An Ecclesiological Praxis of Inclusivity toward Sexual Diversity and HIV: Learning from Singapore and the Philippines

In: International Journal of Public Theology
Joseph N. Goh Senior Lecturer in Gender Studies, School of Arts and Social Sciences, Monash University Malaysia Selangor Darul Ehsan

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Kristine C. Meneses Assistant Professor, University of Santo Tomas Manila Philippines

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Donald E. Messer President Emeritus and Professor Emeritus of Practical Theology, Iliff School of Theology Denver United States

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Many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (LGBT), and people living with HIV (PLHIV) feel estranged from and misunderstood by their Christian communities. Churches, in turn, continue to wrestle with issues of theology and pastoral care pertaining to LGBT and PHIV. In response, this article aims to construct an ecclesiological praxis of inclusivity toward LGBT and PLHIV. Framed by Elisabeth Schüsler Fiorenza’s notion of Jesus’ basileia vision as the praxis of inclusive wholeness, we analyze, interpret and theologize narratives from elite interviews with three community leader-practitioners in Singapore and the Philippines who shared on their ministerial struggles, practices and visions. We suggest that churches can take the lead to engender an ecclesiological praxis of inclusivity by being (i) spaces of support, belonging and dignity for LGBT and PLHIV; and (ii) avenues for fostering dialogue with LGBT and PLHIV to articulate God’s inclusive love.

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