"Representation in the Bible" - Monday Moment - May 23, 2022

Updated: May 26

Happy Monday, Friends!


When David had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was bound to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house. Then Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as his own soul. Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that he was wearing, and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt. (1 Samuel 18:1-4)


There are very few places where Queer Christians can see themselves in the Bible. Many of us know about the anti-LGBTQIA+ verses, but where can we find ourselves among Biblical characters? We are often demonized as terrible, perverse sinners, and then only as out-of-context caricatures laden with two thousand years of mistranslated and misrepresented narratives attached to us. Granted the reality of Queer people in the 21st century did not exist in Biblical times. We will never find a one-for-one relationship, but there are a few passages where we can build small representations. The passage above from 1 Samuel is one of my favorites. Often considered to be about David and Jonathan becoming brothers, the passage uses language which suggests that Jonathan and David are becoming much more than brothers. Their souls are being bound together and they are making a covenant together. Jonathan strips his robe and his equipment and presents them to David. Are they gay? There’s no way to be sure and there is definitely evidence in the Bible to support David as a womanizer.


What we can and do know is that the Bible speaks to LGBTQIA+ people and so we existed in Biblical times. We were there and our existence was acknowledged even if not in the most positive light. We existed before the Bible was written and we have continued to exist long after the Bible was a historical book. Now as we stand on the shoulders of thousands of years of persecuted and silent queers, we have to remember that we are the ones who get to fill in the gaps in representation that even our holy texts cannot fill. We are the ones for whom they were waiting.


Where do you see yourself in the Bible? Is it important to be able to identify with a Biblical person or group?


Let us pray: God who is beyond gender and sexual orientation, help us see ourselves in your family and as your children. Though we might not find Biblical people who share our Queer identities, help us find ourselves in the queerness of a God without gender and sexuality who made us in their image and made us queer. Amen.


Blessings, friends, on your week! Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you.

Faithfully,


Ben