Alison, James. “Undergoing God” Dispatches from the Scene of a Break-In”, Continium, 2006.
Gays and the Catholic Church
Gays and God has become a hot topic lately (once gain) and the books keep coming. James Alison takes on the issue and treats it with intellectualism and joy in his book, “Undergoing God”. It is not so much what is in his book that makes a difference; it is the conversations that come about as a result of having read it. He maintains that the Catholic religion has provided its own instruments of self criticism and as he looks at theology as a means of communication, all kinds of new ideas come to the fore. He is modern and progressive and when he examines Roman Catholicism he attempts to find a new way for the Gay and lesbian Catholics of today to approach their religion. This is very significant when we consider the Vatican edict which bans gays from entering seminaries (A bit too late, I fear). His ideas and his discussions reflect brilliance at every turn.
Alison attempts to give us a Catholic vision of life and he challenges us to change the understanding of both desire and Christianity. He uses scripture and shows how it can change us if only we are ready to take it up. Likewise he shows us how to act and to see from a position of the underdog and view a world that is fascinated with power. We must get rid of our pretensions if we have any desire to enter the “kingdom”.
There are some wonderful thoughts here for gay Catholics who attempt to reconcile their own faith with a hierarchy that is overly hostile. Alison’s book is so deep and so profound that it scares.
There is a great deal to be learned here and the beauty of the book is that instead of turning its back on us, there are signs that perhaps a compromise made be made someday. Yet we must remember that a compromise takes two sides wiling to give and take and both sides are exceedingly stubborn Following with the author has to say may gain us a foot in the door and that is better than nothing at all.