Friday, 31 July 2009

NISSINEN: Homoeroticism in the Biblical World

Marti Nissinen

Homoeroticism in the Biblical World

Nissinen's award-winning book surveys attitudes in the ancient world toward homoeroticism, that is, erotic same-sex relations. Focusing on the Bible and its cultural environment-Mesopotamia, Greece, Rome, Israel-Nissinen concisely and readably introduces the relevant sources and their historical contexts in a readable way. Homoeroticism is examined as a part of gender identity, i.e., the interplay of sexual orientation, gender identification, gender roles, and sexual practice. In the patriarchal cultures of the biblical world, Nissinen shows, homoerotic practices were regarded as a role construction between the active and passive partners rather than as expressions of an orientation moderns call "homosexuality." Nissinen shows how this applies to the limited acceptance of homoerotic relationships in Greek and Roman culture, as well as to Israel's and the early church's condemnation of any same-sex erotic activity. For readers interested in the ancient world or contemporary debates, Nissinen's fascinating study shows why the ancient texts - both biblical and nonbiblical - are not appropriate for use as sources of direct analogy or argument in today's discussion.


From "Evangelicals Concerned"

This is the work of an Old Testament scholar at the University of Helsinki. Published by a major Lutheran press, it is comprehensive and succinct in surveying the primary texts on homoeroticism from the world in which the Bible was written. In his Preface, Nissinen says that, as he undertook his research, he “soon had to face the problem that sources that go back two or three millennia do not fit modern categories. Whether the texts I studied were biblical or Jewish, Assyrian, Greek, or Roman, the term ‘homosexuality’ was absent from them and the concept alien.” This early and sustained finding is precisely what those who use the Bible to wage a “culture war” against gay men and lesbians today do not take seriously – if they even understand it at all. (Ironically, lesbigayt apologists who take their own homosexuality back to the Bible make the same mistake.) He argues that any attempt to mechanically apply a few Bible verses on same-sex behavior to the phenomena of contemporary homosexual orientation and peer-relations fails in its hermeneutics. He is convinced – and convincing – that today’s discourse on homosexuality must not confuse modern phenomena with the various forms and perceptions of homoeroticism in the ancient Mediterranean world. Chapter by chapter, Nissinen illustrates the contemporary observation that sexual categories and interpreted sexual experiences are socially constructed and are not the same from culture to culture and from age to age.


Nissinen explains that in Romans 1 and 2, “What matters is the theology of justification by faith, not homoeroticsm as such.  Paul’s rhetorical strategy … seems to be to stimulate his readers’ moral indignation by listing sins traditionally associated with Gentiles, in conventional Jewish wordings – but this is a rhetorical trap: Paul turns the force of his criticism against” self-righteous Jews.  According to Nissinen and other scholars, the meaning of Paul’s terms in I Corinthians 6:9, often automatically applied today to homosexuals, “remains obscure.”  He says: “The modern concept of ‘homosexuality’ should by no means be read into Paul’s text.”   Indeed, he concludes: “No single passage in the Bible actually offers a specifically formulated statement about same-sex eroticism.”

   Thus, with no correspondence between the ancient texts and phenomena and our own responsibilities around contemporary homosexual orientation and behavior, Nissinen calls  his readers to “love [as] the central hermeneutical principle when applying biblical commands, advice, and ideals to the lives of people today.”

NYLAND: Study New Testament for Lesbians, Gay, Bi and Transgenders

Nyland, Dr A
Study New Testament for Lesbians, Gays, Bi and Transgender
With Extensive Notes On Greek Word Meaning And Context
Smith & Stirling, 2007

400 pages

A Study Bible (New Testament) for gay, lesbian, bi and transgendered people, with extensive notes on Greek Word Meaning and Context relevant to gay and lesbian people and to redress the discrimination and persecution they have received from Fundamentalist Christianity. In the New Testament, Jesus railed against legalistic religious leaders, and told us to beware of them. He at no point told us to beware of women as Church leaders, of divorced people, or of homosexuals. And of course he would not, as the New Testament in the original Greek does not speak against these three groups in any way whatsoever.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

O'NEILL & RITTER: Coming Out Within

stages of spiritual awakening for lesbians and gay men
HarperSanFrancisco, 1992

236 pages

"This is a treasure trove of gay and lesbian affirmation. I wish that every heterosexual person in America could read this book in order to understand."--Malcom Boyd

O'Neill, Craig and Ritter, Kathleen
Coming out Within
Stages of Spiritual Awakening for Lesbians and Gay Men

O'BRIEN, Glen: Praying From the Margins,

Gospel Reflections of a Gay Man
Columbia Press, 2001

95 pages.

Catholic, Scripture, Spirituality, Prayer, Gay Male

Strongly recommended by Urs Mattman("Coming In"), who lists it among the classics of gay/lesbian spiritual literature:
"A small book, yet large on wisdom"
From Google books:
"Glen O'Brien recounts some spiritual experiences of gay men, and then reflects on these experiences in the light of stories and events in the gospels. In the presence of Jesus to the "sinners and outcasts" of his time he sees a clear statement of God's love and compassion for all peoplee, ansd a context for dealing with the pain that many gay people suffer in their sense of exclusion from the Christian community.

These reflections will be read with joy by some, with concern by others. Hopefully they will make every reader stop and think."

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

POMFRET: Since My Last Confession

, Scott:
Since My Last Confession
Arcade Publishing, 2008

288 pages

Catholic, gay male, Church practice, Gay Marriage, Memoir

"From same-sex marriage rallies to pedophile priest scandals, 'Since my Last Confession' maps with matchless humour the full spectrum of the gay catholic experience- from one end of the rainbow to the other. Listen in as Scott learns a thing or two about love and compassion from Father McSlutty. a promiscuous gay priest; Jezebel, Scott's ultra-Catholic sister-in-law; Father Bear-Daddy, the Shrine's hirsute holy terror; and the three Hale Marys. Then join Scott on his brave crusade to convince his arch-nemesis, Cardinal O/Malley, to invite him to serve at a weekly Mass.

Along the way, you'll learn how to detect a gay Catholic, how to get excommunicated from the comfort of your living room in three easy steps, why the sabbath should be on Friday (Sunday is for brunch) , and what a nice erotic writer is doing in a mean church like this. "
- From the cover flap.

"A heartbreaking cry of pain and a delicious howl of laughter, Since My Last Confession is a complete delight. Trying to make sense of the insane, hypocritical and murdersously ironic stances the Catholic Church takes - often articulated by gay, sexually active, priests - Pomfret isn't a recovering Catholic - it's the benighted men who ahve so sadly mismanaged the roman Catholic Church who are going to have to recover from this funny, heartfelt and insightful memoir."
- Michael Bronski, author Pulp Friction

"An extraordinary mixture of sheer love, tender-heartedness, cussedness, and hilarity that delivers in spades."
- James Alison, Catholic priest, theologian and author Faith Beyond Resentment.


My own review at Queering the Church

User reviews from Google books:

User Review - Josh Kilmer-Purcell, best-selling author of I Am Not Myself These Days
Scott Pomfret is the patron saint of devilish wit. With unabashed introspection that borders on the sacrilegious, Since My Last Confession artfully demonstrates a heartfelt faith in God and humanity that, frankly, the world could use a lot more of. Really a great read.
User Review - Philadelphia City Paper
With a wicked sense of humor . . . Pomfret mines his religion for all that it's worth. And, as any semi-practicing Catholic can attest, there's plenty of material. . . . Of course, there are many serious moments, too.

PUTERBAUGH, DYNES (eds): The Crucifixion of Hyacinth

Puterbaugh, Geoff & Dynes, Wayne R.
The Crucifixion of Hyacinth: Jews, Christians and Homosexuals from Classical Greece to late Antiquity
Author's Choice Press,2000

196 pages

Christian, Jewish, theology, history, lesbian & gay

"A concise and definitive history of the transition from bisexual paganism to the antigay stance of the Christian church"

From a review by Toby Johnson in White Crane Journal:

"That homosexuality isn't such a new thing is not surprising. But understanding what that means in context often remains elusive. Things were just so different back then.

Geoff Puterbaugh helps make it all make sense. The book is interesting, informative, and readable. And it's a nice addition to the library of books about the historical bases of gay consciousness."

Full review at White Crane:

"The book is interesting, informative, and readable. And it's a nice addition to the library of books about the historical bases of gay consciousness."

Full review from International Gay & Lesbian Review

Monday, 27 July 2009

ROSSER: Gay Catholics Down Under

The journeys in sexuality and spirituality of gay men in Australia and New Zealand
Prager, 1992

256 pages

Catholic, Gay male, Biography

Sexuality and spirituality are two of the most powerful and creative forces we experience as human beings. This work examines how men of Roman Catholic background have come to understand and integrate their homosexuality into daily life. Homosexuality is still a topic immersed in myth and mystery. As well as providing accurate information about intimate aspects of gay men's lives such as coping with HIV and practicing safer sex, Gay Catholics Down Under seeks to raise awareness about spiritual issues for gay men. Each story told provides a unique perspective of what it means to be of Catholic background in Australasia and attracted to men. Several of those interviewed spoke of having no role models and of the isolation growing up not knowing of other gay people. A final chapter reviews the psychosexual implications of the study, including a model of integration of sexual and religious identification, and implications for the gay community and the Church.

RUDY: Sex and the Church

Sex and the Church
Gender, Homosexuality, and the Transformation of the Church

"Sex and the Church is a groundbreaking book that brings lesbian and gay theory and experience to bear on questions of sexuality and its relationship to Christian life. Ethicist Kathy Rudy begins by showing how the Christian Right's campaign for "family values" has profoundly shaped American debates about gender and sexuality, and how mainline Protestant denominations have responded by focusing narrowly on questions of inclusion and exclusion, rights and privileges for lesbians and gay men. She then moves the debate onto a new level, drawing on queer theory and the lives of gay and lesbian Christians to answer new questions: Are gender and sexual orientation categories by which we should define ourselves and judge each other? Is the nuclear family the best site for Christian commitment? What is the purpose of sex, and what does it have to do with God? And what kind of intimate relationships best contribute to the formation of Christian community?"

For an excellent review, see "Queering Church, Churching Queers", (Crosscurrents, March 22 1999), reproduced on-line at the Free Library. (Paired with a review of Elisabeth Stuart, "Religion is a Queer Thing")

RUETHER, RR:Catholic Does Not Equal the Vatican

A Vision for Progressive Catholicism
New Press, 2008

150 pages

A stirring manifesto for progressive Catholics and a challenge to Vatican politics, from pioneering feminist Catholic Rosemary Ruether--in the acclaimed "Does Not Equal" series
"In a truly just world, Rosemary Radford Ruether would be Pope."--from the foreword to "Catholic Does Not Equal the Vatican" by Susan Thistlethwaite, president of Chicago Theological Seminary

In the 1960s, the hopes for a blossoming progressive Catholicism awakened by the Second Vatican Council were cut short by conservative opposition and the rightward agendas of the previous and current pope. Forty years later, "Catholic Does Not Equal the Vatican" heralds the revival of a newly democratic and participatory church that transcends narrow Vatican doctrine. Destined to be a seminal text of progressive Catholicism, this beautifully written and uncompromising book by renowned scholar and activist Rosemary Radford Ruether examines the serious moral contradictions in Vatican Catholicism and offers a vision of a faith committed to justice and peace. Ruether calls for the dismantling of sexist teachings and ascetic values, while promoting healthy sexual ethics and egalitarian communities that welcome women, gays, and lesbians into full equality in the church and even ordination. Reverend Doctor Susan Thistlethwaite's introduction explains Ruether's pioneering leadership in progressive Christianity and her unwavering commitment to ecological responsibility and human rights.
Grounded in her civil rights work in the Mississippi Delta and the Latin American tradition of liberation theology, Ruether's long overdue vision of the church as it should be will serve as an inspiration for Catholics everywhere.

Review: Rosemary Ganley, (Religion Dispatches)

ROBINSON: Confronting Power & Sex in the Catholic Church

Robinson, Bishop Geoffrey.
Confronting Power and Sex in the Catholic Church.
Reclainming the Spirit of Jesus

Bishop Robinson was the lead person in the Australiuan Bishops' response to the scandal of clerical abuse in that country, an experience that he found harrowing. After his retirement from active ministry, he found the freedom to write this reflection on his experience and conclusions - in which he found that part of the problem lies right in the heart of the institutional strucutures of the Catholic church, with its unremitting insistence on compulsory celibacy, and overly centralised, hierarchical power strucutres which fail to implement the clear directives of Vatican II.

This thoughtful and thought provoking book goes right to the heart of the problem, and is strongly recommended.

"Drawing on his own experience in responding to abuse, Bishop Geoffrey Robinson in this explosive work methodically offers a critique of the church's use and misuse of power, from the pope proclaiming infallibly down to the preacher claiming a divine authority for every word spoken from the pulpit. Going back to the Bible and, above all, to the teaching of Jesus, he presents an approach to sexual morality that is profound, compassionate, and people-centered. He stresses the priority of the hierarchy of holiness over the hierarchy of power. He offers nothing less than a vision for a church of the third millennium--a church that wants to see in its members the responsibility appropriate to adults rather than the obedience appropriate to children and wants to help all people to grow to become all they are capable of being. You will love or hate this book but not be able to remain neutral."

RIGERT, Joe: An Irish Tragedy

How Sex Abuse by Irish Priests Helped Cripple The Catholic Church
Baltimore, Crossland Press, 2008

Sunday, 26 July 2009

SULLIVAN: Love Undedectable

(Chatto & Windus, 1998)

"Sullivan offers [a] profound, often beautiful appreciation of friendship. . . . [He can] fascinate us with the range and depth of his mind."--San Francisco Chronicle

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year

"One of the great pleasures of this book lies in watching Sullivan's mind at work . . . [his essays] are filled with a passion and heat that most cultural criticism lacks." --Katie Roiphe,The Washington Post

When former New Republic editor Andrew Sullivan publicly revealed his HIV positive status in 1996, he intended "to be among the first generation that survives this disease." In this new book, a powerful meditation on the spiritual effect AIDS has on friendship, love, sexuality, and American culture, we follow Sullivan on his path to survival.

A practicing Catholic, Sullivan reflects on his faith in God, and expresses his bittersweet joy upon learning about new AIDS treatments that he believes led to the virus's recent transformation from a plague into a chronic illness. He revisits Freud to seek the origins of homosexuality and reviews the works of Aristotle, St. Augustine, and W. H. Auden to define friendship for a contemporary, post-plague world. Sullivan's last essay extols the virtues of friendship, elevating platonic love over the romantic, as he memorializes his best friend, who died of AIDS. Intensely personal and passionately political, Sullivan's essays are not just about his own experiences but also a powerful testament to human resilience, faith, hope, and love.

"Sullivan has found meaning in chaos. . . . With its paradoxical sense of beauty amid pain, Love Undetectable has something of the quality of a war memoir." --The New York Times Book Review

"On display here are all of the author's many strengths--compelling, poetic prose style, some keen observations on faith. . . . Sullivan offers a moving defense of the open gay male urban sexual culture and his participation in it." --The Boston Globe

STONE: Practicing Safer Texts

Stone, Ken
Practicing Safer Texts: Food, Sex and Bible in Queer Perspective
Continuum International Publishing

185 pages

"This book uses the ubiquitous comparison between food and sex as a framework for examining a number of texts from the Hebrew Bible, as well as later readings of those texts and interpretive issues raised by the texts. A range of biblical texts in which both food and sex appear are analyzed in an interdisciplinary fashion with the help of both traditional tools of biblical scholarship and less traditional tools such as Queer studies and cultural anthropology. By utilizing a reading lens that relates food and sex to one another intentionally, rather than treating them separately, this book will among other things question the tendency of readers of the Bible to overstress the gravity of sexual matters in relation to other matters of potential ethical, theological, exegetical and cultural concern, such as food. At the same time, as the title Practising Safer Texts indicates, the book also proposes a pragmatic approach to biblical interpretation that uses strategies of "safer sex" as a sort of loose model. Such,an approach assesses texts and readings of the Bible not in a universalizing fashion but rather in terms of their likely effects, for good or ill, on particular readers in particular contexts and situations (just as notions of "safer sex" ask us to assess sexual acts not in a moralizing fashion, but, rather, in terms of their likely effects on particular persons)."

STUART: Exploding Mystery

SPONG: The Sins of Scripture

Exposing the Bible's Texts of Hate to Reveal the God

"In the history of the Western World, the Bible has been a perpetual source of inspiration and guidance for countless Christians. However, this Bible has also left a trail of pain. It is undeniable that the Bible is not always used for good. Sometimes the Bible can seem overtly evil. Sometimes its texts are terrible.

Bishop John Shelby Spong boldly approaches those texts that have been used through history to justify the denigration or persecution of others while carrying with them the implied and imposed authority of the claim that they were the "Word of God." As he exposes and challenges what he calls the "terrible texts of the Bible", laying bare the evil done by these texts in the name of God, he also seeks to redeem these texts, hoping to recover their ultimate depth and purpose. Spong looks specifically at texts used to justify homophobia, anti-Semitism, treating women as second-class humans, corporal punishment, and environmental degradation, but he also delivers a new picture of how Christians can use the Bible today. As Spong battles against the way the Bible has been used throughout history, he provides a new framework, introducing people to a proper way to engage this holy book of the Judeo-Christian tradition."

SCROGGS: The New Testament and Homosexuality

Scroggs, Robin
The New Testament & Homosexuality
Fortress Press, 1983

158 pages

"Just what is a proper use of the Bible, especially the New Testament, in Christian debates about acceptance of homosexuals? In addition to bringing clarity and honesty to issues of the relevance of the Bible, this work brings a little more light and a little less heat to the discussion, a little more acceptance of all persons on the "other side," and maybe even an awareness that in Christ there is really no "other side" at all."

"Anyone wishing to engage the ongoing debate of the place of the homosexual in the Chrisitian community cannot ignore this book - not because the author has overhelmed us with convincing proof of the right attitude toward the practice of homosexuality - but because he has carefully and meticulously researched the ancient literature from both the Graeco-Roman and Jewish cultures and may understand what problem or practice the scriptural text is addressing."

"By primary as well as secondary texts, Scroggs describes the Graeco-Roman world as male-dominated. Adult public life was highly segregated. Males conducted business, met in assemblies, social clubs, and lecture halls with other males. In this segregated society both beauty and eroticism centred on other males."

by Robin Scroggs, professor of New Testament, Union Theological Seminary, a happily married heterosexual who has been acclaimed in many Christian publications for his serious research about what the New Testament really says about homosexuality.

Scroggs reason for his research was a discussion of homosexuality by ministers. "I sat amazed as I heard the Bible being invoked in ways that were wholly inappropriate to any canons of biblical scholarship. Perhaps something snapped in me...for better or worse I decided somebody needed to provide resources that would give both clarity and honesty." He says he has no personal interest but sees the tragic results of false biblical scholarship and the tragic rejections of homosexuals in the name of Christian righteousness or even love. It is about time someone spoke honestly about the issue, not just from emotional homophobic assumptions of what the New Testament really says."

SANCHEZ: The God Box

How could I choose betwen my sexuality and my spirituality, two of the most important parts that made me whole?

High school senior Paul has dated Angie since middle school, and they're good together. They have a lot of the same interests, like singing in their church choir and being active in Bible club. But when Manuel transfers to their school, Paul has to rethink his life. Manuel is the first openly gay teen anyone in their small town has ever met, and yet he says he's also a committed Christian. Talking to Manuel makes Paul reconsider thoughts he has kept hidden, and listening to Manuel's interpretation of Biblical passages on homosexuality causes Paul to reevaluate everything he believed. Manuel's outspokenness trigg
ers dramatic consequences at school, culminating in a terrifying situation that leads Paul to take a stand.

Lambda Literary Award-winning author Alex Sanchez tackles a subject ripped from the headlines in this exciting and thought-provoking exploration of what it means to be both religious and gay.

Review, by Kirkus Reviews

SIKER, J S: Homosexuality and Religion

An Encyclopedia.
Greenwood Publishing, 2007

258 pages

homosexuality, religion, encyclopedia

Few issues today cause more public - and private - debate than the interaction of homosexuality and religion. From the question of gay marriage to the place of gays and lesbians within faith communities, religious leaders and lay members must deal with these issues for now and for years to come. What is the historical position of the major denominations? How are people of faith balancing their beliefs? This encyclopedia provides an overview of the various attitudes and responses that religions have had to the presence of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered persons within their communities. This is the most comprehensive volume to date on the intersections between religion and homosexuality.

SERRANO, J: Whipping Girl

"A provocative manifesto, Whipping Girl tells the powerful story of Julia Serano, a transsexual woman whose supremely intelligent writing reflects her diverse background as a lesbian transgender activist and professional biologist. Serano shares her experiences and observations — both pre- and post-transition — to reveal the ways in which fear, suspicion, and dismissiveness toward femininity shape our societal attitudes toward trans women, as well as gender and sexuality as a whole.

Serano's well honed arguments stem from her ability to bridge the gap between the often-disparate biological and social perspectives on gender. She exposes how deep-rooted the cultural belief is that femininity is frivolous, weak, and passive, and how this “feminine” weakness exists only to attract and appease male desire.

In addition to debunking popular misconceptions about transsexuality, Serano makes the case that today's feminists and transgender activist must work to embrace and empower femininity — in all of its wondrous forms."

SCHIDLO & DRESCHER:Sexual Conversion Therapy

Shidlo, Ariel & Drescher,Jack
Sexual Conversion Therapy

"In their fervour to "fix homosexuals, practitioners of conversion therapies ahve often overlooked or completely dismissed the possilbe psychological and social side effects of such treatments. Sexual Conversion Therapy: Ethical, Clinical and Research Perspectives works to countebalance the clinical and ethical ommissions of opverzealous therapists who have appeared, at times, to focus on efficay and outcome at the expense of their patients well-being."

"THIS IS AN IMPORTANT BOOK... AN INVALUABLE RESOURCE FOR MENTAL HEALTH PROVIDERS AND POLICY-MAKERS. This book gives voice to those men and women whoi have experienced the painful, degrading and unsuccessful conversion therapy and survuved. The ethics and misuses of conversion therapy practice are well documented, as are the harmful side effects."

STRASSER, M: Defending Same-Sex Marriage

Praeger Frederick A, 2006

888 pages
Today we find ourselves at a crossroads of two powerful, unrelenting currents that are completely at odds with one another. The movement for legal recognition of same-sex unions has gone beyond the "separate but equal" status of civil unions to demand equality in marriage for all couples. This book is part of a three-volume set which clarifies the legal, political, religious, cultural, and social ramifications of same-sex marriage for gay and lesbian couples and their families and friends, and for the general public interested in the future of civil rights in the United States.

Volume 2: Our Family Values: Same-Sex Marriage and Religion, edited by Traci C. West, contains an array of religious traditions, practices, and leaders that support same-sex marriage, and describes the struggles for its recognition within denominations, including analysis of racial dynamics.

SCHINNICK:This Remarkable Gift

This Remarkable Gift:
Being Gay and Catholic
(Allen & Unwin, 1998)

STUART: Just Good Friends

Just Good Friends: Towards a Lesbian & Gay Theology of Relationships
(Mowbray, 1995)

STUART: Religion is a Queer Thing

Stuart, Elisabeth (ed)
Religion is a Queer Thing

For an excellent review, see "Queering Church, Churching Queers", (Crosscurrents, March 22 1999), reproduced on-line at the Free Library. (Paired with a review of Elisabeth Stuart, "Religion is a Queer Thing")

STUART, E & THATCHER, A: People of Passion

What the Churches Teach about Sex
Mowbray, 1997
295 pages
Sexual Ethics, Christian History.

People of Passion is about what Christians are saying now, and have said in the past, about sex. It provides a basic theological resource for people who want to explore issues about sex and sexuality from a Christian point of view, but feel they need a perspective on the historical background and contemporary developments.
First, it enables clergy minister and priests to deal with pastoral situations related to sexuality. Second, with Christianity and sexuality appearing regularly on the curriculum of universities, colleges, seminaries and schools throughout the world, it provides and indispensable guidebook. Easy to read, it maps out the terrain and sketches the contours of contemporary controversies. Third, it is an authoritative source for professional people outside the churches who need to keep in touch with contemporary developments in Christian teaching about issues to do with sex and sexuality.

STUART: Gay and lesbian Theologies

Gay and Lesbian Theologies: Repetitions with Critical Differences
(Ashgate, 2003)

Written by an academic theologian, but do not be put off by the academic tone and style. This is an excellent introduction to the different strands in the theology of LGBT sexuality. In this book, she

“presents the first critical survey of gay and lesbian theology arguing that its emergence was nothing short of miraculousGay and lesbian theologians managed to take a dominant Christian discourse and which rendered than sinful, sick and harmful to the common good and transform it into a theology which argued that a person’s sexuality provided the point of contact between God and themselves.” (Taken from the cover blurb).

Strongly recommended by QTC;
Listed by Martin Pendergast

Written by an academic theologian, but do not be put off by the academic tone and style. This is an excellent introduction to the different strands in the theology of LGBT sexuality. In this book, she

“presents the first critical survey of gay and lesbian theology arguing that its emergence was nothing short of miraculousGay and lesbian theologians managed to take a dominant Christian discourse and which rendered than sinful, sick and harmful to the common good and transform it into a theology which argued that a person’s sexuality provided the point of contact between God and themselves.” (Taken from the cover blurb).

SULLIVAN: Virtually Normal


Virtually Normal

An Argument About Homosexuality
(Picador, 1995)

"No subject has divided contemporary America more bitterly than homosexuality. Addressing the full range of the debate in this pathbreaking book, Andrew Sullivan, the former editor of The New Republic, restores both reason and humanity to the discussion over how a predominantly heterosexual society should deal with its homosexual citizens.

Sympathetically yet relentlessly, Sullivan assesses the prevailing public positions on homosexuality--from prohibitionist to liberationist and from conservative to liberal. In their place, he calls for a politics of homosexuality that would guarantee the rights of gays and lesbians without imposing tolerance. At once deeply personal and impeccably reasoned, written with elegance and wit, Virtually Normal will challenge readers of every persuasion; no book is more likely to transform out sexual politics in the coming decades."

Complete Booklist


Alison is a former Dominican priest, now practicing as an independent theologian and writer with an excellent reputation. Among his many books are three of particular importance for LGBT readers. For an appreciation of Alison’s work, see


Darton Longman Todd, 2001 (Sexuality, Theology)

Strongly Recommended by QTC;
Listed by Martin Pendergast;

The first in the series, this is valuable for the telling of parts of his own story, as well as reflections on dealing with the appropriate relationship of LGBT Catholics with the institutional church, and with God.


Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury

On Being LikedOn Being Liked
Darton Longman Todd, 2003 (Sexuality, Theology)

Strongly Recommended by QTC;
Listed by Martin Pendergast;

When I first read this book, I found a number of insights that struck me most forcefully. This is one I want to reread.

Undergoing GodUndergoing God

From the cover blurb:

“It is not easy to come away from reasding James ALison wtithout a sense of being deeply moved, challenged, and grateful for his glimpse of the truth of things. Undergoing God sets our comfortable worlds on a new axis.”
- Martin Laird

“An original and challenging book which shows the ongoing relevance and dynamism of the Catholic faith for our most profound questions of desire, worship, sexuality and truthfulness.”
-Tina Beattie

Strongly Recommended by QTC;
Listed by Martin Pendergast;


Forging Dialogue with the Churches
(LGCM 2000)

Listed by Martin Pendergast


Patricia Beattie -Jung has worked as a lay theologian of the church for over two decades, specializing in the areas of sexual and medical ethics and issues foundational to moral theology. She is an associate professor of theology at Loyola University, Chicago.

Sexual Diversity & CatholicismSexual Diversity and Catholicism

(The Liturgical Press, 2002)

From the back cover:

“Collected in this volume are essays exploring the relationship between contemporary biblical scholarship and Roman Catholic magisterial teaching about the morality of homosexuality…..The arguments foundational to magisterial interpretations of key biblical texts are explored. Are they corroborated by the best of biblical exegesis? Do they cohere with recent scientific studies and relevant human experiences of homosexuality? The biblicall and moral theologians, scientists and pastors who contribute to this volume wrestle faithfully with these issues.”

Listed by Martin Pendergast



Strongly recommended by QTC

Shows how the techniques of liberation theology can be used by us all to contribute to the development of a new, more realistic theology of sexuality. Also valuable for some scripture meditations on well known texts, approached from a gay perspective.



From Google Books:

“Que(e)rying Religion includes but moves beyond tradition-based experiential writing by turning to the academic study of religion. It includes work that compares or focuses on different religious traditions, such as various forms of Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Native American spiritualities. It also incorporates writing on various geographical areas and historical time periods. By assuming a wide definition of religion, it raises questions about the terms religion and religious themselves. Read together, the contents of Que(e)rying Religion provide access to a broad selection of work at the intersection of religious studies and lesbian/gay/queer studies.”

With a name like this, how can I not like it? “Queering the Church shares my own decelaring an advocacy I share, while “Querying” the Church is a critical stance I subscribe to.

(Queer Theology)

Cited by Elisabeth Stuart


Jesus Acted Up: A Gay & Lesbian Manifesto
(Harper & Row, 1993)

Listed by Martin Pendergast




The Vatican & Homosexuality
(Crossroad, 1988)


Building Bridges
(Twenty Third Publications, 1992)

Voices of Hope
(Centre for Homophobia Education, 1995)

All listed by Martin Pendergast


The Truth about Homosexuality
(Ignatius Press, 1996)

Listed by Martin Pendergast



Recommended by Dignity USA


Fierce Tenderness
(Crossroad, 1991)

Listed by Martin Pendergast


Introducing Body TheologyIntroducing Body Theology
(Sheffield academic Press, 1998)

Listed by Martin Pendergast

A thought provoking look at the internal contradictions in the church’s stance, it examines the rhetorical and liturgical style, rather than doctrine, to make its case. Fascinating and memorable.


Bob Minor, Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Kansas (Reviewed at “Other Sheep”)

Chuck Colbert (in The National Catholic Reporter, reprinted at “Other Sheep”)


Whose Church?

See the review on CCL Books online.


On Being Gay: Thoughts on Family, Faith and Love
(St Martin’s Press, 1988)

Listed by Martin Pendergast


John McNeill was a Jesuit Priest who was silenced by the Vatican after his first book, ”The Church and the Homosexual”, was published with the approval of the Jesuit order. After refraining from publication for several years, McNeill eventually left the priesthood to pursue a career as an independent theologian , spiritual director, writer and psychotherapist. For some impressive testimonials to his contribution to queer theology and LGBT mental health, see the collection of essaysforming the second half of his latest book, ”Sex as God Intended”.

The Church and the Homosexual (new ed)Church and the Homosexual
Beacon Press, 1996

Listed by Martin Pendergast

Freedom, Glorious Freedom
(Beacon Press, 1995)

Listed by Martin Pendergast

Taking a Chance on GodTaking a Chance on God: Liberating Theology for Gays, Lesbians and their Lovers, Families and Friends
Beacon Press, 1988, 1996 (Scripture, Theology, Sexuality)

Strongly recommended by QTC;
Listed by Martin Pendergast

Sex As God Intended

Lethe Press, 2008
(Scripture, Theology, Sexuality)

Strongly recommended by QTC


Omnigender: A Trans-Religious Approach

Mollenknott shows that many features of God’s incarnation and manifestation to humans, and many practices of the church, fall outside socially approved, binary ideas of gender. She also discusses numerous examples of canonised saints who have defied gender roles.


The Body in Context: Sex and Catholicism
(Continuum Books, 2001)

Listed by Martin Pendergast

A Question of Truth : Christianity and HomosexualityQuestion of Truth - Copy
(Continuum Books, 2003)

From the back cover:

” A near incontrovertible demonstration that the antiathy of the Roman Catholic Church to homosexuality has no basis in scriture or the natural law. Cogently argued, elegantly written and brilliantly researched.” (Ben Summerskill, CE, Stonewall)

“In “A Question of Truth”, Gareth Moore, a Dominican priest, challenges the teaching of the Catholic Church on its own grounds. He scrutinizes the Church’s arguments, which are based on both the Bible and natural law, and finds them wanting. He subjects the Church’s beliefs to a meticulous and scholarly examination and concludes that there are no good arguments…against what have come to be known as homosexual relationships”.

Recommended by QTC;
Listed by Martin Pendergast

(Scripture, Theology, Sexuality)

NUGENT, ROBERTChallenge to Love:

The Challenge to Love: Gay & Lesbian Catholics in the Church
(Crossroad, 1989)

Listed by Martin Pendergast


This Remarkable Gift: Being Gay and Catholic
(Allen & Unwin, 1998)

Listed by Martin Pendergast


Stuart is a professor of theology at King Alfred’s College, Winchester, and one of the most prominent theologians in the field of gay and lesbian theology.

Daring to Speak Love’s Name - A Gay and Lebian Prayer Book
Hamish Hamilton, 1992

Just Good Friends: Towards a Lesbian & Gay Theology of Relationships
(Mowbray, 1995)

Christian Perspectives on Sexuality & Gender
(Gracewing, 1995 )

People of Passion: What the Churches Teach about Sex [Co-authored with Thatcher, Adrian]
(Mowbray, 1997)

Religion is a Queer Thing: Guide to the Christian Faith for Gay, Lesbian Bisexual and Transgendered People
(Cassell, 1997)

All listed by Martin Pendergast

Gay and Lesbian Theologies: Repetitions with Critical Differences
(Ashgate, 2003)

Written by an academic theologian, but do not be put off by the academic tone and style. This is an excellent introduction to the different strands in the theology of LGBT sexuality. In this book, she

“presents the first critical survey of gay and lesbian theology arguing that its emergence was nothing short of miraculousGay and lesbian theologians managed to take a dominant Christian discourse and which rendered than sinful, sick and harmful to the common good and transform it into a theology which argued that a person’s sexuality provided the point of contact between God and themselves.” (Taken from the cover blurb).

Strongly recommended by QTC;
Listed by Martin Pendergast

Written by an academic theologian, but do not be put off by the academic tone and style. This is an excellent introduction to the different strands in the theology of LGBT sexuality. In this book, she

“presents the first critical survey of gay and lesbian theology arguing that its emergence was nothing short of miraculousGay and lesbian theologians managed to take a dominant Christian discourse and which rendered than sinful, sick and harmful to the common good and transform it into a theology which argued that a person’s sexuality provided the point of contact between God and themselves.” (Taken from the cover blurb).


Virtually Normal: An Argument About Homosexuality
(Picador, 1995)

Love Undetectable
(Chatto & Windus, 1998)

Both listed by Martin Pendergast


Strangers & Friends

Vasey argues from an historical presentation of the sexuality and the family. He points out that far from being the ‘tradtional’ model, the family as idealised by modern Christians, especially the evangelicals, is a relatively modern invention. The gradual development of this model as normative, has largely been responsible for the parallel development of a distinct gay identity, largely in reaction. (The campaign against the ‘homosexual’ is attacking what it has itself created.) Conversely, the early church idealised male friendship and community life, rather than the familyas now understood.


Another Kind of Love (3rd ed)
(St Thomas More Press, 1988)

Listed by Martin Pendergast

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