Thursday, June 24

Inspiration in Theology

Theology is made up of two words – theos and logos. So strictly speaking, it is “words about God.” And I would venture that theology is foundation to our faith. What we think about God comes before our particular praxis. I understand this by looking at two of the extreme positions in religion – that of the divine being a totally hands-off kind of God (historically, the divine watchmaker-God sets things into motion and just watches it tick, tick, tick away) or that of being a total involved kind of God (like a puppetmaster).

The watchmaker God allows us to have complete and full freedom to make our choices while being totally uninvolved in our daily living. All religions have their flavor of this type of God. In this flavor, the human/divine relationship is one of worshipping an uninvolved God who has no immediate impact on our decision making process—we have complete freedom of choice as God has little impact on daily living. A word for this is completely transcendent.

The puppetmaster God has complete and total control of everything—weather, decisions, all of it! This God is completely involved with every aspect of daily living. The human/divine relationship is one of worshipping a completely involved God who will punish or reward on a whim. Illness, catastrophe, joy, and celebrations are all results of the human/divine interaction. A word for this might be completely immanent.

So what does this have to do with anything? I would suggest that our theologies change over time as we grow and develop. And a most excellent new development in theology that I would like to share is Queering Theology. Queer Theology is a way of looking at our relationship with the world, our relationship with one another, and our relationship with the divine through the personal experience of embodied sexuality and gender. This is important. Why? Because we cannot separate ourselves from our body and therefore we cannot separate ourselves from our experience of the divine.

There are some wonderful people doing the work in the arena of queering theology. They are Father Shannon T. L. Kearns and Brian G. Murphy. They write the blog There, they offer a weekly podcast on the lectionary where they “queer the scripture.” This means they are looking for the story that brings the most freedom to our bodies. They also offer daily affirmations, online classes, and an ezine. I greatly encourage you to see what shenanigans they are up to!

Doing queer theology is much more than looking for characters in holy scripture that could be considered within the LGBTQ spectrum like Jonathan & David or Naomi & Ruth, but it is looking for the reading that brings the most freedom to all bodies or it is deciding that the reading is not acceptable given our own embodied experience. Just as slaves found a way to read scripture that indeed was freeing, rejecting scripture that said slavery was acceptable, so to can we find ways of reading holy writings that affirm our lived experience of who we are. In Christian / Jewish scripture God is named “I am.” There is also the belief that we are all made in the image of God—all of us. When we complete the sentence, “I am ________________ ,” that is indeed, sacred and beloved of God.

I am mother.

I am sister.

I am wife.

I am queer.

What about you?

I Am
I Am

Shalom and Amen! Post by Terri Stewart, 2014

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