Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Rainbow Theology: Bridging Race, Sexuality, and Spirit

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Rainbow Theology: Bridging Race, Sexuality, and Spirit

Article excerpt

Rainbow Theology: Bridging Race, Sexuality, and Spirit. By Patrick S. Cheng. New York: Seabury Books, 2013. xxi + 185 pp. $24.00 (paper).

Patrick Cheng has established himself as an eloquent voice in the field of queer theology. In this, his third book in as many years, he continues to chart the complexity of a land between multiple borders. In doing so he faces the considerable challenge posed by the very variety he seeks to describe. He is immeasurably helped in this both hy his own clarity as a writer and in the felicity of the undergirding image that informs his work: the rainbow.

One might well observe that the alphabet itself could serve as an effective analogy, as what Cheng admits is an "unwieldy" (p. 100) acronym (LGBTIQ2) seeks to give recognition to the diversity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, and Two Spirit incarnations of the one human being. The issue for Cheng is that this diversity is multiplied and rendered all the more complex for those who, in addition to identifying themselves in one or more of these categories, leading to separation from or oppression by a majority heteronormative culture, also belong to an ethnic group that has suffered its own separation or oppression: Black, Asian, Latina/o, or Indigenous, and which has each itself visited its own forms of oppression or isolation upon its queer members. "LGBTIQ people of color are rejected twice-over" (p. 95). They live in a region of multiple exiles that Cheng seeks to map in this helpful book, in the context of theology by and for queer people of color: a rainbow theology.

This short volume is both a summary and an introduction. Its first half offers a brief but thorough survey of the literature in this emerging field, noting that the works of queer theologians of color from the last twenty years "remain largely unknown within the broader queer theological world" (p. xv). Four chapters offer a virtual catalogue raisonné of the work of Black, Asian, Latina/o, and Two-Spirit Indigenous queer of color theologians. As such, this section could have been a bit dry, but it is leavened with numerous quotations and snippets of narrative that make for both informative and engaging reading. …

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