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Indecent Theology brings liberation theology up to date by introducing the radical critical approaches of gender, postcolonial, and queer theory. Grounded in actual examples from Latin America, Marcella Althaus-Reid's highly provocative, but immaculately researched book reworks three distinct areas of theology - sexual, political and systematic. It exposes the connections Indecent Theology brings liberation theology up to date by introducing the radical critical approaches of gender, postcolonial, and queer theory. Grounded in actual examples from Latin America, Marcella Althaus-Reid's highly provocative, but immaculately researched book reworks three distinct areas of theology - sexual, political and systematic. It exposes the connections between theology, sexuality and politics, whilst initiating a dramatic sexual rereading of systematic theology. Groundbreaking, intriguing and scholarly, Indecent Theology broadens the debate on sexuality and theology as never before.


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Indecent Theology brings liberation theology up to date by introducing the radical critical approaches of gender, postcolonial, and queer theory. Grounded in actual examples from Latin America, Marcella Althaus-Reid's highly provocative, but immaculately researched book reworks three distinct areas of theology - sexual, political and systematic. It exposes the connections Indecent Theology brings liberation theology up to date by introducing the radical critical approaches of gender, postcolonial, and queer theory. Grounded in actual examples from Latin America, Marcella Althaus-Reid's highly provocative, but immaculately researched book reworks three distinct areas of theology - sexual, political and systematic. It exposes the connections between theology, sexuality and politics, whilst initiating a dramatic sexual rereading of systematic theology. Groundbreaking, intriguing and scholarly, Indecent Theology broadens the debate on sexuality and theology as never before.

30 review for Indecent Theology: Theological Perversions in Sex, Gender and Politics

  1. 5 out of 5

    Dwight Davis

    I always try to be generous when disagreeing so I'll start with what I did like about Indecent Theology. I think Althaus-Reid's critiques of liberation theology were extremely helpful. Liberation theology has been fetishizes, co-opted, and stripped of its power as it became popular in systematic theology. It's a commodity, traded among academics divorced from concrete situations of oppression and liberation. I think that this is a really helpful warning, especially to someone like me, a heterose I always try to be generous when disagreeing so I'll start with what I did like about Indecent Theology. I think Althaus-Reid's critiques of liberation theology were extremely helpful. Liberation theology has been fetishizes, co-opted, and stripped of its power as it became popular in systematic theology. It's a commodity, traded among academics divorced from concrete situations of oppression and liberation. I think that this is a really helpful warning, especially to someone like me, a heterosexual white male who works primarily in theologies of liberation. I didn't really like much else about this book. And it's hard to talk about the specifics I didn't like because I think what it boils down to is a fundamentally different epistemic starting point. I value tradition (and recognize its flaws) and scripture and I privilege them (along with my ecclesial location) as my authority and starting point for theology. Althaus-Reid does not share these convictions and thus her theology is completely different from what I would do, or often even what I would consider "theological." It feels to me a lot like justifying certain desires (i.e. polygamy, S&M) with a theological system. Authority becomes one's own desires/body. It's hard to fully communicate my critiques here. I think they'd be more fitting in a paper or sustained engagement with Althaus-Reid.

  2. 5 out of 5

    John Lussier

    Indecent Theology is Marcella's attempt to examine Christian theology through the lenses of queer theory and liberation/feminist theology. Ultimately her reliance on queer theory over rides any Christian theology you might find. Indecent Theology is Marcella's attempt to examine Christian theology through the lenses of queer theory and liberation/feminist theology. Ultimately her reliance on queer theory over rides any Christian theology you might find.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Alex Stroshine

    This was an awful book, the worst theology I have ever read (it is less theology and more heresy). Dwight Davis' review (also on Goodreads) is well worth reading. Marcella Althaus-Reid seems more obsessed with scattering sexual innuendo rather than providing substantial thought. She avoids engaging with Scripture or the Christian tradition and dedicates her convoluted tome to defending "indecent" (i.e. non-heteronormative) sexual desires and expressions. A typical sentence reads: "That Spermatic This was an awful book, the worst theology I have ever read (it is less theology and more heresy). Dwight Davis' review (also on Goodreads) is well worth reading. Marcella Althaus-Reid seems more obsessed with scattering sexual innuendo rather than providing substantial thought. She avoids engaging with Scripture or the Christian tradition and dedicates her convoluted tome to defending "indecent" (i.e. non-heteronormative) sexual desires and expressions. A typical sentence reads: "That Spermatic Word is the word of origins, the word and embodiment of God the Father who produces praxis (actions and thoughts) by a process we may call 'Spermatogenesis'. This Spermatogenesis is the creation of discourses of rationality in the testes (testicles; the place of the divine testimony) of God. From God's testicles, as his divine witnesses, we find a process of auto-dissemination of the Word from which women in Christianity have been excluded. Therefore, God the Father is the scribe of his lonely creational pleasures, for His is the pen/is (Battersby 1989: 50), the power and the glory" (p. 54). There are much worse lines than these in the book where Althaus-Reid speculates on Christ having a transvestite and God being a faggot. How this was ever published by Routledge is a queer mystery to me. Suddenly the Index Librorum Prohibitorum makes sense...

  4. 4 out of 5

    Naomi

    My favorite version of Althaus-Reid's thesis: "The problem is that it is easier to live without God than without the heterosexual concept of man. They need to be undressed simultaneously. The subversiveness of a religious system lies in the sexual subversions in that disorderly core of abnormal sexual narratives where virgins give birth and male trinities may signify the incoherence of one male definition only, in the tension between patriarchal identity and difference." (p. 18) My favorite version of Althaus-Reid's thesis: "The problem is that it is easier to live without God than without the heterosexual concept of man. They need to be undressed simultaneously. The subversiveness of a religious system lies in the sexual subversions in that disorderly core of abnormal sexual narratives where virgins give birth and male trinities may signify the incoherence of one male definition only, in the tension between patriarchal identity and difference." (p. 18)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jocylynn

    This book, along with Jim Cone's "A Black Theology of Liberation," is the reason I will probably never agree with the entirety of traditional Christian doctrine. This book, along with Jim Cone's "A Black Theology of Liberation," is the reason I will probably never agree with the entirety of traditional Christian doctrine.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Brad Inglis

    Despite only being able to completely understand about 80% of this book, and not fully agreeing with half of that, I would say that this is a must read if you are interested in any sort of liberation/feminist theology. While exploring the intersections of sexuality, indecency and theology, Marcella Althaus-Reid provides a confronting, materialist approach to what is typically a decent, heterosexual area of study. While this book is a challenge, it is a very rewarding read, as the author takes yo Despite only being able to completely understand about 80% of this book, and not fully agreeing with half of that, I would say that this is a must read if you are interested in any sort of liberation/feminist theology. While exploring the intersections of sexuality, indecency and theology, Marcella Althaus-Reid provides a confronting, materialist approach to what is typically a decent, heterosexual area of study. While this book is a challenge, it is a very rewarding read, as the author takes you down the hallway of indecent theology, opening doors, and inviting you to explore. This is a much needed exploration in the 21st century, as the church grapples with its complicity in colonialism, capitalism and the dismissal of the indecent human.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ozy Frantz

    Did not finish. A lot of really interesting ideas and I continue to be interested in sex-positive kinky theology, but this book was written in a very dull and incomprehensible style that made it almost impossible to follow her argument.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie

    Loved reading this, so much meat to chew on, and lots of a-ha moments.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Denise Sudbeck

    The third read as I'm working on a dissertation. Every read has been something new. The third read as I'm working on a dissertation. Every read has been something new.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Broadwell

    Going Commando with Theology Review: Marcella Althaus-Reid’s Indecent Theology: Theological Perversions in Sex, Gender, and Politics, published in 2000, seeks to uncover untouched areas of feminist and queer liberation theologies, while overturning hetero-sexualities and practices at the base of their hetero-narratives. In the introduction, A-R describes the text as a “multidisciplinary approach and drawing on Sexual Theory, Postcolonial criticism, Queer studies and theologies, Marxist Studies, C Going Commando with Theology Review: Marcella Althaus-Reid’s Indecent Theology: Theological Perversions in Sex, Gender, and Politics, published in 2000, seeks to uncover untouched areas of feminist and queer liberation theologies, while overturning hetero-sexualities and practices at the base of their hetero-narratives. In the introduction, A-R describes the text as a “multidisciplinary approach and drawing on Sexual Theory, Postcolonial criticism, Queer studies and theologies, Marxist Studies, Continental Philosophy and Systematic Theology.” (7). The first of five chapters locates the context of the discussion—the “indecent” lemon vendors of Buenos Aires— to challenge theology and its hetero-Grand Narratives as well as LT. Chapter two “indecents” the ambiguous metaphors in X theology. Theology as a sexual act is erected systematically in chapter three, in a non-Vanilla fashion. Chapter four arouses sexual stories and fetishism, particularly those of marginalized persons, to engage in the hermeneutical circle with theology. The fifth and final chapter analyzes the economy of hetero-theology and patriarchal “Savage” Capitalism. Analysis: I struggle with calling books academic or inaccessible, yet this text is overwhelmingly both of these things. The reader of this highly provocative and insightful text must be an academic well versed in each of the studies mentioned above in order to successfully follow some of the shockingly indecent proposals that are sometimes unleavened. However, Althaus-Reid does take up quite the task and, for the most part, sheds light on the gaping holes in Savage Theology/ Capitalism. Returning to the introduction, her description of the marginalized voices becomes increasingly helpful in understanding the context of her theology. Engaging in this type of indecenting, what one may call the furthest boundaries of society, is the very work of theology.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Sverker

    This is certainly a critique on instituted Christianity and Western Theology. It is made from a complete queer theory backdrop with a blend of liberation theology, even though that is critiqued heavily as well. There are interesting points in this book and it challenges how one should think about Christianity and oppression in the future. There is more to the poor, than simply being poor. I think the concept of intersectionality fits in well here. I find it somewhat disturbing though how Althaus This is certainly a critique on instituted Christianity and Western Theology. It is made from a complete queer theory backdrop with a blend of liberation theology, even though that is critiqued heavily as well. There are interesting points in this book and it challenges how one should think about Christianity and oppression in the future. There is more to the poor, than simply being poor. I think the concept of intersectionality fits in well here. I find it somewhat disturbing though how Althaus-Reid so completely embosoms queer theory. Maybe, I'm simply not there yet, but I cannot quite see the legitimacy of some of the queer theory interpretations, specifically with her readings on the Gospels. I don't think I'm prudish, or maybe I'm that too, or I'm so stuck in my heteronormativity, but I wonder if there is such validity in turning heterosexuality to the main culprit of oppression. My impression becomes that queer theory is simply another ideology which you need to either embrace or be cast out as "the Other" or "the heteronormative". I'm certainly leaning more towards Volf's understanding and interpretations on exclusion and embrace. He seem to reach a way forward to inclusion. I don't quite see that here. When reading this book, and being unable to quite get to grips with it or even understand it, I realized further that I think that it is because the book is so thoroughly Catholic. So many of the questions are (what I felt) uniquely South American and Catholic. I disagree with so much of what she is exemplifying, but for other reasons, that it is difficult to know where I should have my own starting point. Althaus-Reid certainly takes the bull that is institutional Christendom and Liberation Theology by the horn, but my feeling is that the Catholicism is left untouched?

  12. 4 out of 5

    Aaron

    Phwoar. This is one of those books so loaded with language that you can't really understand what it's saying. Like much of philosophy. But it was also pretty thought-inspiring. I can't think my way into Althaus-Reid's social location--I'm not female, I'm not Argentinian, I'm not bisexual. But I agree with much of what she's saying. And I do think that the Church is bound by a patriarchalism from which it cannot free itself. The welcome that queer folk find in the Church is the same that people o Phwoar. This is one of those books so loaded with language that you can't really understand what it's saying. Like much of philosophy. But it was also pretty thought-inspiring. I can't think my way into Althaus-Reid's social location--I'm not female, I'm not Argentinian, I'm not bisexual. But I agree with much of what she's saying. And I do think that the Church is bound by a patriarchalism from which it cannot free itself. The welcome that queer folk find in the Church is the same that people of color find--come join us, but please leave your culture at the door; be Hispanic, but act like Germans or Scandinavians; be queer, but act like a shellac-perfect heterosexual. Liberation in Christ means liberation of sexuality too, and a full acknowledgement of our queerness means that even the heterosexuals will be queered, will be able to admit that a colonial sexual ideal is a falsehood, and in doing so, straight people will admit to reality and be liberated too. So while I didn't love the book, I loved the thoughts I had while reading it.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Andiepants

    Rarely do I get hot and bothered reading theology, with the exception of the intellectual turn on that I get from any well written book, but Althaus-Reid had me stimulated from head down. Shit, this woman knows how to write. Some of he theory seemed distanced from the population she claimed to have been writing to - which is an ongoing theme with liberation theologians - but her anecdotes were so headily realistic that you can almost overlook the other problems.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Oz Ortega

    Lo he dejado después de 100 páginas---es DEMASIADO especializado como para que el público "general" lo lea...Lleno de neologismos, conceptos "raros" y lenguaje pomposo Lo he dejado después de 100 páginas---es DEMASIADO especializado como para que el público "general" lo lea...Lleno de neologismos, conceptos "raros" y lenguaje pomposo

  15. 5 out of 5

    Meredith

    oh boy oh boy oh boy. I think this will be at my house in a few days.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sunshine Jeremiah

  17. 4 out of 5

    Paige

  18. 4 out of 5

    K.M.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl Green

  20. 4 out of 5

    Bailey

  21. 4 out of 5

    Maura

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ivy Deng

  23. 5 out of 5

    Chris Wickersham

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sarah K

  25. 4 out of 5

    Maggie Mayhem

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jose Chacón

  27. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

  28. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Woeppel

  29. 5 out of 5

    Grant Swanson

  30. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Drexler

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