3.11 Book Discussion Club

Book Discussion Club March 11, 2014

Moderator: Dr. Rose Wu, editor of the book

Speakers: Rev. Bok Sha Lun, Anthony Man, Davy Wong  (authors of the book)

Why would a lesbian marry and give birth to a child? It’s because of one thing: stupidity, plus, an extremely twisted personality.

Looking at her name, Grace, one can tell straight away that she was from a Christian family. Her parents and sister are all ministers at church. Her will, ever since she was little, was to have her body cremated so that her ashes could be spread over the church lawn after she had died. However, this obedient child of a pastor had been keeping a secret all to herself: she liked women. In all her life, she had been taught that if a gay person did not become straight, he or she could not enter God’s kingdom. Hence, she was burdened with guilt for decades. All she could do was to “stay away from sin” and learn to be the woman she was “supposed to be” – to marry a guy, study theology and enter into a full-time ministry, thinking that this could lead her to the happily ever after life once and for all.

Nevertheless, after being a wife for 16 years, a life-changing incident happened: she met a girl who awakened her. Having struggled with her partner for all those years, she did not want to twist herself to become a woman that she did not want to be anymore. She made a painful decision, “I was not abandoning my husband or my daughter. I really love my child,” she said. She was faced with much pressure from her family because of their opposition. Until now, Grace and her partner are still living apart with their respective family. The most painful thing was her guilt towards her daughter. But she did all these because she wanted to be true to herself and not to live under a fake identity all her life. Once she was asked why she did not choose to be single. Grace answered, “Because I was foolish! My values were twisted.” All her life, she was taught that a perfect life was to be married and have children. 

Another gay theology student, Anthony, started his story from his childhood, “I grew up in a hard way. My father left when I was little. In order to raise us, my mother had to do indifferent work to earn money. She worked as a massager in a steam room. Therefore, I had heard many stories from sex workers since I was small. They all had their own reason for entering into such field. From that, I learnt that many choices in life were actually fake choices. This stirred up many questions in me and most of them were critics towards churches. Churches do not accept sex workers and they cannot even accept the existence of different sex-oriented people. Can’t the church think more in those people’s shoes? Apart from telling the queers that the gospel has nothing to do with them, I could not see a way out for the church. However, does the gospel require us to be standardized? Did Jesus only come to tell some that they could be saved but not others? Or is the gospel really for everyone?”

Another author of the book, Davy, pointed out that churches have their way of interpreting the Bible. They kept emphasizing that those who believe and those who don’t cannot be together; there cannot be sex before marriage, etc. Still, people could always find ways to counteract, e.g. Christians couples living together and take contraceptive precaution (which Catholic opposes). Author of Indecent Theology, Marcella Althaus, once asked, “Why couldn’t Christ be a bisexual queer?” She was not making that up but to expand people’s imagination on Christ’s sexual image. Otherwise, Christ cannot include those who have different sexual orientation.

Rose Wu (consultant of Queer Theology Academy)pointed out that traditionally, churches have de-sexualized Jesus and left out the possibilities that even Jesus could have sexual desires and be intimate with women. They simplify Jesus into an icon of salvation only. Nonetheless, Jesus has demonstrated how he breaks the boundaries from siding with the marginalized and unclean people. Yet, the churches that are supposed to be followers of Jesus, are always setting up “social norms” for people to follow. Queer theology can be a way out for those who were oppressed by the traditions of churches. For them to be liberated from the norms in order to show the gospel of the kingdom of God is what Jesus demands.