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Radical Love: An Introduction to Queer Theology

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  240 ratings  ·  32 reviews
Contextual theologies have developed from a number of perspectives including feminist theology, Black theology, womanist theology, Latin American liberation theology, and Asian American theology and a wide variety of academic and general introductions exist to examine each one.

However, Radical Love is the first introductory textbook on the subject of queer theology.

Paperback, 161 pages
Published March 1st 2011 by Seabury Books
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Steven Denton
Nov 02, 2011 rated it it was ok
I appreciate what this book does for the LGBT community (especially those who are religious) in extending the ideas of liberation theology to a people group that is commonly shunned or condemned by modern day religion. The calling for a dissolution of boundaries, unlimited love, and acceptance is something with which I am fully on board. I also recognize that this book is a collection of views, and cites mannny opinions, not just Cheng's.

That being said, the two star rating stems from, what I
As a teaching text, this is a home run. I cannot imagine a better introduction to queer theology for any audience. The language is simple and accessible without simplifying, never getting in the way of the genuinely challenging ideas Cheng constantly raises up from the community and its advocates. Yet the footnotes and bibliography are comprehensive: A doctoral student doing a field exam in queer theology could take this up as their syllabus, unchanged. Scholars and churches have both needed ...more
Jordan Varey
Dec 02, 2015 rated it it was ok
In todays political and social climate it can feel like it is not okay to not like books of this nature. I think a large part of the reason is because of the authors's motive for writing. Cheng writes out of his own experience as a victim of social hatred and injustice. A few times in these pages he alludes to being bullied, rejected, judged, etc. often at the hands of the religious "right".

So I want to be respectful of Cheng and others that have shared his experience. I do not know what it
Jul 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Nice introduction to the material, but probably paints in too broad of strokes. The thesis centers on queer theology erasing boundaries that limit radical love and the author has a understanding of a wide view of perpsectives. The best part of the book is its bibliography which leads to me to do further reading and research.
Jeremy Garber
Mar 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology
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 ...more
Oct 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
I have a lot of mixed feelings on Radical Love, but I was really glad to have read it. Cheng is extremely accessible, especially to people who have an open mind and no prior knowledge to the mind-bender that is Queer Theory. In some ways, I think he took liberties with the theoretical lens in order to use cultural references that a queer theorist should argue against (ex/ gay-dar and coming out of the closet). However, this book is a trove of other queer-focused religious literature and I wasn't ...more
Omar Abreu
May 16, 2016 rated it liked it
This book is an amazing introduction to Queer Theology. It was so informative, and offered a great overview of the many spheres within Queer Liberation theory. As a former Evangelical, it was very confronting to read about liberation theologies that differed from my experience (i.e. bodily hospitality). But as I read, I become more open to the scope of Queer Theology, and learned to appreciate the vastness of Queer Experience in a Christian context. I would strongly recommend this book for ...more
May 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Cheng contends that "Christian theology is fundamentally a queer enterprise" what with doctrines like the Trinity, incarnation, etc. More than a simple overview or introduction to queer theologies, the book itself is a survey of all the traditional major doctrines of systematic theology around the organizing theme of radical love. He defines this as "a love so extreme that it dissolves our existing boundaries." Cheng writes that "Christian theology can be understood as a three-part drama about ...more
Brian Hutzell
Oct 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology, bible, queer
There were several times when reading Radical Love that I found myself thinking, Oh, come on! How are you possibly reading that into the text?!? But then I thought of Jared Byas reminder that All theology has an adjective, mine included. So when I read a book which approaches the Bible through any lens different from my own, it is worth my while to pay attention and see what the author has to say. In that light, I found Chengs introduction to queer theology eye-opening. ...more
Robert A. Bongiovanni
A forceful yet compassionate case

Patrick Chang has written a concise, clear summary of the controversial field of Queer Theology. For the soul-weary gay person, Cheng offers encouragement with thoughtful, scholarly references. For the theologian, he promotes a breaking open of old ideas that have hindered full expression of radical love.
Melodie Roschman
Aug 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: phd-reading
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, religion
A little highbrow for my taste. Interesting and enjoyable at times, but some of the leaps in logic seemed a little big for me. Good to push my thinking, though. The notion of Jesus as intersex was very thought-provoking.
Jan 14, 2020 rated it liked it
I was hoping for a little depth in this book. It read more like one sentence descriptions of a lot of thinkers. Probably a good place to start to find deeper writing - hence the Introduction in the subtitle.
Jan 08, 2018 rated it liked it
This book is fine if you're already familiar with theology and queer studies and you're looking for a intro to how the two intersect. If you're familiar with only one or neither field, I think this book will probably leave you confused at best and turned off from queer theology at worst. Basically it's just too short. Cheng makes several controversial claims without giving a lot of time to flesh them out, leaving you confused as to what he really wanted to say. It's a short book that would have ...more
Dec 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent, thought-provoking book that I wish had been around fifteen years ago when I really needed it.
Christopher Broadwell
Sep 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sex-and-gender
In this introduction to queer theology, Cheng covers quite a bit of theological ground. The ecumenical work, written with Christian traditions both Protestant and Catholic in mind, introduces this study by defining terms, a useful section in a ever-growing and changing field. Also in the first chapter Cheng makes detailed use of the Wesleyan quadrilateral, ascertaining how one arrives at queer theology. Cheng devotes the second chapter to the recent development of queer theologies (indicating ...more
Just A. Bean
Mar 22, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: lgbt, christain
Radical Love was starting to grow on me until I finally pinned down what was bothering me about it. Then I strongly considered pitching it at a wall:

For Robert Shore-Goss, same-sex unions, including same-sex marriages, are sacred because they often exist without the same "heterosexist power relations or conjugal stereotypes" that occur within heterosexual marriage. For example, [my husband] Michael and I have a division of household chores... that is based upon what works for us and not gender
Sep 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
A great text for a study group or a class where queer theology is one section (if one were doing a whole course, one would probably use the source texts instead). The style is of a textbook with study questions at the end of each chapter. In addition it is well cited at each chapter contains a list of works to read should one wish to learn more about the particular topic. It is very easy to read and does not suppose a high level of biblical exegesis, etc., explaining key terms along the way.

Jun 26, 2015 rated it it was ok
Though accessible and easy to read, I think Cheng may have taken his thesis--that queer theology is based on boundary-erasing love--too far. I found myself put off by the insistence that all boundaries should be crossed, especially in the chapter on Mary, the Mother of Christ, which intimated that even sexual boundaries between family members might be erased. To be fair, Cheng was speaking theologically, and specifically in reference to Mary and Christ, but our theology informs our decisions and ...more
May 09, 2019 rated it liked it
this is a difficult book for me to review (esp bc my rating is more like 3.5) and I read it alongside my community group, which entailed a lot of discussion, group learning, and to be frank, some critique of the content. I will say I learned a lot and that the book very much fulfilled its purpose it was a great introduction to queer theology! I appreciated the framing of the trinity and how very queer that is (some fun hot takes: god is a top, sex in heaven is gonna be lit, etc.) but I thought ...more
Shay Gabriel
Jan 01, 2013 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: teachers
Probably a good teaching text, as it's accessible, but man do I hate the majority of queer theology (and I'm queer + Christian myself). I find queer theology fairly insipid.

I'm not interested in trying to project stereotypical tropes of my sexuality onto God, and I think LGBT perspectives are more important to theology in what they have to say about ecclesiology - the nature of the church, the challenges of community, and what it means to be in the Body of Christ.

A lot of ideas of queer theology
John Paul Ross
Dec 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
An excellent introduction to Queer Theology. If your interested in learning more about Queer Theology and Inclusive, Radical forms of love this is a great place to start. Patrick Cheng chronicles the long history and key thinkers in Queer Theory and how those theories can help us understand the trinity in a much more accepting and comprehendible fashion. It's an introduction so after reading you'll have a wider array of options to choose from. I'm still learning about this form of theology but ...more
Roy L.  Brooks
Apr 16, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent Overview

This book provides an amazing account of much if not nearly all of the work being done in queer theology today. Cheng draws upon his own experience and thinking of God within the trinity to replicate how barriers and exclusive boundaries are broken down. I have given it four stars because at points, Cheng's extensive summaries become tiresome. It is unfortunate that the writer's own ideas are surrounded by so much summary; he certainly positions himself among them, but does so
John Lussier
May 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015-reads
A phenomenal introduction to queer theology. Cheng expertly and succinctly gives us a perusal of the various ways LGBTQ folks have thought about God. Imagine lets the work cross alot of boundaries, and pretty much throws in every queer theological voice he can find, so I had a lot I disagreed with... but that's exactly what the book is about: the radical love of God, crossing boundaries to be with his people. The resources Cheng has put into this make it ideal for anyone looking to read and ...more
I like cake
Nov 10, 2012 rated it it was ok
I am currently undertaking a second reading in order to critique it. There is some not very thoughtful theology in this book. It is highly recommended as an introduction to queer theology, but to me it seems just to systematically queer aspects of Christianity rather than actually doing the theology and seeing what is there. I find the strong links made between 'queer' and 'sex' and 'God' to be off-putting and contrived.
Chris Sosa
Nov 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-by-friends
My dear friend wrote this book, so although I'm quite an ardent atheist, I gave it a shot. I was completely impressed by Cheng's rhetorical skill in navigating a subject whose rhetoric tends to favor the opposition. While my answer would be to dump the system a la Christopher Hitchens, Cheng offers an alternative many will find compelling and thoughtful. A worthwhile read for anyone interested in the subject, as Cheng is a leading expert in the field who writes with succinct clarity.
I read this book for LGBTQ Pastoral Ministry. It's an excellent, broad introduction to queer theology- exactly as advertised. If you're looking for an in depth analysis of any particular topic, this book won't work for you, but it accomplishes what it sets out to do in an incredibly readable, accessible way.

My only complaint: Cheng doesn't have a strong voice and his writing style can be flat.
Aug 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
An accessible book on a complex subject. Radical Love is rigorously academic without the jargon and self-aggrandizing character of many scholarly works. Kudos to Cheng for writing a book that will be useful in the academy and the parish.
Mark Fulk
Jan 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Good introduction, but fairly basic in its approach.
Violet Rose
Mar 18, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: theology
This book is okay. A lot of Cheng's theology is underdeveloped. The ideas appear to make sense but his concept of sin is still unclear.
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