Graduation Year

2008

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Religious Studies

Major Professor

Dell DeChant, M.A.

Keywords

Gay, Lesbian, Religion, Christian, Interpretation

Abstract

This thesis examines the hermeneutical strategies that Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) has employed in interpreting the Bible. As a new religious movement (NRM) with an outreach to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered individuals MCC interprets the text in light of its membership. The interpretive strategies and methodologies employed are in keeping with other denominations in the Christian tradition. This provides a possible avenue by which MCC can be classified within the Christian tradition. The interpretation of the biblical text is given in light of the gay people who compose MCC's membership. Gays and lesbians have experienced social and religious stress. Their history, identity, and questions are brought with them as they approach the biblical text. MCC interprets the text to meet the pastoral needs of gay people. The paper examines how MCC has interpreted specific passages and texts of the Bible. It focuses on the "texts of terror," those texts which have been used to marginalize gays and lesbians. Additionally, it examines texts which highlight meaningful themes for gays and lesbians. In the end, it is perfectly queer that MCC has emerged as an interpretive community, with a specific hermeneutic. MCC has engaged in a similar process of biblical interpretation as other Christian denominations, making the Bible relevant and meaningful for its membership. The claim that MCC is a Christian denomination can be made by appealing to its interpretation of the biblical canon of Christianity.

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