Queer Virtue: What LGBTQ People Know About Life and Love and How It Can Revitalize Christianity

Book, 2017, 181 pp
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LGBTQ people are a gift to the Church and have the potential to revitalize Christianity.

As an openly lesbian Episcopal priest and professional advocate for LGBTQ justice, the Reverend Elizabeth Edman has spent her career grappling with the core tenets of her faith. After deep reflection on her tradition, Edman is struck by the realization that her queer identity has taught her more about how to be a good Christian than the church.

In Queer Virtue, Edman posits that Christianity, at its scriptural core, incessantly challenges its adherents to rupture false binaries, to "queer" lines that pit people against one another. Thus, Edman asserts that Christianity, far from being hostile to queer people, is itself inherently queer. Arguing from the heart of scripture, she reveals how queering Christianity-that is, disrupting simplistic ways of thinking about self and other-can illuminate contemporary Christian faith. Pushing well past the notion that "Christian love = tolerance," Edman offers a bold alternative- the recognition that queer people can help Christians better understand their fundamental calling and the creation of sacred space where LGBTQ Christians are seen as gifts to the church.

By bringing queer ethics and Christian theology into conversation, Edman also shows how the realities of queer life demand a lived response of high moral calibre-one that resonates with the ethical path laid down by Christianity. Lively and impassioned, Edman proposes that queer experience be celebrated as inherently valuable, ethically virtuous, and illuminating the sacred.

A rich and nuanced exploration, Queer Virtue mines the depths of Christianity's history, mission, and core theological premises to call all Christians to a more authentic and robust understanding of their faith.

Also see related article, Love Across Boundaries: Reclaiming and Revitalizing Christianity through Pride.

“Elizabeth Edman’s Queer Virtue is a powerful work of theological and autobiographical reflection that illuminates the deep connections between queerness and Christianity. This book will be a valuable guide for anyone who navigates the liminal spaces between these distinct yet mutually reinforcing worlds.” —Reverend Patrick S. Cheng, author of Radical Love: An Introduction to Queer Theology

“The once marginalized discipline of gay studies is now decidedly back in the curriculum and in the intellectual arena. This book is a sterling example of the best of it, and on a subject—ethics and morality—that is an emerging area of interest in all fields. It will be a little classic, and will be read and argued about for a long time to come.” —Harvey Cox, author of The Future of Faith and How to Read the Bible

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