My Favourite Theologian: Marcella Althaus-Reid

Marcella Althaus-Reid (1952-2009)

Kirsty Ann Mabbott

Marcella Althaus-Reid specialised in liberation, feminist and queer theology and was the first woman professor of theology at New College, University of Edinburgh.

Althaus-Reid believed that ‘queer’ theology doesn’t only represent the LGBT*+ community[1], but creates a space for resistance to all ‘standardised regimes’ of church and state through re-creation, re-imagination and re-visioning of how things are and could be.

She pioneered work in many areas, such as indecent theology, but always firmly rooted the academic in contextual praxis. As a contextual community minister, my focus is on the community and what God-thinking and God-speaking means to the everyday person, regardless of whether they attend church or profess a particular faith. Althaus-Reid speaks to my ministerial context.

On a personal level, Althaus-Reid’s work has enabled me to understand and vocalise my faith and theology more clearly, while equipping me with tools to speak not only emotionally, but academically on topic areas that can be contentious in the life of the church and society.

Not all of her work is easy to read, and it may be unpalatable for some, but her combination of trail-blazing social action work with social action academia has ensured that the ripple effect she has started will long continue. Her works Include: Indecent Theology, The Queer God, and From Feminist Theology to Indecent Theology. She has also edited a significant number of books alone and with Lisa Isherwood.

[1] Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans* plus other identities such as Pansexual, Asexual, Demisexual, Queer, Questioning etc.

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Part of this series was also published in issue 151 of Movement magazine, the Community issue. Movement magazine is distributed free to SCM members and supporters, and you can request a copy here.