Whether you speak English, Spanish, or both, you will benefit from this guide by the Rev. Dr. Miguel De La Torre of Iliff School of Theology in Denver, with the Rev. Dr. Ignacio Castuera and Lisbeth Meléndez Rivera. A La Familia: Una Conversación Sobre Nuestras Familias, la Biblia, la Orientación Sexual y la Identidad de Género (A Conversation About Our Families, the Bible, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) offers study and discussion questions for reflection as well as action ideas. Combining biblical study with personal testimonies, A La Familia is a project of [email protected] LGBT, the Human Rights Campaign, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
Some excerpts from A La Familia:
On the purpose of the guide
This guide is written for two primary audiences: straight people honestly struggling with LGBT issues and the Bible, and those whose sexual orientation and gender identity have marginalized them within their family or church or even both. We hope you will use this guide as a tool to help those in la familia expand their circle of love to include all the people that God loves. We also hope to encourage people of faith to live every day more fully, without prejudice or reliance on biased readings of the Bible. It is our honor to invite you to read, to learn and to expand your ideas about the Bible, the nature of God whom Jesus revealed and the richness of the biblical tradition. Welcome to the family.
On the approach to Scripture
Even when not obvious, attitudes against LGBT people are based on biased interpretations of biblical texts that appear to condemn homosexuals and transgender people. This guide is set up not as an “argument” against such readings but as an invitation to explore a different possibility for God’s transforming love to enter our lives. Whenever Christians read the Bible, they read its pages in light of the God of love whom Jesus revealed to us. Equally important, we must remember that all of us are children of God and all of us bear the image of God no matter our sexual orientation or gender identity. When we condemn LGBT people or refuse to hear their testimony, we are closing our hearts to the sons and daughters of the living God.
On hopes for engagement
Although we are providing you with an alternative interpretation of select biblical passages than what you may have heard, we do not want to set our interpretation up as a new truth; rather, we ask you to spend time in community wrestling with these texts in an honest, thoughtful and curious way. We hope these readings will help you to do this and, in the process, see how texts that have been used oppressively can contain the seeds for our liberation.
On the task of Christians
If we are interested in building loving places of worship, as Jesus asks of us, the most important task is to get to know people who are different from us. We ask that you get to know the LGBT people in your congregation or community. What is their experience of their faith community? What struggles and joys do they have in their daily life? Change for all of us happens when we move beyond the stereotypes we hold of others and actually begin a dialogue with people who are different. Learning how to be better neighbors is an essential part of our faith journey. As you do this work, we hope you’ll come back to this guide and explore in more depth the questions it raises for you. Such encounters do not have to take you away from God or your faith but can be part of a spiritual practice of enriching and deepening your faith, your sense of community and your love for God and all God’s children.
For more information about A La Familia, or to request training, see the project page at the website of the Human Rights Campaign.