Queering Christian Worship

Reconstructing Liturgical Theology

Edited by Bryan Cones, Sharon R. Fennema, Scott Haldeman, Stephen Burns

Nov/2023, 256 Pages, PAPERBACK, 6 x 9

ISBN-13: 9781640656499



A groundbreaking collection of writings that place queer ritual at the center of the theological conversation.

In this collection of essays, leading scholars in queer theology and liturgical studies explore the ways in which the distinctive theological voices of LGBTQIA+ Christians challenge and expand thinking and practice around worship in new directions. This challenge has expanded in the past decades, as obstacles to the full participation of queer Christians—particularly in marriage and ordination—have fallen.

Organized into three main parts, the volume begins with an introduction to queer engagement with ritual practices, continues with a series of case studies that examine queer texts and contexts, and concludes with an examination of the horizons of queer liturgical theology and practice. Throughout the volume, Queering Christian Worship provides new imagination and tools to those who study and curate Christian worship across traditions.

BRYAN CONES holds a PhD in liturgical and practical theology from the University of Divinity in Melbourne, Australia, and is an honorary postdoctoral researcher at Pilgrim Theological College/University of Divinity. He is the author of This Assembly of Believers: The Gifts of Difference in the Church at Prayer (SCM Press, 2020) and co-editor (with Stephen Burns) of Liturgy with a Difference: Beyond Inclusion in the Christian Assembly (SCM, 2019). He lives in Chicago, Illinois.

SHARON R. FENNEMA is Assistant Professor of Worship and Director of Worship Life at Pacific School of Religion and the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. Her scholarship focuses on the intersections of critical theories, especially queer, postcolonial and critical race theories, with liturgical theology and practices. Recent articles and essays include: “Christian (De)Formation: Gender Theory and Per/forming Identity in Christian Worship” in Practical Matters 7.2 (2014); “Postcolonial Whiteness: Being With in Worship” in Only One is Holy: Liturgy in Postcolonial Perspectives (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015); and “The Forgetfulness of Gentrification and the Pilgrimage of Protest: Re-Membering the Body of Christ,” in Review & Expositor 115 (2018). She is a worship consultant and lay leader in the United Church of Christ. She lives in Berkley, California.

SCOTT HALDEMAN is Associate Professor of Worship at Chicago Theological Seminary in Chicago, Illinois. Specializing in the history, theology and practice of US Protestant worship, Haldeman is also interested in the less formal ways human beings ritualize themselves in relation to various categories of identity, such as race/ethnicity, gender and sexuality. His first book, Towards Liturgies of Reconciliation: Race and Rites among African American and European American Protestants (Ashgate Publishing Ltd., 2007), analyzes the role of racism in the development of US Protestant worship. In queer religious studies, examples of his work include: “A Queer Fidelity: Reinventing Christian Marriage” in Theology and Sexuality 13:2 (Spring 2007). He lives in Chicago, Illinois.

Queering Christian Worship is an invitation to embrace queerness in Christian worship, to celebrate the gift of the incarnation, and the joy of participating in God’s radical polyamorous love, embracing plurality, and calling on us to care for one another and for the planet.”
—Ángel Francisco Méndez Montoya, Professor of Philosophy and Religion, Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico

“Delightfully queer ways to worship come to light in this bold and illuminating collection of essays by leading scholars. They amplify the distinctive voices of LGBTQIA2S+ Christians who are transforming traditional liturgical practices, including preaching, sacraments, and music. The three-part book examines the growing impact of queer viewpoints on church rituals, provides case studies, and looks ahead at potential futures. Thoughtful reflections explore controversies that arose when more inclusive worship methods were introduced. Readers will be blessed by visions of worship that affirms queer experiences at the sacred intersection of faith and identity.”
—Kittredge Cherry, author of Equal Rites: Lesbian and Gay Worship, Ceremonies, and Celebrations

Queering Christian Worship brings the readier into a busy intersection of methods and perspectives on ways that the experience of LGBTQIA2S+ Christians has yet to find a hospitable space within Christian worship. It also proposes how the lives of LGBTQIA2S+ Christians can offer a prophetic critique of current liturgical practice, and it maps out pathways leading to a more authentic Christian worship that includes all the members of the Body of Christ. The writers of this volume do not necessarily agree among themselves, and the reader may not agree with every claim made here. However, listening to these voices with respect and openness can lead to greater coherence between a lex credendi, which embodies the expansive and inclusive embrace of Jesus, and the lex orandi of Christian churches.
—Donald LaSalle, past president of the North American Academy of Liturgy


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