Intimate Life Together: A Decolonial Theology

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2017

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Abstract

Disease metaphors dominate Christian theological discourses that equate sex with sin. When Christianity is imagined to “cure” sexuality, religious communities push out those members who are perceived to threaten the health of the social body. Progressive policy might give the impression that sexual liberation is best realized when disentangled from religion. Post-apartheid, democratic South Africa serves as a test case because it boasts having implemented some of the most progressive policies on sexuality. However, its groundbreaking laws have not curbed the country’s high rate of hate crimes, which largely target LGBTIQ citizens. In order to account for this dissonance, I elucidate the shortcomings of both progressive policy and theology before offering a constructive alternative. This project requires a transnational, interdisciplinary methodology that integrates Christian theology, critical theory, biblical theology, and fieldwork. The first three chapters critique theological and political attempts to “cure” sexuality in exchange for salvation and citizenship. These include the rhetoric of “cure” in hate crimes in present day South Africa, the coerced aversion therapy and sex reassignment surgeries performed to “cure” conscripts during apartheid, and the legalization of same-sex marriage during the transition to democracy. In conclusion, I propose that a decolonial theology based on the notion of Christ as contagion displays the meaning and purpose of baptism for costly discipleship and intimate life together.

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Wolff, Michelle (2017). Intimate Life Together: A Decolonial Theology. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/14426.

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