"Born this way" - a gendered perspective on the intersectionality between same-sex orientation and the Imago Dei : a case study of men who love other men in Lusaka, Zambia.
This study explores how Christian MLM in Lusaka-Zambia understand their sexual orientation and the imago Dei amidst the general teachings of the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia, Zambia Episcopal Conference and the Council of Churches in Zambia on same-sex orientation and the imago Dei. A plethora of literature about same-sex orientation and the imago Dei reveals that the heterosexism is generally regarded as the authentic image of God while same-sex orientation continues to be regarded as an affront to the image of God. Hence the need to merge the two terms “same-sex orientation” and “imago Dei” in order to deconstruct and reconstruct how sexuality and God are understood within prevailing theologies, using emerging theologies from Zambian Christian Men who Love other Men. This study is framed within postcolonial and queer theories. Focus group discussions were audio-taped and transcribed and field notes taken. Themes are determined, analyzed and interpreted using recurring and unanimously held incipient voices of Christian MLM. Study participants’ views bring to fore that they understand their sexual orientation as being inborn and that they are wonderfully and fearfully created in the image of God. They also view themselves as being the image of God since they love other men, thereby, exhibiting God’s qualities which are love, justice and mercy. The study also found that Christian MLM do not feel welcome in affluent churches, unlike in churches on the outskirts, due to anti-same-sex messages preached in affluent churches. Furthermore, the study discovered that the churches use the Biblical creation accounts to condemn the practice of same-sex orientation and regard persons of same-sex orientation as sinful, satanic and sick. The study concludes that Christian MLM are created in the image of God, and hence recommends revisiting the theology of complementarity and an inculcation of hermeneutics of love in understanding sexuality and God.
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