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LGBT Stories: Gay Love Story In Bible Leads To New Belief System

Earl

NATHAN MANSKE

Guestblogger Nathan Manske and Marquise Lee just finished a 4 month, 50 state tour of the United States collecting stories for their I'm From Driftwood site. We'll be sharing some of the stories they collected along with some of the insight into what they saw. They're still encouraging people to submit their written stories via IFD.

Earl has lived within 10 miles of Orange, Virginia, his entire life. His family has been there for generations and he built his house by himself. He's been surrounded by tradition and the same religous beliefs forever which makes it all the more impressive that he broke out of the mold and developed his own belief system all while keeping his religous faith. A lot of people we met on the Tour struggled with balancing their faith and sexuality and Earl seemed to have mastered it with dignity and respect.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Recently in this series...
From Cancer Diagnosis to Fairytale Wedding [tr]
Yale Student Jake Conway on His 'Ultimate Sense of Pride' [tr]
Rep. David Cicilline Discusses Running as an Out Politician [tr]
Burning Man, The Love Story [tr]
'Heterosexual Transgender Lesbian' Talks Transition [tr]

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  1. Excellent......someone else has brought up the story of Jonathan and David !
    I've been bloging about them for years ! And what about the direct quote which everyone has avoided:

    "And their love passeth the love of women."
    (cf King James Translation.)
    Yes Yes Yes.
    F*** the Leviticus quotes.

    And dudes, what about the biblical story of Naomi and Ruth, (though admittedly not as directly homosexual as that of Jonathan and David) , here's the quote:

    "And Ruth said unto Naomie;
    Entreat me not to leave thee
    Where thou goest I shall go,
    Where thou liest I shall lie,
    Your people shall be my people,
    And your god my god."

    Is this not direct biblical support for gay marriage ?

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Mar 9, 2011 4:43:53 PM


  2. The David and Jonathan story is tricky.

    Unlike Greek, which recognized distinctions in various types of love (eros, philia, agape), there is only one word in ancient Hebrew for love- I think the word is transliterated as "ahav."

    The word covers everything from Issac's love for deer meat (?) to erotic and sexual love.

    So the real truth is we don't exactly know what constitutes the "love" that David felt for Jonathan and vice versa (and both David and Jonathan profess love for one another). It could have been a brotherly love, it could have had erotic components, the juicy stuff could have been edited out...we really don't know.

    So Earl's interpretation is just as valid as anyone's.

    Posted by: Chitown Kev | Mar 9, 2011 5:50:54 PM


  3. @CHINATOWN KEV : thanks, I agree that it's open to interpretation.
    But what really bugs me is that the Leviticus peddlers seem to take their interpretation of "A man shall not lie....." completely literally.

    In those circumstances we are entitled to interpret the love of David and Jonathan in the most pro gay context.
    And on a 'simpliciter' level, it sounds pretty gay to me !
    I think we agree !

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Mar 9, 2011 6:19:28 PM


  4. Youmake a valid point, ChitownKev.
    But then they did say that their love for each other surpassed their love for women, and they made a solemn covenant to each other after which they fell into each others' arms in a passionate kiss and "exceeded," which has been interpreted in a variety of ways, from being overwhelmed to ejaculating.

    I don't know many straight guys who "love" deer meat more than they love their wives, or who would "exceed" after having some for lunch.

    Posted by: GregV | Mar 9, 2011 6:22:53 PM


  5. Naomi and Ruth may be a parable about how someone who did not believe (Ruth) came to believe in Naomi's god by being with and friends with Naomi -- not necessarily a story about two women in love (tho I do believe that their faith and love of each other was strong)

    Posted by: David B. 2 | Mar 9, 2011 6:27:04 PM


  6. ... and just to underline my point: In spite of the different ways to interpret the relationship, I think if David's name had been "Susan," today's Bible publishers would be using titles at the top of that verse that would read something like "Jonathan and Susan Get Married."

    Posted by: GregV | Mar 9, 2011 6:28:28 PM


  7. And wouldn't it be better if kids weren't "brainwashed" in the first place? Then we wouldn't have to argue about what kind of love David had for Jonathan except for literary fun.

    Time to recognize the bible for what it is (a popular, if mixed up, story) and isn't (The Truth).

    Posted by: David R. | Mar 9, 2011 6:55:10 PM


  8. Yeah, great points.......but I think that the ambiguity of interpetation has to be part of any understanding of these tales.

    Which is what we are all saying here.
    So CHINATOWN KEV's point is good, that Alan's understanding of the David/Jonathan tale is as good as anyone else's.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Mar 9, 2011 6:56:44 PM


  9. I was told the David and Jonathan story in Southern Baptist Sunday School in suburban Atlanta, probably when I was 12 - 13. It was interpreted as deep friendship, and I think that's a valid interpretation.

    But I read it and re-read it myself and felt the relationship being described is what I recognize as a gay male relationship. Even when I was a teenager.

    I would not expect straight people to see this possibility simply because they are not looking for it. A gay kid like me would be looking for it. And when I was a kid in the 60s and 70s, there really were no gay-sensitive theologians and scholars doing this kind of interpretive work. It is very different today.

    I am now a United Church of Christ minister, so I've studied the Bible in both scholarly and pastoral ways. The parts of the Bible the anti-gay forces use are rules and polemic. But there are stories of people, like David and Jonathan and Ruth and Naomi, and in Luke 7, a story about a Roman centurian who has a slave he "valued highly," who is sick, and asks Jesus to heal him. Some interpreters are at least asking if the centurian and the slave might have had a romantic or sexual relationship. "Valued highly" not being the typical attitude toward slaves.

    In Acts 8, an Ethiopian eunuch -- a sexual minority -- is baptized into the Christian church. Why would the early Church tell that story unless it was trying to communicate that sexual minorities could be included?

    These kinds of stories suggest that same-sex relationships -- not necessarily modern gay and lesbian relationships, but same-sex ones nonetheless -- were present and the communities that gathered these stories included them when the stories were written down. Personally, I find these stories about people more helpful than the rules and polemics in shaping my theological views.

    Apologies for the long post.

    Posted by: jpeckjr | Mar 9, 2011 7:07:49 PM


  10. Well, I think that only David said the "surpasseth the love of women" part, IIRC.

    And certainly, it seems that their love for each other had an erotic component to it.

    Posted by: Chitown Kev | Mar 9, 2011 8:25:24 PM


  11. @ JackFknTwist above....when you said "simpliciter" for some reason my brain saw "spinchter"....good grief...lol

    Posted by: Beef and Fur | Mar 9, 2011 9:02:55 PM


  12. Why can't we let love alone and let it land where it will? Two people loving each other is a miracle. Let it be. No matter who the 2 lucky ones are.

    Posted by: gregg | Mar 9, 2011 11:07:17 PM


  13. Let's not forget the context: We are talking about old Jewish wives' tales. Not any more significant than Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, maybe less so. Certainly less literate.

    Posted by: Teapot Tempest | Mar 10, 2011 7:26:18 AM


  14. @David R. "And wouldn't it be better if kids weren't "brainwashed" in the first place? Then we wouldn't have to argue about what kind of love David had for Jonathan except for literary fun."

    I have switched from the concept of brainwashing to the idea of verbal abuse. A parent who constantly told a child it was worthless from the very earliest age would not be admired. This is what many churches do. And they wonder why LGBT people wouldn't want to attend.

    Posted by: Charlie | Mar 10, 2011 9:12:46 AM


  15. Most "Christians" base their anti-gay rhetoric on about six verses from the Bible, particularly from Leviticus... but what about some of the other passages from Leviticus... e.g. mandating male circumcision; no pork chops, bacon or pulled pork; no shrimp, oysters, lobster; no escargot; OK to purchase a slave from a foreign nation; a man who rapes a female slave who is engaged to another man must sacrifice an animal; but if she is not engaged -- no problem.

    Posted by: John | Mar 10, 2011 10:16:08 AM


  16. The David and Jonathan story is not "open to interpretation"! It is an unambiguous love story with a tragic ending, not unlike Romeo and Juliet. Jonathan's father King Saul even accuses him of having a sexual relationship with David; if you doubt me, read the Bible story in an accurate translation. Jonathan loved David as Adam loved Eve, heterosexual marriage is meant to approximate the Transgender status of God, Jesus Christ spoke of Gay men as "eunuchs born from their mother's womb", and the Levitican prohibitions have NEVER, EVER applied to Christians! We make allowances for religious hetero-bigotry, and it needs to stop! If Pat Robertson spouts doctrinal ignorance, that's no excuse for us doing the same thing. Don't be so lazy about Bible scripture! Do some research. I invite you to start at my blog, Ignorance Is Plentiful, and the Gay-affirming Scriptural passages listed in my sidebar.

    Posted by: Stuffed Animal | Mar 10, 2011 2:41:55 PM


  17. On the Ruth and Naomi bit.....what people don't read is the last part of the story. Ruth is told by Naomi to seek out Boaz. B\c her male family members had died (Ruth's husband and Naomi's son same person) she needed a kinsman redeemer to claim her family land (women owning property???) Boaz however was NOT the person in line for this responsibility there were more direct relatives that he had to seek the permission of first. Naomi picked Boaz for a reason.....as seen in the dialouge between he and Ruth when she "put herself at his feet" (in other words, offered up her you know what for his member) he declined and remarked about the relationship between Ruth and Naomi. Later Obed is the son to Ruth from Boaz, however the Jewish custom stated that the son born would belong to the lineage of Naomi's husband.....thus making Obed the son of Ruth and Naomi. Obed is also among the lineage of Jesus remarked in both Luke (as the child of Boaz and Mark as the child of Naomi).

    1st ever gay adoption!!

    I grew up southern baptist and have pretty completely reconciled my faith and sexuality. Once you know how to study scripture it's not difficult at all.

    BTW Levitical law is a hoax that was written by King Josiah to promote nationalism among the Jewish nation of the time. While at war the king "found" scrolls in the basement (more or less) of the royal palace. The vernacular of levitical law does not fit that of other Jewish laws written when those scrolls were supposed to be but more the vernacular of Kind Josiah's time.

    Posted by: Jen | Apr 5, 2011 4:44:35 PM


  18. Also, people leave out Lydia of the New Testament.

    Think about her, a women that was head of her household and a dealer of purple....

    a female business woman, successful, with children and the HEAD of her household. If we didn't know she were a female we would consider her a male b\c of the context surrounding her. At that, we would consider her to be a married man (it mentions children).

    BTW she is considered a hero to the christians of the time. She allowed for the church to expand into Greece (I think??? maybe, if not there then it was someplace that the church is very big today)

    Posted by: Jen | Apr 5, 2011 4:53:16 PM


  19. NO WHERE DOES IT SAY A WOMAN!!
    THE VERSE SAY HIS OWN SOUL.
    LOTS OF SCRIPTURES IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
    THAT COMMENDS HOMOSEXUALS PRACTICE ...

    Posted by: Nancy C. | Apr 23, 2012 2:34:52 PM


  20. Dave Hart shared There Is Power In The Blood Of Jesus's photo.

    Posted by: Nancy C. | Apr 23, 2012 3:23:20 PM


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