Finding LGBTQ+ Love in the Bible – A Pride Sunday Celebration Sermon
A Homoneutics of Liberation
This past Sunday, June 30, 2019, GLIDE celebrated Pride with almost a million onlookers as we marched, danced, sang and made our way down Market Street in the 49th Annual San Francisco Pride Parade. Our tradition includes a single Pride Sunday Celebration before we head down to march in community. The following is a transcript of Pride Sunday’s sermon by GLIDE’s Minister of Celebration, Marvin K. White.
Last week, I talked to you about applying a “Hermeneutics of Incarceration” to the bible as a way to interpret the bible by the ways that systems of incarceration and systems of liberation, are at work and still working on and in us, allowing us to see the bible through the lens of the incarcerated and formerly incarcerated. A “Hermeneutics of Incarceration” helps us locate those who are locked up in the bible and who need to freed still and now.
This week, I am going to introduce a new tool, a “Homoneutical” reading of the bible. A “Homoneutical” reading of the bible shows us potential sites of LGBTQ+ love. A “Homoneutical” reading insists that LGBTQ+ people have always existed. It points out the logical truth, that if abominations were created to quash our affectional and sexual attractions, then the bible authors knew about us. Had us in mind. And what a “Homoneutical” reading of the bible allows us to do is theologize that the queer eye, the gaydar, the read, the forced underground and undercover, the threat to heteropatriarchal frames of the bible, secret codes, drag, cross-dressing, AIDS, cancer, hate crimes and Celebration, are tools that help us hear queer folks who are still trapped in the closet of the bible. The bible doesn’t have to be queered, the bible has queer people in it. We are hidden in plain sight.
For instance, if you were taught to pray to a patriarchal God, “Our Father in the heavens…” then God is a man to you. So, it follows that it was God. But God wanted somebody in his image and created Adam. But he also gave Adam dust. And then gave him CPR. Then brought him to life. So, it was God and Adam. Just a couple of “Confirmed Bachelors” gardening in Eden (Or Palm Springs.) But Adam said he wanted to be polyamorous or at least bisexual. And God thought that Adam meant that God was not enough for him. So, God put Adam to sleep and took a rib out of Adam and made Eve. God thought a baby would save their relationship. God and Adam, the first couple, had Eve. Eve was not a baby. Eve was a woman. But now, God thought, we a family.
But Adam got turned on by Eve, and turned to God and said, “I think I am a woman.” And “I think I like women.” God, then served the first ever eviction notice and kicked them both out. So, the “Original Sin” isn’t disobedience, it’s heterosexuality.
That’s what you can do with a “Homoneutical” reading of the bible.
Read these scriptures through a “Homoneutical” lens:
– 1 John 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
– Genesis 27:26 Then his father Isaac said to him, “Come near now and kiss me, my son.”
– Genesis 27:27 And he came near and kissed him; and he smelled the smell of his clothing, and blessed him and said: “Surely, the smell of my son Is like the smell of a field Which the Lord has blessed.
– Genesis 29:13 Then it came to pass, when Laban heard the report about Jacob his sister’s son, that he ran to meet him, and embraced him and kissed him, and brought him to his house. So, he told Laban all these things.
– Genesis 31:28 And you did not allow me to kiss my sons and my daughters. Now you have done foolishly in so doing.
– Genesis 31:55 And early in the morning Laban arose, and kissed his sons and daughters and blessed them. Then Laban departed and returned to his place.
– Genesis 33:4 But Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept.
– Genesis 45:15 Moreover, he kissed all his brothers and wept over them, and after that his brothers talked with him.
– Genesis 48:10 Now the eyes of Israel were dim with age, so that he could not see. Then Joseph brought them near him, and he kissed them and embraced them.
– Genesis 50:1 Then Joseph fell on his father’s face and wept over him, and kissed him.
– Exodus 4:27 And the Lord said to Aaron, “Go into the wilderness to meet Moses.” So, he went and met him on the mountain of God, and kissed him.
– Exodus 18:7 So, Moses went out to meet his father-in-law, bowed down, and kissed him. And they asked each other about their well-being, and they went into the tent.
– Ruth 1:14 Then they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.
– 1 Samuel 10:1 [ Samuel Anoints Saul ] Then Samuel took a flask of oil and poured it on his head, and kissed him and said: “Is it not because the Lord has anointed you commander over His inheritance?
– 1 Samuel 20:41 As soon as the lad had gone, David arose from a place toward the south, fell on his face to the ground, and bowed down three times. And they kissed one another; and they wept together, but David more so.
– Matthew 26:49 Immediately he went up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed Him.
– Acts 20:37 Then they all wept freely, and fell on Paul’s neck and kissed him,
– 2 Samuel 6:14 Then David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod. (There’s a gay fashion designer Homoneutical reading there.)
– Jeremiah 50:37 A sword against her horses and against her chariots, and against all the foreign troops in her midst, that they may become women! (There’s a transgender Homoneutical reading there.)
– 1 Corinthians 11:14 Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him? (There’s a gender non-conforming Homoneutical reading there.)
A “Homoneutical” reading of texts shows that men kissed men all of the time in the bible and women kissed women. The kisses created “tender points” in the stories. Tenderness propelled the stories. We mustn’t allow the “Homoneutical” authority to be stripped from the same-sex embrace.
You see, my own understanding of the authority and role of scripture has undergone major shifts since I began my formal theological journey. Since I have seen so many left out in the cold. As a creative writer and a public theologian, I carry with me the storied wounds of marginalized folks who are still being crushed under the use of a special hermeneutics that deems their lives as sinful.
I think about the ways that LGBTQ+ folks are not included in a positive light, because of the theological “Fracking the Bible.” “The Church” has found ways to acquire “oil” that is buried deep in the bible. LGBTQ+ folks are not fossil fuel. Anti-LGBTQ theologian’s methods show no concern for the environment of marginalized believers. Acquiring the oil or the anointing, is made possible through a theological fracking, “a drilling technique used for extracting oil or natural gas from deep underground.” We are the underground. Our power buried under the bones of the oppressed before us. Both theological and scientific hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, involve the process of drilling and injecting unhealthy fluids or inputs into the holy ground at a high pressure in order to fracture shale rocks or hardened biblical books to release the natural gas inside.
Because it is in the bible or in the earth, the special hermeneutics considers the reaping, “natural.” Even when there are over 600 chemicals used in the fracking process of which several are known carcinogens and toxins, the process still bills itself as natural. During the fracking process the toxins leach out from the system and contaminate the nearby water sources. There is no oil shortage in the bible just a pipeline to poison those in the margins who are often told that they are the largest energy wasters. Achieving biblical authority without regards to the poisoning of any people is criminal. Drilling into the bible to get more fuel to consolidate power amongst oppressors and not share it with the oppressed is sinful.
I have seen the men and women, that are my beloved community, die from drinking the contaminated waters of a fracked bible for which they so desperately thirsted. I have seen them use their bodies and voices in service of a church that would offer them no oil or anointing, even on their death beds. They will perpetuate the claim, that we weren’t there, and that context doesn’t matter; that “The Word” doesn’t change, only the times change. A “Homoneutical” reading says, “I don’t believe that God saw us—POC, women, poor people, LGBT folks, the elderly, the addicted, the creative, the misfits, and cursed us before we got here.”
It’s Pride Sunday y’all, and the undreamt future of the bible is here, and the version or translation of a bible that does not consider us whole and holy will not be sold back to us as precious when it is poisoning us. It is not a bible, if at the same time it is used to turn profits off of prophets. Oppressed people in 2019 will not remain unimaginable to the bible. The ruse of bible fracking, is that it has to convince itself that it is the sole transcendent authority, even when it claims it never saw us coming. And we know, we were there, and we are here, and we are included a history coming.
Marvin K. White
Minister of Celebration, GLIDE Church
GLIDE Church is a spiritual center of healing, faith, justice and community for everyone. No matter who you are, where you come from or what you’ve been through, you’re welcome here! Join us for Sunday Celebration every Sunday at 9:00 and 11:00 am.
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