Terence

Posts Tagged ‘queer scripture’

You Say They’re Homosexuals? Jesus Says, “So What? That Doesn’t Matter. You Come, Follow Me.”

In Uncategorized on October 20, 2012 at 2:46 pm

I received an email which voiced numerous objections to the idea that Jesus accepted some sexually active gays and lesbians, which I document from Luke 17. I replied to him, “You’ve covered far too much ground to answer in one email. Let me answer one point from your first paragraph.” He had written

But I’ve seen posts from you that say that Jesus “taught” on gay and lesbians. And that from Luke 17:34-35, that God “accepts” gays and lesbians. But that is NOT what Jesus said. All Jesus said was “there are two men in a bed… two women grinding” (if you are correct). Jesus didn’t “teach” ANYTHING in these verses. Jesus didn’t say whether it was wrong or right.

True. Jesus didn’t say whether it was wrong or right. What he said was that it didn’t matter, that it was irrelevant.

You left something out. In verses 34 and 35 we read, “one shall be taken, and the other left.” One member of each pair is acceptable to God, and one is not.  Based on the testimony of Luke 17, then at least some sexually active gays and lesbians are acceptable to God, and delivered from judgment. (I’ve had some literalists ask me if I believe that 50 percent of gays and lesbians are going to heaven, which is quite silly.)

I tell you, in that night,
there shall be two men in one bed;
the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left.
Two women shall be grinding together;
the one shall be taken, and the other left.

(Luke 17:34-35, KJV)

It is the separation of the righteous and the unrighteous that is the key point of my thesis. The fact that some sexually active gays and lesbians are acceptable to God is the point I am making.

The point of this passage is that homosexuality and homosexual activity are not factors in a person’s acceptability to God. God does not take sexual orientation into account. Jesus ignores it.

-read more at « Bible-Thumping Liberal.

(emphasis added)

 

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QueerSpirit (Matthew 15:13)

In Uncategorized on October 11, 2012 at 11:00 am

… Jesus replied, “Every religious scholar who has become a student of the kindom of heaven is like the head of a household who can bring from the storeroom both the new and the old.”

Matthew 15:13

Logo created by Jenny Goring for the Rocky Mountain Conference of the United Church of Christ QueerSpirit Retreat

To be a student of the empire is to be a student of God’s ways among us. After all, God’s realm is not something “out there” waiting to arrive. Rather God’s reign is the inbreaking of the Sacred into the very midst of our lives, hearts, and souls. This parable invites all who are “students of the kindom” to be responsible for bringing treasures out of the storeroom of faith to aid this inbreaking. I personally feel that les-gay-bi-trans-queer/questioning-intersex-asexual students of the kingdom are uniquely gifted to bring forth the peculiar queer treasure known as “camp.”

Susanne Sachsse and Marc Siegel help to define camp:

For some, camp is a lie that tells the truth. For others, it’s an unexpectedly intense commitment to the seemingly trivial. Some say that camp is so bad that it’s good. For others, it’s so good that it calls into question dominant value systems.”  (Kaltblut Magazine)

– continue reading at The Bible In Drag

God’s Rainbow Realm (Matthew 13:44-46)

In Sexual Orientation on September 27, 2012 at 11:24 am

The kindom of heaven is like a buried treasure found in a field. The ones who discovered it hid it again, and rejoicing at the discovery, went and sold all their possessions and bought that field.

Or again the kindom of heaven is like a merchant’s search for fine pearls. When one pearl of great value was found, the merchant went back and sold everything else and bought it.

Mathew 13: 44-46

Untitled Self Portrait with C.B.M. by Kim Leutwyler @ http://www.celesteprize.com/artwork/ido:56554/

Let’s play “word substitute.” Instead of “kindom of heaven,” let’s read “sexual orientation” and “sexual identity.” The parables then would read sexual orientation is like an unknown treasure that once discovered brings great rejoicing. And sexual identity once discerned is as rich and glorious as a pearl of the greatest value.

If you are playing this game with straight friends they will not get how freeing and affirming these parables are. For them, sexual orientation and sexual identity have never been hidden or sought after. It’s hardly a treasure but more of a given constant. For queers, however, the discernment of deep identity markers which set us apart from the (hetero) norm can be either an experience of anxiety or liberation – often a mixture of both. Even more reasons for us to identify with the thrill of these parables. Leutwyler’s self portrait captures the sense of  “neediness” which lends urgency to the searching and boundless joy in the finding

-continue reading at  The Bible In Drag – Queering Scripture.

The Queer Rights Movement as an Extension of the Kingdom of God (Matthew 13:31-33 // Mark 4:30-32, Luke 13:18-21)

In Uncategorized on September 20, 2012 at 11:34 am

Jesus presented another parable to the crowds: “The kindom of heaven is like the mustard seed which a farmer sowed in a field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it grows it is the biggest shrub of all – it becomes a tree so that the birds of the air come to perch in its branches.”

Jesus offered them still another parable: “The kindom of heaven is like the yeast a baker took and mixed in with three measures of flour until it was leavened all through.”

Mathew 13: 31-33 (Mark 4:30-32, Luke 13:18-21)

It is almost cliché to note that these two parables are about “humble beginnings.” It is cliché until we take a look at what “humble” refers to: insignificant and rag-tag. That is, out of dismissible events and people grow God’s great Empire.

For example, few observers would have suspected that a hole-in-the-wall tranny-bar would become the match to light the modern Gay Rights Movement in the United States. Yet the name Stonewall is now known the world over. In its wake queer sexuality is seen less and less as a predilection and more and more as a life-affirming path.

McCoy-Snell’s painting reminds us that the greatness of a person or even a movement is often masked by the circumstances of their conception and birth.

-continue reading at  The Bible In Drag – Queering Scripture

 

Weed – Not Necessarily for Smoking (Matthew 13: 24-30)

In Sexual Orientation on September 13, 2012 at 11:42 am

Jesus presented another parable to those gathered: “The kindom of heaven is like a farmer who sowed good seed in a field. While everyone was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and then made off. When the crop began to mature and yield grain, the weeds became evident as well.

“The farmer’s workers came and asked, ‘Did you not sow good seed in your field? Where are the weeds coming from?’

“The farmer replied, ‘I see an enemy’s hand in this.’

“They in turn asked, ‘Do you want us to go out and pull them up/”

“‘No,’ replied the farmer, ‘if you pull up the weeds, you might take the wheat along with them. Let them grow together until the harvest, then at harvest time I will order the harvesters first to collect the weeds and bundle them up to burn, then to gather the wheat into my barn.’”

-Mathew 13: 24-30

 

Growing up in and among Kentucky farmers – a long and glorious family lineage – I know how important a good harvest is to the stability of the family. What the enemy has done not only “bests” a rival, but demoralizes and subverts the family as well. Twice the “enemy” is mentioned and the parable develops around the action of this adversary. The concern is the outcome of the enemy’s action and how to neutralize the opponent’s influence.

This parable about the Empire of God appears in the midst of a section of Matthew’s gospel dealing with the nascent rejection of Jesus and his message. It is an early warning that not all will turn out satisfactory in the Jesus story.

I think there is a lesson here for the LGBTQIA community. We certainly know about enemies – those detractors who for one reason or another still point to us as “unnatural.” We are familiar with the weeds they seek to plant among us – hateful and hurtful attitudes which serve only to destabilize our innate orientation. We have set about pulling these weeds with great energy and hope. Yet the weeds spring back.

-continue reading at  The Bible In Drag – Queering Scripture.

The Empire of the Sacred (Matthew 13:3b-9 // Mark 4:3-8; Luke 8:5-18)

In Uncategorized on September 6, 2012 at 11:51 am

One day, a farmer went out sowing seed. Some of the seed landed on a footpath, where birds came and ate it up. Some of the seed fell on rocky ground, where there was little soil. This seed sprouted at once since the soil had no depth, but the sun rose and scorched it, it withered away for lack of roots. Again, some of it landed on good soil, and yielded a crop thirty, sixty, even a hundred time what was sown.

-Matthew 13:3b-9 (Mark 4:3-8; Luke 8:5-18)

It can be hard for queer folk to here this simple parable of seeds and soil. Typically we are cast as the inhospitable ground with the kingdom (or better empire) of God rejecting us or being choked out by the weeds of our “queerness.” The conformist tradition makes it clear that the realm of the Sacred is hetro-centric and only straight people enjoy the bounty of this terrain.

However, such understanding of the kingdom has missed what it is all about. Today we have smoothed out and made palatable to people of democracies the radical notion of God’s realm. The translation above drops the idea of kingdom all together and substitute the notion of a “kin”-dom, a place where we gather because of kinship ties and common ground. Jesus was much more radical. In the face of the Roman occupation and of stubborn religious hegemony Jesus declared the Empire of God – a bulwark of justice and liberation amidst the injustice and oppression of his time.

-continue reading at The Bible In Drag – Queering Scripture.

Cleansed by the Fires of Bigotry (1 Peter 1:6-8)

In Homophobia and bullying on August 30, 2012 at 1:15 pm

There is cause for rejoicing here. You may, for a time, have to suffer the distress of many trials. But this is so that your faith, which is more precious than the passing splendor of fire-tried gold, may by its genuineness lead to praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ appears.

                   -1 Peter 1:6-8

Bigotry’s Blood by Emmanuel Dada @ http://www.behance.net/gallery/Bigotrys-Blood/4816849

The christian community was on the ropes. A suspect group within a larger social matrix, the majority of which thought of christians as “those people.” Here is a parallel with the queer experience as marginalized, suspect, and outside the mainstream. In a ironic twist of history (or is it the hand of God at play?) contemporary queers know better the experience of the early church then do the many christians who raise their voice against us. At what point did the persecuted become the persecutors? The answer is always when power corrupts.

The thought and attitude expressed in this text has caused me much frustration. For a number of years I understood the metaphor of refining gold and suffering persecution as a poor excuse for submitting to torment and affliction. I tended to resonate with Dada’s understanding as portrayed above – bigotry contorts and mangles the lives of good people. The present suicide rate among queer teens is a tenacious witness to the crushing effects of bigotry.

Over the years though I’ve come to find this metaphor strangely wise.

– continue reading at The Bible In Drag – Queering Scripture.

Doublespeak (Zephaniah 3:9)

In Uncategorized on August 23, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Then I will restore pure lips to all peoples,

that they may invoke Adonai by name

and serve God with one accord.

-Zephaniah 3:9

What does a new world order look like? Certainly it is more than the present vision of Pax Americana, which is anything but peaceful.

For Zephaniah a fresh start to the earth is “pure” or unified speech. Proverbs reminded us of the power of words to shape reality (see the post “Slurs”). Zephaniah reminds us that words fit together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle and form an image. Unified speech presumes clarity of communications where the thoughts and emotions inside us are articulated so that others may experience and understand our point of view – so that others can comprehend our piece of the jigsaw in the larger picture. Unified speech also suggests that others can do the same so we may understand their self-ariculation.

Admittedly, this is an odd vision of a new world order. Odd, unless we understand the old world order it replaces – garbled speech and the inability to communicate or to comprehend. Garbled speech removes safety from the forum of conversation. As is demonstrated in Helena M. Langley’s piece – angry words layer, weigh down, and crowd out.

-continue reading at The Bible In Drag – Queering Scripture.

Judged (Zachariah 3:1-5)

In Homophobia and bullying on August 16, 2012 at 1:49 pm

Then God showed me Yehoshua the high priest standing before the Angel of Adonai, with the satan standing at the Angel’s right hand, harassing Yehoshua about various things. And the Angel of Adonai said to the satan, “May Adonai silence you, Satan! May Adonai, who chose Jerusalem, silence you. Isn’t Yehoshua a stick snatched from the fire?”

Standing before the Angel, Yehoshua’s clothes were covered in excrement. The Angel said to the attendants, “Help him take off those filthy clothes.”

Addressing Yehoshua, the Angel said, “I have taken away your guilt, and I will clothe you in splendid priestly robes!” Then, to the attendants, “- and put a clean turban on his head!” They dressed Yehoshua as instructed them, as the Angel of Adonai stood nearby.

-Zechariah 3:1-5

The Last Judgment by Stefen Lochner (15th Century)

Clichéd are court scenes before the Holy and Righteous Judge of the living and the dead.  Such rhetoric and images as the painting by Stefen Lochner are used to scare and to scar queer people. A tactic which has been around for as long as homosexual, bisexual, and transgender dynamics have been condemned in the name of the of Holy and Righteous Judge of the living and the dead.

Joshua (Hebrew – Yehoshua) standing before the Sacred with the adversary (the satan) standing at his side leveling accusation after accusation is a dynamic well known to us. In an ironic twist religious traditions are the modern Satan, accusing us of wickedness and painting dark pictures of the queer “lifestyle.” Like Joshua we stand in the heavenly tribunal with rags made filthy by the overwhelming onslaught of slander flung at us.

-continue reading at  The Bible In Drag – Queering Scripture.

Protest (Jonah 4:9-11)

In Uncategorized on August 2, 2012 at 2:03 pm

God said to Jonah, “What gives you the right to be upset about the castor oil plant?”

He replied, “I have every right to be angry, to the point of death!”

Adonai replied, “You feel sorrow because of the castor oil plant that cost you no labor, that you did not make grow, that sprouted in a night, and that perished in a night. Is it not right, then, for me to feel sorrow for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than 120,000 people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, to say nothing of all the animals?”

-Jonah 4:9-11

The ability to protest is an existential leap into self-being. Culture is accustomed to pronouncing its judgments and investing in the building of legal and social controls to buttress the so called self-evident truths of the status quo. To raise a protest in such times is to invite the slings and arrows of an angry society. Yet, it is also to establish a self beyond the repressive forces of rank-and-file thinking. It is the movement from life with the herd into the authentic life of the self as defined from the inside out.

The voice of protest is the arrow strung on the tension of injustice, released to fly against the battlement of indifference. This solitary arrow finding its mark creates the chink by which the edifice of prejudice is weakened and falls under the weight of its own pretenses.

The voice of protest in the book of Jonah is the voice of the Sacred. The object of the protest is the Divine’s own prophet.

-continue reading at The Bible In Drag – Queering Scripture