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Indecent Theology: Theological Perversions in Sex, Gender and Politics

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  97 ratings  ·  15 reviews
Indecent Theology brings liberation theology up to date by introducing the radical critical approaches of gender, postcolonial, and queer theory. Grounded in actual examples from Latin America, Marcella Althaus-Reid's highly provocative, but immaculately researched book reworks three distinct areas of theology - sexual, political and systematic. It exposes the connections ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published December 15th 2000 by Routledge
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Dwight Davis
Dec 15, 2016 rated it it was ok
I always try to be generous when disagreeing so I'll start with what I did like about Indecent Theology. I think Althaus-Reid's critiques of liberation theology were extremely helpful. Liberation theology has been fetishizes, co-opted, and stripped of its power as it became popular in systematic theology. It's a commodity, traded among academics divorced from concrete situations of oppression and liberation. I think that this is a really helpful warning, especially to someone like me, a heterose ...more
John Lussier
Dec 20, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2015-reads
Indecent Theology is Marcella's attempt to examine Christian theology through the lenses of queer theory and liberation/feminist theology. Ultimately her reliance on queer theory over rides any Christian theology you might find. ...more
Alex Stroshine
Dec 18, 2020 rated it did not like it
This was an awful book, the worst theology I have ever read (it is less theology and more heresy). Dwight Davis' review (also on Goodreads) is well worth reading. Marcella Althaus-Reid seems more obsessed with scattering sexual innuendo rather than providing substantial thought. She avoids engaging with Scripture or the Christian tradition and dedicates her convoluted tome to defending "indecent" (i.e. non-heteronormative) sexual desires and expressions. A typical sentence reads:

"That Spermatic
My favorite version of Althaus-Reid's thesis: "The problem is that it is easier to live without God than without the heterosexual concept of man. They need to be undressed simultaneously. The subversiveness of a religious system lies in the sexual subversions in that disorderly core of abnormal sexual narratives where virgins give birth and male trinities may signify the incoherence of one male definition only, in the tension between patriarchal identity and difference." (p. 18) ...more
Jan 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book, along with Jim Cone's "A Black Theology of Liberation," is the reason I will probably never agree with the entirety of traditional Christian doctrine. ...more
Brad Inglis
Aug 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Despite only being able to completely understand about 80% of this book, and not fully agreeing with half of that, I would say that this is a must read if you are interested in any sort of liberation/feminist theology. While exploring the intersections of sexuality, indecency and theology, Marcella Althaus-Reid provides a confronting, materialist approach to what is typically a decent, heterosexual area of study. While this book is a challenge, it is a very rewarding read, as the author takes yo ...more
Ozy Frantz
Apr 03, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: jesus
Did not finish. A lot of really interesting ideas and I continue to be interested in sex-positive kinky theology, but this book was written in a very dull and incomprehensible style that made it almost impossible to follow her argument.
Sep 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Loved reading this, so much meat to chew on, and lots of a-ha moments.
Denise Sudbeck
Jan 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
The third read as I'm working on a dissertation. Every read has been something new. ...more
Christopher Broadwell
Sep 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sex-and-gender
Going Commando with Theology
Review: Marcella Althaus-Reid’s Indecent Theology: Theological Perversions in Sex, Gender, and Politics, published in 2000, seeks to uncover untouched areas of feminist and queer liberation theologies, while overturning hetero-sexualities and practices at the base of their hetero-narratives. In the introduction, A-R describes the text as a “multidisciplinary approach and drawing on Sexual Theory, Postcolonial criticism, Queer studies and theologies, Marxist Studies, C
Joseph Sverker
This is certainly a critique on instituted Christianity and Western Theology. It is made from a complete queer theory backdrop with a blend of liberation theology, even though that is critiqued heavily as well. There are interesting points in this book and it challenges how one should think about Christianity and oppression in the future. There is more to the poor, than simply being poor. I think the concept of intersectionality fits in well here. I find it somewhat disturbing though how Althaus ...more
Feb 02, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: sexuality, theology
Phwoar. This is one of those books so loaded with language that you can't really understand what it's saying. Like much of philosophy. But it was also pretty thought-inspiring. I can't think my way into Althaus-Reid's social location--I'm not female, I'm not Argentinian, I'm not bisexual. But I agree with much of what she's saying. And I do think that the Church is bound by a patriarchalism from which it cannot free itself. The welcome that queer folk find in the Church is the same that people o ...more
Apr 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
Rarely do I get hot and bothered reading theology, with the exception of the intellectual turn on that I get from any well written book, but Althaus-Reid had me stimulated from head down. Shit, this woman knows how to write. Some of he theory seemed distanced from the population she claimed to have been writing to - which is an ongoing theme with liberation theologians - but her anecdotes were so headily realistic that you can almost overlook the other problems.
Oz Ortega
Lo he dejado después de 100 páginas---es DEMASIADO especializado como para que el público "general" lo lea...Lleno de neologismos, conceptos "raros" y lenguaje pomposo ...more
oh boy oh boy oh boy. I think this will be at my house in a few days.
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Marcella Althaus-Reid was Professor of Contextual Theology at New College, University of Edinburgh. When appointed, she was the only woman professor of theology at a Scottish University, and the first woman professor of theology at New College in its 160 year history.

She graduated with a Bachelor in Theology Degree from ISEDET, the Protestant University Institute in Buenos Aires. She completed her

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55 likes · 27 comments
“In theology, and in revolutionary theology, it is discontinuity and not continuation which is most valuable and transformative, so the location of excluded areas in theology is crucial. For instance, poverty and sensuality as a whole has been marginalised from theology. Why does a theology from the poor need to be sexually neutral, a theology of economics which excludes their desires? And what do those desires tell us about Christ in Latin America? The gap between Liberation Theology and Postcolonial Theory is one of identity and consciousness, but the gap between a Feminist Liberation Theology and an Indecent Theology is one of sexual honesty.” 2 likes
“poor people are presented in the Theology of Liberation as decent, that is, asexual or monogamous heterosexual spouses united in the holy sacrament of marriage, people of faith and struggle who do not masturbate, have lustful thoughts at prayer times, cross-dress, or enjoy leather practices. However, if we keep falsifying human relationships in the name not only of God (a habit to which we have grown accustomed) we must remember that we do it also in our love for justice.” 2 likes
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