Justice Calls: Sermons of Welcome and Affirmation
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)
Liberating Sexuality: Justice Between the Sheets
Miguel A. De La Torre, 2016 (format: book)
Liberating Sexuality by Miguel A. De La Torre and published by Chalice Press is a collection of essays on gender, sexism, heterosexism, and healthy sex. Dr. De La Torre brings his sharp mind and theological insights to topics and biblical texts that often, in our churches, are used to control and condemn. These essays open up new insights into Biblical justice making and liberation. This book will serve as a resource to inspire many a sermon and can certainly provide food for thought for a Sunday School or book study group.
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.
Jay Emerson Johnson, 2014 (format: book)
This book provides a resource for both students and clergy to reinterpret Christian theology and re-imagine Christian faith in the twenty-first century.
The author seeks “to encourage and equip Christian faith communities to move beyond the decades-long stalemate over human sexuality and gender identity” because “Queer gifts emerge in Christian communities when lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people no longer feel compelled to justify their presence in those communities.”
Useful in both seminary classrooms and in congregational settings, the book is a contribution to the still-emerging field of queer theology, translating the rigors of scholarly research into transforming proposals for faith communities.
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.
Elizabeth Edman, 2017 (format: book)
Arguing from the heart of scripture, the author reveals how queering Christianity—that is, disrupting simplistic ways of thinking about self and other—can illuminate contemporary Christian faith. Pushing well past the notion that “Christian love = tolerance,” Edman offers a bold alternative: the recognition that queer people can help Christians better understand their fundamental calling and the creation of sacred space where LGBTQ Christians are seen as gifts to the church.
Ellin Sterne Jimmerson (Ed.), 2017 (format: book)
Rainbow in the Word is a resource that you will find useful in your personal devotions, to find new perspectives on the Biblical witness, and in sermon writing. This collection is described by Viki Matson, Director of Field Education and Assistant Professor of the Practice of Ministry at Vanderbilt Divinity School, in the forward of the book:
As LGBTQ folks come of age, there are many authorities, institutions, and moral codes to be navigated. It requires a formidable kind of soul-searching and wrestling. Essential to this process are honesty with oneself and others, an intellectual curiosity and willingness to rethink long-held assumptions, deep respect for the mystery of God, and courage to claim one’s own life. It is no wonder then that among the wisest, most integrated, and genuine people I know are a fair number of LGBTQ folk. The furnace of struggle has been a refining one.”
Rainbow in the Word: LGBTQ Christians’ Biblical Memoirs includes the marks and memories of this struggle, particularly as the struggle involves the Bible. Some writers reflect on a particular text, wondering if there are ways to understand it that reveal a liberating rather than a punishing God. Others identify with a particular character in the Bible, diving deeply into their story to unearth what might be hidden or neglected. Some speak of the ways they have been wounded by Scripture, while others speak of being freed by it. Additionally, within these pages you will find genres as disparate as those contained within the Bible itself: narrative, confession, poetry, biography, and calls to action.”