Peterson Toscano

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“Falling for Ebed Melech”

Text: “Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, a eunuch in the king’s house, heard that they had put Jeremiah into the cistern. The king happened to be sitting at the Benjamin Gate, So Ebed-melech left the king’s house and spoke to the king,“My lord king, these men have acted wickedly in all they did to the prophet Jeremiah by throwing him into the cistern to die there of hunger, for there is no bread left in the city.” Then the king commanded Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, “Take three men with you from here, and pull the prophet Jeremiah up from the cistern before he dies.”— Jeremiah 38:7-10

Excerpt: “When I finally came to my senses and came out gay, I refused to toss out the Baby Jesus and the Bible with the anti-LGBTQ bathwater. I began to discover Bible characters routinely left out of the abridged versions of Bible stories preached from the pulpit. It was through this creative dialogue with the Bible that I fell hard for eunuchs.”

Bio Peterson Toscano uses storytelling to promote justice and equality. Through original performance lectures, Peterson opens up discussions about lgbtq issues, privilege, the Bible, justice, and climate change. He created the performance lecture Transfigurations—Transgressing Gender in the Bible, which unearths gender non-conforming Bible characters. His personal essays about his experiences with conversion therapy have appeared in the Gay and Lesbian Review, Liturgy Magazine, and Huffington Post. He contributed to the Lambda Award winning anthology, Gender Outlaws—The Next Generation. Together with artist Joey Hartman-Dow, he has created the illustrated story, The Amazing Adventures of the Afterbirth of Jesus. A self-described Quirky, Queer Quaker, Peterson speaks at universities, conferences, and in the media. As the host of Citizens’ Climate Radio and the curator of ClimateStew.com, he draws on storytelling and comedy to present climate change as a human rights issues. His climate change presentations reveal the interconnectedness of power, privilege, justice, polar bears, and coffee beans. These include his performance lectures, Everything is Connected—An evening of stories, most weird, many true and Climate Change—What’s Faith Got to Do, Got to Do with It? He lives in Central Pennsylvania with his partner, Glen Retief. www.petersontoscano.com

Invitation to a dying Church to free itself. John Dorhauer

“An entire reformation was birthed when the Bible was given to the common worshiper. It’s amazing what the Spirit will do when she is not withheld from those who need her most. In Rainbow in the Word, Ellin Jimmerson invites a dying Church to free itself from the constraints of its long-held homophobia and exposes it to the biblical insights of today’s most marginalized voices. New life will emerge on the other side of this.” — JohnCDorhauer, General Minister and President, United Church of Christ.

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Highly recommended! Brian D. McLaren

“In the debate about the place of LGBTQ persons in Christian churches, often only the voices of straight, white theologians are heard. Rainbow in the Word introduces us to the beautiful voices of LGBTQ persons themselves, people who, against all odds, have kept the faith and who can speak for themselves. No conversation about these courageous and articulate Christians should take place without their own voices being heard. Highly recommended!” — Brian D. McLaren, author of The Great Spiritual Migration

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Our sexual identity is not a liability. Jamie Arpin-Ricci

“When so many conversations around LGBTQ people in the church centers around debating our legitimacy, Rainbow in the Word reminds us that our sexual identity is not a liability to be defended but an essential contribution to the Church’s understanding of Scripture and of God. This unique book invites us into richer hues and brighter colors as we encounter the Creator whose divine image is reflected in us all.” — Jamie Arpin-Ricci, author of The Cost of Community

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Viki Matson

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“Foreword”

Excerpt: “Rainbow in the Word includes the marks and memories of LGBTQ peoples’ struggles, particularly as the struggle involves the Bible. Some writers reflect on a particular text, wondering if there are ways to understand it that reveal a liberating rather than a punishing God. Others identify with a particular character in the Bible, diving deeply into their story to unearth what might be hidden or neglected. Some speak of the ways they have been injured by Scripture, while othersspeak of being freed by it. Additionally, within these pages you will find genres as disparate as those contained within the Bible itself: narrative, confession, poetry, biography, and calls to action.”

Prof. Viki Matson is the Director of Field Education and Assistant Professor of the Practice of Ministry at Vanderbilt Divinity School. Prior to coming to Vanderbilt, she served as Chaplain at St. Thomas Hospital in Nashville, TN. Prof. Matson hold as BS in Religion from Phillips University in Enid, OK (1977) a Master of Divinity (with distinction) from Phillips Theological Seminary in Enid, OK (1982). Additionally, she has completed a residency year in Clinical Pastoral Education and has done graduate study in Ethics. Prof. Matson’s professional interests and expertise include theological reflection on practice, the global dimensions of theological education, and the capacities needed for religious leaders in our times. Prof. Matson is ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). She is currently a Member-at-Large on the Steering Comittee for the Association of Theological Field Education.

Can’t wait to share with gay friends! Bravo!

An interesting thing happened to me this week. I met a young man who is down on his luck. We were talking and in our conversation he said to me that he always thought that to say “Be normal” was such a negative thing. He said, “I think we should say be natural”. It really struck home with me.
Then I started reading Rainbow in the Word and the title of an article in it, “The Non-Normative Jesus”, made me think back on this conversation.
I am enjoying the book immensely and can’t wait to either buy one for or share with a couple of my gay friends. Bravo!  — Lauren Knox

 

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Interrogates our assumptions about Queer People. Highly recommended.

“Ellin Sterne Jimmerson is an ordained clergywoman, a film-maker, and a prophet who has spent most of her life asking hard questions and seeking nuanced answers that take the Gospels seriously. Anyone who offers Dr. Jimmerson a facile answer walks away in tatters—her love of the Scriptures and their implications for how we treat each other won’t allow for platitudes and memorized answers. Her Rainbow in the Word: LGBTQ Christians’ Biblical Memoirs interrogates our assumptions about Queer People and their approaches to the very texts that have many times been used as a weapon against them. The bravery that these writers show in their willingness to undergo this task and their answers to Jimmerson’s hard questions should inspire all of us who love the Christian Scriptures. There are works from several genres here: apologetics, confession, poetry, autobiography—all with a strongly personal hermeneutic that draws the reader into a deeply wounded yet joyous approach to our shared heritage. I highly recommend this for any mature reader—but especially for those who are seeking to answer the hard questions about how our love of the Scriptures fits together with our understanding of sexuality, gender, and identity.” —Pamela Hosey Long, Seminarian, Alabama Integrated Ministry School of the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama, Montgomery.

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One amazing read! Darren J. N. Middleton

” ‘Life stories can remake today’s theology” James Wm. McClendon, Jr. once said, and in this movingly penned, intellectually diverse, and spiritually transformative volume of story-theology, Ellin Jimmerson and her contributors show us how. Rainbow in the Word offers earthbound models of Christian desire for transcendent meaning, which is no small accomplishment. This book’s wisdom has been forged on life’s tough anvil, yet each tale in it will endure, branded by the ability to take theology in some unexpectedly new directions. One amazing read!” —— Darren J. N. Middleton, Texas Christian University

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Hope is on every single page. Fresh, new, and utterly beautiful.

“Hope is on every single page in this book, in each contributor’s piece. I am a stumbling ally of the LGBTQ community, with my own church woundings, and I was filled with audacious hope while reading this book. This book offers a fresh, new, and utterly beautiful way to look at scripture. Makes me want to read it again. The memoirs reveal the humanity of God and love. The bravery of the contributors to share their stories is a gift to their LGBTQ communities, first and foremost, and to the wider community of humanity: God is love. Period. — Heidi, Goodreads.

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Stephen V. Sprinkle

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“Love Letter”

Text: “Beloved, let us love one another because love is of God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. — I John 4:7

Excerpt: “Ah! The love of God is a queer thing! God, the genesis of all that is, gave rise to same-gender affection and fidelity as acts of divine, Christ-like love, right alongside all other expressions of genuine human commitment. Though I did not yet know the words “sensual” and “erotic”, I began to understand that the practice of love, truly divine love, took place in the exchange of affection all people had with one another—LGBTQ people, too.”

Stephen V. Sprinkle is Professor of Practical Theology at Brite Divinity School, located on the campus of Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas, and has held the office of Director of Field Education and Supervised Ministry since 1994. He is the first openly gay scholar in Brite’s history. A native of North Carolina, he holds a Bachelor of Arts from Barton College, a Master of Divinity from Yale University Divinity School, and a PhD in Systematic Theology from Duke University. He is an ordained minister of the Alliance of Baptists. Sprinkle was named 2010–2011 Hero of Hope by the Cathedral of Hope in Dallas for his advocacy on behalf of the LGBTQ community and served as Theologian in Residence for the Cathedral for six years. In 2016, he received the Pillar of Freedom Award for his passion, activism, and dedication to the advancement of justice and human rights. He has authored three books and many scholarly articles and holds professional memberships in the Academy of Religious Leadership and the Association of Theological Field Educators. Sprinkle is a human rights advocate, a widely sought after speaker and pulpiteer, and an internationally recognized authority on anti-LGBTQ hate crimes.