A QUEER READS ISAIAH! Sunday Handouts

April 3, 2011: A queer remnant!
Preliminaries
The Bible is compendium, in a wide variety of styles and genre, of attempts by writers, editors, redactors, poets, historians, story-tellers, lawyers, musicians, royal officials, warriors & many more to say something about what it meant to them and to their communities to encounter God

Two basic divisions:
Old Testament / “Hebrew” Bible – longer of the 2 parts, a collection of experiences recounted in a vast array of styles by people, who eventually became known as Jewish, about some of their experiences of coming into contact with God
New Testament – a collection, in a variety of styles (though fewer than the styles found in the OT), of people who encountered God through an experience of Jesus of Nazareth

The prophet Isaiah
“Prophet” does NOT mean “one who foretells the future; rather, “prophet” means “one who speaks on behalf of another”, usually understood in the Bible to mean, one who speaks on behalf of God.

The “book” of Isaiah is actually a compendium of the works of 3 (maybe 4) different persons
Chapters 1 – 39 (some of which includes the work of the scribe Baruch)
Chapters 40 – 55
Chapters 56 – 66

Isaiah, the human being who was responsible for writing (most of) chapters 1-39, lived ~740 years before the birth of Christ, so about 2750 years ago

A remnant
“leftover: a small part or portion that remains after the main part no longer exists”
“end: a piece of cloth that is left over after the rest has been used or sold”
“small portion remaining of a larger thing or group”

A remnant, on the one hand, shares some qualities in common with the larger reality, but on the other hand, is distinctive – in that the remnant is that which remains when the rest is gone

Throughout the Bible, the concept of the remnant is used to denote God’s preference (Deuteronomy 7:6-8) to deal with the small leftovers, that which most people would think unworthy even of notice and certainly unworthy of the infinite, divine God’s involvement, care, protection, and use
(Genesis 6:5-7; 18:32: I Kings 19:4, 18; Amos 3:2, 13; 4:1-3; Jeremiah 21:9; Ezekiel 6:8-9; Daniel 12:1-7; Zechariah 13:9 passim)

Remnant in Isaiah
Throughout the Book of Isaiah the concept of a “remnant” recurs frequently:
Isaiah 1:9; 4:3; 6:13; 10:21-22; 11:1-8; 11:11a, 12; 16:14b; 17:3b; 28:5; 37:31-32; 46:3-4 passim

How to identify the remnant
• OUTCASTS, FUGITIVES: Isaiah 11:11-12 – “On that day the Lord will extend his hand yet a second time to recover the remnant that is left of his people,… and will assemble the outcasts …,
and gather the dispersed ….” Isaiah 16:3b – “…to hide the outcasts, to conceal the fugitives.”

• SMALL & WEAK: Isaiah 16:14b – “…the remnant will be small and weak.”

• POOR & NEEDY: Isaiah 25:4 – “…you are a refuge to the poor, a refuge to the needy in distress”

• CRUSHED, DEJECTED: Isaiah 57:15 – “…I dwell…with the crushed and dejected in spirit, to revive the spirits of the dejected, to revive the hearts of the crushed.”

• FORSAKEN, HATED, UNVISITED: Isaiah 60:15 – “…you were forsaken, hated and unvisited, Now I will make you the PRIDE of the ages, a joy to generation after generation.”

• LOWLY, BROKENHEARTED: Isaiah 61:1 – “…bring glad tidings to the lowly,…heal the brokenhearted….”

• DISGRACED & SPAT UPON: Isaiah 61:7 – “…disgrace and spittle were their portion….”

Tasks of the remnant
• WELCOMING: Isaiah 1:9 – “If the Lord of hosts had not left us a remnant, we would have been like Sodom,
 and become like Gomorrah.” (Sodom & Gomorrah – Genesis 18:16-19:29 – inhospitable cities so the remnant will be WELCOMING)

• JUSTICE FOR ORPHANS & WIDOWS: Isaiah 1:17 – “Learn to do good; make justice your aim; redress the wronged, hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow”

• PROVIDE RICH FOOD & WINE: Isaiah 25:6 – “…provide for all peoples, a feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich good and pure, choice wine.”

• RELEASING THE UNJUSTLY BOUND, UNYOKING THE OPPRESSED, SHELTERING THE HOMELESS, NOT TURNING YOUR BACK ON YOUR OWN: Isaiah 58:6-7 – “…releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the oppressed, breaking every yoke; sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; clothing the naked, and not turning your back on your own.”

Consequences of the remnant doing it’s work
• HOLY: Isaiah 4:3 – “The remnant … will be called holy.”

• GLORIOUS: Isaiah 17:3b – “The remnant … shall have the same glory as the Israelites says the Lord…”

• CROWNED WITH A DIADEM: Isaiah 28:5 – “On that day the Lord…will be a glorious crown and a brilliant diadem to the remnant of his people.”

• LIGHT TO THE NATIONS & SALVATION: Isaiah 49:6-7 – “It is too little…for you to be my servant,… I will make a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”

April 10, 2011: “Are we the great light?”

A remnant
“leftover: a small part or portion that remains after the main part no longer exists”
“end: a piece of cloth that is left over after the rest has been used or sold”
“small portion remaining of a larger thing or group”

A remnant, on the one hand, shares some qualities in common with the larger reality, but on the other hand, is distinctive – in that the remnant is that which remains when the rest is gone

Throughout the Bible, the concept of the remnant is used to denote God’s preference (Deuteronomy 7:6-8) to deal with the small leftovers, that which most people would think unworthy even of notice and certainly unworthy of the infinite, divine God’s involvement, care, protection, and use
(Genesis 6:5-7; 18:32: I Kings 19:4, 18; Amos 3:2, 13; 4:1-3; Jeremiah 21:9; Ezekiel 6:8-9; Daniel 12:1-7; Zechariah 13:9 passim)

How to identify the remnant in Isaiah
• OUTCASTS, FUGITIVES: Isaiah 11:11-12 – “On that day the Lord will extend his hand yet a second time to recover the remnant that is left of his people,… and will assemble the outcasts …,
and gather the dispersed ….” Isaiah 16:3b – “…to hide the outcasts, to conceal the fugitives.”
• SMALL & WEAK: Isaiah 16:14b – “…the remnant will be small and weak.”
• POOR & NEEDY: Isaiah 25:4 – “…you are a refuge to the poor, a refuge to the needy in distress”
• CRUSHED, DEJECTED: Isaiah 57:15 – “…I dwell…with the crushed and dejected in spirit, to revive the spirits of the dejected, to revive the hearts of the crushed.”
• FORSAKEN, HATED, UNVISITED: Isaiah 60:15 – “…you were forsaken, hated and unvisited, Now I will make you the PRIDE of the ages, a joy to generation after generation cialisviagras.com.”
• LOWLY, BROKENHEARTED: Isaiah 61:1 – “…bring glad tidings to the lowly,…heal the brokenhearted….”
• DISGRACED & SPAT UPON: Isaiah 61:7 – “…disgrace and spittle were their portion….”

Tasks of the remnant
• WELCOMING: Isaiah 1:9 – “If the Lord of hosts had not left us a remnant, we would have been like Sodom,
 and become like Gomorrah.” (Sodom & Gomorrah – Genesis 18:16-19:29 – inhospitable cities so the remnant will be WELCOMING)

• JUSTICE FOR ORPHANS & WIDOWS: Isaiah 1:17 – “Learn to do good; make justice your aim; redress the wronged, hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow”

• REFUGE FOR POOR & NEEDY: Isaiah 25:4 – “you are a refuge to the poor, a refuge to the needy in distress”

• PROVIDE RICH FOOD & WINE: Isaiah 25:6 – “…provide for all peoples, a feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich good and pure, choice wine.”

• RELEASING THE UNJUSTLY BOUND, UNYOKING THE OPPRESSED, SHELTERING THE HOMELESS, NOT TURNING YOUR BACK ON YOUR OWN: Isaiah 58:6-7 – “…releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the oppressed, breaking every yoke; sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; clothing the naked, and not turning your back on your own.”
Consequences of the remnant doing it’s work
• HOLY: Isaiah 4:3 – “The remnant … will be called holy.”

• A GREAT LIGHT: Isaiah 9:1 – “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone.”

• GLORIOUS: Isaiah 17:3b – “The remnant … shall have the same glory as the Israelites says the Lord…”

• CROWNED WITH A DIADEM: Isaiah 28:5 – “On that day the Lord…will be a glorious crown and a brilliant diadem to the remnant of his people.”

• LIGHT TO THE NATIONS & SALVATION: Isaiah 49:6-7 – “It is too little…for you to be my servant,… I will make a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”

May 15, 2011: Hoot owls, hair between the legs, & other biblical weirdness!

Isaiah 5:26 – God will give a signal to a far-off nation; and whistle to them from the ends of the earth ……
like calling a dog????
Isaiah 7:20 – On that day the Lord shall shave with the razor…the head, and the hair between the legs …….. pubes?????
Isaiah 8:14 – Yet God shall be a snare, an obstacle and a stumbling stone to…Israel ……….a scandal????????
Isaiah 10:16 – The Lord, the Lord of hosts, will send among his fat ones, leanness ……….
and what’s wrong with being fat????????
Isaiah 19:14 – The Lord has prepared among [the princes of Egypt] a spirit of dizziness, and they made Egypt stagger…as a drunkard staggers in vomit ……. in vomit???? Ewwwww…….
Isaiah 22:24 – On [my servant Eliakim] shall hang all the glory of his family; descendants and offspring, all the little dishes, from bowls to jugs ……….. from bowls to jugs??????????
Isaiah 30:6 – They carry their riches on the backs of asses and their treasures on the humps of camels ………… so if you have an ass you CAN take it with you??????????
Isaiah 32:5 – No more will the fool be called noble, nor the trickster be considered honourable ……..
this is, actually, REALLY GOOD to know!!!!!!!
Isaiah 34:15 – There the hoot owl shall nest and lay eggs……….. and is it good that the hoot owl lays her eggs there????????
Isaiah 46:4 – Even to your old age I am the same, even when your hair is gray I will bear you ……….
Thank You, God, presuming I have hair!!!!!!!!
Leviticus 11:2-3 – Of all the land animals these are the ones you may eat: any animal that has hoofs you may eat, provided it is cloven-footed and chews the cud …. Yummy!!!! CUD!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Leviticus 11:29 – Of the creatures that swarm on the ground, the following are unclean for you…the gecko ……… Bummer Geico!!!!!!!
Deuteronomy 25:11-12 – When two men are fighting and the wife of one intervenes to save her husband from the blows of his opponent, if she stretches out her hand and seizes the latter by his private parts, you shall chop off her hand without pity ………….. YIKES!!!!!!!!

Should queers careabout Jesus? 

Prelude

Christian “leaders” have consistently (mis-)used the Bible to justify oppression of minorities. Perhaps no minority has been more oppressed than queers, across denominational lines and across centuries.

And yet… Even within the Bible God is portrayed as saying that Divine ways are radically different than human ways.
(Isaiah 55:6-11)

The Bible says that God’s wisdom will be thought to be
foolishness and a stumbling-block for many who consider themselves to be “wise”
in human terms.  (I Corinthians 1:18-25)

So to understand the Bible story clearly, we have to see
with our eyes and hear with our ears (Matthew 13:16-17)

…that is, as we approach Jesus, we can’t be guided by the
presuppositions and the assumptions which have been (mis-)used to oppress …..

…we need to open our eyes and our ears – our minds – to see
the Jesus Who is REALLY presented in the Bible

If we do that, we will be able to answer a resounding,
“YES!” to our question, “Should queers care about Jesus?”

The Fourth Gospel in the New Testament

Chapter 13:21-30,

especially verse 23   21 After saying this Jesus was troubled
in spirit, and declared, ‘Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.’ 22The
disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking. 23One of
his disciples—the one whom Jesus loved—was reclining next to him; 24Simon Peter
therefore motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. 25So while
reclining next to Jesus, he asked him, ‘Lord, who is it?’ 26Jesus answered, ‘It
is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the
dish.’ So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of
Simon Iscariot. 27After he received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him.
Jesus said to him, ‘Do quickly what you are going to do.’ 28Now no one at the
table knew why he said this to him. 29Some thought that, because Judas had the
common purse, Jesus was telling him, ‘Buy what we need for the festival’; or,
that he should give something to the poor. 30So, after receiving the piece of
bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.

 

Chapter 19:25-27 25….

Meanwhile, standing near the cross of
Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and
Mary Magdalene. 26When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved
standing beside her, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ 27Then
he said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple
took her into his own home.

 

Chapter 20:1-10  

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to
the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. 2So she ran and
went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said
to them, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where
they have laid him.’ 3Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went
towards the tomb. 4The two were running together, but the other disciple outran
Peter and reached the tomb first. 5He bent down to look in and saw the linen
wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. 6Then Simon Peter came, following
him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7and the
cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but
rolled up in a place by itself. 8Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb
first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9for as yet they did not
understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10Then the disciples
returned to their homes.

Chapter 21:1-14 

After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of
Tiberias; and he showed himself in this way. 2Gathered there together were
Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of
Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. 3Simon Peter said to them, ‘I am
going fishing.’ They said to him, ‘We will go with you.’ They went out and got
into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.  4 Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on
the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5Jesus said to
them, ‘Children, you have no fish, have you?’ They answered him, ‘No.’ 6He said
to them, ‘Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.’
So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so
many fish. 7That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord!’ When
Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was
naked, and jumped into the lake. 8But the other disciples came in the boat,
dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about
a hundred yards off.  9 When they
had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. 10Jesus
said to them, ‘Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.’ 11So Simon
Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred and
fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn. 12Jesus
said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’ Now none of the disciples dared to ask
him, ‘Who are you?’ because they knew it was the Lord. 13Jesus came and took
the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14This was now
the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from
the dead.

Chapter 21:15-25  15 

Whenthey had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do
you love me more than these?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love
you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’ 16A second time he said to him,
‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that
I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Tend my sheep.’ 17He said to him the third
time, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter felt hurt because he said to
him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ And he said to him, ‘Lord, you know
everything; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep. 18Very
truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and
to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your
hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do
not wish to go.’ 19(He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he
would glorify God.) After this he said to him, ‘Follow me.’  20 Peter turned and saw the disciple
whom Jesus loved following them; he was the one who had reclined next to Jesus
at the supper and had said, ‘Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?’ 21When
Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, what about him?’ 22Jesus said to him,
‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!’
23So the rumour spread in the community that this disciple would not die. Yet
Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, ‘If it is my will that he
remain until I come, what is that to you?’
24 This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and has
written them, and we know that his testimony is true. 25But there are also many
other things that Jesus did; if every one of them were written down, I suppose
that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

Observations

While in the NT Jesus is said to love specific people (e.g.,
the rich young man, Lazarus and his two sisters), this one male disciple is the
only person whom the Bible repeatedly says that Jesus loves personally

The male disciple whom Jesus loves only appears toward the
end of Jesus’ earthly life – when the Lord has come to full self-understanding
and full self-acceptance

The male disciple whom Jesus loves is the human person He
most completely turns to in the time of His greatest need and trauma

The “place” of the male disciple whom Jesus loves appears to
be accepted by the other disciples, particularly Peter

The male disciple whom Jesus loves is the first to see and
to believe, to recognize the Risen Lord

In the times of the Lord’s triumph over death He
specifically singles out this male disciple whom He loves

This male disciple whom Jesus loves is the only disciple
about whom the resurrected Jesus makes a personal (as compared to a
communitarian or ecclesial) comment

This male disciple whom Jesus loves is, apparently, the very
one on whose recollections the entire Gospel is based

Conclusions

Rather than being anti-queer, Christianity was actually FOUNDED
by a queer Person

This fact is repeatedly indicated by the Scriptures
themselves

Moreover, the Bible says in the most unequivocal terms that
God’s ways are simply NOT human ways and that in order to have some sense of
what God intends, so-called human wisdom has to be inverted and put aside

“Human wisdom” has almost exclusively been defined by
persons who portrayed themselves to be straight, male, and gender-role-rigid

So, this straight, male-dominated, gender-role “human
wisdom” cannot / should not be the determiner of Christian morals, teaching,
theology, and life

In fact, to be TRULY Christian demands and requires a QUEER
PERSPECTIVE and POINT OF VIEW

 Recommendation

When reading the Bible we must hear the Word as queers….
Seing a queer Saviour acting in a queer way

Only then can the abundant life which Jesus came to give us
be really ours

August 7,,2011

God’s Ways Are Definitely NOT Our Ways

God asks, in Isaiah 43:19, “I am about to do a new thing…do you not perceive it?”

The sad answer is that most of us really don’t perceive the new thing that God is doing – even really good Christians often miss what God is doing

So what is this “new thing” that God is doing?

We can find the answer in Isaiah 55:8-9:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

so are my ways higher than your ways

and my thoughts than your thoughts.

We might say that the “new thing” that God does is to let us “in” on the way God thinks!

But in order for us to perceive this amazing gift that God offers to humankind, we have to recognize that the “way” God thinks is RADICALLY different than the ways we think – the ways that God acts are COMPLETELY different from the ways we act

God’s ways are NOT our ways at all

So what does the Bible show us are the ways God thinks?

1. God’s wisdom is not communicated by human wisdom – I Corinthians 1:17-18

2. God’s wisdom is revealed to us in the Cross – I Corinthians 1:17-25

3. God chooses the low-born, the insignificant, the weak, people whom the world considers unimportant to be the ones through Divine Wisdom and Divine Presence is communicated – I Corinthians 1:26-28

4. God tells us not to store up treasures for ourselves on earth – Matthew 6:19

5. God tells us not to worry about what we are to eat or drink or wear – Matthew 6:25

6. God tells us that if somebody hits us we are to offer no resistance – Matthew 5:39

7. God tells us to love and to pray for our enemies and for those who persecute us – Matthew 5:44

8. God tells us that we can’t serve money and serve God – Matthew 6:24

9. God tells us not worry but to rely completely on God for everything – Matthew 6:31-34

10. God tells us not to judge anybody ever – Matthew 7:1-5

11. God tells us not to lord it over people but rather to become servants of all – Mark 42-45

12. God tells us to act toward other people in the way we would like for them to act toward us – Matthew 7:12