I know that many of you who read this blog have interest in learning more about the bible from a liberatory / inclusive / radical framework. I cannot recommend the work of Soulforce enough in this vain. Their work is to challenge “Sabotage Christian Supremacy” and they do this as Christians and other folks who are drawn to spiritual work but may not identify as Christians. I have known about the work of Soulforce for some time and am inspired by what they do.
That is why I am sharing this with you:
Starting in July they are hosting an online “Vacation Bible School” specifically for LGBTQI and questioning students ages 18-24.
Register for free here: http://www.soulforce.org/vacation-bible-school
Our theme this summer is The Wild and Magical World of God’s Good Creation!
In order to prioritize youth-only space, we are hosting two sessions, one for youth* ages 18-24, and one for folks 25+
When: Tuesdays & Thursdays in July-
July 6 to July 27th (7 sessions):
Youth*: 1pm EST / 10am PST (90-min)
Folks 25+: 7PM EST / 4PM PST (60-min)
*This curriculum is specifically tailored for LGBTQI students attending Christian colleges, but all LGBTQI and questioning youth ages 18-24 are welcome in this space.
Join us as we create spiritual community together that is based on the Biblical principles of life, abundance, and liberation.
Register here: http://www.soulforce.org/vacation-bible-school
Last week we had the privilege of hosting Peggy Senger Morrison (more on her coming) and Peterson Toscano, a comedian, biblical scholar, performer and LGBTQ advocate, at Guilford College this past week. Peterson became a Quaker after spending 17 years “conversion therapy trying to de-gay himself.” When he tells the story he often ends with talking about how wonderous a failure all of that was and how surviving all of that as a gay man has changed his life and ministry forever.
Because of his Evangelical background, Peterson knows his bible very well. And even though he experienced a lot of pain through the ex-gay movement and how the Bible was used against him, he has retained a love for Scripture. It is this love for Scripture that felt important to draw your attention to today. Peterson’s work around the Bible is inspiring, intellectually rigourous, and creative.
On Friday, I invited Peterson to come speak to my contextual theology class about gender roles in the Bible. Not only did he engage the students through very active “bibliodrama” as he calls it, having the class act out parts of the Bible to help them “get into the story,” but he talked positively about different people in the Bible who transcended or transgressed gender norms in their time and context. His main focus for our class was on the Ethiopian Eunuch of Acts 8, a story about a person who transcended both gender and class norms and who is a central character in the life of the early Church. It was clear to me that Peterson’s approach of reenactmenting Scripture and reading it off-center is what T. Vail Palmer, Jr. calls, an “Empathetic” reading of the Bible, two tactics that really open up possibilities for experiencing the story in new and really powerful ways.
Peteron’s new DVD, “Transfigurations: Transgressing Gender in the Bible” is perfect for a church or meeting wanting to have a bible study around different ways of reading the Bible and I cannot recommend it enough.
You can learn more about Peterson on his website.
Here is more info about the DVD Transfigurations.
Here is a blog post from Peterson on the Ethiopian Eunuch.
And if you are interested, I’d encourage you to search around on YouTube for some of the videos of Peterson leading Bible studies.