I’ve decided to enter the ministry. And I’m going back to school in order to prepare. My choice of schools is Meadville-Lombard Theological School. I want to go there so I can take the course “Queer Theories and Theologies” under Laurel C. Schneider.
Professor Schneider’s description of “Queer Theories and Theologies” is, to say the least, pretty queer, especially given that it’s offered in a seminary:
“This course is a close examination of the development of ‘queer theory’ out of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered liberation movement on the one hand, and the international development of critical theory on the other. Our particular interest throughout the course will be first in exploring queer theory as a public academic discourse and second in discussing what impact this discourse may have on theology and ministry.”
Professor Schneider’s course objectives are perhaps the most appealing aspect of “Queer Theories and Theologies”:
“1. To get confused and yet not give up on thinking. 2. To improve in critical thinking about the intersections of theory (system of rules or principles) with public action so that we may be better able to recognize the ways in which theory often flies ‘under the radar’ in the public realms of church and ministry, government, social movements, and culture. 3. To make at least one practical connection between queer theory as you come to understand it and public theology.”
I’m pretty confused by some of those objectives. But I’m not quite ready to give up on thinking. There’s hope for me yet.
Whenever one is confused in Professor Schneider’s course he (or she or it or undecided) has an opportunity to submit a “weekly reflection.” This is the part of the reading schedule that includes a “reflection question” meant to help guide reading for the session. The good news is that the student can use the question to frame a one-page response to the reading, or (and I’m quoting directly from the syllabus) the student can “ignore the question and address one of (the student’s) own that emerged for (the student) in response to the session’s reading.”