(Originally posted under the title “Christianity is a Queer Thing”, )
I have been re-reading Elisabeth Stuart’s wonderful “Gay & Lesbian Theologies”, which presents a ‘genealogy’ of the changing approaches by self-identified lesbian & gay theologians, culminating in the last two chapters with a discussion of “Queer theology”. It was these latter two chapters that I was particularly interested in.
As I went through Stuart’s rundown of the leading figures in the development of Queer Theology, I found myself excited by the description of almost all, and planning on adding them to my ‘Wish List’, which I have now done. I thought I would share with you why. The notes below are super – brief descriptions of the key ideas that caught my interest, and the books, as reported by Stuart, that hold them.
Strangers & Friends (M. Vasey)
Vasey argues from an historical presentation of the sexuality and the family. He points out that far from being the ‘tradtional’ model, the familyas idealised by modern Christians, especially the evangelicals, is a relatively modern invention. The gradual devlopment of this model as normative, has largely been responsible for the parallel development of a distinct gay identity, largely in reaction. (The campaign against the ‘homosexual’ is attacking what it has itself created.) Conversely, the early church idealised male friendship and community life, rather than the familyas now understood.
Sex and the Church (Rudy, Kathy)
Rudy also looks at the historical development of the family, from a feminist perspective. Her conclusion is that LGBT people are mistaken in looking to mimic heterosexual families, suggesting that urban gay male culture offers a model of human relationships modelled on community. She denies the argument that Christian sexuality needs to be procreative – Christianity reproduces itself not by procreation, but by conversion. What matters is not whether two people can produce children, but whether they can embrace outsiders – the key characteristic of Christianity.
Omnigender: A Trans-Religious Approach (Virginai RameyMollenknott)
Mollenknott shows that many features of God’s incarnation and manifesation to humans, and many practices of the church, fall outside socially approved, binary ideas of gender. She also discusses numerous examples of canonised saints who have defied gender roles.
Indecent Theology: (Marcella Althaus-Reid)
Althaus-Reid’s starting point is within the framework of liberation theology, but she points out that this has often proceeded from within a traditional approaches to gender and sexual identity. She “foregrounds a Christ outside the gates who is the eternal Bi/Christ who always gives us something to think about.”
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