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Radical Love: An Introduction to Queer Theology Paperback – 1 Mar 2011

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Product details

  • Paperback: 178 pages
  • Publisher: Seabury Books; 1 edition (1 Mar. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596271329
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596271326
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 15 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 273,659 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Patrick S. Cheng is assistant professor of historical & systematic theology at Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge, Mass. He is a contributor to the 2nd edition of Sexuality and the Sacred (WJK), as well as to The Queer Bible Commentary (SCM). Cheng holds a BA from Yale College, a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a Ph.D., M.Phil., and M.A. in systematic theology from Union Theological Seminary in New York. He is an ordained minister in the Metropolitan Community Church.

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 2 Dec. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I say gay, queer of course, LGBTQIA. As a black man coming out of a traditional pentecostal background, this book has helped affirm, clarify my place and the place of Christianity in the grand scheme of things.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By paul casey on 23 Nov. 2014
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Amazing. I couldn't put it down. It has allowed one to defend gay people when it comes to arguing with priests (notoriously Catholic).
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 11 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
A wonderful summary of vital ideas 6 April 2012
By Trudie Barreras - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although I was intrigued by this book when I read an article by the author some time ago, it took me awhile to convince myself to purchase it; actually, as a reviewer for the Amazon Vine program, I hoped it might be offered there. However, even though I have tried to avoid further purchases of books as I continue to re-read those already in my library, Cheng's exceptional re-thinking of theology in the modern context is one I am glad to have encountered.

Let me be honest. I am in fact a person who fits the definition of "queer" that he gives. Although I have been married to a person of the opposite sex for over fifty years, and we are the parents of five children, four of which are "naturally born" and one adopted, my husband is bisexual. At the time when he came out to me, in the early 1970's, there was almost nothing available in terms of positive discussion of alternative lifestyles. Fortunately, due to the writing of Troy Perry, John McNeill, and John Boswell, all of whom are sources cited in Patrick Cheng's amazing treatise, I began to move in the direction of understanding which this author has so wonderfully summarized.

The fact is that Cheng has indeed articulated what everyone who has any interest in the reality of "God with Us", which is the fundamental premise of Christianity, needs to recognize. Although the book is a bit academic in parts, and the footnotes are completely illegible to my aging eyes, his research is impeccable. I know this because over the nearly 40 years of my own journey into understanding the truth that God not only loves, but intentionally created, a diversity that includes people of ALL sexual orientations and genders, I gladly read many of those authors.

The basic premise of this book is that when we say "God is Love", we have to honestly accept the fullness of the meaning of that statement, not just mouth a platitude. Anyone who is serious about going beyond antiquated doctrines into a genuine understanding of what the meaning of Christianity must be for our modern age cannot afford to overlook Cheng's exceptionally creative reflections.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Accessible and Challenging Introduction to a Contextual Theology 3 April 2014
By Jeremy Garber - Published on
Format: Paperback
Patrick S. Cheng provides an accessible, well-organized, yet provocative introduction to queer theology. Cheng, the Assistant Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology at Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, locates queer theology in the traditional loci of systematic theology in order to illustrate how that theology works and also to provide a wealth of resources for further reading. This work is an extremely readable introduction to how, as Cheng describes, being queer is also at the heart of being Christian.

Cheng’s basic thesis (supported by Scripture, church history and modern philosophy) is that Christian theology is organized around radical love, “a love so extreme that it dissolves our existing boundaries…Radical love lies at the heart of both Christian theology and queer theory.” (x) Cheng first defines queer as an umbrella term for all LGBTIQA (lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender-intersex-queer-allies) persons; transgressive action; and the erasure of boundaries. Queer theology, then, is queer people talking about God; talking about God in a self-consciously transgressive manner, and talk about God that “that challenges and deconstructs the natural binary categories of sexual and gender identity.” (9) He also traces the evolution of queer theology from apology through liberation theology to queer theology proper.

The final three chapters then examine the traditional areas of theology through queer eyes of radical love. God is radical love itself expressed in the antihierarchical community of the Trinity, with revelation as God’s “coming out” to creation, and creation as the outpouring of that radical love. Jesus Christ is the recovery of radical love, overcoming the sin of division and judgment through his embodiment of radical love and his rejection of scapegoating. Finally, the Holy Spirit helps us return to radical love in our everyday lives through the church – the community of radical love embodied – and the sacraments and saints that demonstrate that love, all pointing toward an eschatological moment when no identity will be more important than another, but everyone will be a part of the radical love of God.

Clearly, Cheng’s book is not for anyone who de facto rejects the idea that queer people can be Christians – either from the queer or Christian camps. Such readers will probably have their minds made up before engaging Cheng’s arguments. Cheng also provides examples of radical queer theology, particularly in the “transgressive action” understanding, that will make sympathetic but more traditional readers uncomfortable (although Cheng would argue that’s part of the point). Nevertheless, those who truly seek to understand how queerness and Christian theology intersect, as well as those seeking alternative theological understandings of traditional theology, will benefit from Cheng’s clarity and winsome forthrightness in laying out theology from his particular sociological location. I plan to use Cheng’s fifth chapter in my seminary course in pneumatology, and encourage others to use the book similarly. Recommended for graduate students, pastors, and instructors in systematic theology from contextual perspectives.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A great history and explanation of the development of theology Christian theology in the LGBT community. 14 Nov. 2012
By S. Simons - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I would especially recommend this to any seminary student, priest, or religious leader, regardless of their own sexual orientation or gender identity, as a way of understanding how Christ is revealing himself to a people that have been historically marginalized and often excluded by the traditional Church. This really is the story of maturing human spirituality that is becoming incarnate in the emerging churches - and once again demonstrating God's love being revealed by the most unlikely of people.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
I dislike this theology 5 Jun. 2013
By BroYo - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved that Chen makes use of Scripture, Tradition, Reason and Experience in this work, but he ends up overemphasizing experience. Though I am gay and proud of it, I see no need for a book to practically justify promiscuity. Why is monogamy such an issue in the gay community in particular? Why bother writing it?
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Good book, but very contextual 9 Oct. 2013
By Mark David Johnson - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is incredible in a lot of ways - Cheng has reframed theology through a queer lens. My only issue with this book (and it's not really an issue at all) is that he writes from his context as an Asian-American. When I hoped for a book on queer theology, I found a book on queer Asian-American theology.

The work is definitely groundbreaking in the field of queer theology, but it can be found highly-contextual to those who are not of Asian ethnicity.
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