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Universality and Particularity: Development of Queer Theological Discourse and Construction of a Queer God by Sarah-Andrea Morrigan

Universality and Particularity: Development of Queer Theological Discourse and Construction of a Queer God by Sarah-Andrea Morrigan

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Published by mary eng

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Published by: mary eng on Apr 02, 2013
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May 2012
Universality and Particularity: Development of Queer Teological Discourse and Construction of a Queer God
Universality and Particularity: Development of Queer Theological Discourseand Construction of a Queer God
 Sarah-Andrea Morrigan 
 Abstract: This article attempts to make a cautious critique of the queer liberation theology as means to postulating an alternative vision of God for the LGBT people. While, like other types of liberation-oriented theologicaldiscourse, queer theology postulates a God that makes a preferential option for the oppressed, by claiming this God as part of the “queer community,” that is, a metaphorically gay God. This is contrasted with the historicaldevelopment of Judeo-Christian monotheism from a tribal religion to auniversal religion. It presents a dilemma when the theology of the oppressedis criticized by the predominantly white, Eurocentric, masculine andheteronormative theology as “making God in their own image” rather thanallowing God to transform the oppressed into God’s own image. 
In 1999, a series of events triggered by a short-lived romantic relationshipabruptly moved me away from the mostly white, young and middle-classarea of Portland, Oregon, to a slowly gentrifying yet still predominantly Blackresidential neighbourhood several miles away. This was my first time livingin a Black neighbourhood, which, until a few years prior, was considered “toodangerous” to be “habitable” by the outsiders. The nearby commercial centre,1
the intersection of -- rather evocatively and somewhat ironically named -- MartinLuther King, Jr. Boulevard and Killingsworth Street was where bank branches,a post office, several dilapidated storefronts, a county health clinic, and a fewrestaurants concentrated. Amidst the “whitest major city” in America (Hannah- Jones, 2010), the North-Northeast Portland was the historical “red-lined” areain which Blacks were permitted to live under segregation while potentiallymaking the resulting devaluation of the lands to create future opportunities forredevelopment (Gibson, 2007) and thus constituted the sole small and dwindlingenclave of African-American culture in the city. I happened one day to have wandered into a small bookstore at thisintersection. I came across a copy of something entitled
The African-AmericanStudy Bible
. I was shocked to find this Bible full of full-colour illustrations, inwhich all characters were not only Black but had the physique and facialcharacteristics of the typical American Black -- not those of people who reside innorthern Africa or the Near East -- complete with the Black Jesus and his Blackapostles. This part of Portland has a high concentration of historically African-American churches (Scott 2012) including several Missionary Baptist churches,an African Methodist Episcopal-Zion (AME Zion) church, an African MethodistEpiscopal (AME) church, and a few Church of God in Christ (COGIC) churches. Inthe African-American community the Black churches play the centralimportance, pervading themselves in every aspect of the social, economic andpolitical Black life, as one of very few institutions that could be Black-controlled2

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