A Time to Build: Creating Sexually Healthy Faith Communities
Debra Haffner, 2012 (format: Book)
Outlines the building blocks of a sexually healthy faith community. Sections rigorously examine sexually healthy religious professionals, worship on sexuality issues, pastoral care on sexuality, youth and adult sexuality education, safe congregations policies, welcoming and affirming programs, and how congregations can advocate for sexual and spiritual wholeness in their communities.
A curriculum available for the Institute for Welcoming Resources which includes the All in God’s Family curriculum guide, the book Families Like Mine, the video In My Shoes: Stories of Youth with LGBT Parents, and the CD-ROM That’s So Gay: Portraits of Youth with LGBT Parents. This curriculum gives you opportunities to gather with other members of your congregation to pray, to learn, to share, and to work together to transform your lives, your congregation, and your world into a loving place in which God’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender families can thrive.
(categories: About Youth, All, Being an Ally, Christian Family and Community, Christian Marriage and Equal Marriage, Going Deeper, Personal Stories)
Doing Justice: Congregations and Community Organizing
Dennis A. Jacobsen, 2001 (format: book)
Doing Justice is an introductory theology of congregation-based community organizing rooted in the day-to-day struggles and hopes of urban ministry and in the author’s 14 years of personal experience in community organizing ministries. Recommended for any interested in a biblically and theologically grounded foundation for justice work.
UCC Open and Affirming Coalition, 2015 (format: free-download)
Is evangelism a dirty word in your church vocabulary? Does it make you think of preachers with fire and brimstone sermons and people who knock on your door with tracts about hell and damnation?
No! Our Open & Affirming presence in the Christian Church is, itself, evangelism, witnessing to the good news that all are welcome at the table of God’s love.
Evangelism is all about making good on our commitment to be open about our affirmation and being active ministers of God’s affirming love for all.
This slide show from Andy Lang, Executive Director of the UCC Open & Affirming Coalition, shows how evangelism is a coming out, speaks to your neighbors both LGBT and straight, and is especially important to reaching young adults.
Patrick S. Cheng, 2012 (format: Book)
Struggling with the doctrines of sin and grace, Cheng argues that people need to be liberated from the traditional crime-based model of sin and grace and proposes a Christ-centered model that is based upon the ancient doctrine of theosis, or deification, in which sin and grace are defined in terms of what God has done for us through Jesus Christ. This accessible work will serve as a useful resource for all people who struggle to make sense of the traditional Christian doctrines of sin and grace in the twenty-first century.
Phil Snider, 2016 (format: book)
In Justice Calls, Disciples Pastor Phil Snider collects sermons that add compelling clarity to the growing chorus of Christian voices that are passionate about LGBTQ justice and equality–not in spite of their faith but precisely because of it.
With a combination of pastoral sensitivity, scholarly insight, and courageous vision, these sermons are a must-read not only for LGBTQ people longing to know they don’t have to deny their religious convictions in order to embrace their sexuality and/or gender identity, but also for people of faith who wonder if they have to disregard the Bible in order to fully accept their LGBTQ neighbors, friends, and family members.
Justice Calls includes sermons and essays from many well known Disciples pastors and scholars: Rita Nakashima Brock, Derek Penwell, Sandhya Rani Jha, Christian Piatt, Glen Miles, and a host of other excellent writers.
This volume is an ideal resource for small groups, Sunday school classes, preachers, church leaders, and all people everywhere who are interested in recognizing how the rich resources in the Bible can be cultivated in order to celebrate–rather than condemn–LGBTQ friends and neighbors.
Starting with the call for equality and ending with a call for the transformation of the church, this volume walks the journey of God’s affirming love for all with both care and courage.
(categories: All, Being an Ally, Going Deeper, Inclusion and Welcome, Personal Stories, Preaching Resources, Reflections and Musings, The Curious, Theology)
Many Voices: A Black Church Movement for Gay & Transgender Justice
Many Voices is committed to creating a national movement for gay and transgender justice from within the Black church.
DavidJ Kundtz,. Bernard S. Schlager, 2007 (format: Book)
Ministry Among God’s Queer Folk from The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry at Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA, is does an excellent job of doing several jobs at once:
- being a clear, concise, and comprehensive read on the pastoral care of LGBTQ folk,
- providing information about LGBTQ folk succinctly and remaining both accurate and accessible to those seeking an introduction to LGBTQ ministry,
- providing a deeper, broader and coherent perspective on the the pastoral care of LGBTQ persons to those already involved in ministry,
- clearly laying out the practical and theological case for caring for the broad range of the LGBTQ persons needs ranging from the personal to the systemic.
Any seminarian, pastor, elder, or church leader interest in the pastoral care of LGBTQ people should read this book and have it at the ready for review and reference.
Auburn Seminary (format: book)
Shares a new way to talk about LGBT dignity that helps conflicted Christians move through religious and emotional conflicts to become more supportive of equality. Meant for those who are working to craft a message about LGBT issues.
Institute for Welcoming Resources, 1985-2002 (format: Free Download)
The LGBT Religious Archives Network, in collaboration with the Institute of Welcoming Resources, hosts an online exhibit displaying the complete run of the award-winning Open Hands magazine. This long-running journal—exploring the intersections of Christianity and LGBT concerns—began publishing in 1985 as Manna for the Journey by the Reconciling Congregation Program (United Methodist). Years later Open Hands became an ecumenical magazine, co-published with Welcoming Church Programs in other faith traditions. Publication ceased in 2002.
You can download and peruse individual issues, each of which explored a particular theme related to LGBT concerns and Christianity. Or you can search the entire collection for the appearance of particular persons or subjects since the exhibit is fully text-searchable.
The great diversity of writers appearing in Open Hands over the years includes most of the major thinkers and activists in LGBT Christian movements of the 1980s and 1990s. Through the issues of Open Hands you can trace the unfolding of much of the ideological and strategic thought that propelled and undergirded these movements.
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, 2008 (format: Free Download)
A publication from The National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Opening the Door covers practical ways to include transgender people in a fully inclusive community.
Religion and Faith Program of the Human Rights Campaign (format: Website)
Out In Scripture is a resource providing an lgbt perspective on biblical liberation and justice for preachers based on the Revised Common Lectionary.
Cheri DiNovo, 2005 (format: book)
The book chronicles DiNovo’s own attempts as a minister to expand the membership of a rapidly shrinking congregation in a poor, inner city Toronto neighborhood. As a result, DiNovo discovers that, in her congregation’s decision to evangelize among the marginalized and “queer” in their neighborhood, church members are radically changed. Qu(e)erying Evangelism answers the following questions: How do we understand evangelism biblically and in a completely new way? How does one be a queer theologian in a traditional pastorate and not only be faithful to a queer Christ but grow a congregation with all sorts of differences of opinion? How does the presence of the transgendered/transsexual-or indeed everyone perceived as different-challenge both the theology and praxis of a mainline denomination?
From the first chapter:
Like other colleagues in inner-city inclusive ministry, I wanted to try all the techniques of church growth that emanated from places like Willow Creek Church in Chicago. Surprisingly, I discovered that not only did the techniques not transfer effectively to our inner-city, queer-positive context, but that they were predicated on a vacuous theology with more in common with colonialism than with scriptural conversion. Clergy and laity who felt like failures because their churches did not grow numerically, and who feared the death of an inclusive Christianity that plagued them, became another group needing evangelism. How to speak faith to them? How to speak faith to ourselves?
That attendance at our evening or morning service grew ceased to be for me the primary question of my or our evangelical ministry. My own struggle with the discipline of being Christian became and is still focused on ignoring those very numbers. To read anything into the numbers that join or attend our church except our ability to be hospitable, I consider a temptation. Our struggle is to be faithful, to be hospitable, to be nonjudgmental. As we succeed in that, we are caught up in evangelism, we are getting out of the way of the Holy Spirit. For us, what is much more signiﬁcant than the numbers attending is that the queerest among us feel welcomed, and that we can allow ourselves to show our own queerness.
Qu(e)erying Evangelism can be read online here or bought at the link above.
Cody J. Sanders, 2013 (format: book)
Queer Lessons for Churches on the Straight and Narrow is about changing the questions we ask about sexuality, gender identity, and faith. The author helps us imagine new pathways into old conversations by shifting our attitude from one of suspicious scrutiny toward LGBTQ people to one of compassionate curiosity. Less concerned with answering questions, it aims to cultivate our imagination for asking new questions. Sanders asks, “What can all Christians learn from LGBTQ people that will enhance our lives and strengthen our communities of faith?” Lessons are offered on the themes of relationship, community, faithfulness, love, violence, and forgiveness.
Robert Everett Shore-Goss, Thomas Bohache, Patrick S.Cheng, Ramona Faye West, 2013 (format: Book)
This compilation of essays by LGBTQI scholars in religion summarizes LGBTQI theology and explores its relationship to traditional Christianity. Contributors contrast the “radically inclusive” thinking of LGBTQI theology with the “exclusivity” practiced by many Christian churches, explaining the reasoning of each and clarifying contentious issues. At the same time, the book highlights ways in which “queer” theology and practice benefit Christian congregations. This book creates a starting point for dialogue and offers practical suggestions for Christian congregations that wish to put aside exclusionary policies and practices.
Patrick S. Cheng, 2011 (format: Book)
Radical Love – a love so extreme that it dissolves our existing boundaries – gay/straight, male/female, life/death, divine/human. Radical Love is an excellent introduction into how queer theology works.
Stephanie Spellers, 2006 (format: Book)
A practical theological guide for congregations that want to move beyond mere inclusivity toward becoming a place where welcoming “the other” is taken seriously and engaging God’s mission becomes more than just a catch-phrase.
Don’t miss the resources available online. Click here for study guides and tools for reflection, assessment, and implementing Radical Welcome.