Special Thursday Pride Month Forum with Theologian James Alison

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No More Special Pleading: How Opening Up to LGBTQ+ Reality Flows Organically from Basic Christianity

THURSDAY, JUNE 20, 2024, 7–8 P.M., in person in Bloedel Hall and online via Zoom

The Wisdom School at Saint Mark’s presents acclaimed Catholic theologian James Alison, presenting a project he’s been at work on for several years—a book, provisionally titled You Can… If You Want To, to be published in 2025, which aims to empower Christians to move on, in good faith, regarding LGBTQ+ issues. The narrative that Christianity itself demands the condemnation of LGBTQ+ lives as sinful has been so prevalent for so long, that many Christians, including LGBTQ+ people themselves, may still harbor niggling doubts in the back of their minds, voices whispering “maybe being queer really is incompatible with taking Jesus and the Bible seriously…”

Alison aims to confront these doubts directly, showing that the fundamentals of the Christian faith, even when presented from a quite conservative perspective, do in fact open up the possibility of reaching beyond any and all of our cultural comfort zones—of which sexuality and gender identity are only two of many—if we want to go there. It follows that those who continue to uphold old prejudices are doing so by their own choice, and cannot blame any supposed “higher authority.” Join in person in Bloedel Hall, or participate online.

UPDATE: A complete video is now available below.

About James Alison

James Alison (b. 1959) is a Catholic theologian, priest and author. He has studied, lived and worked in Mexico, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Spain and the United States as well as his native England. James earned his doctorate in theology from the Jesuit Faculty in Belo Horizonte, Brazil in 1994 and is a systematic theologian by training.

His principal claim to fame is as one of those who has done most to bring the work of the great French thinker René Girard to a wider public. In addition he is known for his firm but patient insistence on truthfulness in matters gay as an ordinary part of basic Christianity, and for his pastoral outreach in the same sphere.

James was brought up in an Evangelical Anglican family, and became a Catholic at the age of 18 in 1978. He was ordained priest in 1988. Having lived with the Dominican Order between 1981 and 1995, James now works as an itinerant preacher, lecturer, and retreat leader. He is currently a Fellow of Imitatio. He accompanies a wide variety of publics, through academic lectures, undergraduate, postgraduate and professors’ seminars, adult catechesis courses, retreats for priests, parish groups, and Catholic and ecumenical gay and lesbian retreats.

His books include The Joy of Being Wrong: Original Sin Through Easter Eyes (1998), Faith Beyond Resentment: Fragments Catholic and Gay (2001), and Knowing Jesus (2012), and have been translated into Dutch, French, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. His most recent work (2013) is Jesus the Forgiving Victima program of induction into the Christian Faith for adults, available in DVD, text or digital formats, and which follows on from the insight into desire associated with René Girard.

When not on the road, James lives in Madrid, Spain. Learn more at: jamesalison.com

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