Friday, 7 August 2009

GLASER: Coming out as Sacrament

Glaser, Chris
Coming Out as Sacrament
Geneva Press 1998

153 pages

Gay Christian author and activist Chris Glaser proposes that coming out--as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered--has biblical precedence and sacramental dimensions.

"When denied traditional means of grace, the sacraments of the church, we who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and family and friends of those who are, celebrate the sacrament of coming out, revealing the sacred in our lives: our love, our lover, our lives, our families, our community, and our unique perspective on God. Coming out is a theme in scripture in a way homosexuality is not. Biblical characters came out to be the people they were chosen and called to be, and the Bible is the coming out story of God--coming out of the closet of heaven, down from the mountaintop of requirements (Mt. Sinai), to enter our lives compassionately as God-with-us, who suffers with us, rejoices with us, and loves us unconditionally. This book critiques a traditional view of the atonement, suggesting the crucifixion was the result of human will, not God's--that God's will was the resurrection, that God chooses life for God's child and children, not death. Using the work of Rene Girard, I consider the scapegoat mechanism's applicability to how lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people are scapegoated by society and religious institutions today. Finally, I offer seven "rites for the soul" by which the reader or groups may reclaim biblical affirmations and their baptism and their church, and celebrate coming out in a ritual that combines elements from the traditional seven Christian sacraments. This book is different from my other books in that I sustain one careful argument throughout the book, using pastoral and personal experience as well as biblical and theological knowledge to sustain the theme of Coming Out as Sacrament. "
- Chris Glaser

From the "Institute for Welcoming Resources":
"Gay Christian author and activist Chris Glaser believes that sexual minorities, often denied their churches' traditional sacraments, have found unique access to the sacred in their lives; coming out of the closet. Glaser persuasively argues that coming out - as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered - has biblical precedence and sacramental dimensions. Using personal and biblical illustrations, he discusses coming out as an act of vulnerability, much like a sacrificial offering of ancient times, that invokes God's presence and effects atonement, or reconciliation. In this engaging book he shows how coming out, like other sacraments, may serve as a means of grace-that is, an experience of God's unconditional love. In the final chapter, Glaser proposes seven new "rites for the soul," including a ritual for coming out."


Ch 1. Coming Out as Sacrament
Ch 2. Sacrifices & Scpegoats
Ch 3. God & Violence
Ch 4. Coming Out in the Bible.
  • Coming out of innocence & shame: Adam & Eve
  • Coming out as dreamers: Joseph & his "rainbow coat".
  • Coming out of oppression : Exodus
  • Coming out of the wilderness: Numers, & entry into Canaan
  • Coming out to love: Johnathan & David, Ruth & Naomi
  • Coming out of privilege: EstherComing out of "traditional family values": Jesus' life & teachingComing
  • Coming out as ourselves: Samritan woman at the well
  • Coming out for grace: Saul / Paul
  • Coming out empowered: Pentecost
Ch 5 God Comes Out
  • Avoiding stereotypes and name calling
  • "Personing" the issue
  • Revelation as Sacrificial Offering
  • Folly of he Cross
  • Living Sacrifices
Ch 6. coming Ou as Celebration
  • Undoing the Scapegoat Mechanism
  • Larger than Life Faith
Ch 7: Rites for the Soul
  • Biblical affirmation: Blessing one another
  • Coming Out: Witness to the Resurrection
  • Call to Repentance: Confessing homophobia & heterosexism
  • Turning the tables: Ritual of Anger & grief.
  • Embracing our cause: Ritual of commitment to justice
  • Reclaiming our aptism: Turning church upside down
  • Celebrating Commonwealth: Rite of God's victory

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