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Claiming the Promise

Claiming the Promise

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This ground-breaking curriculum on the Bible and homosexuality is perfect for individual study or group discussion on sexuality and Christianity. The complete study kit includes leader and participant guides for eight sessions. Lessons and discussions will:
Explore biblical authority and biblical interpretation.
Examine biblical references to same-sex conduct in light of the broader biblical message which affirms that we are children or heirs of the Promise.
Discuss “gracious hospitality,” “gift-ed sexuality” and “supportive spirituality.”
Tackle hard questions of “right relationship,” lust / love, and sexual responsibility.
Call all Christians to live out God’s Promises as reconciling disciples.This ground-breaking curriculum on the Bible and homosexuality is perfect for individual study or group discussion on sexuality and Christianity. The complete study kit includes leader and participant guides for eight sessions. Lessons and discussions will:
Explore biblical authority and biblical interpretation.
Examine biblical references to same-sex conduct in light of the broader biblical message which affirms that we are children or heirs of the Promise.
Discuss “gracious hospitality,” “gift-ed sexuality” and “supportive spirituality.”
Tackle hard questions of “right relationship,” lust / love, and sexual responsibility.
Call all Christians to live out God’s Promises as reconciling disciples.
This ground-breaking curriculum on the Bible and homosexuality is perfect for individual study or group discussion on sexuality and Christianity. The complete study kit includes leader and participant guides for eight sessions. Lessons and discussions will:
Explore biblical authority and biblical interpretation.
Examine biblical references to same-sex conduct in light of the broader biblical message which affirms that we are children or heirs of the Promise.
Discuss “gracious hospitality,” “gift-ed sexuality” and “supportive spirituality.”
Tackle hard questions of “right relationship,” lust / love, and sexual responsibility.
Call all Christians to live out God’s Promises as reconciling disciples.This ground-breaking curriculum on the Bible and homosexuality is perfect for individual study or group discussion on sexuality and Christianity. The complete study kit includes leader and participant guides for eight sessions. Lessons and discussions will:
Explore biblical authority and biblical interpretation.
Examine biblical references to same-sex conduct in light of the broader biblical message which affirms that we are children or heirs of the Promise.
Discuss “gracious hospitality,” “gift-ed sexuality” and “supportive spirituality.”
Tackle hard questions of “right relationship,” lust / love, and sexual responsibility.
Call all Christians to live out God’s Promises as reconciling disciples.

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Published by: Reconciling Ministries Network on Sep 13, 2012
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Table af 
 
Contents
Claiming; dieTmmi&e
An Ecumenical Welcoming Bible Study Resource on Homosexuality Mary Jo Osterman 
 
CHAPTERS
4
2
Timothy 3:16-17 
Galatians 3:23-29; 5:13-23; 6:15
 Romans 1:26-27; Psalm 139:1-18 
1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 16:14
Genesis 19:1-29
 Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Luke 10:25-3
2
 
Corinthians 5:17-20; Matthew 5:43-48
APPENDICES
 
 
A Leader’s Guide for
Claiming the
 
Promise
is available. It includesthree session-plan options withactivities, study questions, andBible background materials.
 
Welcome!
The Lord has promised good to me!
—Amazing GraceJohn Newton, 1779
Our God has promised good to us. God’s word our hope secures.
This oldfamiliar hymn claims the promise that the Bible offers. We are daughtersand sons of God, heirs apparent of the Divine One! God calls us toclaim that promise! To live it out! To be new creations in Christ. Aswe do so, we experience “many dangers, toils, and snares.”Today we are called to face with courage a troubling dilemma in thechurch. This dilemma is a danger and snare that divides and hurtsus all. Simply put, this dilemma is: Will the church unconditionallywelcome, or refuse to welcome, lesbian women and gay men intothe full life and ministry of the church?1Will we affirm that peopleof all sexual orientations can claim kinship as daughters and sons of God, heirs apparent with Christ?As we try to solve this dilemma in the life of the church, we naturally turn to the Bible to discern God’s Word.2Yet some of the wordsin the Bible contribute to our dilemma about welcoming lesbianwomen and gay men into the church. We are called to sort throughthose specific—and perhaps troubling—biblical references prayerfully, as we seek to discern God’s living, healing, saving Word.We invite you to study the issues that are embedded in this currentchurch dilemma. We study them, not as an academic exercise, butas a process of Christian dialogue and spiritual discernment thatliterally can save lives. We invite you to know, hear, and understandindividuals who are gay or lesbian—and their families. As we study,may we continually be reminded that people who live and work andworship among us are personally affected by this current churchdilemma and by our responses to God’s promise. If you are gay,lesbian, or bisexual, we invite you to share with your class participants as you feel comfortable and safe enough to do so.Come and explore how we—as individuals and as communities of Christians—might discern God’s promise and claim it. Welcome to the journey!
NotesPublisher/co-publishers' note: We recognize that bisexual persons are clearly andoften painfully affected by biblical interpretations on same-sex conduct. We alsorecognize that, while bisexuality does raisesome different issues of biblical interpretation, overlap also exists. We hope thisresource will facilitate initial discussion of broader issues of orientation and gender.We have, however, focused this curriculum directly and specifically on the Bibleand homosexuality, as noted in the subtitle of this study booklet. A Bible studyrelated to bisexuality would be a welcomecompanion resource.2See the glossary, p. 48, for definitions of key words or phrases.
This Study Will Help Us...
...Identify
assumptions about biblicalauthority and how we engage inbiblical interpretation...Exam/nealternate understandings ofbiblical references that peoplesometimes apply negatively tolesbian women and gay men
...Explore
the place of those biblical refer-ences within a comprehensiveunderstanding of the Bible’sliberating message of justiceloveand freedom in Christ
...Claim
the promise of being God’s heirsapparent by identifying how wemight live as welcoming, reconcil-ing disciples of Christ.
2Claiming the Promise
 
A Road Map
Claiming the Promise
follows a particular pattern to focus our thinking onthe church’s dilemma about welcoming or not welcoming those who arelesbian and gay. Four small icons guide our way.
Golden Calf—
 A visible stationary image of a false God that the Hebrews
 
worshipped at Mt. Sinai
Each chapter begins with a biblical reference that is oftenused as a “biblical condemnation” of same-sex conduct.Potential
golden calf’
dangers of such interpretations are briefly discussed. Like the Hebrews who worshipped a calf, we sometimes idolizestatic interpretations about same-sex conduct rather than hearing theBible’s story of God’s promise to include all people in full kinship withGod (Exodus 32). This potential danger exists for moderate or liberalpeople in the church as well as for conservative people.
 Pillar of Fire
That which God used to lead the Israelites through the
 
wilderness by night during the Exodus
The next section in each chapter is a reflection on broaderintents, contexts, and messages related to the “golden calf”biblical interpretations. These reflections are offered as
pillars of fire”
(Exodus 13:17-22). In the Exodus story, God was manifested in a pillarof fire at night to lead the people toward the Promised Land. Though wemay see them dimly, the biblical reflections in this section offer evidence of God’s leading us toward the promise of new life.
 Prophetic Voices
 —Those contemporary leaders arising from many places
 
to offer God’s Word to us in fresh—and sometimes disconcerting—ways
The third section is an exploration of the analyses and reflections of contemporary
prophetic voices.
” These reflections, especially as they come from lesbian women and gay men, arepowerful symbols that new life is rising from an oppressed group. Theyoffer possibilities of new life in the Spirit for all of us.
 Promise
God’s covenant with humanity that we are all heirs
 
The fourth section focuses on the biblical promise that weare God’s heirs through God’s promise to Abraham. Godreaffirmed that promise through the Christ-event. God’sclaim on Christians requires a response: be “new creations” (2 Corinthians5:17-20). The butterfly, a symbol for new life, reminds us to explorewhat it means to
claim the promise
and be new creations.It is possible to read these four sections of a chapter as a continuum. However, they were first imagined as expanding concentric circles. The calf discussion with its potential dangers is the core of the dilemma that engages all of us. The pillar, prophetic voices, and promise sections of eachchapter offer expanding ways for us to reflect on our joint dilemma andmove toward new life in Christian community.Finally, this study presents several points of view. It acknowledges clearlythat Christians are not all of one mind about homosexuality and the church.However, not all views are equal in this study.
Claiming the Promise
has a“point of view”—one that we think offers us glimpses of God’s Word in themidst of our troubling dilemma. We hope only that you will prayerfullyread and consider its point of view.
The
Question 
Boxes
Each chapter contains four boxes ofquestions. They are offered as possiblework for you to
do
before class.Together these four sets of questionslead us through several steps of a Biblestudy
 process.
This process includes:
Box 1: 
 
What does the Englishtext say?
Box 2: 
 
What are some problemsof translation or interpretationof the original Hebrew or Greektexts?
Box 3: 
 
What does a biblicalwriter, Jesus, or church traditionsay about the text?
Box 4: 
 
Having done some criticalbiblical study—and havingengaged in a prayerful discern-ment
'procees
 —what do wethink?
Are You Studying thisMaterial Alone?
You may wish to buy the leader’sguide to
Claiming the Promise.
Ithas additional background materialon various biblical passages. Also,some of the activities in theleader’s session plans might behelpful in your study.
Claiming the Promise3

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