God, Sex, and Gender: An Introduction

God, Sex, and Gender: An Introduction

God, Sex, and Gender: An Introduction

God, Sex, and Gender: An Introduction

Synopsis

Engagingly and clearly written by a highly respected theologian, God, Sex, and Gender is the first comprehensive introduction to a theology of both sexuality and gender available in a single volume.
  • Makes a theological contribution to understanding the unprecedented changes in sexual and gender relationships of the last fifty years
  • Discusses many topics including: sexual difference; sexual equality; gender and power; the nature of desire; the future of marriage in Christian sexual ethics; homosexuality and same-sex unions; the problems of sexual minorities; contraception in a time of HIV/AIDS; the separation of sexual experience from marriage; and offers new arguments for marriage and for chastity
  • Offers a consistent and engaging introduction at the cutting edge of theological inquiry, which is contemporary, undogmatic, questioning, and relevant to readers' experience, interests, and needs
  • Written lucidly and engagingly by an established and respected academic who has published widely in this area

Excerpt

Who Are You?

“Hello.” When I write books, I like to envisage who will read them. Writing and reading form a powerful means of communication, but with one defect. A dialogue between the speaker and the reader can never become an audible or spoken exchange. Readers cannot complain to an author’s face if he or she is unclear (as we Theology authors often are). Nor can they interrupt if they disagree. And authors miss all those looks of surprise, bewilderment, discovery, or rejection that accompany class discussion. So it helps this author, at least, to imagine who his readers are, why they are reading this book, what they hope to get from it, how much they already know, even the countries where they live and the religious backgrounds (if any) which may already be shaping them.

It is a safe bet that many of you will be students, studying sexuality and gender as part of a larger degree or diploma program which might be in Theology, or Religious Studies, or Ethics, or subjects closely related to these. You may be studying in a Church or denominational seminary, or in a Theology department in a secular or Christian university, or in a secular Religious Studies department in a secular University, or some other institution. Often these places are mixed up anyway (in more senses than one). There is a huge range of approaches out there to questions of belief and practice: some institutions would not permit you to study this book at all. If you have a Church allegiance, your Church will already have firm teaching about sex and gender, but there will be arguments raging, overtly or covertly, about its adequacy or its ability to remain relevant to the sex lives and “gender performances” of Christians (see Section 2.1.2 for more on this). Students of Philosophy of Religion and/or Ethics will be interested in the arguments offered here. The strange theological territory we will pass through may provide unusual features not found among the more familiar landscapes of Ancient, or Enlightenment or Modern Philosophy.

Women students in Theology and Religious Studies now outnumber men (at least in the United Kingdom, by 40%) (HESA, 2007–2008). That fact has not only enriched the study of these subjects: it is a revealing indicator of the breathtaking changes to sex and gender roles . . .

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