A Letter to Louise: A Biblical Affirmation of Homosexuality
(format: Free Download)
A conservative Southern Baptist retired pastor writes to Louise about God’s love for her gay brother.
(format: Free Download)
Offers a concise review of current sociological, public health and scientific data regarding sexual orientation and gender. It also considers key Scriptural passages in light of contemporary understandings of sexual and gender diversity.
PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) (format: Free Download)
A pamphlet from the Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays answering questions about religion and homosexuality.
Room for All, 2014 (format: On-line Video)
This series of 6 videos is produced by Room for All, the welcoming church program similar to GLAD in the Reformed Church in America. Each video examines a theological topic such as faith, baptism, and scripture. Although the discussion in the video sometimes focuses on creed and catechism in ways unfamiliar to Disciples, the questions asked are deeply familiar and the resulting discussion honors Christian tradition in ways that any Disciple can appreciate. Each video is about 10 minutes long and there’s a study guide available, making this an excellent resource for a Sunday School or Bible study group.
Mary Jo Osterman, 1997 (format: Free Download)
An in depth study program created by reconciling programs from several denominations. Provides an affirming perspective on Biblical issues. Excellent for a church Sunday School or Bible Study group. Be sure to download both the Bible Study and the Leaders Guide.
LutheranWorks, 2015 (format: on-line-video)
Clunky questions is a series of short videos produced by our Lutheran friends at ReconcilingWorks. These three minute videos cover a range of topics including
- Why can’t church just say “All are Welcome!” and leave it at that?
- “LGBTQIA” Why do you need a label for everything?
- I don’t “get” trans.
- Is this a gay church now?
- . . . and more! Check it out.
Straight for Equality, PFLAG National (format: free-download)
Daniel Karslake, 2007 (format: on-line-video)
Through the experiences of five very normal, very Christian, very American families — including those of former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt and Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson — we discover how insightful people of faith handle the realization of having a gay child. For the Bible Tells Me So offers healing, clarity and understanding to anyone caught in the cross hairs of scripture and sexual identity. Don’t miss the study guides available on the website (see the Resources tab at the More Information link).
Available on YouTube
Matthew Vines, 2014 (format: Book)
Matthew Vines faced a dilemma. Growing up in a conservative evangelical church, his family and community believed that it was wrong for him to be gay. But knowing Jesus’ teaching that a good tree produces good fruit, he couldn’t reconcile the pain caused by this non-affirming teaching with the love he knew in the church.
In God and the Gay Christian Matthew uses careful Bible study, looking closely at the scriptures, their context, and their history, and explains his case from an evangelical perspective that the Bible does not condemn loving relationships be they mixed or same gender.
Matthew presents his study in a personal manner framed by his conversations with his father. His presentation is careful, loving, and personal. This book is highly recommended for anyone who seeks a close understanding of the Biblical texts.
Jay Michaelson, 2012 (format: Book)
An excellent book for those who want a thorough and academic yet personal and readable account of how our religious tradition does not require conflict between religion and the full equality of LGBT people, but rather our tradition demands support of full equality.
Karen P. Oliveto, 2005 (format: Book)
A study resource for theological reflection on homosexuality that serves as a tool for people in churches who feel they are surrounded by painful, confusing debates in the church about homosexuality, and want to discover how the Christian tradition can be a constructive–rather than divisive–resource.
Choon-Leong Seow (ed.), 1996 (format: Book)
Written by faculty from the Princeton Theological Seminary, and thus a bit more academic, but an excellent set of essays on scripture, theology, and faithful Christian practice. Includes an excellent chapter entitled “How to Discuss Moral Issues Surrounding Homosexuality When You Know You Are Right.”
Walter Wink (ed.), 1999 (format: Book)
A collection of reflections on the Bible, faith, and personal experience. An excellent all-round resource.
Network on Religion and Justice for API-LGBT Persons , 2014 (format: on-line-video)
In God’s House: Asian American Lesbian & Gay Families in the Church is a quality 22 minute presentation on the experience of lesbian and gay Asian Americans in their churches and families. There is also a DVD available with subtitles in Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Japanese, Filipino. The DVD contains several special features, including a 30 minute Bible study on the Bible and homosexuality by Dr Kah-Jin Jeffery Kuan, Associate Professor of Old Testament at Pacific School of Religion; a study on a Theology of Acceptance by Rev. Nobuaki Hanaoka; and footage of the award-winning Gay Asian Pacific Alliance float in the 2006 San Francisco Chinese New Year parade, among other special features.
Gene Robinson, 2008 (format: Book)
Rt. Rev. Robinson, raised in a Disciples family and now the retired openly gay Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire, writes from the center of a storm of controversy raging in the Episcopal Church and the worldwide Anglican Communion, offering an honest, thoughtful portrait of the faith that has informed his life as well as and the controversy that continues to rock his Church.
Eric Law, 2000 (format: Book)
Published by Chalice Press, Inclusion is a practical and theologically based guide in responding to diversity. The author is careful to understand that the impulse to exclude is very human and very understandable, yet the Christ who was accused of spending too much time eating with sinners calls us to expand our welcome.
Rev. Law explains with theological clarity how our safe sense of community is continuously challenged from the outside and describes with practical insight how Christian communities can respond to these challenges patiently and carefully with an eye to the scriptural mandate to welcome and include.
Inclusion provides a simple language and framework for understanding what is happening when we exclude and how we can include, thus providing a simple but insight filled guide for making practical and sound choices when confronted with diversity and challenged to include.
This is not a book about LGBT inclusion, it’s a book about Christian inclusion; a must read for all who seek guidance on building an ever more inclusive Christian church.
Sharon E. Preves, 2003 (format: Book)
Drawing upon life history interviews with adults who were treated for intersexuality as children, Sharon E. Preves explores how such individuals experience and cope with being labeled sexual deviants in a society that demands sexual conformity. By demonstrating how intersexed people manage and create their own identities, often in conflict with their medical diagnosis, Preves argues that medical intervention into intersexuality often creates, rather than mitigates, the stigma these people suffer.
Jack Rogers, 2009 (format: Book)
Examining the biblical issues in light of the Presbyterian Church’s struggles around lgbt issues, Rogers offers both a rigorous yet accessible theological study and a model of spiritual discernment for anyone struggling to reconcile their faith with the needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
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)
LGBTQIA+: Deciphering the Alphabet Soup (especially if you’re too embarrassed to ask!)
A replay of a webinar co-hosted by AllianceQ and the Disciples Seminary Foundation exploring the meaning of words used to describe LGBTQIA people.
William Paulsell, 2001 (format: Book)
This is the handbook for the General Assembly’s call for discernment on the question “What is the gospel message to our church as we relate to gay and lesbian Christians?” This study guide does not provide answers to the question, but describes in detail a discernment process including worship, prayer, Bible study, and discussion allowing a small group to listen to the message that the Holy Spirit has for them.
Ann Thompson Cook (format: Book)
Answers basic questions about gender variance as well as transgender and intersex people and their experiences
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.
Charles Hefling (ed.), 1996 (format: Book)
A collection of essays and reflections from many perspectives, including family, scripture, and theology, but always with a personal, thoughtful touch. Written from the Episcopalian perspective but an excellent book for all Christians.
Miguel A. De La Torre, 2009 (format: book)
Rev. Dr. Miguel De La Torre, editor of this collection, has gathered a set of reflections on culture, sexuality, church and theology unique in its breadth and depth. Spanning race and class, delving into faith, culture and justice, this book provides an excellent introduction to the intersections of race, faith, and homophobia.
Starting with a chapter on “Practicing Safe Sexuality” and ending with chapters on “The Role of Straight Allies in the Pastoral Care of Lesbians and Gays” and “The Church in Action Asking Hard Questions,” the center of the book examines the role of Black and Hispanic culture in the lives of LGBT people of faith, as well as a chapter on the power of scripture in the lives of queer people.
Very readable though not for the casual reader, this book is an excellent resource for those seeking to understand the intersection of race, culture and sexuality.
Nancy Wilson, 2013 (format: Book)
In Outing the Bible: Queer Folks, God, Jesus, and the Christian Scriptures, Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, Moderator of the Metropolitan Community Churches, explores the Bible’s complex and often-misunderstood messages on homosexuality and diversity. Wilson explores eunuchs, same-sex relationships, sodomy, sexuality and healing, and other queer issues in scripture.
Leroy Aarons, 1996 (format: Book)
The story of a mother’s struggle to reconcile the tension between her deeply held religious beliefs and the suicide of her gay son. Mary Griffith came from a religious family and raised her four children to believe in God and live a Christian life. Their church was the center of family life. When Bobby confided that he was gay, Mary convinced Bobby to pray that God would cure him and to seek solace in church activities. Bobby did it all, but the church’s hatred of homosexuality and the obvious pain his gayness was causing his family led to his suicide.
Austen Hartke and Emmy Kegler, 2019 (format: book)
This resource from our friends at ReconcilingWorks offers short commentaries, each of which takes into account biblical integrity and knowledge, key Lutheran interpretative lenses, and the diverse experiences of the LGBTQ+ community. This commentary addresses eight of the so-called “clobber passages” used to exclude LGBTQ+ people from the body of Christ, and finishes with eight Bible passages that offer inclusive and expansive understandings of the nature of God’s welcome.
Dr. Randolph W. Baxter, 2014 (format: free-download)
This study of the scripture and historical context was originally written for the Open & Affirming process at First Christian Church, Fullerton, CA. Dr. Baxter examines scriptures related to LGBTQ concerns with a focus on cultural and social understanding. His Ph.D. in History is from UC Irvine.
Peter Gomes, 2007 (format: Book)
Minister of Harvard University’s Memorial Church, Gomes asserts that we are meant to go beyond the Bible in order to discover the gospel. While looking for the promised fulfillment of the gospel, Gomes points out that we must manage to live in the world as it is. We must risk, we must have compassion, and we must care for all of creation.
David R. Weiss, 2008 (format: Book)
Brings academic insight, prophetic vision, and poetic clarity to the question of the church’s welcome to those GLBT Christians at its doorstep and already in its pews. David Weiss reaches out in these engaging and provocative writings to challenge, encourage, and empower.
(format: On-line Video)
A compilation of three groundbreaking films—Straight from the Heart (parents acceptance of their lgbt children), All God’s Children (Exploring homophobia and it’s effects on the African-American community), and De Colores (lives of families of gay and lesbian Latinos and Latinas as they struggle to accept their gay children).
Here are links to the films on Vimeo:
All God’s Children
Straight from the Heart
Daniel Helminiak, 2000 (format: Book)
An in depth study of the passages concerning homosexuality, placing the scripture deep within its cultural and Biblical contexts.