The Gendered Pulpit: Preaching in American Protestant Spaces (Studies in Rhetorics and Feminisms)

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Write a customer review. Discover the best of shopping and entertainment with Amazon Prime. Prime members enjoy FREE Delivery on millions of eligible domestic and international items, in addition to exclusive access to movies, TV shows, and more. Back to top. Get to Know Us. English Choose a language for shopping. Because one's neighbor can be either male or female, the recitation to neighbors also becomes a titillating moment of hetero- and homo-erotics concurrently.

It is only through the sermon that Locke tries to defang the phrase, and relies heavily on heteronormative erotics to do this.

Locke is not ignorant of what her sermon title performs and produces: "You may not know what you're talking about but you in a safe place. Through simple naming conventions, Locke decenters acceptable social gender behavior for women and the spatial genitals of the pulpit: she is not coy regarding sex or sexuality; she engages in playful banter and titillates the congregation, utilizing the pulpit to engage in erotic discourse.

Locke insists on subverting the meaning of Gaye's phrase throughout her sermon by castigating his overtly sexual posture. However, the very idea of "putting on of Jesus" using Gaye's phrase intimates gender ambiguity and sexual deviance. Only through the putting on of Jesus or the Holy Spirit, both male "bodies" to be sure, will the flesh be controlled, allowing a person to live holy and sanctified. This idea poses a set of problems: With her Pentecostal theology, what does it mean for a male or female to put on Jesus or the Holy Spirit?

Theologically, Jesus functions as "God in the flesh" and Locke con- stantly refers to the Holy Spirit as "he. When "getting it on," according to Gaye, there are two bodies intermingling, engaging in foreplay and intercourse.

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Moreover, both Gaye's and Locke's renderings have the ability to sanctify. She makes the point that when one decides to "put on" or "get on" Jesus, they make a conscious decision to do so. When one puts on the Lord Jesus, according to Locke, they can declare, "the things I used to do, I don't do no more.. Rationality and control are the primary markers between a person who simply is "tongue-talking" and one that has been fully "immersed in the power of God. Through this conscious decision of what to do and where to go, a pious disposition can be inculcated in the life of the believer.

I briefly want to trace Locke's usage of the word "junk" and "junky. Let's get it on! Let's separate the men from the boys. Let's get it on. Let's separate the women from the girls.

The Gendered Pulpit: Preaching in American Protestant Spaces

If you bad, put on Jesus. If you got your act together, put on Jesus. If you know what I'm talking about kick that junk to the curb, let's put on Jesus. Soul says yes! Come on.

Let's put it on. Let's get it on Square your shoulders. Come out from them junky saints. Come away from that junky lifestyle. Get out ofthat wishy-washy thinking. Why I got to look at you and wonder if you male or female? If you got the Holy Ghost, square your shoulders Stop yourjunk. You can't teach this thing, it's a holy thing. You can't practice "eeta eeta" and "eeta eeta" Tired ofjunky saints running around with Bibles but not living two cents worth of nothing. It is through a discreet gender binary system that she first mentions "[kick- ing] that junk to the curb.

The "junky saints" are those whom are not easily determined male or female and find community with those of the same ilk. Locke beckons those who want to put on Jesus to "come away" from ambiguities—of their bodies, their sexualities and from communities that accept this behavior.

Here, the idea that gender ambiguity and homosexuality is easily transferable is expressed and is consistent with and similar to how the "conta- gious word" works for Butler. The utterance appears to both communicate and transfer that [gender ambiguity]. Similar to Foucault's declarations of discourse, Locke's disciplining of bodies demonstrates that the subjects have bodies but must work to produce right behaviors within those bodies.

This bespeaks a terror and fear of ambigu- ous desires, conflating gender identity with sexuality without nuance. I must note the invisibility embedded within the statement, "Why I got to look at you and wonder if you male or female? The congrega- tion scowls and howls at the indictment of ambiguity. Squaring the shoulders is tantamount to controlling the sexual, libidinal, ambiguous self. It seems that thefirstgendered subject mentioned, "male," is the referent in her indictment. In other words, this is not a wholesale condemnation of men and women who are gender ambiguous.

This becomes the occasion for the occlusion ofthe queer woman subject. Though Locke castigates the gender ambiguous male subject, the gender ambiguous female is violated through a process of erasure. Butler, Excitable Speech. Butler, Excitable Speech, New York: Vintage Books, What the gender ambiguous subject does for Locke is provide the dis- ruptive character upon which a normative character can be articulated. In this way, sexually deviant bodies serve as a repository containing those unthinkable, unfathomable elements that allow the controlled sexual self to materialize.

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Rhetorics of the Body | Bibliography of my Life

Performances as "vital acts of transfer," shuttling knowledge through and between embodied behaviors, is implicitly present. However, through Locke, we have a slight nuance to Butler's idea that there is no "ontology of gender.

Confusingly—circular logic the necessary conclusion—holy, heteronormative behavior is naturally aspired towards when one puts on Jesus but putting on Jesus, for all intents and purposes, is the display of heteronormative behavior. But what they sing is not what we gettin' on. We not puttin' on fornication. We not puttin' on lust. We not gon' knock the boots all night.

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We gon' do what God told us to do. Ifwe are sub- merged in Jesus the right kind ofway, we gon'fleefornication, we gon' come out of adultery, we gon' shun the appearance of evil, we gon' come out of much voracity as she speaks of the gender ambiguous male subject in thefinalportion of the sermon. Austin, How to Do Things with Words, Taylor, The Archive and the Repertoire, Mahmood, Politics ofPiety, We gon' lay hands on the sick, they shall recover.

We gon' open the blinded eye. I quote at length because it is rich with texture and meaning. She implies that Gaye's version of "getting it on" is the antithesis of what God desires. Through Gaye, the body is out of control and given to its own devices rather than being controlled by the power of God. Each sexual behavior listed by Locke i.

The Gendered Pulpit Preaching In American Protestant Spaces Studies In Rhetorics And Feminisms 2003

These behaviors become the literal physical manifestation of the antithesis of the putting on of Jesus. This further suggests that getting or putting on Jesus literally manifests itself through libidinal control and heteronormative cohesion. But one can ponder if Locke herself has fully put on Jesus because her very performance of preaching in the pulpit transgresses acceptable notions of heteronormativity.

The congregation engages in performative speech acts in response to Locke.


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When she beckons them to say "Let's get it on," they repeat it with voracity. When she makes assertions, they respond with "Hallelujah! These are bodily and verbal performative utterances. From my purview, the verbal utterances com- bined with the physical movements e. The speech acts and bodily comportments within the space become the occa- sion for publicly private confession. The same bodies that praise are producing confession through their praises. Conclusion It seems appropriate to close by discussing the Pentecostal dance.

In many services, the preacher desires that the congregation praise through the body as a This holy dance or "shouting" is thought to be both physical and spiritual: emotions pour out through crying, screaming, hollering, feet moving, heads swaying, hugs, prayers and being slain in the Spirit, dark bodies moving, women and men together. Locke's body, her ser- mon and the congregation all engage in communal utterance of oral and body performativities. It is the black Pentecostal space upon which the nonhetero- normative subjects are created and against which Locke's sermon contends.

Though Locke utilizes the pulpit space in a way to enact speech acts of disci- pline that are injurious to those who do not or cannot fit within the binary rubrics of sexual use role or performative function , this exploration not only exposes the ambiguity in her speech acts but the responses from the audience through affirmation, screams, scowls, yells, ecstatic dancing, crying and praise "expose the body of the one who speaks.