Tony Franklin-Ross is an ordained presbyter-theologian, Tony serves as acting-Director of Mission and Ecumenical for the Methodist Church of New Zealand. Tony has been involved in parish, regional and national leadership in the church, whilst having a longstanding interest in practical and academic involvement in ecumenism. Tony has a particular interest in queer theology; and is preparing a project on ecumenical theology in dialogue with queer theory. (Tony has undergraduate and post-graduate honours theology degrees (Auckland), and is a post-graduate alumni of the WCC Bossey Ecumenical Institute.. Tony resides in Aotearoa-New Zealand.
Tony Franklin-Ross, “Blow Gabriel blow – a queer trumpet in a disrupting song of liberation”
The roaring (19)20’s saw an unshackling of Victorian and Edwardian value systems. Then, during its depression-time coattails, Cole Porter wrote lyrics in a style that was subversive, sexual, clever, ironic, complicated, and contradictory. I make a queered interplay on the 1934 song ‘Blow Gabriel Blow’ from the musical Anything Goes (itself portraying a parody of fake religion). The song looks towards the Second Coming where the “sinners” aren’t asking for forgiveness, they just want to “play all day in the Promised Land.”
Satan, you stay away from me,
‘Cause you ain’t the man I wanna see!
I’m gonna be good as the day I was born,
‘Cause I heard that man with the horn!
Do ya hear it?
For the new (20)20’s, through this playful invocation, this paper interrogates the burdens of liberation theology queerly facing into and confronting the show business of heteronormativity.
Liberation ethics, including for LGBTQI+, developed in the later part of the twentieth century. Alongside widening applications of liberation theology, these broke into the previously male, Euro-centric and heteronormative discourse on sexual ethics and morality. This development has been most noticeable (though not exclusively) within European/North American/Western church contexts.
During a parallel timeframe, Eastern Orthodoxy was engaged with its own particular contextual struggles under Communist regimes. By the end of the Communist era, liberation theology had elsewhere become well established as a discourse and hermeneutic that had progressed into further expressions and contexts; but not so behind the Iron Curtain.
I interrogate diverse hermeneutics in relation to liberation theology regarding sexuality as expressed in this ecumenical crossroads of ‘east meets west’. In doing so, I identify a mismatch of approaches to understanding liberation theology in the ecumenical space as an exploration of the disrupting song of liberation that irritates orthodox heteronormativity.