As part of the conversation on polyamory and the church, I want to bring some voices other than my own onto this blog. So you’ll be seeing a few guest posts and interviews from other poly folks and poly-affirming Christian leaders. If you have something you’d like to contribute, let me know.
Today, I’m interviewing Baptist pastor Rev. Dr. Jeff Hood.
CM: From your Southern Baptist background, I’m sure you haven’t always affirmed polyamory. Could you share how your views have shifted on this matter? What led to your change of mind?
JH: The old wooden doors were intimidating. Pushing hard, I got one of them open. Since everything had already started, I sat on the back pew. I heard a message of love that pulled at me stronger than anything I’d ever felt. Before I knew it, I was out in the aisle. Along the way, I heard the voices of the polyamorous repeatedly whispering, “Why are you persecuting us?” Unable to contain myself, I shouted out, “Forgive me!” At that moment, I collapsed. Before I perished, I felt the pull. Divine polyamory found me a sinner and lifted me up by grace. The Holy Trinity ushered me to love. Looking around, I saw a great cloud of polyamorous witnesses shouting, “Holy! Holy! Holy, is the polyamorous love of God!” The waters of a wild grace washed away all my sin; I was forever changed. In the midst of a great resistance, polyamory saved my soul.
CM: That’s a very poetic way of putting it. Let me see if I’m understanding you in plainer language. Would you say that your intellectual objections were overcome by actually getting to know polyamorous individuals?
JH: I’m saying that the polyamorous God saved my soul. I once was blind…but now I see.
CM: Could you elaborate on how you understand God as polyamorous?
[Update: See how I (Chuck) would address this question.]
JH: There is no more intimate love than the love we share with God. In the beginning, God created us in God’s image…we exist to share intimacy with God. The relationship encompasses all types of intimacy. The fact that God seeks such passionate intimacy with all of us…certainly makes God a lover of more than one person at the same time. I have often pondered that polyamorous individuals might be more like God than all the rest us…because they are living out the wildly multidirectional intimacy of God.
The Holy Trinity is a polyamorous relationship. You can’t talk about the level of intimacy and ecstacy that these three beings are constantly experiencing without defining their relationship in such a way. Their love has always been and will always be a shared phenomenon. In the Holy Trinity, love is never denied. We should spend our lives making sure that the love of polyamorous individuals is never denied and always protected. The Holy Trinity demands it.
God is with us. The more we love…the more God loves. We are called to follow God. We are called to keep making love. Polyamorous folks are doing it. How can we deny such holiness?
While there could be many explanations of the polyamorous God, the one that matters the most is this…God dwells within the oppressed and marginalized (Matthew 25)…polyamorous folks are constantly oppressed and marginalized…God is polyamorous…and if we want to get saved than we have to figure out a way to become connected to polyamory.
Behold, I saw God…on one side of the divine, stood the polyamorous and their allies…and on the other side, stood the oppressors of the polyamorous. I heard a voice loudly declare, “They will go first!” The oppressors began to shout, “Why?” God quickly snapped back and said, “When I tried to love my family…you got in the way. When I tried to get married…you forbid it. When I just wanted to be a part of the community…you shunned me.” Then, God said, “What you have done to the polyamorous amongst you…you have done to me.” Without the polyamorous, we cannot know God.
Love is always Bigger.
Love is Wider.
Salvation is Love.
Polyamory is Love.
Love is Salvation.
Polyamory is Salvation.
How have you Loved the Oppressed?
Hod have you Loved the Polyamorous?
How have you Loved?
How have you?
CM: As a pastor, what kind of responses have you received for your affirmation of polyamory?
JH: The only people who have responded negatively are church assholes that have no knowledge of God. Let me tell you though…there have been some nasty ones. People have stalked me. People have called me a heretic. People have called me disgusting. People have threatened my life. I could go on and on. Do these people sound like they know anything about love? Hell no. I ain’t listening to a damn word they say. I know who I’m listening to. I hear the voice of God, “I am the way, the truth and the life…no one can can love me and condemn polyamory…for I am polyamorous.”
CM: Any more-positive responses from the church world?
CM: What do you think it will take to see polyamory more accepted in the church?
JH: Sacrificing everything. We are called to give our lives to the marginalized. We are called to give our lives to the oppressed. We are called to give our lives to our neighbors. We are called to give our lives. How could I follow God and sacrifice anything less? If it is my fate to be crucified with the polyamorous, then so be it. There is no worthier aim than to give one’s life for love.
Rev. Dr. Jeff Hood is a Baptist pastor, theologian, and activist living and working in Texas. In addition to two bachelor and four graduate degrees, Dr. Hood holds a doctorate with a focus in Queer Theology from Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University. In addition to his studies, Dr. Hood was ordained to the ministry in 2006, at a church within the Southern Baptist Convention. In 2009, Dr. Hood graduated with an MDiv from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2009. The author of 19 books, Dr. Hood is particularly proud of his recent book The Execution of God from Chalice Press. In 2016, Dr. Hood’s book The Courage to Be Queer was named the third best religion book of the year at the Independent Publishers Book Awards. In addition to writing books, Dr. Hood’s work has appeared extensively in the media, including in the Dallas Morning News, Huffington Post, Fort Worth Star Telegram, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Los Angeles Times, WIRED magazine and on ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, NPR amongst a whole host of other outlets. Dr. Hood is a husband to Emily and the father of five young children. With deep soul and a belief that God is “calling us to something queerer,” Dr. Hood is a radical mystic and prophetic voice to a closed society.
You can message Dr. Hood through his public Facebook page.
Posts on polyamory
- It’s Time for the Church to Talk About Polyamory
- Conflating Polyamory, the LGBTQ Community, and Orientation
- What Polyamory Is Not
- Christian Sexual Ethics and Polyamory
- Southern Baptist Preacher Affirms Polyamory (Interview with Rev. Dr. Jeff Hood)
- Is God Polyamorous?
- 5 Reasons for Writing about Polyamorous Families (Guest Post by Mark Kille)
- Polyamory and the Kingdom of God (by Christian Chiakulas on Radical Christian Millennial)
- What Are Polyamorous Christians to Make of Karl Barth? (Guest Post)
- Polygamy and the Problem of Patriarchy