How Jesus Affirms My Queerness

Today, as some Christians in Indiana claim their religion justifies refusing service to LGBTQ customers, Quaker Kody Hersh lifts up the Jesus who stood with those on the margins of society.

Jon Watts

Jon Watts launched and directed the QuakerSpeak project for its first 6 seasons. Keep up to date with Jon’s work at his website.

19 thoughts on “How Jesus Affirms My Queerness

  1. I would encourage people to look at Dr. Amy Jill Levine’s work on Jesus the Jewish rabbi. She talks about how Jesus’ main supporters were “middle class” first century Jews. The women owned property the men had craftsmen jobs, they were not however marginalized people and Christians seem to use this notice to make Jesus more than what he says based on his theology which she believes speak for itself.

  2. This is really powerful, and helps me to really think through my own inner conflict . I so appreciate the Quaker community for leading this discussion, even though I am Mennonite.

  3. Her talk confirmed even more how much we need to confirm religious freedom for all. If someone does not believe in gay marriage they should not be forced to participate in their celebration of it.

  4. This person misses the point of the ministry of Jesus completely. Jesus did hang out with those not normally accepted, but when confronted about it He said that the healthy don’t need a doctor, but the sick (loose paraphrase). When He did confront someone in sin He didn’t accept it, but said to “go and sin no more”. It is pride that makes people think they can have a relationship with Jesus on their terms and not His.

  5. Jesus never approved about homosexuality and warn about those who practice sodomy and warned about it and hell as well. As Christians we love the sinner but hate the sin and that we are no better than anyone else. Just a sinner saved by his grace and repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand. Jesus is God and his word will never change. The book of Romans Chapter one is very clear about Homosexuality and I myself and God’s word need not to say anymore about this subject. Lean not to your own understanding and trust God and his Holy word the Bible and the God the Holy Spirit will do the rest. Jesus is Lord to the Glory of God the father and you must be born again John chapter three. Peace to you all.

  6. I think Jesus “hung out” with whomever was in need of his Presence, both marginalized and mainstream. His love was indiscriminate. The command is to “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” It is not “Love thy neighbor if” And when they ask “Who is my neighbor”, he shares the story of “The Good Samaritan”. As I understand it, the Jews strongly disliked Samaritans and would not eat or associate with them. Jesus walks a path of radical love for one and all. I don’t see anything where Jesus talks about homosexuality. It’s Paul who does that. And I don’t doubt that if Jesus was walking in our midst that he would sit down and eat with people who are LGBTQ. We are your neighbors. As a therapist, I have helped people who are homophobic. They did not know I am a lesbian woman. I want to love like Jesus loves.

  7. Jesus actually did address the issue of homosexuality, but he did it in context with the main issue of all sin which has to do with unbelief. It was carefully done and given a rank if you can grasp his words. Matthew 11: 20-24 Then Jesus began to denounce the towns where most of His miracles had happened, because they did not turn from their sins. Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have turned long ago in sackcloth and ashes. Nevertheless I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon, on the Day of Judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum? Will you be lifted up to heaven? No, you will go down to Sheol! For if the miracles done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. Nevertheless it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom on the Day of Judgment than for you. What we know about the towns of Tyre and Sidon are the old story that lead to a showdown of Gods for the prophets of Baal in league with Jezebel when Elijah called for a three year drought for the sake of the nation’s repentance from unfaithfulness. Unfaithfulness to God was the issue of judgement in Israel. Mount Carmel was an amazing display of God’s presence which did bring judgement on the false teachers who had high places set up throughout Israel. They’d left God. And the issue of Sodom is very clear, it’s the issue of forsaking God’s command of one man and one woman for life and passing life forward and holding marriage as a picture of God in our midst. It is ignorance of the whole of scripture that allows holes to exist in our obedience to the love of God which does require all of our strength. We are called not only to believe in God, but to believe God. Adam walked with God in the cool of the day, he had a relationship with God, but he didn’t believe God. Abraham walked with God for years, followed him to a new land, received promises, but eventually he hit a wall in his faith and said it out loud, ‘a slave will be my heir.’ And God showed him the stars and then Abraham believed God. If we do not repent from our unbelief we can’t call ourselves believers. Everyone has to give up their sin, there is no exception and there is no special sin. We must present ourselves as living sacrifices. And we must believe God. The Spirit doesn’t contradict the Word. Believe God and let him draw out sin and crucify it. We are not our own, we’ve been bought with a price.

  8. There are some wonderful stories such as the parables in the Bible. Remember that the Bible was written long ago and some time after the death of Jesus Christ. I do not put the Bible in the centre of my faith as a Quaker from Aotearoa New Zealand where we worship in the silent tradition. My faith is simple: God is Love. That is all I need. We need to love all people whatever their sexuality.

    Thank you for this website with these wonderful videos and this forum for discussion.

  9. I’m with commenter Peter, above — having a small glory attack when seeing this video. I have watched it many times now and it is definitely a much needed balm to my soul.

    What my own experience teaches me is this: I sat in a room full of gay Christians who, in that case, had come to hear a Catholic bishop explain the church’s teaching on homosexuality. He stood at the front and did his job conveying this teaching. The people called out periodically some variation on “I won’t ever stop being a Christian but what about….” or “I won’t ever stop being a Catholic but…” And he had nothing for them in response but to explain the teaching, intellectually. For me as a non-Catholic (and Quaker) bystander on the whole discussion, it was as if there was a room full of emotional pain and need, broken hearts….people desperate to know that they were really okay with God just as they are…. And the church had nothing to offer them. The opportunity was wasted.

    This is what I experience when people make comments like some of those above, here, about “loving the sinner but hating the sin” and how we have to not only believe in God but “believe God” when God said these things were sins.

    Jesus had the power to help people walk away from whatever was sinful in their lives (and I’m not saying what is or isn’t, and it’s not your job to do that either). Jesus has that power. Jesus can handle it, too. Gay people and Transgender people will be just fine in their relationship with God if everyone else just LOVES them. They really, really don’t need you to make sure to “represent” that God isn’t just love and God doesn’t really love them just as they are. You are without spiritual power to help them when you preach this — You are ensuring that you are without it. Please walk away from that choice and resource in the solitude of a loving and present God, beyond your learning of scripture and beyond your understanding. Please find this out…please.

  10. The New England Yearly Meeting web site has a section on Frequently Asked Questions. One of the questions is What do Quakers believe? The answer is “We believe that every person is loved and can be guided by God. Broadly speaking, we affirm that ‘there is that of God in everyone.’ Everyone is known by God and can know God in a direct relationship. We are called to attend to this relationship and to be guided by it.” The minute you start dragging Jesus or the Bible into this or any other question, you are making assertions that cannot be proven. Love Kody because Kody is a human being. Period. Full stop.

  11. The negative comments above seem to indicate that folks are jettisoning the Quaker concept of continuing revelation. The tribal and patriarchal society in which the scriptures were written had reason not to embrace gay relationships. There is not one among us who does not pick and choose from among the scriptures – of necessity because they are conflicting and illogical at times. We not not stone women who cannot prove they are virgins. Our understanding has evolved to show us that’s not the right choice. (And I think one has to split some very fine hairs to find Jesus condemning homosexuality.) There are a mere handful of scriptures dealing with homosexuality and myriads of calls to love one another and judge not. If one believes God’s love is all emcompassing and the Psalm tells us God knew everything about us while we were still in our mother’s womb, I doubt that She is thrown by knowledge of one’s gayness.

    Kudos to Cody and Rebecca on an excellent Quaker Speak.

  12. I am very happy that Kody Hersch finds comfort, support and affirmation from the Christian texts, and that she is moved to minister on this. I hear her – and to some extent she speaks to my condition.

    I am saddened that the comments on this piece often reduce to ‘same sex attraction is a sin’ based on the interpretation of a text of questionable provenance, translation and interpretation.

    Thankfully, being a Quaker does not require me to be a Christian – so the endless interpretation of arcane scripture is irrelevant for me. Nor am I required to believe that Jesus actually existed. So for me – many of the comments on this thread seem just to be muddying water that was running clear.

    As a Quaker, I am required to “Walk cheerfully over the earth answering to that of God in everyone.”

    My answer to Kody is love and recognition.

  13. There is that of God in everyone. That’s it. Simple. Love others the way we are loved. No argument. And, then … Ram Dass says it slightly differently, but equally powerfully and with a smile: “Treat everyone you meet as God in drag”. Wise words. And Desmond Tutu reminded us: “We may be surprised at the people we find in heaven. God has a soft spot for sinners. His standards are quite low” – reassurance I’m personally grateful for. 🙂

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