Summer 2018

Queering Christ in Text and Image I (June 18 – 22) and I/II (June 18-29) (Berkeley, CA)

Rev. Dr. Jay Emerson Johnson

Rev. Dr. Jay Johnson

Rev. Dr. Justin Tanis

Rev. Dr. Justin Tanis

“Who do you say that I am?” Matthew’s Jesus asked that question of his disciples (Mt 16:15). Many different answers and approaches to that question have appeared over the centuries since then. The question itself both expands and deepens when accompanied by visual engagements and responses. This course combines a variety of images and texts in an exploration of how “queer” Christ appears outside the “standard” or dominant representations of Jesus, and then further, how this queerness can inspire and inform movements of liberating social change. The co-teachers of this course will offer their expertise in Christology, queer theory, and the visual arts to invite an approach to social transformation rooted in historical traditions and contemporary insights. Beyond white, heterosexual maleness, who do you say Jesus is?

About the Instructors

Rev. Dr. Jay Emerson Johnson serves as Assistant Professor of Theology and Culture at Pacific School of Religion. Dr Johnson is an Episcopal priest and has served congregations in the Midwest and the San Francisco Bay Area. He is also a member of the core doctoral faculty at the Graduate Theological Union. He came to PSR as a staff member at the school’s Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry (CLGS) in 2003 and began teaching courses for the school’s Certificate of Sexuality and Religion program. He coordinates the Certificate of Spirituality and Social Change (CSSC) and the new Master of Arts degree in Social Transformation (MAST).

Dr. Johnson’s research and writing interests include the intersections of critical social theory (especially queer theory) and Christian theological traditions, theological anthropology and Christian eschatology, and multimedia/pop-cultural influences on constructive theology. In addition to numerous articles on sexuality, Christian theology, and spirituality, he is the author of Dancing with God: Anglican Christianity and the Practice of Hope (2005), as well as co-editor with Donald Boisvert, of a two-volume anthology, Queer Religion (2011). More recently he is the author of Divine Communion: A Eucharistic Theology of Sexual Intimacy (2013) and Peculiar Faith: Queer Theology for Christian Witness (2014). Dr. Johnson also serves on the editorial board of the journal Theology and Sexuality and is a popular retreat leader and workshop leader in congregations around the country.

Rev. Dr. Justin Tanis earned his MDiv degree at Harvard Divinity School and his Doctor of Ministry degree from San Francisco Theological Seminary. His dissertation was published in 2003 by Pilgrim Press as Transgendered: Ministry, Theology, and Communities of Faith and was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award that year. That book was also the first in the Center for LGBTQ and Gender Studies in Religion book series. He has also contributed chapters to the Queer Bible Commentary and Take Back the Word: A Queer Reading of the Bible. An artist and photographer, Justin has had a lifelong passion for the arts. His scholarly interests include the theology expressed by LGBT visual artists, which is the focus of his PhD studies here at the GTU.

Justin has served congregations in Boston, Honolulu, and San Francisco and spent nine years as a denominational executive, coordinating leadership and educational programs in twenty-two countries. He has brings with him a long history with grassroots activism, including ACT-UP and Queer Nation in the 1980s and serving as spokesperson and media coordinator for the Hawai’i Equal Rights Marriage Project in the 1990s. Justin’s work also includes advocacy for LGBT rights in national non-profit organizations. He was the Community Education and Outreach Manager at the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) in Washington, D.C. and later served as the Director of Communication for Out and Equal Workplace Advocates, based in San Francisco, which advocates for equal employment rights for LGBT people.


Dates:  June 18-22 (session I) or June 18-29 (both sessions), 2018, M-F
Time:  1 PM – 5 PM
Location: Pacific School of Religion, 1798 Scenic Ave., Berkeley, CA 94709
Instructor:  Johnson and Tanis

Credits: 1.5 credits, 2 CEUs (Session I ONLY); 3 credits, 4 CEUs (BOTH Sessions)
Meets requirements for: M.Div (elective); MTS; CSR

How to Register

Registration for Summer Session opens May 7 at noon. Current students may register here; alumni/ae may register by emailing Lyndsey Reed at