November 26, 2012

Queer Theology Musings

It's that time again: I have random thoughts on my theology homework and you, dear reader, get to enjoy them. Aren't you glad?

We're reading Grace M. Jantzen's "Contours of a Queer Theology," which you can read online if you wish because the internet is beautiful. (Better yet, it's very short!) In it, she talks about how something - Christianity, modernity, I am unclear what - has pushed God out of the world, and that this is a problem for queer and feminist understandings of God. She says that the divine used to be seen in nature and I guess the world more generally - sacred groves, sacred streams, sacred mountains, whatever - but now God is just in heaven and sends down proclamations, and that this is a very boring and linear process that does not work well for a lot of people, who are pushed out or marginalized by this kind of one-way, normative idea of God.

But the idea of God leaving the world and going up into heaven seems to fit pretty well with the narrative of the Bible overall to me. In the beginning God was chilling in the garden with Adam and Eve, and then in the Old Testament he's in bushes and mountaintops and other earthly things, and by the time  you get around to Jesus he's only present in the occasional miracle, until Jesus dies and literally goes up to heaven, leaving us with instructions to wait here, he'll be right back.

Feminist theologians are big on the incarnation, which sort of gets around that last part. Jesus may be physically gone, but is spiritually present in the Church, so that people in the Church are the continuing incarnation of God. I guess Jantzen is hinting at something like that. But she really is big on the God-in-nature thing in a way that I think traditional Christianity would be deeply skeptical of, and which might not be the easiest to back up with anything from the New Testament, at least to the extent I understand it.

No comments: