Cover image for God, sex, and politics : homosexuality and everyday theologies
Title:
God, sex, and politics : homosexuality and everyday theologies
Author:
Moon, Dawne.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Chicago : University of Chicago Press, [2004]

©2004
Physical Description:
xi, 281 pages ; 24 cm
Language:
English
Contents:
Debating homosexuality -- Feeling the spirit in two congregations -- Scripture and everyday theologies -- Community and dissent -- The problem of politics in church -- Body, spirit, and sexuality -- The truth of emotions in everyday theologies -- Gay pain and politics -- Conclusion: The perils of pain and politics.
ISBN:
9780226535111

9780226535128
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

God, Sex, and Politics examines both sides of the church controversy over homosexuality to consider the ways in which people develop, in everyday thought and interaction, their beliefs about God and justice. Dawne Moon explores how members of Protestant congregations determine what is just and what is not, what is right and what is wrong, what is loving and what is sinful.

Through this compelling work we learn that the considerable turmoil surrounding homosexuality in churches has less to do with homosexuality than with the fear of weakening the church's spiritual, communal solidarity. We learn too how the church mirrors the secular world--the fear of division and politics leads members to avoid conflict in the congregations Moon examines. And so, the Protestants who are the subject of her study avoid debating the key issue of whether homosexuality is sinful because of its potentially polarizing effects. The religious culture Moon uncovers is ultimately critical of politics and of the intense moral and social discord that members believe it entails.

God, Sex, and Politics will be of enormous value to sociologists of religion and anyone interested in religious controversies over sexuality.


Summary

God, Sex, and Politics examines both sides of the church controversy over homosexuality to consider the ways in which people develop, in everyday thought and interaction, their beliefs about God and justice. Dawne Moon explores how members of Protestant congregations determine what is just and what is not, what is right and what is wrong, what is loving and what is sinful.

Through this compelling work we learn that the considerable turmoil surrounding homosexuality in churches has less to do with homosexuality than with the fear of weakening the church's spiritual, communal solidarity. We learn too how the church mirrors the secular world--the fear of division and politics leads members to avoid conflict in the congregations Moon examines. And so, the Protestants who are the subject of her study avoid debating the key issue of whether homosexuality is sinful because of its potentially polarizing effects. The religious culture Moon uncovers is ultimately critical of politics and of the intense moral and social discord that members believe it entails.

God, Sex, and Politics will be of enormous value to sociologists of religion and anyone interested in religious controversies over sexuality.


Author Notes

Dawne Moon is an assistant professor of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley.


Dawne Moon is an assistant professor of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley.


Reviews 4

Library Journal Review

While there have been plenty of books written about religion and gays, there is little ethnographic accounting of how particular religious communities grapple with the issues. Moon (sociology, Univ. of California) takes us to two Methodist congregations: one situated in a large urban environment, the other in a small town about 70 miles away. The congregations and the individuals in them are portrayed pseudonymously, but Moon imbues the debates and conflicts with vivid realism. The urban congregation was in the midst of self-examination about whether or not to join the "Reconciling Congregations Program," a movement with American Methodism to welcome sexual minorities explicitly. A substantial group of members of the other congregation were involved in another organization called "Transforming Congregations," which is more conservative in approach. Some of the core issues of Christianity are raised and contested: the nature of sin, the role of politics, and the relationship of Scripture and experience. The book shows how people put into effect their beliefs on a specific issue (in this case, homosexuality) when faced with the broader questions. Moon has an unusual ability to explain social science theory clearly and give a three-dimensional report on real people grappling with issues that are very important to them. Both general and academic readers will find much in this book to commend.-David Azzolina, Univ. of Pennsylvania Lib., Philadelphia (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice Review

Moon (sociology, Univ. of California, Berkeley) undertook a balanced, empathetic participant-observation of two United Methodist congregations, one theologically liberal, the other conservative. She quotes, paraphrases, and summarizes without value judgments their discussions about lesbians and gays in their churches, and finds that congregants' disagreements about the topic threatened their perceived consensus, their feelings of transcendence when in church, and their assumed beliefs. They often used the word "politics" for those with opposite opinions. Using Foucault's analyses, the author theorizes that social power is strongest when nonhierarchical and invisible, and is often reproduced in language (right and wrong, natural and unnatural, virtuous and sinful, normal and abnormal, etc.). ^BSumming Up: Recommended. All levels and libraries. R. W. Smith emeritus, California State University, Northridge


Library Journal Review

While there have been plenty of books written about religion and gays, there is little ethnographic accounting of how particular religious communities grapple with the issues. Moon (sociology, Univ. of California) takes us to two Methodist congregations: one situated in a large urban environment, the other in a small town about 70 miles away. The congregations and the individuals in them are portrayed pseudonymously, but Moon imbues the debates and conflicts with vivid realism. The urban congregation was in the midst of self-examination about whether or not to join the "Reconciling Congregations Program," a movement with American Methodism to welcome sexual minorities explicitly. A substantial group of members of the other congregation were involved in another organization called "Transforming Congregations," which is more conservative in approach. Some of the core issues of Christianity are raised and contested: the nature of sin, the role of politics, and the relationship of Scripture and experience. The book shows how people put into effect their beliefs on a specific issue (in this case, homosexuality) when faced with the broader questions. Moon has an unusual ability to explain social science theory clearly and give a three-dimensional report on real people grappling with issues that are very important to them. Both general and academic readers will find much in this book to commend.-David Azzolina, Univ. of Pennsylvania Lib., Philadelphia (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice Review

Moon (sociology, Univ. of California, Berkeley) undertook a balanced, empathetic participant-observation of two United Methodist congregations, one theologically liberal, the other conservative. She quotes, paraphrases, and summarizes without value judgments their discussions about lesbians and gays in their churches, and finds that congregants' disagreements about the topic threatened their perceived consensus, their feelings of transcendence when in church, and their assumed beliefs. They often used the word "politics" for those with opposite opinions. Using Foucault's analyses, the author theorizes that social power is strongest when nonhierarchical and invisible, and is often reproduced in language (right and wrong, natural and unnatural, virtuous and sinful, normal and abnormal, etc.). ^BSumming Up: Recommended. All levels and libraries. R. W. Smith emeritus, California State University, Northridge


Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Doing unto Others ... (A Theoretical Introduction)
1 Debating Homosexuality
2 Feeling the Spirit in Two Congregations
3 Scripture and Everyday Theologies
4 Community and Dissent
5 The Problem of Politics in Church
6 Body, Spirit, and Sexuality
7 The Truth of Emotions in Everyday Theologies
8 Gay Pain and Politics
Conclusion: The Perils of Pain and Politics
Notes
References
Index
Acknowledgments
Doing unto Others ... (A Theoretical Introduction)
1 Debating Homosexuality
2 Feeling the Spirit in Two Congregations
3 Scripture and Everyday Theologies
4 Community and Dissent
5 The Problem of Politics in Church
6 Body, Spirit, and Sexuality
7 The Truth of Emotions in Everyday Theologies
8 Gay Pain and Politics
Conclusion: The Perils of Pain and Politics
Notes
References
Index