Who May Ascend?

Radical Love: An Introduction to Queer Theology by Patrick S. Cheng

 Reading old truths through LGBT eyes

Christian theology at its core is a queer enterprise.   According to Patrick Cheng both queer-theory and the gospel are about breaking down allegedly fixed barriers in the name of radical love.

People who identify as queer have been marginalised by the thinking of previous generations.  Queer Theology as a “transgressively self-conscious” way of thinking seeks a place beside other Post-Colonial, Feminist and Liberation theologies.  Unique to Queer Theology is its definition through sexual relationships.  Queer Theology challenges the “either/or” status of individuals with regard to their gender and uses its perspective to show how the life of Jesus challenged “natural” divisions like divine/human, centre/margin, punishment/forgiveness and death/life.

Cheng reviews the history and development of Queer Theology over the past seven decades and chooses the example of same sex marriage to provide an example of “doing queer theology”.  He examines each stanza of the Apostles’ Creed to rediscover the queer expressions of love of each person of the God who is Love.  Cheng makes extensive use of scripture and quotes widely from openly gay/lesbian theologians and historians to support his views and experiences so that in places Radical Love reads more like an LGBT primer than an alternative worldview.  Perhaps that is the point.  This is a way in to a new way of thinking about God.  At times there were too many footnotes for clear reading, but they would help readers looking to use this book for group study.

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