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Queering the Church

The Theological and Ecclesial Potential of Failure

Queering the Church

The Theological and Ecclesial Potential of Failure

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Paperback / softback

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Publisher: SCM Press
ISBN: 9780334065623
Number of Pages: 208
Published: 31/05/2024
Width: 15.6 cm
Height: 23.4 cm

Church discourses, such as official reports and debates in General Synod, are predicated on the belief that canonical authority can produce a liveable theology and coherent ecclesial and liturgical practices. This book will que(e)ry the methodologies of reports such as the Pillinig Report, set in the context of earlier church reports on sexuality and later analysis of the fallout from the liturgical developments arising from Living in Love and Faith, and anaylse the hermeneutical lenses through which these choose to examine homosexuality and its place in church polity. Drawing on the Halberstam’s concept of the ‘queer art of failure’, Penelope Doe suggests that one resolution to the endless parade of church reports on sexuality is a turning away from such reports and institutionally sanctioned debate, and towards an undoing of theological privilege and hierarchical constructions of authority.

Image credit: Pink Crucifixion by Craigie Aitchison from the Methodist Modern Art Collection © TMCP, used by kind permission of the Craigie Aitchison Estate, courtesy of Piano Nobile, London

 

 

Penelope Cowell Doe

Dr Penelope Cowell Doe earned her PhD in theology at Exeter University. Previously she studied at Kings College London, and before that worked as a producer for BBC TV. She regularly leads courses in Exeter Diocese including teaching New Testament for the South West Ministry Training Course (SWMTC).

"This timely book provides in-depth analysis of the Church of England's Pilling Report on human sexuality and of its 'afterlives' and reception within the church. It traces the genealogy between this report, its older antecedents from the 1970s onwards, and ongoing debates about whether and how the Church of England might formally bless same-sex couples' relationships. Doe incisively shows that well-meant attempts to succeed in holding everyone together might actually deflect the church from a more authentic call, namely to recognize and name its own failure. Doe argues that theological consensus on same-sex relationships may be simply impossible. The book challenges those invested in Church of England tussles over sexuality to consider what would happen if appeals to unity and success were replaced by more honest reflections on the realities of powerlessness, loss, and self-abnegation." -- Susannah Cornwall
"This is an important read for anyone longing for change in a Church of England that denies full belonging to LGBTIQ+ people. Doe argues persuasively that the marginalisation of queer voices is baked into the whole culture of the Church’s official deliberation and decision-making. This is powerful and sobering – but Doe also holds out the hope that we might learn to think, talk and live together differently." -- Mike Higton
"Remarkably, Doe is saying something new and incisive about sexuality and church reports about it. She shows how time after time reports replicate their own vast and unexamined assumptions – about power and privilege, method, knowledge, ‘normativity’, and so on. A fine, imaginative achievement." -- Adrian Thatcher

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