Theology as Performance Art
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Academic theology is in need of a new genre.
In "Transgressive Devotion" Natalie Wigg-Stevenson articulates a theological vision of that genre as performance art. She argues that theology done as performance art stops trying to describe who God is, and starts trying to make God appear.
Recognising that the act of studying theology or practicing ministry is always a performance, where the boundaries between what we see, feel, experience and learn are not just blurred but potentially invisible, Wigg-Stevenson brings together ethnographic theological fieldwork, historical and contemporary Christian theological traditions, and performance artworks themselves.
A daring vision of theology which will energise anybody feeling 'boxed in' by the discipline, Transgressive Devotion blurs borders between orthodoxy, heterodoxy and heresy to reveal how the very act of doing theology makes God and humanity vulnerable to each other.
This is theology which is a liturgy of Divine incantation. In other words: this is theology which is also prayer.
"This is a mesmerising and suggestive book that reworks what it means to be a theologian" -- Pete Ward, Durham University, UK
"Transgressive Devotion may literally take your breath away, at first, but it will return to you in new form and with new energy, if you follow where it leads. As guide and muse, Wigg-Stevenson invites us to keep company with others feared and familiar, ancient and contemporary, in search of new ways of being faithful. Beautifully written, honest, and profoundly moving." -- Ellen T. Armour, Vanderbilt Divinity School, USA
"Gorgeous, moving, and marvelously queering, Wigg-Stevenson’s work feels like falling through a series of trap doors located at the foundations of our faith — places of instability that have, until now, been off-limits. The result unfurls a vast, new territory of theological exploration that pushes past constraint and taboo. In this new land, there is room to roam and reconstitute our relationship with God." -- Emily Scott, Pastor, Dreams and Visions, Baltimore