I want to draw your attention to some helpful resources I've discovered in the course of writing the new expanded edition of Jesus, the Bible, and Homosexuality: Explode the Myths, Heal the Church:
The Queer Bible Commentary. I was introduced to this book by Dr. Holly Toensing at Xavier University who asked me to review the book and offer my reflections as part of a panel discussion for the Society of Biblical Literature.
The Queer Bible Commentary brings together the work of several scholars and pastors known for their interest in the areas of gender, sexuality and biblical studies. Robert Goss, one of the editors of The Queer Bible Commentary, gives a simple and helpful definition of “queer interpretation.” It is “precisely the practice of making strange that which has been assumed to be familiar” (684). It is designed to jar us awake from traditional understandings to new possibilities.
The list price of $63 might give the casual reader pause -- but for the pastor preparing a sermon, the professor working on a class, or the lay reader who really wants to understand these texts on a deeper level it's really an essential resource.
Out in Scripture developed by the Religion and Faith Program at the Human Rights Campaign. Out in Scripture is a Bible commentary -- sent free every week to your e-mail inbox -- that provides distinctive insights into the Bible from an LGBT and straight-supportive perspective.
Out In Scripture is guided by the Revised Common Lectionary that is popular in many congregations. Each week, the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) suggests Bible passages for preaching and worship. The passages usually include two from Hebrew Scripture, including a psalm, and two from the New Testament, including a gospel and a pastoral letter.
The writing teams for Out In Scripture listen for how God is connecting the world of the Bible, the world of LGBT people, with church and society. The weekly commentary is a summary and celebration of their prayerful — at times comforting, often challenging — conversation. The conversation is a resource, a starting point, for your own conversations with others through preaching, study, prayer and action.
Out in Scripture is an extraordinary gift to our church and the nation.
Our Tribe: Queer Folks, God, Jesus, and the Bible (first edition!). You want to make sure you get the Harpercollins; 1st edition October 1995 -- which has a fantastic appendix on Eunuchs in the Bible -- and is only available used on Amazon.com. Our Tribe is written by Nancy Wilson, Moderator of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches.
I just want to quote one section and then urge you to run out and buy a used copy through Amazon.com.
The authors and editors of 1 and 2 Samuel really must have been palace insiders. They have incredible insight, palace gossip, and details about the early kinds of Israel especially. The stories, in particular of Saul, Jonathan, and David (and his sons), read like a Greek tragedy. I think the writers were possibly palace eunuchs, those invisible officials and servants who always had their ears to the wall and their mouths shut.
-- Our Tribe, first edition, p. 149
Finally I want to draw your attention to a short academic paper titled "Rituals and Same-Sex Unions." It's by Norwegian Baptist minister, Ragnhild Schanke, who argues that a closer reading of the Biblical texts reveals numerous instances of sexual minorities whose lives and relationships are consecrated by the Scriptures. Schanke finds that “48 eunouchoi are made invisible because translators have chosen to call them officers. This translation is obviously absurd when the term occurs in a context, and not only in a list. Matt. 19: 12 is one such important scripture, since it is impossible to translate eunouchoi as officers. It demonstrates that the Bible is not as straight and narrow as many want to believe.” The paper is just twenty pages but may change how you look at the Biblical texts. You can read and download "Rituals and Same-Sex Unions" for free by clicking (here). [Click (here) for a free Adobe PDF reader.]
Thanks to everyone who has bought a copy of the new edition of Jesus, the Bible, and Homosexuality. We've had a really great launch of this new edition and I hope you'll take a moment to explore some of the resources listed above and also to tell your friends about Jesus, the Bible, and Homosexuality: Explode the Myths, Heal the Church (Revised and Expanded Edition).