Impossibly indecent God? Pursuing questions of the Biblical God in the Church of Scotland through churchgoers’ and Marcella Althaus-Reid’s theological ideas, juxtaposed with fragments of Jacques Derrida’s philosophy
Brown, Susan Victoria
MetadataShow full item record
Marcella Althaus-Reid was a theologian who dared to imagine differently, a thinker whose inventive style brought striking originality to her writings on sexuality and gender, people and God. Her work is remembered most noticeably in theological academia for her conceptual phrase, ‘Indecent Theology’. In this thesis about questions of God, the innovative elements of Marcella’s literary corpus are developed in new ways by placing her academic theories alongside a practical research study undertaken in the alternative milieu of Church of Scotland congregations in Edinburgh. This primary material, which has been analysed through interview and focus group transcripts, together with questionnaire responses, brings revealing insights to frame the emerging tensions between churchgoers and Marcella across the dimensions of its four chapters. In each, the following themes are developed: the ambiguities surrounding questions of asking who God might be; the considerations involved in recognising God’s relationship with the Bible; the exploration of the extent to which sexuality and gender may influence God concepts; and the recognition of the role people play in evaluating their understandings of God in Christianity. Arranged in a rhythmical structure throughout, every chapter is first prefaced by a media-based report which contextualises relevant themes in a contemporary idiom, and is later concluded by a deconstructive postscript that, in fragmentary ways, invokes some critical concepts in the work of Jacques Derrida germane to the particular questions of God pursued in each.