Reading the Bible
Most modern gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) people are either afraid of the Bible or unfamiliar with its content, thinking that the the Bible has only bad news for them. While it is true that the Bible was written in the context of patriarchal, heterosexist cultures, the message and story of God's unconditional love in Christ can also be the "power of salvation" for our GLBT community.
A bold, proactive reading of the Bible offers new life for GLBT individuals, their families, and their friends. Consensus is growing among respected scholars of Scripture that the Bible does not condemn such relationships. Contemporary GLBT Christians have focused on proving that the Bible does not condemn homosexuality. It is time to move beyond defending this position. It is not enough for the Bible simply not to condemn homosexuality. We must be able to say,
"Yes, it is..."Our Story, Too!"
Opening Doors of Ancient “closets”…
What if we just assume that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people were always in the Bible? Their historical counterparts followed Moses and Miriam in the Exodus, and walked with Jesus by the Sea of Galilee! We are everywhere, and always have been, even when silent and closeted about their sexuality.
It is time to boldly liberate some Biblical gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender characters and stories from ancient "closets". Centuries of silence in Biblical commentaries and reference books must now be broken by a passionate search for Biblical truth about sexuality.
Does the Bible include references, to, or stories about, GLBT people consistent with what historians and anthropologists know about sexuality during Biblical times? The answer is, "Yes!". Some stories are incontrovertible. Others are compellingly gay and lesbian. And, there are other stories curiously suggestive of same-sex relationships. All of these can empower us to joyfully embrace the Bible.
Is the GLBT community just a political lobby for homosexual behavior, or is it an ethnos? Are GLBT people a kind of behavior, or a kind of people for whom homoerotic attraction is but one characteristic? An ethnos could be defined by a common history, vocabulary, culture, institutions (schools, libraries, clubs, churches, synagogues, social organizations, businesses) heroes, political leaders, scholars, values, and the ability to recognize each other even when submerged in the dominant culture. If these constitute an ethnos, GLBT people are included in the word "nation" used in Acts 10.
‘Same-Sex’ Relationships in the Bible
Ruth and Naomi
The Book of Ruth is a romantic novel but not about romance between Ruth and Boaz. Naomi is actually the central character, and Ruth is the "redeemer/hero." Boaz' relationship with Ruth, far from being romantic, is a matter of family duty and property.
This story contains the most moving promise of relational fidelity between two persons in all of the bible: "And Ruth said, 'Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whether thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God". (Ruth 1:16)
Although used in heterosexual marriage ceremonies for years, this is a vow between two women! When their husbands die in battle, Ruth makes this vow to Naomi, her mother-in-law. Ruth marries Boaz, a close relative, and redeems Naomi's place in her own family, also bearing a child for Naomi. Did Ruth and Naomi have a lesbian relationship? There's no way to know, but it is clear the two women had a lifelong, passionate, committed relationship celebrated in Scripture.
United in a Covenant of Love…..
David and Jonathan
Another story, that of David and Jonathan, occurs in a time when male warrior/lovers were common and considered noble.
This tragic triangle of passion, jealousy and political intrigue between Saul, Jonathan and David, leads to one of the most direct expressions of same-sex love in the Bible: "I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; you have been very pleasant to me. Your love to me was more wonderful than the love of women." (II Samuel 1:26)
The author is clearly attuned to David's classic male beauty (I Samuel 16:12) in this story of love and loyalty marked by romance (I Samuel 18:1-5), secret meetings (I Samuel 20:1-23; 35-42), kissing and weeping (I Samuel 20:41), refusal to eat (I Samuel 28:32-34), and the explicit warrior/lover covenant which David keeps after Jonathan's death (I Samuel 20:12-17; 42).
One cannot read this account without discerning that Jonathan was the love of David's life. Centuries of homophobic Biblical interpretations have kept them in the closet too long!
It really is “Our Story Too!”
This pamphlet is an unauthorized abridgement of three separate pamphlets written by Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson. All three parts can be read and downloaded in their entirety from MCCChurch.org. It is our hope here at New Creation MCC that these highlights will give the reader encouragement and offer a scholarly, supportive interpretation of scriptures to those who wonder if one can be GLBT and Christian at the same time. We believe that Christianity is our story, too, and we rejoice in the liberating gospel of God’s unconditional love.