Queer Scripture Reflections – Rev. Carla Christopher Wilson

 
Image Description: photo of the book of Genesis and the ELM logo with the title: Queer Scripture Reflections.
John 12:4-6 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?” (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.)
 
John 13:29 Some 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. 
 
Obscure and not often quoted scriptures, but ones that grip me when combing the scriptures for evidence of Jesus’ views and experiences of what it meant to be a family as an adult, since earlier in this blog series we explored the beautiful queerness of Jesus’ childhood multi-parent family. 
 
We know that Jesus asked 12 guys to leave behind their families to cleave to him for life using phrases very similar to traditional marriage vows. We know this group lived, ate, traveled, prayed, napped, and attended parties and weddings together. We know Jesus turned to them in fear and grief as his support network. We know they protected each other and were willing to fight for each other and worried about each other. They fought and forgave. They worked extensively at healthy and clear communication. Then there’s these Bible verses.
 
One of this created chosen family is referenced as keeping the common purse for Jesus and all the Disciples, not once, but twice. Not only does this unit of at least mostly same-gendered partners (I only trust pronoun translation so far after 2,000 years but that’s another blog) care for each other physically, emotionally, and spiritually, they are also united financially in a very practical and trusting way.
 
There is no mention in the texts about the Disciples if they were having sex. Nothing says they weren’t, as they traveled together and comforted each other. It’s almost as if intimate partnership could be aromantic, asexual OR romantic or sexual, and to name that as a primary definition of chosen family is of secondary importance. 
 
In short; the Disciples, queer. Beautifully, lovingly, richly, connected. The early church’s first and the New Testament’s most thoroughly documented and central family unit. There is much we can learn from their family/community of care.
 
 

The Rev. Carla Christopher Wilson (she/her/hers) is Assistant to the Bishop in Charge of Justice Ministries for Lower Susquehanna Synod and Associate Pastor of Faith Formation and Outreach for Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. CarlaChristopher.Com and @RevCarlaChristopher on Facebook or @Rev.CarlaChristopher on Instagram.

The Family of Jesus

 

by Alex Aivars

Then the people began to complain about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” They were saying, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” 

– John 6:41-42

 

Image Description: photo of the book of Genesis and the ELM logo with the title: Queer Scripture Reflections.

I’ve been thinking more and more about having kids. My boyfriend and I have had a few conversations about the subject. 

 

A little research brings up a host of options for us. Those options include adoption, surrogacy, foster care, to name a few. 

With all of these options it will mean that for us to have a child and create a family with kids, it will involve more than simply the two of us. There will still always be at least one more person, maybe even more than one, or an organization, or some other type of legal entity, involved in the creation of our family with kids.

I see something similar in the creation of the family of Jesus.

At the conception of Jesus, yes, there were only two entities involved: God and Mary. When Joseph learns of this pregnancy without him, we are told that Joseph is thinking of leaving Mary. But God persuades Joseph to stay and for them to be husband and wife and raise Jesus as their own son.

This solidifies the family of Jesus. Except Jesus didn’t have only two parents, Mary and  Joseph. In the family of Jesus, there were three parents: Mary, Joseph, and God.

God became the third entity in the life and family of Jesus.

Those around Jesus didn’t understand the family structure that included Jesus. Those around him knew Jesus had earthly parents in Mary and Joseph. And yet, here was Jesus talking about coming down from heaven. At one point Jesus even says that he’s the Son of God. This made no sense to them. A person could only have two parents, not three. 

And yet, Jesus did indeed have three parents: Mary, Joseph, and God.

For myself and my boyfriend, the creation of a family with kids involves more than two people. Just like in the creation of the family of Jesus.

In our baptisms, we become part of this family of Jesus. God was, and continues to be, always with Jesus, doting on their son. God is always with us as well, doting on us. Because God will never leave us. All of us will always be children of God.


 

Alex Aivars (he/him) is currently in his first call as pastor of  St. Stephen Lutheran Church in Lansing, MI. Since this is a part-time call, he also develops websites for businesses, non-profits, and other churches. In his spare time he likes to read, hike, bike, ski, and make art out of post-in notes.