This post is part of the Queer Theology Synchroblog. You can read all of the entries over at QueerTheology.com. The theme for this year's synchroblog is Queer Creation.
What does it mean to “create” theology? Isn’t theology an impartial understanding given to us by God and the writers of the Bible? Isn’t the idea of “creating theology” just about picking and choosing the parts that we like or reading the Bible in a way that makes us feel good? Isn’t all of this talk of “creating theology” just a slippery slope to believing nothing at all?
The denomination of my childhood had an unofficial slogan, “The Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible.” They trotted out this slogan to say that they took the Bible seriously, literally, and in whole. Everything in the Bible carried equal weight. Everything in the Bible was true. Everything in the Bible was factual. Everything in the Bible could be understood if you had the Spirit of God within you. There was no room for deviation. The theology I was taught (and the way I was taught it) left no room for questions. It could be summed up in another pithy phrase, “The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it.”
After I left the church of my upbringing, after I came out (the first time); I spent a lot of time trying to make sense of what I had been taught. How did my church come up with the theology they taught me? How could this other church read the same Bible and come up with something completely different?
It was the theology of the rapture that changed things for me. My church growing up really believed in the rapture. Folks would happily drive around with “in case of rapture this car will be unmanned” bumper stickers. There were times when, as a kid, I lot sight of my family and thought maybe they had been raptured and I had been left behind. We devoured the “Left Behind” series of books and once we even staged the rapture to make my grandfather think he had been left behind. (It was an April Fool’s joke and he was a notorious prankster so it’s not quite as mean as it sounds). After college I read Bruce Bawers' book “Stealing Jesus.” Without going into too much historical detail, I learned that the rapture was a relatively new theology. Some dude came up with it about 200 years ago. But that’s not what I had been taught. We were taught that the rapture was Biblical and the underly implication was that it was something the earliest Christians believed in as well.
This idea of impartiality is what has led us to a place where straight, white men are considered the arbiters of all the truth in the world and anything that deviates from that is suspect, fringe, or emotional.
No one is impartial, there is no universal experience.
I create theology out of my experience as a queer, transgender man. Out of my experience as an Old Catholic priest and former evangelical fundamentalist. Out of my experience as a white man living in the United States. I create theology by writing a trans* version of the Passion Narrative, by writing curriculum for Reading Queerly, and on twitter.
All theology is a creation. It’s our way of trying to make sense of our understanding of God. In my own experience certain themes that hold much meaning in the Christian tradition have helped me to make sense of my own experience as a trans man. Themes of baptism and crucifixion, of incarnation and resurrection. By creating theology we make sense of our relationships with God and each other. We make space for ourselves inside (and outside) of religious institutions. We carve out a place that says, “this story belongs to us as well”.
This Year's Entries
Queering Our Reading of the Bible by Dwight Welch
Queer Creation in art: Who says God didn’t create Adam and Steve? by Kittrdge Cherry
Of The Creation of Identity (Also the Creation of Religion) by Colin & Terri
God, the Garden, & Gays: Homosexuality in Genesis by Brian G. Murphy, for Queer Theology
Created Queerly–Living My Truth by Casey O'Leary
Creating Theology by Fr. Shannon Kearns
Initiation by Blessed Harlot
B’reishit: The Divine Act of Self-Creation by Emily Aviva Kapor
Queer Creation: Queering the Image of God by Alan Hooker
Queer Creation by Ric Stott
Eunuch-Inclusive Esther–Queer Theology 101 by Peterson Toscano
Valley of Dry Bones by Jane Brazelle
Queer Creation: Queer Angel by Tony Street
The Great Welcoming by Anna Spencer
Queer Creation by Billy Flood
The Mystery of an Outlandishly Queer Creation by Susan Cottrell
We've Been Here All Along by Brian Gerald Murphy
God Hirself: A Theology by T. Thorn Coyle
The Objectification of God by Marg Herder
Coming Out As Embodiments of God Herself by Virginia Ramey Mollenkott
An Interview by Katy
On Creation and Belonging by Andrew Watson
Creation by Liam Haakon Smith