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Baptism

March 13, 2018

 

 This is the movement score

 

Baptism

Initiation or welcoming rite into church

Sign of dying to one’s old life and being born again into one’s new life

Death of the closeted life. Birth of new life

Wipes out all distinctions of gender, sex

New identity in body of christ

 

I imagine the sacrament of baptism to be embodied through a beautiful queer creature in a baptismal font doing a performance art piece. I want to play with water/mirror image in the water and gazing at one's truest self. Allowing one's deepest, truest self to emerge. Self love. I want them to be gender bending in high queer fashion. I wonder if it should be Matthew, Kevin's boyfriend. He would be exquisite. 

 

I imagine the baptismal font to be a central feature in the courtyard. Perhaps around here: 

 

 

Here are some quotes  that I am basing inspiration off. 

 

Baptism

 

“If gay and liberation theologies are about the freedom of these persons from hetero-patriarchy, queer theology is about the freedom of all people from the tyrannies of modern gender and sexuality construction. It regards the body as innately mysterious and, because the body is always about the exchange of signs, potentially sacramental-one definition of sacraments is that they are both visible (bodily) signs that cuase the very realities they signify. They are utterly mysterious and, yet also intelligible. This approach to bodies applies no only to the body of Christ, as discussed in chapter 1 but to all bodies. Queer theory thus propels us towards an eschatological space, one in which the body is constantly being made and remade.”

-Buechel, 60

 

“For Stuart, baptism radically changes our identity. It transforms who we are in the most profound, primal sense. No longer are we bound into the creation of our own identities in a culturally -constructed give and take. No longer do we negotiate our selfhoods, always at the cost of foreclosing love and desire. In baptism, we are given a new identity, one that is sheer gift, one in which we have no control. We do not have to “earn” our place in society by performing our genders or sexualities in a particular way; rather, in the rite, we receive “God’s great ‘Yes’ to us, based not upon our own merits but upon divine love, as gifted into ourselves by God and part of the body of God in Christ, that exposes the place outside baptism as the site of melancholia that Butler describes. Because we now have an identity that is divinely given, we can have the courage to undo and expose those other identities that are non-ultimate: we can begin to live beyond melancholy.” -Buechel 62

 

“Stuart is not trying to claim that sex and gender are meaningless categories or that baptism automatically  sets us free of them. With queer theory, Stuart takes culture seriously and recognizes that we are bound up in these constructions and cannot simply “opt out” and live beyond them, or, at least, not yet. Baptism, then, shows us what we will be and what we are already in the process of becoming via the grace and love of God. It allows us to look with an eschatological horizon to the day when we will be finally freed from the constructions that causes so much turmoil and loss here on earth. It does this by proclaiming our new existence in Christ, but also by reorienting our desire. Baptism shows us that our ultimate desire is to be the one whom God is gifting into being, that it is only here that we can truly become ourselves. The desires that create melancholy and close off love are part of an economy  whereby we must shore up our own subjectivity by endlessly going after that which promises to fulfill, but cannot: “objects that fill gaps in our self-construction, so that what we desire is repletion, which is immobilization, a kind of death.” The categories that mark the modern subject-gender, sex, sexuality-are exposed as non-ultimate and un-fulfilling in themselves: they cannot be what we are really about, for that is the gift of a new baptismal identity, and this in turn leads to our call as Christians to live beyond them.”

What is this new baptismal identity, though? Granted that it exposes gender and sexuality as of non-ultimate value and shows us our true desire in God, what does this identity look like in history? IN baptism, since we are united not only personally but also ecclesially to Christ, we are no longer the autonomous, atomized subjects that modernity trains us to be. Rather, we become, in Stuart’s terms, “ecclesial persons.” We are still subjects and individuals, but that personhood is marked by a more fundamental reality, our existence in and with others as the body of Christ: “This personhood is characterized by a new subjectivity that is both communal and corporate, for it both shares in and constitutes  the body of Christ, the new human.” Baptism brings us into the life of the new human, Christ, by perfecting that of the old.

Here, then, is a new kind of communal belonging. It is one that is not based on rank, on success in fitting in with social norms, but rather founded on our common participation in Christ’s body and Christ’s life. Baptism, for Stuart, requires that we do “not belong to the categories we thought we belonged

 

 

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