deal with later. The gay male liberation theologies Stuart groups under the chapter heading “Exodus” – appropriately drawing on the Hebrew flight from Egypt and the freedom from slavery that it meant. The key writers she identifies as making up this group are:

J Michael Clark

A Place to Start: Toward and Unapologetic Gay Liberation Theology (1989)

A Defiant Celebration: Theological Ethics and Gay Sexuality (1990)

Beyond Our Ghettos: Gay Theology in Ecological Perspective (1993)

Defying the Darkness: Gay Theology in the Shadows (1997)

Gary David Comstock

Gay Theology Without Apology (1993)

Richard Cleaver

Know My Name (1995)

Daniel T Spencer

Gay and Gaia: Ethics, Ecology, and the Erotic (1996)

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