Loyola University Maryland

Emerging Scholars

Kelly Tate, Thomas E. Rodgerson, Ph.D.

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Shifting One's Embedded Theology

This research paper explores the faith journeys of lesbian and gay individuals, including myself, and the role the Rockville United Church has played in those journeys.  It seeks to discover that given an individual identifies with the lesbian and gay community and in the past has been identified with a faith community whose theology does not allow for acceptance of their sexual orientation, how can the Rockville United Church continue to expand its support of the lesbian and gay community by helping these individuals to shift their embedded theology inherited from their previous faith communities to find greater self-acceptance and unconditional love from God.  The paper follows the journey’s of several individuals as we explore and discuss the current culture and environment at the Rockville United Church and the application of Erickson, Kegan and Fowler’s work as well as scripture in understanding how lesbian and gay individuals go about resolving this internal conflict between their sexual orientation and their embedded theology.  From discussion with the interviewees of this paper as well as the broader LGBTQ Outreach Group at the Rockville United Church suggestions are provided for how the church can continue to support this community after the passing of marriage equality by the Supreme Court in June 2015 and in particular with respect to their embedded theologies.