Return of the QueerLook Podcast coming soon!

So, well before there was the QLATB blog, there was a podcast called Queer Look at the Bible (QueerLook for short), and it is time to begin producing the podcast! So within the next few weeks, I’m going to get back to a weekly podcast. If you want to check out the older podcasts: http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=162657208

The Bible and Religion

Found this via StumbleUpon, and found it both funny as well as poignant.

http://www.stumbleupon.com/toolbar/#topic=Dogs&url=http%253A%252F%252Fwww.siliconvalleywatcher.com%252Fmt%252Farchives%252F2008%252F11%252Ffriday_watch_al.php

Maybe I am gullible, but seems to me that these 2 churches decided to work together with a cool little plan to get people thinking and talking. Thinking and talking- good things for people to do.  I can’t imagine that 2 supposedly smart pastors would really be at odds over something like this.  But?  Stranger things have happened.

Now, how about some meaningful thinking and talking about ideas possibly more important to some people- Queers and God’s Love…. forget rocks and dogs for a bit…  I mean, what is it that we expect to find in scripture?  What do we expect it to tell us?  What are we missing without it?  The rocks and dog debate seems based, not really on scripture, but theology in general, and yet scripture is at the base of christian theology.

 

Comments?

A Question of Love

Not a long post today, although I owe you one.  Found this video clip of Keith Olberman’s commentary about the election and Prop 8 in California.  He expresses some of the ideas I have so eloquently.  Namely, that as recently as 1967, our next president’s parents would not have been allowed to marry in 1/3 of the states in our country because it was illegal for a black and a white to marry.  As recent as 1967!

 

Take a look: http://www.typepad.com/t/trackback/3073728/35613542

Post Election Thoughts

This is more of a rambling post than most of my posts- though you might think they are all rambling.  

And most likely this post is less geared towards this Queer Look at the Bible blog, but hopefully as I write, it won’t seem that disconnected- unless I run out of steam or decide I’m not sure what I am saying.

As much as it was exciting to see Obama win, it was disappointing to see all the bans against gay marriage pass. Not really surprising but disappointing none the less. Are queer people to become the “new” acceptable victims of discrimination?  So, no, it isn’t all that new, but perhaps we are coming up against the last big (the last??) hurdle until we have greater equality. And here is where I see this blog as important.  As the Bible and religious views are the weapons being used to support the discrimination, there is no better time to keep adding voices to the dialogue about the Bible.  We do not need to dismantle any belief in the Bible, we simply need to recontextualize it- shine a light in it to see more of it instead of less.

As a kid I remember being afraid of going down the steps to my grandmother’s basement.  There was a scary area to the right of the steps, and it was as if something  could hide in there and get me.  The older I got, this became less as I was able to see more- walk under the steps and into that area on the right- which was just storage.  The area didn’t change, just my perspective, the context from which I considered it.

A call for queer visibility is nothing new.  National Coming Out Day has been around for a while, and we have known that as you let people know you are gay, their fear of gay people disapates.  but we are still a fairly invisible group.  Not so much invisible as easily blended into the background.  Well camoflauged. And that may need to change.  Our visibility needs to grow.  Our ability to demonstrate our economic power needs to grow, and our ability to frame the issues as equal rights needs to grow.

Yesterday, I saw a post to Twitter, where someone- a strong Obama supporter- was calling gay marriage an abomination.  But s/he was estactic that Obama was winning.  This agent of change, this man, a product of a mixed race marriage was being hope to America.  It would not have been too many decades ago, when a mixed race marriage itself would have been called the abomination!  How big of a change is that?  And are people willing to begin to see and accept these historical uses of the Bibble as a weapon?  

What do you think?

The Bible Tells Me So… is BS!

So often, people are turned off by religion, and by the Bible, because it (possibly both) are expressed as being “the Word of God,” or as “God said…” This is a real problem, because it enables men and women to turn over all responsibility to that God.  I remember as a kid, it was easy to try and use the excuse, that because someone told me to.  And my parent’s comeback was always, if they told you to jump out the window, would you follow that too?  I took from that the notion that to release responsibility of one’s own actions was silly and potentially destructive.

The same holds true for those who act, and blame it on the Word of God, or because “God says…” Even if you believe that God did say [fill in the blank], or it was from the Word of God, it is important to take responsibility for your part.  YOU chose to act in what ever way, say or do whatever, based upon a choice.  You may feel it is the only choice.  But even if that is the case, you chose.

Blind obedience and Faith are not one in the same.

Why Even Atheists should Care about the Bible

 

What do you believe?
What do you believe?

Even atheists should care about the Bible.  Care about does not mean believe in or support or follow, but to ignore how influential it is in today’s culture is a bit like sticking your head in the sand.

 

Queer Look at the Bible was originally (and will return to be) a podcast I began back in 2006.  For a variety of reasons, I stopped adding episodes, and it has sat, dormant since then.  This isn’t confession, and I have no need to sort out all of the reasons, but one of them, was that by the time I started to produce the podcast, my own personal beliefs had changed dramatically.  Perhaps one of these days, I will write more about my own beliefs, but for this post, suffice to say I think there are three types of people who ought to follow my blog and podcast.

  1. GLBT people who are Christians and for whom the Bible holds meaning.  Maybe those who already feel somewhat liberated from more conservative fundamentalist readings, but also for those who are still stuck hiding within their churches and struggle with their sexuality and their beliefs.
  2. Open-minded Christians and people who are willing to think outside-the-box and consider different perspectives.
  3. Atheists and other non-believers who do care about the world in which we live, and for lack of a better descriptor- our culture. 
So how about that last broad group- atheists and non-believers.  For me, this includes people who don’t necessarily not believe, but aren’t practicing believers; people who aren’t sure they want to believe, but are afraid to admit that they don’t for fear of what might happen; people for whom it isn’t an issue of “believe in” who realize that being a religious person is about action not thought or feeling; as well as those who are sure there is o such thing as God- the true atheist.
No matter where you fall in the spectrum, you have to admit that the Bible affects everyone and everything.  Attitudes based within it affect the laws and government.  Consider the backlash to gay marriage.  The very notion that marriage is fundamentally about one man and one women… Or how prevalent prayer is…  We even have a vice presidential candidate that believes creationism should be taught as science.
No matter if the book or the belief system has personal meaning for it, it shapes much of our world, our government, and the establishments that make up our lives and our culture.  So how do we combat that without taking it (The Bible) away from those who have faith in it?  For they deserve to believe as they wish.  The world really is big enough for everyone’s perspective. The way we maintain a balance and let the believers and the not believers exist in peace is to broaden the discussion.  To be able to answer and counter oppressive viewpoints by offering other ideas.  By bringing light and reason to the mix.
What the Bible has to say- how to understand it, and what it may or may not mean is a topic for everyone if we are going to move our world, our lives and our culture forward instead of backwards into the dark ages.

Why I Use the Lectionary

Gayest Jesus Ever
Gayest Jesus Ever

So, I  want to say something about why I’m using the lectionary.  First of all the lectionary, is a set of prescribed scripture readings that follow a three year calendar, and were intended to be used by all churches.  Theoretically, people who attend a Catholic service, and a Methodist service and an Episcopalian service on any particular Sunday, would all hear a sermon based upon the same scriptures.  Now, in reality, this doesn’t happen exactly- not all preachers/ministers/priests stick to the lectionary, but some do.

 
My reason for using it is three-fold: First of all, because it s easy.  I don’t have to work very hard to decide what I’m going to talk about each week. And by following it, I have scriptural references that align to the general church calendar, and all of the Bible is basically covered over three years.  Secondly, I can potentially be less often criticized for selecting only those scriptures that “fit” my agenda.  Now, in all honesty, I expect I’ll receive this criticism anyway, but it isn’t as applicable as if I hand picked only a few scriptures that easily fit the category of “gay friendly.” And lastly, what appeals to me most, is offering a new and different perspective upon a scripture that many people think they already know.  If at least one person looks at a scripture and realizes that there may be more in it that they had previously considered, then I’ve been successful.  So, it is a good thing, if someone sat in church on Sunday and heard one interpretation of a scripture, and then they listened to my podcast and were prompted to consider something new in the same scripture!  Agree with me or not-but be willing to consider the possibilities.
 
There are many problems with using the lectionary, and most if not all are quite valid.  There may be times where looking at scripture NOT a part of the lectionary would be useful.  So, it isn’t a hard and fast rigid rule.  Just a starting place.  The composition of the lectionary, like the entire Bible itself, was human (male specific) determined .  In that sense the lectionary, is one male-centered editorial decision based upon an deeper male dominated editorial decision.  
 
I don’t mean to suggest (well, I’m open to discuss this…) that the Bible is human authored.  I know for many people of faith it is a critical cornerstone of their faith to believe that the Bible is the literal Word  of God. It may or may not be.  But either way, men, at differing times in history have made choices about which of those words were to be included and which were to be kept out.  Men (human and biologically male) decided which were valid and which were not, even if all were the Word of God in the first place.
 
What are your thoughts on the lectionary?

Queer Look at the Bible

 

gayest jesus ever
gayest jesus ever

A number of years ago, I produced a news magazine program on the local public access cable station called “The Gay Nineties.” Almost every time I was at the station to edit, there would be some bible thumper in the studio, taping their sunday sermon and ranting on about homosexuals and other deviants.  One evening, taking a break from the editing booth, I sat down next to a woman waiting to get into the studio.  We chatted for a few minutes- she telling me about the scripture she was using this week, and didn’t I like the new scarf a friend had blessed her with so that she would look good on camera.  After a short pause, she looked at me and asked what program, I worked on- that I seemed like a nice boy ( I was considerably younger than she) and she hadn’t seen me around before.  I told her the name of my program, and she looked a little surprised, but remained pleasant.  I didn’t hear any ranting about gay people coming from the studio that evening!

 
Too often, the radical religious believe they own the Bible, and equally too often gay and lesbians abdicate participation in the Body of Christ- they hand over this document-the Bible- and allow it to be used as a weapon against them.  But can the Bible be like other hateful word-weapons?  Can some of the power be drained away, and a greater truth be found in a different interpretation of the meaning?