Was Jesus Gay?

According to Sir Elton John, the answer is clearly yes.

Theologian, Sir Elton John

Sir Elton John is facing a backlash from conservative Christian groups after stating in an interview that Jesus was a gay man.

The 62-year-old musician also opened up to US magazine Parade about the “life-threatening downside” of fame and his relationship with partner David Furnish.

But it’s the Rocket Man’s views on Jesus’s sexuality which have sparked headlines across the world.

In the interview, to be published in America on Saturday, Sir Elton said: “I think Jesus was a compassionate, super-intelligent gay man who understood human problems.

“On the cross, he forgave the people who crucified him. Jesus wanted us to be loving and forgiving. I don’t know what makes people so cruel. Try being a gay woman in the Middle East – you’re as good as dead.”

I don’t suppose Sir Elton has notable theological credentials for making this claim, but his fame alone will ensure that his remarks command wide attention. Read the rest of this entry »

Transgendered in Church, Again.

I was moved by this story of the reception given to screening in a church hall of a documentary by an out, trans film maker about her experience and that of her family:

“This is the very first time our film has been in this community, ”  said Carol McKerrow, the mother of the three children portrayed in the movie. “In absolutely every way, the reception has been supportive and embracing and absolutely overwhelming.”

To understand the concerns one must understand the movie.  The screening of “Prodigal Sons“, directed and co-produced by Reed, follows a family of three children.

The oldest, Marc, suffered atraumatic injury in a car crash and has struggled ever since with mental illness. The youngest son, Paul, is gay while the middle child, formerly Pat McKerrow – a star quarterback for the 1975 Helena Bengal football team – returned to Helena as a woman after attending film school at the University of California Berkely. Read the rest of this entry »

Out in Scripture Gospel Reflections: Insiders & Outsiders

Out in Scripture” is a project of the Religion and Faith  Programme of the Human Rights Campaign, which I found when reading about it on Fr Geoff Farrow’s blog.  It is the culmination of extensive discussion between 100 different scholars and pastors from 11 different denominations, based on the Revised Common Lectionary.  A particularly innovative feature that I have not seen elsewhere, is a parallel set of reflections specifically from the Trans perspective.

This is the main Gospel conversation for today, the 26th Sunday in ordinary time:

Mark 9:38-50 revolves around the theme of unexpected alliances. Jesus’ disciples, seeing someone casting out demons in Jesus’ name, wanted to stop him because he was not a part of their group (Mark 9:38). But Jesus’ rebukes the disciples: “Whoever is not against us is for us” (Mark 9:40). Earlier (Mark 9:33-37), Jesus challenged the disciples’ understanding of what it means to be “great,” reminding them, “whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” It seems the disciples focused on power and control. They assumed a position of privilege. They wanted to regulate who was in and who was out. This is much the same as when Christian communities attempt to regulate “who is in and who is out” by restricting the access and roles of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in their congregations and denominations. Charles Allen observes that if one takes this passage seriously, blocking ministry of outsiders is a grave offense.

What gifts are churches missing out on by the exclusion of LGBT people from their communities?

Jesus’ admonition, “If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea” (Mark 9:42), can be heard differently. Michael Miller proposes that people who are not creating stumbling blocks, but are contributing to the welfare of the community, are acceptable. They are acceptable whether they describe themselves in relation to the reign of God or not.

Holly Hearon hears this verse as a caution to the disciples not to exclude — that is, place a stumbling block before — those who are casting out demons in Jesus’ name. The text reminds us that the “in group” may be far larger than we can imagine. Allies may arise from unexpected places.

Who has proved to be an “unexpected ally” to you or your community in your efforts to work for the inclusion of LGBT people in church and society?

Also read some reflections on a range of additional readings here.

The Trans reflection