The Old Testament is no place for wimps. It is filled with men like Joshua, who razed the walls of Jericho and slaughtered its inhabitants, “both men and women, young and old, oxen, sheep, and donkeys” (Joshua 6:21). Sampson slaughtered an army of a thousand Philistines wielding only the jawbone of an ass (Judges 15:15). Even the Israelite women were tough. An especially good example is Jael, who lured the Canaanite general, Sisera, into her tent, got him drunk, laid him, and then, as he slept it off, drove a tent peg through his head (Judges 4:21).
But the toughest, cleverest, most illustrious warrior of them all was David. Remember him? His exploits are related in the biblical books of First and Second Samuel. In Bible School I learned that as a mere boy, David took on Goliath, a real live giant, and without sword or shield, brought him down with just a sling and a stone. Then, as the giant lay unconscious upon the ground, David drew Goliath’s own sword and cut off his head with it. The Bible says that when the Philistines saw this, they fled. When I saw the color illustration of this in my Bible, I thought it was cool. Another legend relates how David won his way into the royal family by presenting King Saul with the foreskins of two hundred Philistines. This was not illustrated in my Bible. Eventually, David himself would become king, subdue the Philistines, and establish a kingdom that would be the symbol of Israel’s Golden Age for centuries to come.
Tag Archives: queer scripture
Jesus Enters the City on Palm Sunday (Gay Passion of Christ series)
“And when he entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, ‘Who is this?’ And the crowds said, ‘This is the prophet Jesus.’” –Matthew 21:10-11 (RSV)
A crowd marches under an arch with a charismatic young man on horseback in “Jesus Enters the City” from “The Passion of Christ: A Gay Vision,” a series of 24 paintings by Douglas Blanchard. Signs for “freedom” and “justice” make it a rally for almost any cause, from marriage equality and LGBT rights to the Occupy movement or the Tea Party. The masses adore Jesus as if he was a rock star or political leader. They stretch their hands up to him, grasping for the savior that they expect him to be. The group expresses 21st-century diversity: male and female, multi-racial, young and old, queer and straight, able-bodied and wheelchair-bound. A mother and daughter lead the way, along with a black man who holds the horse’s reins. In the middle of this “triumph,” Jesus bends down to be embraced by someone unnoticed and out of view. He is focused on something that others ignore. By passing through the arch, Jesus leaves his old life behind to meet the new challenges ahead.
Source: Jesus in Love Blog
Gay Passion of Christ series: Jesus with the prophets
“God has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.” — Isaiah 61:1 (Inclusive Language Lectionary)
A contemporary Jesus arrives as a prisoner in the painting that launches the series “The Passion of Christ: A Gay Vision” by Douglas Blanchard. Jesus stands half-naked in blue jeans and handcuffs, attractive even in adversity. Blanchard paints an accessible Jesus that 21st-century readers can know and touch in his Passion series. The 24 paintings portray Jesus as a gay man of today in a modern city, experiencing the events of Palm Sunday, the Last Supper, and his arrest, trial, crucifixion and resurrection. The beardless young Christ is unfamiliar to modern eyes, but Blanchard harkens back to the most ancient images of Jesus. The gay vision of Christ’s Passion promises to address the suffering of queer people today — and thereby speak to the human condition. Christ the liberator comes as a prisoner. With this first painting, the stage is set and the viewer is invited to join Jesus on a journey that leads from prison to paradise.
Source: Jesus in Love Blog
Do We Have Blood on Our Hands?
What evil has this man done?” An exasperated Pontius Pilate asked the crowd this question after he judged that Jesus was guilty of no crime. But, for their own reasons, the people insisted on violence; Pilate capitulated and sentenced Jesus — an innocent man — to die. In equal parts, both Pilate and the mob had blood on their hands for Jesus’ death.
“Jésus avait aussi deux papas”
Une affiche du Bloc de gauche portugais, qui fêtait l’adoption au Parlement de la loi autorisant l’adoption pour les couples homosexuels, a mis le feu aux poudres dans les cercles catholiques portugais.
C’est la polémique qui agite actuellement le Portugal. Cette affiche controversée, qui a animé les débats ces derniers jours, représente le Christ sur fond rose, où l’on peut y lire “Jésus avait aussi deux papas”.
Protest (Jonah 4:9-11)
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?”
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
- Blessed Are the Queer in Faith: Introduction and Summary (queeringthechurch.com)
Slurs (Proverbs 12:18, James 3:1-12)
Sharp words cut like a sword,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Proverbs 12:18, James 3:1-12
This proverb is a reversal of the old childhood mantra: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words…” Well, supposedly words will never hurt us, but they do. Not only the slurs flung our way, but the very words that jumble in us as in the word-art above. Those discerning their orientation – lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning persons – are especially vulnerable to sharp words, receiving their thrust deep into the psyche.
The queer community for a number of years has been reclaiming words. In a very healthy way we have taken the swords meant to hack us and turned them into shields of honor. “Faggot,” “queer,” “gay,” “homo,” “sissy,” “butch,” “dyke” and others are now internalized as points of pride instead of points of shame.
The lesbian biblical scholar Mona West states it succinctly: “Oppressed peoples over the years have understood the power and importance of choosing their own words to name themselves rather than allowing the dominant culture to assign negative meaning to certain words that are used to demonize a group of people. Words are powerful tools used to describe experience and shape reality” (from the article Queer Spirituality).
-Read David Popham’s full reflection at “The Bible in Drag“
Queer Love (1 John 3:16-18)
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ died for us. And we, too, ought to lay down our lives for our sisters and brothers. If you have more than enough material possessions and see your neighbors in need yet close your hearts to them, how can the love of God be living in you? My children, our love must not be simply words or mere talk – it must be true love, which shows itself in action and truth.
1 John 3:16-18
Love in this passage is portrayed in very down to earth terms. As Christ died for us so we ought to give our lives for others. Got more than enough to live on? Then share with those in need. Unlike those who only drone on about the virtues and beauty of loving we must love through our deeds.
While not perfect, and far from being a cohesive entity, queer love mirrors what the writer of 1 John aims at. By virtue of being outcasts our “forbidden” love is a love of deeds. Queer love stands in the face of hatred. Queer love teaches in the presence of ignorance. Queer love leads in the journey to liberation.
If there is a special “role” for the christian queer in the contemporary church, or queers of other faiths, this may be it. Who better to rekindle the flame of active love in an aging and increasingly unfeeling institution? Who better to quicken the spirit of inclusivity? Who better to buttress the ramparts to the onslaught of injustice? Who better to name the sins committed against the fringe and the weak?
-Read David Popham’s full reflection at “The Bible in Drag“
When God Snaps (Obadiah vv. 1c-4)
Thus says Adonai concerning Edom:
I will diminish you among the nations.
You will be utterly despised.
Your arrogant heart has lead you astray,
you who live in mountain clefts,
whose home is in the heights,
you say in your heart,
“Who is able to bring me down to the ground?”
Though you soared like the eagle,
and built your nest among the stars,
I will fling you down again –
it is Adonai who speaks
-Obadiah vv. 1c-4
Vengeful snapping is a sweet and tasty morsel in the mouth of those starved for equality. Here is a passage that speaks to God’s anger and God’s resolution to snap at Edom. “Though you soared like the eagle … I will fling you down…”
Edom must have done something heinous to bring the wrath of the Lord God Almighty upon her head. Yet, when we probe the other verses of this book it becomes clear that Edom’s great offense is what she did not do. While Judah her neighbor was being pillaged by Babylon, Edom stood by silent and inactive.
In defense of Edom I am not sure what she could have done against the military might of Babylon. No doubt she would have round up like Judah, plundered and exiled. No one dare brook the influence of Babylon. Yet, the Sacred is not concerned with whether or not Edom would have succeeded. The concern is that during a time which called for solidarity and mutual support, Edom chickened out. This did not go unnoticed by God and now revenge – that sweet tasty morsel – will be savored.
– read David Popham’s full reflection at “The Bible in Drag”
The Idol of Heteronormativity (Daniel 3:16-18)
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied to Nebuchadnezzar, “Great Ruler, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If you throw us into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to overcome the blaze and rescue us from your hand. But even if God does not rescue us, we want you to know, Great Ruler, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold that you set up.”
My image of the Sacred does not fear sex and sensuality. The Holy does not consider it shameful to express a love that cries out to be celebrated. This sense of God and what God is about in creation, needless to say, gets me in trouble.
I consider myself steeped in the long and rich spiritual traditions of judeo-christianity. Yet, I freely admit that the god concepts that inform my relationship to the Sacred are different. Straight god images have only served to block access to the Holy as they are often used as instruments of spiritual bullying.