Dr. Marcella Althaus-Reid was born in 1952 in Rosario, Argentina, to Alberto and Ada Althaus. She studied liberation theology and earned a Bachelor of Theology degree at the renowned Instituto Superior Evangelico de Estudios Teologicos (ISEDET) seminary in Buenos Aires, studying with scholars such as Jose Miguez Bonino and J. Severino Croatta.
Althaus-Reid trained for ministry in the Methodist Church of Argentina and developed expertise in the method of "conscientization," pioneered by the Brasilian educator Paolo Freire. She implemented this work in social and community projects supported by the church in poor communities of Buenos Aires. She was invited to undertake similar projects in Dundee and Perth (Scotland) years later. Throughout her career, her theological work retained a strong grounding in the "preferential option for the poor."
She continued studies in Liberation Theology, Feminist Theology and Queer Theology and completed a Ph.D. at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland in 1994. Following an appointment to a lectureship, she became Professor of Contextual Theology at New College, University of Edinburgh. She was the first woman professor of theology in the history of New College.
Her first book, Indecent Theology (2000), received widespread recognition in the theological field and earned her self-described reputation as an "indecent, Latina, bisexual theologian." Her next book, Queer God (2004), was a bold and provocative challenge to the sexual oppression inherent in most Christian theologies and established her as a fresh, cutting-edge thinker. She wrote and edited articles in numerous theological journals and was invited to lecture throughout Europe, Latin America and the U.S. Althaus-Reid and Lisa Isherwood,were the editors for a ground-breaking series of books, "Queering Theology" published by T&T Clark.
Althaus-Reid found a spiritual home in the Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) and became an advocate for MCC as a respite from alienating and exclusive liturgies and the hope for an alternative queer Christian community.
She died in Edinburgh on February 20, 2009, following a long illness, and is survived by her husband Gordon Reid.
(Information for this profile taken from a faculty bio on the University of Edinburgh web site and tributes to her written by Dr. Robert Goss and Dr. Jay Johnson: http://www.clgs.org/blog/commentary/queer-god-really-remembering-marcella-althaus-reid)
Biography Date: September, 2009
MCC | Author/editor | Bisexual activism | Feminism | Latinx | Theology | Transgender activism | South America