chapter  1
16 Pages

KNEELING

Deviant theologians

By which traditions of impropriety and stubborn tendencies to per/versity (that Queer, persistent trend to find different versions or alternative interpretations) does ‘queering’ as a theological vocation start in us? As Indecent theologians1 we do not need to accept a claim to neutrality but maintain a responsible position in the divine cartography of pleasure and desire. Therefore, the question about who is a theologian may find an answer in a reflection on issues of relationships, love and pleasure, in tension or negotiation with the fixed borders of Heterosexual Theology. An Indecent theologian is a theologian who has learned to survive with several passports. She is a Christian and a Queer theologian or a minister and a Queer lover who cannot be shown in public and she is a woman and a worker: the list of the game of multiple representations extends. A Queer theologian has many passports because she is a theologian in diaspora, that is, a theologian who explores at the crossroads of Christianity issues of self-identity and the identity of her community, which are related to sexuality, race, culture and poverty. In Queer theologies there is, however, a primordial or first diaspora to acknowledge. It is what we can call the first and most important of the passports she needs to acquire. We are referring here to the diaspora from love or what Benigno Sánchez-Eppler and Cindy Patton have called the journey ‘with a passport out of Eden’ (Patton and Sánchez-Eppler 2000: 1). That journey becomes a theological space that Patton and Sánchez-Eppler identify as the primordial and complex space of exclusion in the narratives of Genesis. It is interesting to notice how Genesis has been seen as a text which carries heavy responsibilities for the subjugation of women and also of nature. The traditional reading of Genesis has made of mastery and dominion over women and nature a theological virtue.2 Even in the more benign readings concerned with the concept of stewardship in relation to the environment, that fundamental colonial motion of patriarchy persists in a relation which makes of the Other a permanent

minor in need of mastery and control. However, for Patton and Sánchez-Eppler, a deeper sexual reading of Genesis may show us that beyond issues of heterosexual control of men over women, there is a more profound dynamics, a divine dynamics which creates mechanisms of sexual exclusion, one in which homosexuality (represented in this reading by Adam and God’s particular loving friendship) is in reality what ends in the exclusion from Eden. That may be the utopian beginning of the Queer diaspora, starting with Other sexualities expelled from the Eden of loving, godly relationships and exiled in lands of heterosexuality. That primordial sexual diaspora, which comes from the displaced love between a man and a God-man, may be the reason why Queer theologies are usually biographical theologies. One needs to follow that diasporic movement which allows us to understand the paths crossed, and the ways in which theological identities are still challenged, transformed, retracted and disguised in Christianity. Queer theologies are tactical theologies, ‘using tactical queerness to cruise places occupied by normative straightness’ (Patton and Sánchez-Eppler 2000: 14). Queer theologies go into diasporas by using tactics of temporary occupation; disruptive practices which are not necessarily to be repeated, and reflections which aim to be disconcerting.3 At the bottom line of Queer theologies, there are biographies of sexual migrants, testimonies of real lives in rebellions made of love, pleasure and suffering. On this point, paraphrasing Kosofsky Sedgwick, we may say that Queer theologies are those characterised by an ‘I’ because the Queer discourse only becomes such when done in the first person (Sedgwick 1994: 11). Queer Theology is, then, a first person theology: diasporic, self-disclosing, autobiographical and responsible for its own words.