Robert E. Goss was ordained a Jesuit priest in 1976, and he resigned the Society of Jesus as an unlaicized priest in 1978. He served as a chaplain for Dignity Boston until 1982. Goss was co-founder of Food Outreach, an AIDS service organization that delivered frozen meals and food supplements to people living with HIV. Goss was a member of ACT UP St. Louis and Queer Nation St. Louis.
He received his Th.D. in Comparative Religion from Harvard University. He transferred as clergy to the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) in 1995 and has been a part-time theologian/clergy on staff with MCC of Greater St. Louis from 1995 to June 2003.
Goss is the author of Jesus ACTED UP: A Gay and Lesbian Manifesto (1993) and Queering Christ: Beyond Jesus ACTED UP (2002) (a Lambda Literary Finalist for Spirituality). He is co-author of Dead, But Not Lost: Grief Narratives in Religious Traditions (2005). Goss is co-editor of A Rainbow of Diversities (1996), Our Families, Our Values: Snapshots of Queer Kinship (1997), Take Back the Word: A Queer Reading of the Bible 2 (2002), and The Crisis of the Gay Catholic Priesthood and Clergy Sexual Misconduct: Breaking the Silence of Sodom (2005). He is co-editor of the Second Testament of The Queer Bible Commentary. He is currently working on An Indigenous Queer Theology.
Goss served as co-chair of the Gay Men’s Issues in Religion Group of the American Academy of Religion for three years and served on the Advisory Board of the Center for Lesbian Gay Ministry and Religion at the Pacific School of Religion for five years . Goss taught in the Religious Studies Department of Webster University (1994-2004), and served as Chair of the Department. He started a successful study abroad program in Engaged Buddhism for Webster/Thailand and won the 2000 Templeton Course Prize in Religion & Science.
Goss’s office at Webster was targeted for a hate crime (2001); his hardback copy of Jesus ACTED UP was carved out and stuffed with rotting meat by a Public Safety Officer. Public Safety and a few administrators were aware of the identity of the perpetrator and covered up the crime. In 2003, Goss was endorsed for tenure by the Department of Religious Studies, but a group of closeted faculty and a new dean moved to repeal the recommendation for tenure. Goss believes that there were covert scripts, including a public outcry by conservative faculty surrounding the publication of Queering Christ. Some seventy scholars from all over the world wrote on Goss’s behalf; students protested the decision. The administration supported the decision to deny tenure to Goss.
Robert Goss is now Senior Pastor/Theologian of the MCC Church in the Valley in North Hollywood. (http://www.mccvalley.org/) He legally married Rev. Joseph Shore in California prior to Prop 8, and they changed their married names to Shore-Goss. Besides pasturing an inclusive community of faith, Dr. Robert Shore-Goss teaches part-time at Claremont School of Theology and California State University at Northridge. He and his partner are active in the Marriage Equality movement to repeal Prop 8.
(This biographical statement provided by Robert Shore-Goss.)
Biography Date: February, 2004
MCC | Pacific School of Religion (Berkeley, CA) | Author/editor | Clergy Activist | Theology