Inclusive Black Congregations and Black Ecclesial Queering

“The lack of LGBTQIA affirmation in historically Black churches and the practice of Black homophobia is antithetical to the original pre-reconstruction mandate of Black churches to be ecclesial affirmatoriums for all Black bodies. If homophobic historically Black churches wish to remain morally, ethically, theologically, and hermeneutically consistent with their histories and original ecclesial practices, then they must go through a process of Black ecclesial queering. Otherwise, their denominati ”

Team Members/Contributors

Brandon Thomas Crowley Myrtle Baptist Church Contact Me

About this project grant for researchers

"Inclusive Black Congregations and Black Ecclesial Queering" explores how seven mainline Black churches, from six different states, queered their ecclesiologies despite the history of homophobia within Black Christian contexts in North America. The research will provide an ethnogenic examination of their radical ecclesiologies and theologies, while interrogating how and why these churches chose to practice a more radically inclusive form of Black ecclesiology. The extracted qualitative data will prove that these churches have successfully redefined, reimagined, re-thought, and subverted the puritanical nature, mission, and practices of Black churches in North America and the Christian church universal. The research's constructive component will evolve from the recurring themes within the queering approaches used by the congregations. From these insights I will develop a methodology for queering Black congregations, Black ecclesial queering (BEQ). BEQ is a point of departure that centers on the Black Body and Black queerness as the ecclesiological strategy to intentionally subvert the heteronormative and puritan-based ideologies of traditional mainline Black churches. It is also a constructive theological tool that teaches Black churches how to create non-separatist homo-social safe spaces where Black-eroticism and sexual expression are considered sinless behavior. Additionally, the research investigates the history of African American LGBTQIA+ Christians who left their homophobic Black congregations to create their own queered ecclesial spaces. These spaces are described as Affirming Black Church plants. Like Black churches whose ecclesiologies were birthed from the struggles of seeking affirmation in the era of North American chattel slavery, the queered ecclesiologies of Affirming Black Church plants are also birthed from the struggle of Black queer persons and possess profound and revolutionary reinterpretations of Black Christianity, family, and sexuality.