Taking Matters into my own Hands — Queer Theology


A view of the river near my house

The lovely folks at the Student Christian Movement in the United Kingdom asked me to contribute to their Faith in Action Theology page with an overview of Queer Theology. Having sat in the presence of brilliant scholars like Ken Stone, Virginia Mollenkott, Patrick Cheng, Lynn Huber, Jennifer Bird, Dale Martin, John Henson, and a bunch of other smarty pants theologians, I struggled at first to write the piece.

Yes, I do queer theology, but on stage in a performative role. I regard myself as a scholar, but not in the traditional sense. In the end I found my way forward by looking at my own history and what I needed to get out of my Biblically Induced Coma.

I begin the essay:

After spending nearly 20 years in churches that preached a Bible message which insisted I must become straight and masculine in order to please God, I had to take matters into my own hands and discover for myself meaning from the scriptures.

I consider Queer Theology as falling into two distinct types—defensive theology and affirming theology. It is easy to get caught up in the first. When people use the Bible to attack us and malign us, then we feel we must defend ourselves. Opponents of LGBTQ people typically draw from a handful of no more than six short passages taken out of context in order to condemn us. Much Queer Theology has been designed to counteract these arguments.

Then I go on to explain the two types and give video examples. You can read it all here. Ruth at the Student Christian Movement also asked me to provide a list of resources. While it is not exhaustive, I listed books that have helped me the most. How many of these have you read? What would you add to the list?

My Queer Theology Resources

  • Omnigender: a trans-religious approach by Virginia Ramey Mollenkott
  • Coming Out Spiritually by Christian De La Huerta
  • Sex and the Single Savior by Dale B. Martin
  • Bible Trouble—Queer Readings at the Boundaries of Biblical Scholarship edited by Teresa J Hornsby and Ken Stone
  • A Minority of One, a journey with Friends by Harvey Gillman
  • Good As New: A Radical Retelling of the Scriptures by John Henson
  • To the Tune of a Welcoming God by David R. Weiss
  • The Bible—A Biography by Karen Armstrong
  • Balancing on the Mechitza—Transgender in Jewish Community edited by Noach Dzmura
  • Permission Granted: Take the Bible into Your Own Hands by Jennifer Grace Bird
  • An Introduction to Queer Theology: Radical Love by Patrick Cheng
  • Indecent Theology by Marcella Althaus-Reid
  • Que(e)Rying Religion: A Critical Anthology edited by Gary D. Comstock and Susan E Honking
  • The Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
  • Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas by Elaine Pagels
  • Queer Theology website

Another view of the Susquehanna River


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