“The Bible In Drag”: Introducing a Queer – centric Reading of Scripture

As I look back on how Queering the Church has developed over three years, I have some satisfactions in its achievements- but I am also deeply conscious of what I have not achieved, the many things that I set out to do, but have given very little attention. One of these has been my neglect of the scriptures. I explicitly stated in my opening post, that I intended to share the “Good News” contained in the bible, good news for all. Instead, it has been too tempting to yield to the temptation to respond to the Bad News, that seems to meet us almost daily in the news cycle. I have published a few posts on the scriptures, but a combination of my own lack of biblical expertise, and other demands on my time and attention, have contributed to a shameful neglect of what I originally hoped would be an important feature of this site.

I was delighted then, to have found a dedicated queer scripture blog that shares of my perspective, but written from a basis of formal theological and scripture training.   , who   describes himself as “a gay man who happens to be a christian minister, or is it a minister who happens to be gay?” goes on to say, “I do know it’s time to reclaim the bible for sexual minorites”, and does so at The Bible in Drag, which he updates about twice a week. His starting point is clear and uncompromising: God “happens” for queer people, just as much as for any others, but the biblical message has been distorted by established, heteronormative interpretations which amount to textual abuse. This needs to be resisted. He admires and draws on the impressive “Queer Bible Commentary”, and does not shrink from using controversial language.

David Popham (from his Blogger profile_

I was delighted to find this yesterday, by following a backward link on my WordPress dashboard to his blog, and have already drawn on one of his posts (“Jesus Died a Queer’s Death“) for one of my own. I hope to draw extensively on his work in future, and (as I do not see the point in re-inventing the wheel), to place links to his material as a way to plug the many gaping gaps in my existing scripture pages.

To introduce to you “The Bible in Drag”, I include here extracts from some of his key pages, and include links to the posts he identifies as the most popular, in the  “related articles” at the end of this post. Explore the rest for yourself.  

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Why this Blog?

Doing theological and scriptural reflection from a queer perspective is one way to liberate christianity from heteroarchally established traditions of biblical interpretation. My starting point is an insight of Dorothee Solle who stated for another venue, but apropos for the LGBTQIA religious community: “The question posed … is not ‘Is there a God?’ but, ‘Does God happen among us?'” Indeed does God happen among and for queer folk? The heteroarchial answer has been a resounding “No!” I believe that from God there is a resounding YES!

The Bible in Drag attempts to explore this “YES!” through scriptural investigations in the rich tradition of reflections which take the texts as points of relational encounters with God.

For those seeking a technical hermeneutical analysis of scripture from a lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender-queer-intersex-asexual perspective I recommend The Queer Bible Commentary. The nearest I come to appropriating such methods is in the pages entitled  “Bibles Gone Wild,” “Hosting a Rave in Sodom,” and “To Bone a Man as a Woman” when dealing with the the major anti-queer texts: Sodom and Gomorrah, the Holiness Code of Leviticus, and the proscriptions of Paul.

- see the complete post at The Bible In Drag.

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A queer-centric Christology

Tom F. Driver noted that theology is but commentary on our experience of God. So it is for me that Christology is commentary on our experience of Jesus. I add that Christology is also commentary on the hope we place in Jesus. This holds true for the writers of the Greek Scriptures. Even if they had known Jesus personally, as some maintain, what the biblical writers left are reflections on their experience of  and hope in Jesus, thus a christology-as-commentary.

The nuanced and beautiful commentay of the Greek Scriptures tends to be structured around the “titles” by which these writers sought to communicate the Jesus event to others and ultimately to us. Hence we have “Christ,” “Lord,” “Savior,” “Suffering Servant,” “Son of God,” and “High Priest” among others. By these titles they sought to witness to the particularity of Jesus.

Focusing on the four gospel writers, the favored title seems to be “Son of Man” – John may be an exception with the title Logosproviding the ordering metaphor of Christology.

Now, “Son of Man” carries its own weight. It originates, as far as a written title, in the biblical book of Daniel. We can assume that the title had a history prior to and after its use there. In Daniel it is the “Son of Man” who shall come and prove the rescuer or savior of the Jews in the Diaspora by judging the foreign authorities which hold the Jews under their heel. The title has both religious and political overtones which we would expect in a time when the religious and political were one category and not distinct groupings as they are today. For the ancients, God ruled through the ruler. For the faithful today, God rules in our hearts, regardless of the ruler.  

- see the complete post at The Bible In Drag.

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Bibles Gone Wild

Faith traditions centered upon revealed sacred texts have the propensity to freeze those texts and proclaim, “Thus saith our God once and for all!” It is difficult to remember that while God is encountered in scripture, these text are not themselves’ the voice of God. They are but the words illuminating the Word of God.

Little doubt, frozen texts have become the idol of our time. Many a good intentioned person clings tenaciously to these texts. This habit unfortunately, replaces the living God with immobile metaphors of the Divine. For example due to the traditional approaches to scripture it is unconciously assumed that to read the bible is to read a hetro-centric book. In the faith tradition of my youth I learned that “biblical-charistains” refers to heterosexual believers while “abomination” refers to all nonheterosexuals (whether self-identifying as queer or not). By this process some, otherwise loving folk, have released a torrent of poison and hate under the banner of defending the faith.

- see the complete post at The Bible In Drag.

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1 comment for ““The Bible In Drag”: Introducing a Queer – centric Reading of Scripture

  1. April 11, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    I was excited to discover the Bible in Drag blog recently too.  It’s a new must-see on my blog list.

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