Document Type

Oral Presentation

Symposium Date

4-20-2011

Abstract

This paper utilizes the theological framework developed in Jūrgen Moltmann's A Theology of Hope to examine David Wojnarowicz's film, A Fire in My Belly. Moltmann's work criticizes eschatologies of glory that can be seen when the church emphasizes heavenly salvation at the expense of earthly life. Instead, Moltmann poses the eschatology of the cross that leads the believer to hope for God's transformation of the earth on which the cross stands and sends the believer back to struggle in the world. Using these theological categories, this paper examines Wojnarowicz's film. The footage from A Fire in My Belly contains themes of colonization, poverty, HIV/AIDS, church, and sexuality. The film juxtaposes images of poverty, suffering, and silence with images that symbolize wealth, power, and indifference. Through this juxtaposition, Wojnarowicz vividly depicts Moltmann's eschatology of glory. When Moltmann's theology is applied to Wojnarowicz's film, it strengthens the film's critique of society's and the church's silence, exclusion, stigmatization, and maintenance of hierarchical structures. This paper concludes that because Wojnarowicz's film speaks to numerous concrete situations of oppression – of persons living with HIV/AIDS, the poor, queer persons, persons from the two-thirds world, and differently-abled persons – it makes a stronger and more precise critique of the ways in which Moltmann's theological categories operate than Moltmann makes himself and demonstrates how Moltmann's theology, in its failure to speak to earthly suffering, fails to be the eschatology of the cross that Moltmann poses.

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