Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Group Interview with the Editors of Queering Christianity - Part II

Part II of yesterday's interview:

What do you want readers to learn from your book?

R. Shore-Goss (RS): As non-LGBTQI readers read the book, they will see how queer Christians share some of the similar experiences of Christianity with unique differences as well. There is a place for all of us at the table. The mission of the open and inclusive table, that repeats the historical Jesus, is a powerful symbol of God’s wild grace.

Cheng (PC): My hope is that the readers of our book will recognize the diversity of perspectives that exist within queer theology, and that the book can help others to find their own theological voices.

Bohache (TB): That God’s table has always been open. It is the gatekeepers who have restricted it.

Thomas (NT): I would like readers to hear both an alternative voice and the liberation that the book offers to our Sacred Text. Many will, I hope, give God a second, third or  . . . chance to discover a liberating, loving and inclusive God.

J. Shore-Goss (JSG): My chapters were about allowing space for deep listening, yet throughout the book there is the challenge to open up, allow light into the places that were once dark and know—truly know—that all are welcome to the table . . . that in the Creator's eyes we are all one, all worthy, and all loved.

More (MM): I hope they think, and question what they thought they knew, and become aware of a greater expanse of God’s grace in the world.

Saniuk (JS): To give themselves permission to see Jesus in the light of their own experiences, not just in what they have been taught to believe; to see him as a companion who encountered incredible brutality . . . and then rose again.

If your book inspired one change in the world, what would you want it to be?

RS: Greater inclusiveness of the Christian denominations of queer theologies and voices and more “green” churches.

PC: I would love to see religious discussions about LGBTQI issues move from polarized debates to polyvalent conversations in which multiple perspectives are held together in creative tension.

TB: More inclusivity and greater discussion of queer issues in the church and more interest in theology within the queer community(ies).

NT: The ultimate and radical full inclusion of God’s people regardless of gender, gender identity, race, color, faith experience, age, or other “ism” that excludes and separates people into an “in” or “out” group!

JSG: My wish would be that all churches and religions find a place for LGBTQI persons at their tables. Once our faith communities find a way of seeing all as equal, so will the rest of our societies.

MM: The one change I would pray for is that people come to openly accept transgenders as they wish to be—normalized in society without the stigma of hate and marginalization, and without being abused by fundamentalist misuse of the Bible as a weapon against them.

JS: For churches to stop demonizing LGBTQI people (among others) in the name of God.

Where might others focus their energies in following on your work in this area?

RS: The development of heterosexual queer theologies, more reflections on transgendered and intersexed theologies, a theology of sexuality (inclusive of married, single, and alternative configurations) that pushes the exploration of the interconnections of sexuality and spirituality.

PC: My hope is that more LGBTQI theologians will write about the intersections of race and sexuality and, in particular, about the significant contributions that LGBTQI people of color have made to queer theology.

TB: Sexual minorities within the LGBTQI community(ies)

NT: I hope that a Theology of Inclusion might one day be developed.

JSG: This is a Christianity-based book coming out of the Metropolitan Community Churches experience of the open table. I would love to see other people of faith start to explore and see what something similar may look like in their context, Christian and non-Christian alike.

JS: I would love to see even more “queered” worship forms! We have an incredible freedom in MCC to re-make our collective spiritual practice. The open Communion table is just the beginning.

What are you working on now?

RS: I have the copyright for Jesus ACTED UP: A Gay and Lesbian Manifesto. It appeared in 1993 and was a classic in starting queer theology. I was just introduced as the “father of queer theology” at the UCC General Synod by a queer clergy. I intend to publish this classic in Kindle form: Jesus ACTED UP: Then and Now. I will re-publish the original book, and I have asked several scholars to talk about the then and the now (where are we going). I am also enmeshed in a Christian green theology and hope to have completed it in the fall of 2014.

PC: I am currently writing about what theologians need to know about queer theory for a forthcoming work on theology, sexuality, and gender.

TB: A book on “queering the Body of Christ” – expanding the disreputable ecclesiology touched on in my chapter “Unzipping Church” in Queering Christianity.

NT: Continue to work on marriage equality, immigration, the environment, equal access to health care, HIV/AIDS, poverty. Future book: "A Theology of Inclusion: The Emerging Church in the 21st Century."

JSG: I am currently studying and researching for my Ph.D. through the Graduate Theological Foundation. I am looking at the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence as an international queer pluralistic spiritual community for the 21st century.

JS: There is really interesting work on shame in congregations that is just coming out. I also am looking more deeply into the particularities of the “T” side of LGBTQI, and intersections with race and gender that I haven’t yet been able to explore.

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