Sex and religion are often considered incompatible. Western culture is often perceived as being increasingly secular and sexualised; and religions, sex-constraining (if not sex-negative), normalising heterosexual marriage. Thus, social scientific study of religion/spirituality which for a long time focuses on macro and meso issues such as secularisation and religious authority structures tends to marginalise the study of religiosity/spirituality on a micro level. Thus, ‘lived’ sexuality – particularly non-heterosexualities – is grossly under-researched within this approach.
On the other hand, the proliferation of social scientific literature on sexuality, including non-heterosexualities, has been encouraging in past decades. Yet, this literature often does not engage with the issue of religion/spirituality. This is particularly evident in literature on lesbian, gay, and bisexual – or more generally queer – sexualities. Indeed, queer identity is often constructed as anti-religion and anti-family (of origin), as religion and family are considered the last bastions of institutionalised heteronormativity and heterosexism.
This Special Issue aims to generate exciting insights into how religion/spirituality informs the ‘doing’ of sexuality, and vice versa, in diverse ways. With the return of religion to the social and geopolitical agenda, it is important that the study of sexuality – its diverse forms, meanings, practices, and significance – should seriously consider the role of institutionalised religion and non-institutionalised spirituality in this process. This will offer us a more nuanced way of understanding contemporary
sexual as well as social identities and lives.
Thus, this Special Issue seeks high-quality theoretical and empirical articles of between 5,500 and 6,000 words. Deadline: Monday 2 March 2009
So the deadline's a way aways, but I'm thinking about this now (procrastination!!!). Here's my (revised) abstract for the piece (you can read the original here) -
'Life-as’ and ‘Subjective-life’ Being and Believing among Lesbian Christians
This article examines Heelas and Woodhead’s (2005) The Spiritual Revolution in the context of non-heterosexual religiosity. It argues that the essentially dualistic nature of the theoretical framework used in the Kendal Project, whilst necessary for testing the subjectivization thesis, rests on the problematic anthropology of ‘life-as’ conformity and ‘subjective-life’ authenticity. I use the voices of a small, localised group of lesbian Christians to queer The Spiritual Revolution’s polarised construction of Western spiritual and religious practitioners’ modes of being and believing. Countering the mutual exclusivity presented in that volume, the women who participated in this study undertake one of several moves available to those in-between Heelas and Woodhead’s poles of internal (‘subjective-life’) and external (‘life-as’) sources of significance and authority. I argue that Heelas’ recent (2008) translation of these classificatory categories into those of transcendent theism (God without) and monistic spirituality (“god” within) is more useful for an analysis of the contemporary religious landscape. This research begins the process of spectrum analysis, suggesting that exploration of LGBT Christian identity integration and reflection upon the work of cognitive dissonance theorists can illuminate ways in which individuals and communities might move even between the dualism of God without and “god” within.