top of page

Challenging Norms with Dr. Jason Oliver Evans on Queer Theology and the Black Church Copy

Jun 3, 2024





Trigger Warning: Please listen with your best interest in mind


In this episode, we sit down with the esteemed Dr. Jason Oliver Evans, a constructive theologian specializing in Christian systematic theology, theological and social ethics, Africana studies, and gender and sexuality studies. Dr. Evans shares his profound insights on queer theology, the intersection of race, sexuality, and religion, and the challenges faced by queer individuals within the Black church. This enlightening conversation is a must-listen for anyone seeking to understand the complexities of faith, identity, and acceptance.


You can listen to the full episode via Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or YouTube.


Key Highlights:

  • Defining Queer Theology:

    • Queer theology interrogates and destabilizes normative assumptions about gender and sexuality within Christian tradition.

    • Aims to challenge the cis-normative and hetero-patriarchal logics legitimizing the marginalization of Black LGBTQIA+ lives.

  • Historical Context and Theological Insights:

    • The impact of American chattel slavery and Western settler colonial Christianity on the perception of Black and queer individuals.

    • The Politics of Respectability and its influence on Black Christian communities' views on sexuality and gender.

  • Challenges in the Black Church:

    • The Black church's struggle with accepting LGBTQIA+ members due to historical, social, and theological reasons.

    • The role of education and the resistance to evolving theological perspectives within religious institutions.

  • Personal Journey and Advocacy:

    • Dr. Evans' experiences as an openly gay theologian in the Black Baptist Church.

    • The importance of love, acceptance, and the transformative power of grace in Christian faith.

  • Future Directions:

    • The ongoing need for inclusive and affirming theological education.

    • Encouragement for Black queer individuals to find and create supportive faith communities.


Check out the full transcript at the end.


Dr. Jason Oliver Evans

iamasonofgod.wordpress.com

Twitter: @joliverevans

CashApp: $JOEvans22



Jennifer Wiley

https://www.thejenniferexperience.com/

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/thejenniferexp

Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/thejenniferexperience

TikTok - @thejenniferexp

LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/thejenniferexperience/


Until we meet again, we wish all our listeners well and peace. Thank you for tuning in to this important conversation.


 

Full episode transcript:

[00:00:10] The Jennifer Experience: All right, ladies and gentlemen, we are on another episode of Different Perspectivez today. I have a very, very, very special guest and I have been waiting for this episode. I'm waiting, waiting, waiting, and I'm so excited. With me today. I have Dr. Jason Oliver Evans, pronouns he, him, his, is a constructive theologian working at the intersection of Christian systematic theology and theological and social ethics, Africana studies and Studies of the Gender and Sexuality. Evans earned a PhD in Religious Studies from the University of Virginia previously. Evans earned a Master's in Religious Studies from the University of Virginia and a Theology Master's from the Chandler School of Theology at Emory University. Master's of Divinity from Duke University. And a Bachelor of Science in Speak Communication from Millersville University of Pennsylvania. Evan's primary studies are Christology, Soteriology, Creation, and Theology Anthropology. In his dissertation titled, If God Be For Us, Towards a Theology of Atonement and Christian Life. From a black queer perspective, Evans considers the person and the work of Jesus Christ through a critical engagement with key text by Carl Barth, James H. Cone, Dolores S. Williams, and Joanne Marie Terrell. Drawing insights from each author, Evans develops an account of Jesus Christ that contests the cis normative and hetero patriarchal religious and cultural logics that legitimate, the social and political and physical deaths of the black SGL/LGBTQIA+ lives often deemed to be deviant, inherently sinful, and non human. Moreover, Evans is a podcast contributor for the Religion, Race, and Democracy Lab at the University of Virginia. Evans has also contributed articles for the Independent News organization, The Conversation. An ordained minister in the American Baptist Church USA. Evans currently serves as an associate minister at the historic Saint Paul's Baptist Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Ladies and gentlemen my guest today Dr. Jason Oliver Evans. Round of applause everyone. I mean, he has done some things and yes, I said young man, even though he has a little gray in his beard, y'all should have seen him with this cute head he had on looking delicious on this podcast, but listen, what comes out of his mouth today. I know it's going to bless you and listen, if you're queer, I hope you're listening because you will get free, hearing what he has to say. So I'm just, I'm honored that he chose my podcast to come on after this auspicious occasion of him completing his dissertation. Everybody, please give him a round of applause. Dr. Jason Oliver Evans. Yay!

[00:03:10] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: Thank you, Reverend. Thank you so much.

[00:03:13] The Jennifer Experience: Yes, sir. Yes, sir. Now, so let's start off with in your definition, what is queer theology? Because some people are going to say, I've never heard of queer theology. What does that mean? Like, in your own words, what does that mean?

[00:03:25] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: Thank you for your question. Just a quick disclaimer, I am not the sole author of queer theology. I simply stand within a tradition of queer theology, specifically Black Queer Theological Reflection. And so if we're thinking about queer theology as a movement within both academic theology, but also as a movement within Christian tradition, specifically queer theology is a critical theological mode of theological inquiry that seeks to interrogate the normative assumptions primarily concerning gender and sexuality, but it also extend to any assumption concerning what is normative or what is the standard, what is the rule, what is the tradition. So it is interrogative by nature. It asks questions. Not only does it ask questions, but it seeks to destabilize binaristic frameworks for understanding reality, either or, if you will. It also disrupts these normative claims, especially normative claims that have consequentially led to, violent and harmful actions, thoughts, words, deeds, et cetera, towards those who are considered non normative. So, principally, those who are queer, those who are, you know, LGBTQ, homosexual, but it also can extend to, racial others, indigenous others, gendered others. You get what I'm saying? 

[00:04:55] The Jennifer Experience: Yes. 

[00:04:56] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: Anyone who does not, fully meet the normative subject, which in the history of like, in the last 600 years, we think about Western settler colonial expansion. The normative subject is the white, cis, heteropatriarchal, middle class man.

[00:05:13] The Jennifer Experience: Right. Right.

[00:05:15] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: And so queer theology is a critical mode in which we interrogate, disrupt, dismantle these normative assumptions that tend to orbit around this particular subject.

[00:05:27] The Jennifer Experience: Say that one more time. 

[00:05:29] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: It is a critical mode of theological study that seeks to question but also disrupt, dismantle, and to destabilize all normative claims and assumptions that orbit around this particular subject, which is the white, cisheteropatriarchal, middle class man. 

[00:05:48] The Jennifer Experience: All right. All right. Excellent, excellent, excellent. Okay, I hope y'all heard that. So now if you were wondering what queer theology is, now you don't have to write me an ask. Jason just told you. I wanted us to get that out the way because some people will look at this in title and say, well, what queer theology? Jennifer making something up. Nope, I did not. This is a real and true thing. 

[00:06:07] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: Reverend, can I add this? Because the theological part is It's not just the normative assumptions concerning just reality as such. It is the critical assumptions concerning doctrine,

[00:06:19] The Jennifer Experience: Mm hmm.

[00:06:20] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: Liturgy, symbols. So if we make it like if we're centering specifically Christian theology, right? It is about how we understand God and God's relation to the world and specifically relations to those who have been othered, those who have been cast out or of the normative orbit, if you will. So it's all about destabilizing these normative traditional assumptions primarily about God and God's ways in the world, especially God's interactions or disposition toward or against so called non normative peoples.

[00:07:00] The Jennifer Experience: Which would include gay people. Mm

[00:07:02] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: Absolutely. The whole alphabet soup

[00:07:07] The Jennifer Experience: The whole, yeah, yeah, the whole alphabet soup. So to me, you know, for the more basic person who will say they don't understand all of those words you just said, for me, that sounds like you're trying to dismantle all of these assumptions that we have made based on the old time thoughts. And even maybe the old time traditions that came from religions and teachings that we've had without understanding what it may have truly meant.

[00:07:39] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: And yeah, I mean, also, especially if those particular old assumptions have been cultivated and developed within a context of, you know, American chattel slavery and broadly, you know, like I said, white Western settler colonial Christianity. And I know that's like very academic, but it's still real. Like the ways in which we understand specifically, let's say, if we could just keep it a buck right here, like if black queer people or black trans people living in the United States, like the way we assume what is normal and what is truly human from a theological perspective, from a Christian perspective. Yeah. Yeah. Is what happens within this historical context in which white Christian thinkers and slaveholders and, you know, in a society has used God and the symbol of Jesus Christ to violently control black bodies as such. And one of the instruments of control was creating sexual images. That basically demonize black people as lascivious, less than, freakish, sexual enticing. They use these tools to justify their sexual violation of us through chattel slavery, through the various ways, whether it was torture, rape, and so forth, right? And then they spread it along, they spread all these assumptions in the larger American society. So when free Blacks are living in these larger cities, they're like, beware of the black male buck that comes to entice the white female or the black Jezebel that comes to entice, you know, the white male, right? All of these images were promulgated within society to justify their control of us, to justify their violent sexual violation at times of black people as such. And so when you think about black queer people, right? That's like, for those of us who, you know, who live our lives that, disrupt gender and sexual conventions, that we're like paradigmatic freaks. We're paradigmatic. We are like intensified, what it means to be deviant.

[00:09:56] The Jennifer Experience: Yes. And that's one of the big things that I. Ooh, I try to talk about it as often as possible and I, that's probably going to be my next question. And this is heavy in the black church, like, I'm sure we both know that there are still a lot of gay people in the black church. Now they may be gay and be quiet. But we know they're there. Okay, because they're on the piano. They behind the pulpit. They there. And they're just not saying anything. So to all my brothers and sisters that still there that's gay. I'm sorry. I'm praying for you. I'm praying you release yourself. I'm not going to say that I like understand why the white church acts the way they act because I'd be lying if I say that. But I definitely don't understand even more why the black church is so, so, so, so I, it's like their hatred is, is a level higher and maybe that's just my impression, but it just seems like, it's so offensive to them. Because I've been in conversations and in spaces where the conversation has tried to come up, you know, I used to be a member of the AME Zion church, the CME church, where the conversation has been brought up to try to even broach the subject

[00:11:03] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: Mm hmm.

[00:11:04] The Jennifer Experience: And, let's just say it ain't gonna, you know, the interest in acceptance

[00:11:08] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: Mm hmm. Mm hmm.

[00:11:09] The Jennifer Experience: or even understanding, it's not there. 

[00:11:12] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: Mm hmm. 

[00:11:13] The Jennifer Experience: And so what irks me. And this is just me. And maybe you can help me understand as a qualified theologian. Because see, they try to unqualify me. So I try to bring on other qualified theologians because I try to build my little posse here. So as a qualified theologian, because for everybody that does not know, Dr. Jason Oliver Evans, he's already completed his dissertation. Okay, we'll get to that later on the show, but he's completed it. So as a qualified theologian, give me your professional opinion as to why the black church especially, in my opinion, seems to be stuck on this. Like, and I mean, you know what I mean when I say stuck, because I remember when I chose, cause I did choose, when I chose to make it very clear that I was going to love a woman. And let me say, not have sex with a woman, y'all, because that's all y'all think about is sex when you hear gay. When I chose to have a relationship, it was very clear my calling was no longer acknowledged. So explain to me, in your professional opinion, as a theologian. Because what I do know is, if you really are a theologian, you know some truth. And it doesn't get back to the local church. And I've asked this question to other theologians, so I want to know what you're going to say. Like, why do you think even with pastors that are trained and know better, why do you think they don't say nothing? I know that's a loaded question.

[00:12:37] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: I'll give you just a tidbit of my dissertation

[00:12:41] The Jennifer Experience: Okay. 

[00:12:42] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: To answer that question. Protestant Christians, in particular, in the United States have a hard time imagining Black, queer, same gender loving, LGBTIQ, however you identify people as saved because the Black Christian imagination has been warped within a context that is simultaneously anti Black, queer antagonistic, and trans antagonistic, and this stretches back to the roots of Western settler colonial Christianity and its project in the United States. You have to understand how salvation has been conceived, malformed in our imagination within this context, because this context created a crisis. It deemed black souls as saved while black flesh is damned. Hence, think about the slave catechisms of the 17th century that said to be baptized as an enslaved person. If now, mind you, person is quote unquote, because they didn't conceive us as fully human. Their Christian identity, their status as Christian had no bearing on their freedom. Therefore, we can do whatever we want with you physically. Even though they said their souls are saved, they're really not fully saved because they didn't really consider us fully human. So there's a proximity to salvation, but not the full benefits, the rights and privileges as a child of God was not granted to black flesh as such. Right? On top of that, they created attention. They said to the enslaved slaves, obey your masters. And shun, shun fornication. And so, while the enslaved were striving to be Christian faithful, seeking to marry, mind you, marriage was not recognized, right? They wanted to live faithfully as disciples of Jesus sexually. Their bodies belonged to the slaveholder. So they could do whatever the hell they want with their bodies. So what does Christian life mean for the enslaved woman

[00:14:59] The Jennifer Experience: Right,

[00:15:00] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: who sought to be faithful to her God and to the partner that she's wedded to, and yet her body is ravaged by a white slaveholder and his associates? What does Christian life mean for her flesh? Right? So at the turn of the 19th century, as enslaved people are manumitted or emancipated, one of the ways in which they're acclimated into the larger society, mind you, white, mainstream society,

[00:15:31] The Jennifer Experience: Yeah.

[00:15:32] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: was to embrace their sexual moral codes. So at that time, it's Victorian, right? Women, particularly like, if you think about Northern middle class blacks who were ministers would go down to the South and evangelize or to teach the newly, the freely enslaved, what it means to conform to the society conventions. This is the beginning of the strategy that Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham in her famous book, Righteous Discontent called the Politics of Respectability, where specifically black Baptist club women would embrace Victorian mores and align it with democratic ideas and ideas of modesty and frugality. This was a strategy for African American survival in the white mainstream culture.

[00:16:26] The Jennifer Experience: Wow. You just said a mouthful right there. It was a strategy to survive.

[00:16:33] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: And to dismantle racist assumptions about black humanity and by implication, black sexuality. Because mind you, black women were the Jezebels, black men were the black bucks. And so you have black people as Christian, we're like, we're going to do this Christian thing better than these white folks.

[00:16:56] The Jennifer Experience: Yes. Yes. Yes.

[00:16:57] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: So we're going to organize our families. We're going to organize and comport ourselves. In ways, not for them to accept us per se, but to demonstrate to them that we are human despite what they have to say or do to us.

[00:17:14] The Jennifer Experience: You talking good, brother. I'm here. I'm feeling you on this. I know exactly what you're saying.

[00:17:19] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: So this is the culture in which we are caught up in, and part of the strategy was conformity. We made sure that we enforce these codes and mores within our communities, within our families, and in our churches. And so anyone who did not align with those particular cultures, whether it was single black women, unmarried women,

[00:17:46] The Jennifer Experience: Yeah.

[00:17:47] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: single men who would hang out at the joints, you know, smoke cigarettes and they listen to and drink their liquor and do all the things that respectable Negroes did not do, especially if they're church going people. Now, throw in the homosexual.

[00:18:04] The Jennifer Experience: Exactly. You see, silence.

[00:18:06] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: To be homosexual was to be and at least according to one prominent figure at the turn of the 20th century, the Reverend Adam Clayton Powell Senior of Abyssinian Baptist Church of Harlem, New York, he said that homosexuals, along with single black women were a threat to the black family, the institution of the black family,

[00:18:27] The Jennifer Experience: Did he say that? 

[00:18:28] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: Sure did, not only did he say that there was a huge New York Times report In 1929, where he did a whole series of sermons condemning homosexuality, he was basically describing it using in the language of this rampant, you know, homosexuals are enticing young black men who, you know, away from being respectable and having these rant parties and doing all it's like, as if it was explained that like a social vice that like it was just spread like a wildfire. He was not alone because around that time there was, an AME Zion paper

[00:19:06] The Jennifer Experience: Come on. Come on.

[00:19:08] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: Called the Star of Zion, but it was, there was an editor by the last name of Davenport. He basically echoed Adam Clayton Powell's contention that there was this, you know, he didn't use the term lifestyle, but it was just the thing that you did unspeakable affections.

[00:19:24] The Jennifer Experience: Yes. I was in the Zion church and you are telling the 100 percent truth. And that is the star of Zion. You are 100 percent correct.

[00:19:31] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: I mean, they had this concern to say that single black womanhood and specifically male homosexuality were not only just sinful vices, but they were social threats to the institution and stability of the black family.

[00:19:49] The Jennifer Experience: Social threats, y'all. 

[00:19:51] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: So things are not just when it comes to black life. Sin is not merely personal, it's social and political. Now, of course, in American culture, it is also legal too, at the same time, right? Because sodomy was on the books since the colonial era.

[00:20:10] The Jennifer Experience: Sodomy is still on the book in Texas.

[00:20:11] AD: Are you tired of feeling stuck in old patterns, held back by self doubt, or overwhelmed by the challenges life throws your way? It's time to reclaim your power and embrace the journey of transformation. Hi, I'm Tina C. Hines, and I'm here to guide you on a path of self discovery and empowerment. Transformation coaching is not just about setting goals and achieving them. It's about diving deep into your inner world, uncovering your hidden potential, and creating a lasting change from the inside out. As a transformation specialist, I provide individuals with a direct, lived experience of the reality they have created, empowering them to shift their current paradigm and step into their desired future. Transformation coaching is about more than just reaching external goals. It's about healing old wounds, embracing your worthiness, and living a life of fulfillment and joy on your own terms. No matter where you are on your journey, you deserve to prioritize your well being and pursue your dreams unapologetically. Don't let the pain of your past hold you back any longer. Visit tinachines.com to learn more about transformation coaching and take the first step. Towards a life of happiness and fulfillment. That's tinachines.com

[00:21:42] The Jennifer Experience: Sodomy is still on the book in Texas. 

[00:21:46] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: Sodomy, you know, for those of you who don't know, historically, I mean, it's generally understood as any non procreative sex is considered under the label of sodomy, but they took a special, like umbrage with. Same gender sexual acts.

[00:22:03] The Jennifer Experience: Because now when you say sodomy, they only think of two men. 

[00:22:06] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: They only think of gay sex, whatever that may mean.

[00:22:09] The Jennifer Experience: Right. Right. Right.

[00:22:11] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: As if straight people ain't having oral or anal sex.

[00:22:14] The Jennifer Experience: Thank you.

[00:22:15] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: So, so with that, it's like, I'm saying all this to say that the way in which we've codified these strategies of survival in the face of onslaught trauma, ongoing trauma, we've imbibed it and called it holy and sanctification. Right. We think in certain traditions, sanctification is seen as protest against a lascivious and vile culture, right? Be in the world, but not of it, if you will. Right. Some could say that this is like the strategy of the so called sanctified church, right? Like to live a sanctified life is not just your piety closer to God, but it is a strategy of political protest against a decadent society. And then you conform the, you know, the saints that's reinstilled in this conformity of living a certain kind of, dare I say it, lifestyle that is distinct from so called mainstream culture. And so why do you think even Black gays out here, a lot of Black gays still use the term lifestyle because they've imbibed malformed understanding, not just about gender and sexuality, of course, it is a malformed understanding of gender and sexuality because we live in a society that like shits on comprehensive sexual education, right? And, or any kind of like understanding of psychosexual and gender development. 

[00:23:42] The Jennifer Experience: I mean, do they even still do sexual education? My son's 17. I don't think they gave him any sexual,

[00:23:48] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: Depends on which state you live in, depend on what state. And then when you in the state, which municipality, like it really is a travesty

[00:23:56] The Jennifer Experience: Brother. I don't, I don't think they telling these kids nothing.

[00:24:00] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: Really is a travesty. 

[00:24:02] The Jennifer Experience: Oh, they, I'm sorry. They telling them not to be gay. They are telling them that. I'm sorry. I, I'm sorry. I had to add that in there. They are telling them not to be gay. Excuse me. 

[00:24:10] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: So just to get back to, like, my original point, is our imaginations How we perceive each other

[00:24:18] The Jennifer Experience: Yes.

[00:24:19] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: is warped. 

[00:24:23] The Jennifer Experience: Double warped. 

[00:24:24] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: I said this in my dissertation, I'm like, how is it that particularly Black Protestants, I can't speak for the Black Catholics, but I'll say this about Black Protestants because that's my home, I'm a Baptist. Oh, look at a Black queer person. See God working through them. They're anointing. They're blessed by the gift of God on this Black queer life. And they will rationalize, well, God can use anybody. And then consume what God ministers through that person, while at the same time consider this person damned. I'm just damned. Damned, unsavable receptacles.

[00:25:02] The Jennifer Experience: You know, I can't respond to that at all. Cause that's what happens.

[00:25:05] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: So they can consume from them, extract their labor, extract their resources,

[00:25:12] The Jennifer Experience: They'll suck up all their anointing.

[00:25:14] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: but consider them just going straight to hell.

[00:25:16] The Jennifer Experience: They'll use up all of their talents and their gifts.

[00:25:20] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: And let me say this. Let me say this. About your original point that in your opinion, it was like, how is it that this queer phobia, it seems higher in black churches than let's say experience. 

[00:25:30] The Jennifer Experience: Cause you would agree with that, right? 

[00:25:32] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: I don't think I would agree. I would say is I understand given our proximity.

[00:25:37] The Jennifer Experience: Okay. Okay.

[00:25:39] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: Because I was raised in a white evangelical church. I was raised in a white Southern Baptist church. I was raised in no white, you know, reformed church. There's a lot of white queers who are like, they experienced all kinds of antagonisms and homophobia. And if I were to say, because of my personal experience that it feels black folks seem more homophobic than white folks. The danger with that statement is all, I mean, if you're raised around black people, of course, it's going to feel like black people are the most homophobic people because of your proximity to them. You were raised around them. But what the, but I hear some of that logic offered by both whites and blacks to reinforce a racist notion that somehow black people are just inherently homophobic and queerphobic. As if somehow queer phobia and trans antagonism just magically arose from black flesh as if we didn't get colonized and have these white Christian racist sexist logics taught and promulgated on us.

[00:26:46] The Jennifer Experience: Oh, well, no, I don't think of it that way. What I think is that there is definitely a difference between black gay culture and white gay culture. That's what I do think. And I think when I say that, what I mean is, Not that both groups cannot be discriminated against because they can, but what I do think is I tell people all the time. I have three things working against me. I'm black. I'm a woman and I'm gay. Now, if I were a white person, I would say I have two things working against me. I'm a woman and I'm gay. I would not say I'm white. Because if I were white, that is not something that would be working against me, because if I'm white, I would have some privilege. Let's just be honest. So I think that there is a difference between black gay culture and white gay culture, because I think white people do have some privilege that they are very much aware of, and maybe sometimes what happens is that when they become gay, however that happens, okay, however that situation occurs, where they realize they're gay, or they, you know, they wake up gay, or whatever it is, once they step into that realm. Then they get a taste, okay, of discrimination, they get a taste of what we have to deal with, and it is very different. And so then they realize, wait a minute now, you can't treat me a certain way because of this, but black people know what that's like already, whether you gay or not. And so that's, it makes me a little bit more upset with black people because it's like black people, you ought to know better, like you ought to know what it's like to be discriminated against for something. And then, then black people come back with, well you could change if you gay.

[00:28:25] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: Oh, I mean, yeah, I totally understand where you're coming from. At the same time, I would offer that black people are human too. And one of the reckonings we have to really understand is being oppressed does not magically make you empathetic to another's oppression.

[00:28:42] The Jennifer Experience: Hello. We'll have to make that in quotes.

[00:28:45] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: And that's the sad reality. Because let's go back to the white gay man. Here's another example. I was in a church. Giving a presentation on queer theology and this nice white Southern gay man. Came up to me a little interesting and, you know, he was just like, oh, I appreciate, you know, everything that you were saying to me, saying here. It was just amazing. And, you know, he was giving his particular theology. I'm like, okay, girl. But the thing that he said was, you know, in my personal experience, where I, I just believe that, you know, that black churches tend to be more homophobic than the white churches. 

[00:29:25] The Jennifer Experience: And what did you say, Jason?

[00:29:28] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: I was short of saying racist as fuck. But I said, that is racist. Your statement is completely racist. Here's why. And I enumerated why his statement is racist. Which

[00:29:43] The Jennifer Experience: This statement is very racist.

[00:29:45] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: goes back to Right. It goes back to, particularly the descendants of enslaved Africans didn't just arise out of context that were just, like, espoused Christian homophobia. No, that shit was taught.

[00:30:01] The Jennifer Experience: Right. And the fact he had the nerve to come to you and say that.

[00:30:03] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: Who said it with his whole white gay chest? His whole white gay chest. Just, and you know white liberals, God bless them. They are so sincere. 

[00:30:12] The Jennifer Experience: And he thought you was going to agree.

[00:30:14] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: The shit.

[00:30:16] The Jennifer Experience: He, no, he did. He

[00:30:17] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: I know he, I know, I know he did because he was like, you're a gay man too. I'm a negro gay man, sir.

[00:30:24] The Jennifer Experience: Right, right, right, right, right. So did you like correct him? 

[00:30:28] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: Oh, I, I checked him and I didn't say sir. I checked him in front of several white people who were just watching like, 

[00:30:36] The Jennifer Experience: What did he say?

[00:30:37] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: Well, I never thought about like that. Goes to the white privilege that you were talking about, Jennifer.

[00:30:46] The Jennifer Experience: Because I hear that all the time. I never thought about it like that.

[00:30:50] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: Of course not.

[00:30:51] The Jennifer Experience: Do y'all be thinking? That's what I want to know. Did you think before you opened your mouth and said that to me?

[00:30:55] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: The thing is, it's beyond just think.aa They don't consider

[00:31:00] The Jennifer Experience: You never thought about it like that because you didn't have to think about it like that because you're white. That's why you didn't think about it like that because you're not black.

[00:31:07] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: Exactly.

[00:31:08] The Jennifer Experience: And that's what I'm trying to tell you right now. Like, this conversation has been had many times with me and I'm like, yeah, I know you didn't think about it like that because I'm looking at the color of your skin.

[00:31:21] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: Absolutely. When I look at Negroes, or I should I say that as a term an endearment because I am a Negro too 

[00:31:28] The Jennifer Experience: And me too. This is a negro show hosted by a negro woman who is a lesbian. Go ahead.

[00:31:33] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: You know, when I think about African Americans, blacks, Negroes, the coloreds, when I think about us

[00:31:39] The Jennifer Experience: Mm

[00:31:40] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: about also have to think about my own social location and education, because I, this is my fifth degree, 

[00:31:50] The Jennifer Experience: Fifth, fifth, wait, wait, fifth, fifth, ladies and gentlemen, because see, here we go, because see, y'all love to say that people come on shows and are uneducated. This is a young black man who has five, count them, one, two, three, four, five. That means he spent his time, he is educated, he's read some books, as in plural. He's not just getting on here talking out the side of his mouth with assumptions. Okay. 'm sorry. Go ahead. Mm-Hmm?

[00:32:19] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: I think it's just in my own privilege of being educated on this particular higher level. I understand the exegesis and the factors that go into the perpetuation of ignorance within our communities concerning sexuality and gender diversity. It is reinforced through ignorant theologies. It is reinforced from structural education, like literally structural barring of comprehensive sexual education in our schools that are propped up by conservative white Christian nationalist agendas, right? So you said you're from Texas. They prize abstinence only. But these the same white privileged people that will literally fly their little girls who would get pregnant by probably some Mexican American or black man and go right and get an abortion somewhere else, but ban others from getting an abortion.

[00:33:15] The Jennifer Experience: Oh, baby. If you need an abortion. Don't come to Texas though.

[00:33:18] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: Right, but the ones who got money who signed and caught these laws, they're going to, oh, they're going to get their daughter's abortions.

[00:33:25] The Jennifer Experience: just fly on a private jet.

[00:33:27] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: Exactly right. And so when it comes to like the lack of education, mind you, let's be keep it up. The education is horrendous.

[00:33:36] The Jennifer Experience: Horrendous. 

[00:33:38] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: People in the church are still fucking.

[00:33:40] The Jennifer Experience: I mean, do they know? Do they forget that? I just wonder

[00:33:43] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: So they're not talking about it. Or if they do talk about it, it is in these restrictive ways, but they are literally having sex. Everyone is having sex. Well, I shouldn't say everyone because there are certain people that have different relationships with sexual activity and that's fine. And I respect and affirm all that.

[00:33:57] The Jennifer Experience: having sex. You right. Go ahead. 

[00:34:00] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: I mean, I'm honoring people who are on the aromantic, asexual spectrum who like, you know, everyone has their own particular race, but I'm saying for those who are having sex, and yet silent about sexuality,

[00:34:13] The Jennifer Experience: Mm hmm. Mm hmm.

[00:34:14] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: And when they do speak, it's ignorance.

[00:34:16] The Jennifer Experience: Hmm. Mm hmm. Which is quite a few people.

[00:34:20] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: And those few people are in power. That's devastating. You have ignorant people in power in our church institutions, proffering complete ignorance. And when you dealing with people, especially young people who have the privilege to go to college and start actually having some space to ask critical questions. You think they're going to sit back and listen to some ignorant shit some pastors say or simply like have attention because you have these pastors and I'm not just talking about old denominational pastors. I'm talking about these, you know, skinny jean pastors and you know, mega churches.

[00:35:01] The Jennifer Experience: Listen, listen, I'm glad you brought this up, because see this brings me to my question. And this is a serious question. Why do you think these skinny jean pastors go to theology school and they get a degree because I know a lot of people right now and y'all know i'm being fair because you know, my other theologian that I had on the show. I asked him this same question. Because see, if you 70 and older, I'm not asking you this question but if you are let's say 45 and younger and you have a degree in theology and you are in the church I know, you know. Why aren't you telling the truth? And I'm just asking your opinion as to why don't you think these people that are coming out of school, know the truth? Know that they're being educated because I hear it all the time. They admit it in certain circles. How come when they get back to their local church, what they're actually feeding to these people, to their flock doesn't change? 

Hello listeners, Jennifer here, host of Different Perspectivez. As we celebrate Pride Month, I want to take a moment to share something very special with all of you. Have you ever found yourself navigating the complex journey of parenthood after your child has said to you they're gay? It can be a challenging road to walk, but let me assure you, you're not alone. That's why I wrote the booklet Shades of Acceptance: Navigating Parenthood After Coming Out. In this heartfelt booklet, I share my own experiences along with practical advice. And compassionate guidance to help parents like you understand, accept, and support your LGBTQ plus children with love and authenticity, no matter how old they are, whether you're struggling with questions of faith, acceptance, or simply how to best support your child. Shades of Acceptance offers insight and wisdom to guide you on this journey. I encourage you to get your copy today. Head over to Amazon or my website, www.thejenniferexperience.Com to grab your copy today. As a matter of fact, I have a special treat for you. If you use the code PRIDE, P R I D E, you'll get 10 off either the e booklet or a physical copy. Let's make this Pride Month a celebration of love, understanding, and acceptance for all. Thank you for listening and remember, love is always the answer and love still conquers all. I love all of you. Take good care.

How come when they get back to their local church, what they're actually feeding to these people, to their flock doesn't change? 

[00:37:34] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: I'm going to complicate that even further because some of these skinny jean pastors. Where are they going to school is number one.

[00:37:42] The Jennifer Experience: Oh, well that I'm not going to say no names. Go ahead.

[00:37:46] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: Number two, what was their disposition to learning before they stepped foot on that campus? Because people, we have to admit, a lot of people do not go to theological education, let alone education, to expand their knowledge. They go to get credentials so they can get a job.

[00:38:07] The Jennifer Experience: So you mean when they go to theology school, it doesn't automatically tell them the truth.

[00:38:14] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: No. Not at all.

[00:38:16] The Jennifer Experience: and explain to them how some of these scriptures are being wrongly interpretated and 

[00:38:21] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: It depends on the school.

[00:38:23] The Jennifer Experience: Oh. So if you for instance go to a school that's owned by your denomination. I'm not gonna say any names, but if you go to a school, that's the owned by your denomination, you might not learn anything at all about the truth. 

[00:38:34] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: May be true, but it's also, it's not just about which denomination owns the school. It's who's actually teaching. What are they actually teaching? Let me say in 35 years, there have been movements within mainline Protestant education to have courses that explicitly deal with gender and sexual diversity. Now, mind you, I went to one of those mainline institutions and they were one of the last of the mainline institutions to actually have an explicit course that addressed anything close to homosexuality, let alone transgender experience, non binary experience, all the alphabet soup. It took them a long time just to even have an explicit course that dealt with queer theologies or LGBTQ theologies because of who they were affiliated with at the time. Let me just, full disclosure, I'm talking about Duke Divinity School. Who is affiliated with the United Methodist Church prior to what just happened in the last week at the general conference, where they excise the incompatibility language, So in the book of discipline for years, there was a language that said, while all are of sacred worth, I'm paraphrasing homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. Well, in the last, like, two decades, there have been fights between the conservatives or the traditionalists and the progressive factions within the United Methodist Church that like several thousand conservative churches, just like disfellowshipped from the United Methodist Church. And so they had enough of the delegation in the general conference last week, which were progressive, got rid of that language. And now they can openly ordain LGBTQ people. They can openly marry, you know, and officiate LGBTQ people. They can now move forward with changing some of the liturgy to, you know, reflect the people who are actually in the churches like it was a great day in the history of the United Methodist Church that just happened last week. But when I went to school, which was over a decade ago, And mind you, Duke is Southern United Methodist. So we're talking about North Carolina, baby. And the people who, you know, sit on that board,

[00:40:44] The Jennifer Experience: Oh, I know what you're saying. Yeah.

[00:40:45] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: We, explicitly talk about homosexuality. So they started to be, like I was in the second cohort of a course that dealt with sexuality, Bible, and controversy. And how it was designed was to actually have faculty members from a range of fields. So like biblical studies, theology, ethics, practical theology, all the fields to teach various different perspectives on the matter of gender, sexual diversity, broadly and homosexuality in particular from their field of location from their field of study and not present their particular opinion. And the core of the course was because we knew that there was gonna be people who were from all different sexual orientations and gender identities and religious perspectives were in that course. While my teachers were like, we personally stand on the side of prog on progress in the church. This course is design so that you can actually have critical engagement with a range of different perspectives. That was new even in 2009, 2010. It's significant change since then prior to, and the reason why it's significantly changed towards the better has something to do in back in 2014. I won't get into, but the point I'm saying is feel who sits on the boards of these institutions, who controls the curriculum of these institutions matters.

[00:42:12] The Jennifer Experience: Yeah, and the fact that you said that's the United Methodist, I mean, there's other Methodists that could have all joined. I mean, because you got the CME, the AME, then the AME. Why didn't they all join? Let's see what, here's the thing. When, I think United Methodist, I think white.

[00:42:27] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: Majority white, yes.

[00:42:29] The Jennifer Experience: Okay. When, but when you go into AME, CME, AME, that's black.

[00:42:33] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: in 2021 during the first leg of the pandemic. Right? There was the General Conference of the AME Church. Dr. Ravi Perry, who is a professor of political science at Howard University, proposed that the AME Church, permit their ordained clergy to perform same gender marriages and make, basically, a change within the Book of Worship towards LGBT. They shut it down.

[00:42:59] The Jennifer Experience: Of course. That's why I was just getting ready to say their discipline. I like to call it discipline, but it's you right. It's just, but they have a book of ritual and discipline. They not going to change their discipline.

[00:43:08] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: And some who were more progressive felt like, I mean, I won't get into the minutiae, but there was like, there was a procedural issue with the proposal. But nevertheless, 

[00:43:17] The Jennifer Experience: They not going to change their discipline.

[00:43:20] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: In that particular moment, the majority of it was like to change, it would violate an earlier decision that was made in 2000, what, 14 or 2004 that says same sex unions will not be prohibited in AME sanctioned in churches and gatherings and so forth and so on.

[00:43:37] The Jennifer Experience: Well, and it's in their discipline that they don't believe that so that they don't believe in that type of relationship. So they cannot then allow it in their ritual for you to perform it. 

[00:43:46] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: Unless they actually changed the book of ritual, well, I mean, I won't, you know, I can't make that. I'm just saying that they haven't done it. at least not yet. There are progressive and openly affirming and queer Methodists within those churches that are fighting. And, I mean, another brilliant queer theologian, Dr. Jennifer Leath, who just came out with a newbook. I mean, she's doing, you know, critical queer work in her denomination to advance change in the AME church. And there's other, 

[00:44:13] The Jennifer Experience: Oh, is she AME? Oh, wow. And she's open and affirming?

[00:44:17] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: She is.

[00:44:18] The Jennifer Experience: And they haven't put her out? Oh, hats off to you then, Reverend Leaf. Hats off to you, girl. I applaud you. Reverend Doctor, excuse me. Hats off to you, ma'am, because I'm surprised they didn't put you out to church. I need to get you on the show and interview you, because I'm shocked shocked shitless, actually. But go ahead. I'm serious. I'm shocked.

[00:44:36] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: And it really does depend on, like, the conference, who you're under, who's your bishop under that conference, and 

[00:44:41] The Jennifer Experience: Yeah, now that's true, too, because if the bishop shuts you down,you're done. 

[00:44:45] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: So, all that to say, I mean, there are people who are laboring in the theological vein to advance change in these particular denominations. And for me, I'm grateful for belonging to a community, St. Paul's Baptist Church of Philadelphia. Shout out to my people who've affirmed me since the beginning that I joined and they knew I was gay. They was like, we know you gay. 

[00:45:08] The Jennifer Experience: You think the Baptists are getting it together better than the Methodists? Uh oh. I was hopeful, Jason. I was hopeful. You think the Baptists are getting it together a little bit?

[00:45:15] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: You mean denominationally? No. Individual communities. Yeah. St. Paul's. Yeah. Like St. Paul's on the books to my knowledge is out of all the black Baptist churches in the city of Philadelphia has a clear open and affirming policy in their constitution. 

[00:45:32] The Jennifer Experience: So St. Paul is safe to go to on Sunday morning in

[00:45:36] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: Amen, absolutely. Our motto is we delight in everyone God sends. And even when I joined the church or even when I started visiting church and we didn't have like an official policy of open affirming, there were still openly gay people in our church. And I remember one vivid day, where my pastor announced the marriage of two Black gay men and there was standing ovation. 

[00:45:59] The Jennifer Experience: No, that's beautiful.

[00:46:01] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: I am the first openly gay person to be ordained under my pastor's leadership. And so I thank God for a community that has loved all of me, every single ounce, like. it's a beautiful thing to be loved and affirmed for not just what I do, but who I am. Right. And, and that's my constant prayer for, you know, black, queer, and trans people who remained Christian and remain affiliated with a church, you know, let me emphasize, remain affiliated with a church because there are people who are like, fuck the church, but I'm going to still ride with Jesus. And I'm like, you know, I get that. But for those of us who still like travail and strive to be faithful within our respective communities, that takes a lot of energy. 

[00:46:50] The Jennifer Experience: Yep. For those of you that can still stomach the church,

[00:46:54] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: And I'm grateful for a community that my existence is not up for debate.

[00:46:59] The Jennifer Experience: You don't have to be in the closet. I applaud you, my brother. I'm happy for you. I'm I really am because I know too many people that go to church and they in the closet and I don't I'm not happy for them. I'll be honest with you. I feel for them because anytime you are judged by who you love, that's a horrible thing.

[00:47:16] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: I will say, yeah, I'm going to continue to say, this is kind of the conclusion of the chapter that I was talking about, about the warped imagination.

[00:47:23] The Jennifer Experience: Mm hmm.

[00:47:24] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: If Black Christian churches do not repent, then Afro Christianity as such is a movement stricken with crisis.

[00:47:33] The Jennifer Experience: Wow.

[00:47:34] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: Well, from the beginning it's been a movement stricken with crisis. But it will remain a movement in crisis. And thus their witness, our witness, will be undermined. You can't talk about the love of God revealed in Jesus Christ, and yet there's no love in your community. That just, that doesn't work. It doesn't work. And people are tired. They're tired of being gaslit. They're tired of people playing in their faces. We're living in serious times.

[00:48:02] The Jennifer Experience: Very serious.

[00:48:03] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: Young people, it's not just young people, like hell, any person of any age who've experienced some kind of wounding within their religious spaces of their upbringing.

[00:48:14] The Jennifer Experience: Mm hmm.

[00:48:15] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: We've got time for the bullshit. No amount of condemning people to hell is going to change their mind because they sure as hell don't want to be in a heaven with the hateful ass people such as themselves. With them people, you know what I mean? So like that don't mean it doesn't move me.

[00:48:30] The Jennifer Experience: It don't move me either.

[00:48:32] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: It don't move me. And I mean, as someone who is a trained systematic theologian,

[00:48:37] The Jennifer Experience: Which you are. 

[00:48:38] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: A lot of these arguments are just stale, tired, boring. And quite frankly, if, dare I say it, not biblical or orthodox, right? When you just interrogate the logics of these arguments, I'm like, that don't make no good God sense

[00:48:54] The Jennifer Experience: Some of these arguments are beneath you.

[00:48:56] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: Jennifer. When I tell you when that just first dissertation chapter raised two popular black pastors, their popular works and their virulent, violent condemnation of black queer existence. I was completely traumatized, not merely because their argument was completely violent, but because I had because I felt as someone who's responsible as a scholar to engage people who have deep influence yet these people are not serious thinkers.

[00:49:28] The Jennifer Experience: This is the whole point. And I'm glad you said that it's the people who are not serious thinkers, who are not scholars who are distributing this hateful information. This supposedly, I call it religious talk. It's very slanderous, very hurtful, very traumatic, and it's not enriching what you all consider your kingdom. It's why your churches are closing. 

[00:49:55] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: Completely unserious.

[00:49:57] The Jennifer Experience: Yeah, it's why no one is coming. I mean, literally, it's why no one has time to talk about and nobody wants to discuss this with you. Like I said, some of these conversations are, just like I said, that conversation is beneath you. Some of these conversations that people try to approach me with about being gay, I don't even have with you anymore because it's beneath me. I'm not going to explain to you how I was able to raise my son as a gay mother, and he didn't come out gay. That's beneath me. Because it's asinine that you didn't think that. Okay?

[00:50:24] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: Right.

[00:50:25] The Jennifer Experience: Okay? Like, and that's what I'm going to tell you. Okay? It's asinine that you want to tell me you know for a fact I'm going to hell in gasoline drawers because I'm married to a woman. I'm not going to have that conversation with you. I'm not.

[00:50:38] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: And so when I finished my exegesis of these thinkers, I'm putting this very charitably, I literally had to take off. For at least a week to get my life together.

[00:50:49] The Jennifer Experience: To decompress, huh?

[00:50:51] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: It was just more than decompression. I had to sleep. I had to watch TV. I had to have good sex. I had to remember who I was.

[00:50:59] The Jennifer Experience: Yes.

[00:51:00] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: After reading this horrendous shit. When I tell you horrendous, I mean complete horrendous. Like, at the end of the day, these two thinkers, their God hates black flesh as such. Just black queer flesh. But truly, this god hates black queer flesh. But I mean, their God hates black flesh as such. 

[00:51:21] The Jennifer Experience: Well, a key word is their god.

[00:51:23] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: But the thing which was devastating to me is their work is so popular,

[00:51:27] The Jennifer Experience: I believe you. I believe you.

[00:51:29] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: Conferences sold out, speaking engagements all over the country. Number one on Amazon in the category of gender and sexuality and religious studies, not shit from the Academy, no, this book. I literally was like, dear God.

[00:51:44] The Jennifer Experience: And it's trash. 

[00:51:46] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: Complete, 

[00:51:46] The Jennifer Experience: yeah.

[00:51:47] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: Complete. I just was like, I literally was charitable. I was exacting with my critique I didn't cuss these Negroes out even though I wanted to cuss I was cussing them out literally as I'm writing but I'm like but not in the actual document but I was showing even on the thing that they hold dear which is the Bible. I showed on biblical grounds, and theological grounds, how damning their thinking is.

[00:52:15] The Jennifer Experience: Yeah. 

[00:52:15] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: The tragedy of it all is, of course, my dissertation is an academic document. And so, my job is, of course, is to translate that to a more accessible document. But the reality is, immediately, nobody, no queer person is going to immediately read what I wrote. Because I'm writing for my dissertation committee. Right. And so, I'm reading this and I'm like, damn, Jason, you a bad bitch. You really did that. And you showed how horrifying their theology is. I mean, unless I give you or you know, a couple of people, a copy of my dissertation, no one's going to see that inr probably in next two years.

[00:52:51] The Jennifer Experience: Oh, give it to me. We're going to make sure they see it. What?

[00:52:54] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: Oh no, no, no. Like only a few people can only see it because I don't want everybody seeing my dissertation. I got to turn this back. 

[00:52:59] The Jennifer Experience: Yes. Turn it into a book so we can do that book tour.

[00:53:02] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: Right. So I'm like, it's just for me overall, it's not about like proffering or lifting up my own, like, acumen. I'm just saying this, it's like, there's so much work to be done. So much work to be done, and yet there's very few of us doing it. So the harvest is plenty, but the laborers baby is few, because of course there are people, as you hinted who are public theologians, right? There are people who are out there who are doing, you know, public work, public facing work, right? 

[00:53:31] The Jennifer Experience: At least that's what they say.

[00:53:32] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: Ooh, that's a whole nother podcast. But I'm saying like, they're doing this so-called public facing work, but that, who are not necessarily theologically trained on a doctoral level.

[00:53:43] The Jennifer Experience: Now that's another podcast. I'm just saying, if you say you're a theologian, then to me, you have an obligation to do that. But you have educated me today. Going forward, before I expect someone who is a theologian to speak on certain things, I'm going to say, what school did you go to?

[00:54:00] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: And I mean, not everybody is, has to go and get a PhD. I'm not saying that. What I'm saying is, I'm gonna need you to show your work.

[00:54:06] The Jennifer Experience: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. But you, you pointed out the school you went to doesn't matter. I didn't even think about that because you're right. And who's teaching at the school does matter.

[00:54:14] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: And quite frankly, are you reading? Are you curious? Where there's a lack of intellectual curiosity that has been, when it comes to Christian faith in black communities, it stops.

[00:54:26] The Jennifer Experience: Yeah. Cause they don't care about some stuff. No way. 

[00:54:28] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: And of course, there's also this anti intellectual stricken tradition, right, that says, even for those who are called to ministry, it's like, don't go to the seminary. Don't let them take your Jesus. 

[00:54:38] The Jennifer Experience: Why is that? I swear, Jason I promise you this honest question. I have often asked myself, like, y'all want to take everything that a preacher says, word like concrete then, but this person don't want to have no type of credential, you answer that for me. Why? I mean, why is that? Like, okay, let me give you an example. My ex husband, cause I did have a husband at one time, y'all for all y'all like Jennifer, I bet you, yes, I had ex husband at one time. And actually it was the church's fault because y'all made me get married. Anyway, he used to say no, it's the truth they did. They said I was a hoe if I brought a man to church with me, so you better get married See, that's how church don't have no boundaries and stuff in my business and shit. But anyway, He used to say all the time the church is the place where the nobodies can be somebody because when you go in the church, you don't have to go through no background checks. You don't have to go through no nothing and you could be the president of the usher board next week. You could be the president of Christian education next month. You could go ahead and do this and at the time, you know I was real mad when he said that but now that I think about it not these big mega churches, but these smaller churches they not running no background check. especially if you drop some coin in that plate, you can be anything you want. So I'm just wondering my dear brother, why, why don't they want to educate themselves so they could stop spreading all this ignorance. That's how I put it.

[00:55:51] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: There's a longstanding suspicion of anti intellectualism. The educated class, that is not just black cultural, it's American cultural, because remember public education is a recent new phenomena in history, and those who are educated with those of the privileged class.

[00:56:10] The Jennifer Experience: Hmm.

[00:56:11] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: So, you have this suspicion of education in part because knowledge is power, right? In the sense of those who have the knowledge have the power, and those who are of the privileged class used education to distinguish themselves from the poor and uneducated, or I should say undereducated. Right, so when you have public education, that was for, you know, especially with, the works of John Dewey, of the Dewey Desmo system, like, he was the American pragmatic philosopher, he was not a theologian, but the point was that as a public education of an informed citizenry is important for democracy. Now make this with Christianity, right? American Christianity, certain chameleons had Christian education. So you did have people who were trained in a basic understanding of the Bible, but also in the practices and the teachings of the faith. When it comes to certain modes of theological thinking. In the turn of the 20th century, you have the rise of what is called, actually, it was already started in Europe, but it moved over into the United States in the late 1800s. And then it kicks into the 20th century, the rise of the American liberal theological tradition, where people started interpreting the scripture, primarily not as the book of the church, but as an ancient collection of texts. So they did not presume the authority of scripture in their interrogation of the text. So you started seeing the separation of the study of the Bible part from the institution of the church. Okay. But American liberal tradition. Certain people went to these institutions. i.e., wealthier people. Who can send their son to be formally educated in these liberal institutions. Now, the more conservative or traditional Protestants, which what became of the neo evangelicals or the fundamentalists, you know, they ain't trust these liberal institutions, right? Because they no longer believed in the Bible or the God of their understanding. Everybody was coming against miracles and, you know, the literal resurrection of Jesus Christ, all that. Right. So they founded their own institutions,

[00:58:19] The Jennifer Experience: Right.

[00:58:20] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: Which is the later seminaries and schools of theology. Well, with the exception of like HBCU seminary institutions, Blacks they couldn't go to these liberal white or conservative white institutions because of racism.

[00:58:33] The Jennifer Experience: True. 

[00:58:34] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: So how did they train their ministers? Well, some who were privileged to go to these white liberal institutions went, but the majority of these preachers Did not. They no capital to go. There were no scholarships for Negroes to go to these mainline Protestant institutions, let alone going to HBCU founded institutions like Payne Theological Seminary or the Morehouse School of Religion or so forth and so on. Very few could go. Oh, they trained through, just like if you were like, an apprentice. You trained under a preacher. You apprenticed under a preacher. You learned how to read the Bible through the leadership of your pastor who or your senior mentor and so forth and so on. And some people were self taught. A lot of people were self taught. So they worked their primary job. Whether it was in the domestic worker or some factory worker, and then they pastored on the side. They were bi vocational, but they didn't have formal theological education. So part of that suspicion of learning is at its root, in part, and I wouldn't say it's exhaustively so, but it's classist.

[00:59:35] The Jennifer Experience: Okay. Now that's that's a whole nother layer to it.

[00:59:37] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: Right. So when you see, like, such as me. Let's say if I was straight, but even if I was just, you know, a straight man with all this education, I went to mainline institutions. I didn't go to an evangelical institution. And my PhD is from a state school, some smaller, rural black church, Baptist church who are not necessarily middle class, they're maybe working class, and I'm not trying to typecast anyone, I'm just saying, for example, someone who, you got all these degrees. One of the probably concerns will he talk down to us? Will he use his education in a way to demean or disrespect us?

[01:00:12] The Jennifer Experience: Right, right, right, right. Which sometimes Black people will begin to think that and will get intimidated by education. I see it all the time. 

[01:00:22] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: Unfortunately, some people who are privileged, some people who got these education do exactly that. And use their education as a bludgeon against this kind of, oh. so the thing is, part of it that we have to overcome, even as like Black queer people in part, especially for those of us who do have theological education of some kind, who can think more critically, is people want to know, and you touched on this earlier, if I change my mind on this, do I lose everything?

[01:00:49] The Jennifer Experience: That's the million dollar question right there. If I decide as let's just say your typical everyday Jesus follower, okay, I'm not even gonna go, I'm not even gonna say Christian, right, because when you say Christian nowadays that's real loose. So let's just say a follower of Jesus Christ. If I decide as a follower of Jesus Christ that people who are say, people who are gay are actually okay and they're not going to hell. It's not my decision to make. And it's all right to worship with them and not look at them like they're the nastiest creatures on earth. Does that in some type of way now jeopardize my ticket into heaven? That's the million dollar question that people, is that by me loving them, and accepting them, is that me 

[01:01:32] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: Mm hmm. 

[01:01:33] The Jennifer Experience: Is that me endorsing?

[01:01:35] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: Mm hmm. Sin.

[01:01:36] The Jennifer Experience: There you go. That's the word for it. Cause they're clearly sinning. 

[01:01:39] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: Right. 

[01:01:40] The Jennifer Experience: They're clearly an abomination.

[01:01:42] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: Mm hmm. 

[01:01:42] The Jennifer Experience: These are all things that I have decided in my mind. 

[01:01:45] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: So you just touched on something I also touch on in my dissertation, which is like the fundamental claim that I'm making. So one of the main concerns, if not the main concern of my dissertation is divine ontology, which is to say, who and what is the God who is for Black, queer, and trans people? Because when you make a claim saying that God is for us, you are speaking to the reality, you're speaking to the category or the subject of divine reality. That means that God's very being, God exists as God who is for us. So we're making a fundamental claim. It's not simply about divine action. It's about divine reality. Cause they go hand in hand, divine being in action. And so the concern that we touched on just a minute ago is that if I change my mind about LGBTQ people, then what is it about my understanding of God and that radically changes. Does that mean that I have left the fold? My argument is you have changed your mind about LGBTQ people saying that they are truly loved by God fully as they are. If you have then that means that your understanding of God has radically changed.

[01:03:10] The Jennifer Experience: It's evolved. Yes.

[01:03:12] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: And sometimes when people use the term evolved, I get a little, you know, but I will go with that. It has evolved.

[01:03:18] The Jennifer Experience: I got excited. I'm sorry. Let me let you answer. 

[01:03:21] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: We'll go with that. It has evolved such that you now understand more fully who and what God is. 

[01:03:33] The Jennifer Experience: And reallyy that's what you should be doing studies so that you can gain an understanding. 

[01:03:37] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: But you didn't go away from salvation. You're leaning fully into it. 

[01:03:42] The Jennifer Experience: Now, just imaginee if you looked at it like that, 

[01:03:44] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: Because what does that old hymn says? There's a wideness to God's mercy.

[01:03:47] The Jennifer Experience: You won't make me put that in the clip now. Don't. I'm just saying, if you thought like this. You wouldn't be so worried about who in my bed. You sleep better at night.

[01:03:55] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: Yes. I mean, it is. So the thing is, so Jennifer is we say this all the time,

[01:04:00] The Jennifer Experience: Well, we do. I know. I know.

[01:04:02] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: All the time. We're so like we're literally like this. We touch on the beauty and the majesty and the magnitude of God's mercy. But because our imaginations have been warped, We actually fight our ways out of that truth. We resist that truth. We think if I lean into it, then I'm going away from God when that is the lie. You're fully beginning to understand, or I would say that you're leaning more into what it means. One of my favorite verses in the New Testament and it's escaping me what exactly the reference is when, Paul or pseudo Paul, which one of them, I don't care. Grow in grace in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. And what black Christians need to understand that the full embracing of black queer people is you're not giving up grace. You're growing in grace. You're not in threat of losing grace. No, you're leaning into the grace that has already been given. And this is the beauty about divine reality. God's gifts are irrevocable. When God says yes, God does not change God's mind. Even when God says no, the no is in service to God's yes, because that's the last word.

[01:05:17] The Jennifer Experience: Come on preacher. 

[01:05:18] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: In Christ Jesus are yes and amen. It is so. There is no other word than that. There is no equal, there is no equal balance between God's yes and no. The no always serves God's yes, because God inherently is yes. Because God, wills to be yes, God wills to be with us. One of my favorite lines in my own dissertation, if I can toot my own horn, is God refuses to be God apart from black LGBTQ people. God constitutes God's very identity as God for us. And by implication, God for us all, and so I'm going to quote the very people that they love to quote, Paul, be transformed by the renewing of your mind. That is a constant transformation. And we have to accept that it is God transforming our minds. We are resisting God's word.

[01:06:10] The Jennifer Experience: Oh, you said it. I didn't. 

[01:06:12] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: We're resisting God's word. 

[01:06:13] The Jennifer Experience: I don't think people want to believe, you know, they would rather hate.

[01:06:16] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: Oh, hate is comfortable

[01:06:18] The Jennifer Experience: Thank you.

[01:06:19] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: And it's easy.

[01:06:19] The Jennifer Experience: Thank you. It's easier to hate than it is to love. It's easier to do all of that other stuff and especially when it's something you don't understand. And I tell people all the time, you don't have to understand to 

[01:06:29] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: You don't, You don't. You don't, 

[01:06:31] The Jennifer Experience: You don't, 

[01:06:32] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: You don't. 

[01:06:33] The Jennifer Experience: it's not for you to understand. So you don't have to understand to accept and respect. Accept and respect is a decision. 

[01:06:40] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: Acceptance and respect is the precondition for understanding. You can't pursue knowledge apart from a ground. Acceptance is a part of the epistemological ground on which we pursue knowledge. Like, you have to start from somewhere.

[01:06:53] The Jennifer Experience: Right? But most people can't even get past it. The A in acceptance. 

[01:06:57] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: But again, I think one of the things that I have to realize, and this is the freedom, is that I can only do what God has called me to do. And there are going to be people who resist my very existence. Therefore, they resist anything that I have to say, like, I don't trust anything you do because all the faggotry that you bring to the table. And I'm like, okay, girl, that won't stop me from doing what God called me to do. And not only that,it goes to show that God chooses to change people's minds through me, through my work, and that God changes people's minds apart from me. I'm like, you may not change your mind. And you know what? That's fine. Because that's between you and God. But I don't have to fuck with you. I did what I came to do.

[01:07:39] The Jennifer Experience: That part,

[01:07:40] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: And if you don't accept it for whatever reason, it is your choice. But it's also my choice how to govern myself accordingly. I don't have to be in fellowship with people who will me death. 

[01:07:51] The Jennifer Experience: Govern yourself, that is my favorite phrases.

[01:07:54] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: Govern yourself accordingly. I do not have to be in fellowship with people who will my damnation or destruction. Because if you will my damnation, that means you will my death in this life. That means you will not support rights for me to have an education. You will not support access to gender affirmin g care or any kind of affair that would make my living a little better.

[01:08:15] The Jennifer Experience: Hello. And listen, I govern myself accordingly all the time. Matter of fact, I'm getting ready to purge my Facebook of anybody who's made, you know, some comments, you know, cause every now and then, I get on there and I'll see somebody who's made like a little gay joke or something. I'm like, what are you doing on my page? Delete. But that is one of my favorite phrases. Govern yourself accordingly because too many times we get information and we don't govern ourselves accordingly to what we just heard. We just kind of like be like, Oh, I didn't know they felt that way. Oh, when you find out they feel that way, you need to govern yourself accordingly because if you don't, then you letting them play in your face and you can't condone such behaviors. Jason, you listen, I think we're going to do a part two, but you have been phenomenal. If you have listened to this, I hope you took notes because this is so much knowledge and information. I can't express how proud I am of you. Thank you for fighting the fight for us. Listen, thank you for fighting this fight for us. Thank you for doing this work. All the hours that you have spent studying and reading, you know, my brain is a little old now. I'm getting there. So I have how much I can retain, but I will govern myself according to what I've heard today. I hope when you get your book out, I'll be the first one to get my autographed copy. And bring you back so we can talk about it. Yes, y'all. He's gonna have a book. So get ready. Tell everybody how to find you, how to follow you, how to, you know, look you up because we have some people that's going to have some questions and they're going to be looking for you.

[01:09:40] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: Well, you can follow me on Twitter. So my Twitter handle is my initial J middle name, Oliver, last name Evans. You can find me easily there. And that will give you other links to my professional links like LinkedIn or my professional profile at the institution that I will be working at in the fall.

[01:09:57] The Jennifer Experience: Okay. And what's your cash app, sir?

[01:09:59] Dr. Jason Oliver Evans: Sweet. So it is Cash app handle, the letter Capital JO Evans 22, so JOEvans 22

[01:10:10] The Jennifer Experience: Okay, and we'll have that written out at the very end. I need y'all to go ahead because you know y'all church people go ahead and sell your offering today because you have been, you have been blessed, you have been educated, you have heard the word, and the word is very clear. So don't listen, don't make me come for you. Go on and sow your seat. This young man has plenty of more studying he's gonna do, he's gotta buy books and all this other kind of stuff. So come on and give him what he needs and show some appreciation. 'Cause I'm grateful that he came on here and said what he said and I'm pretty sure I'm gonna talk to him so we can do a part two 'cause we have so much more that we can say. But I really wanna thank you for the work that you do. I have admired you from afar for quite a while. I've been watching you for some years now. And what you have built up to is amazing. It is amazing. And it is something that as a black lesbian woman. I am proud. I am proud to be here talking to you. I'm proud to say that. Hey, Jason is my friend. I'm proud to have this conversation with you. I'm very proud of the representation. One thing that I'm big on these days we don't have enough. We don't have enough black gay representation, like we don't have enough people think that you know when you get you cuckoo, all you do is, you know, do nasty stuff. No, no, no, no, no. This is inaccurate. You, my brother, are a good representation of black gayness in today's world, and I thank you for showing that. I thank you for showing that. I thank you for showing that. So that the world can see, that there are some of us who have good, good, good sense. And we know how to govern ourselves accordingly, and we know how to act like, we were there. And so I appreciate you for all that you've done for your education that you have pursued for the way that you carry yourself in public, for the way that you, do what you do, and even for the way that you've done today. You dropped some serious knowledge today that people were really listening. They got free if they were listening. And so for all of you, you may not have had time to listen today, but you need to go back and listen to this. Because he said a lot of things today that if you're in bondage, it'll free you. And that's what this show is about, giving you a different perspective. So we gave you all different perspectives today. I hope you enjoyed it. I'm going to sign off and we're going to see you soon. Thank you all. Take good care. Bye bye. 


bottom of page