Diaconia (Oct 2015)

From Sexual Diversities to Convergences of Sexualities: Possibilities Within Southern African Protestantism

  • Lilly Phiri,
  • Federico Settler

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 6, no. 2
pp. 117 – 132


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Framed within queer theory and using Zambian Christian men of same-sex orientation as a case study, this paper explores possibilities for convergences of sexualities in Southern African Protestantism. It highlights two paradoxical expressions of contemporary Southern African Protestantism toward same-sex relations - which embraces sexual diversities, although many African Protestants remain largely opposed to sexual inclusivity.We explore how the prevailing religious discourse about sexuality in Africa can be viewed as the result of late colonial missionary endeavors to codify sexual norms. This process alienated indigenous sexual norms for inclusivity, which has led many advocates and critics to assert that LGBTI is inherently ‘un-African.’ We specifically seek also to illustrate how the Bible and biblical interpretations remain borders in the convergences of sexualities in the context of Southern African Protestantism, which mainly focuses on policing, reinforcing or rupturing sexual borders. Finally we propose that the doctrine of ‘justification by faith alone’ offers ways to facilitate convergences of sexualities within Southern African Protestantism, allowing for authentically inclusive ways of theologizing and being an ecclesial community.