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Sexuality and Ministry

MCC Online Course, Spring 2010

Instructor: Rev. Patrick S. Cheng, Ph.D.


patrick.cheng@post.harvard.edu

Dates: April 3, 10, 17, and May 1, 8, 15


3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET
Six Saturdays (but not April 24)

This six-week online course will satisfy the core course requirement on sexuality and
ministry for MCC ordination. Topics to be discussed will include: sexual and gender
diversity; sexually healthy clergy and congregations; scripture, worship, and sexuality;
pastoral care and education; and specific issues relating to bisexuality, transgender
people, and queer people of color.

This course is offered in partnership with the EDSConnect program of the Episcopal
Divinity School and will feature state-of-the-art online learning technology, including
video conferencing. In order to use this technology, the following minimum hardware
and software configuration is required for the course.

Required Technology:

• PC with Windows 2000 or higher, or Mac with OS X or higher


• Web camera (e.g., Logitech Fusion for PC, or iSight for Mac)
• High speed internet access (e.g., cable, DSL)
• An individual email account (e.g., Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail)
• Current version of Internet Explorer for PC, or Safari or Firefox for Mac users
• Current version of the free Adobe Acrobat Reader found at
http://www.adobe.com
• Current version of the free Adobe Flash Player found at http://www.adobe.com
• All items connected and software installed prior to the first meeting
• For more information, see the Hybrid Learning Program Handbook, pp. 3-4,
found at http://www.eds.edu/file/HLP-handbook-footer_cmprs.pdf

Required Texts:

• Marvin M. Ellison and Sylvia Thorson-Smith, eds., Body and Soul: Rethinking
Sexuality as Justice Love (Cleveland, OH: Pilgrim Press, 2007), ISBN: 978-
1606080238
• David J. Kundtz and Bernard S. Schlager, Ministry Among God’s Queer Folk:
LGBT Pastoral Care (Cleveland, OH: Pilgrim Press, 2003), ISBN: 978-
0829817065

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• Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing, A Time to Build:
Creating Sexually Healthy Faith Communities, found at
http://www.religiousinstitute.org/sites/default/files/study_guides/atimebuild.pdf
• Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing, A Time to Seek:
Study Guide on Sexual and Gender Diversity, found at
http://www.religiousinstitute.org/sites/default/files/study_guides/timetoseekfinal.pdf

Optional Resources for Preaching and Worship:

• Kittredge Cherry and Zalmon Sherwood, eds., Equal Rites: Lesbian and Gay
Worship, Ceremonies, and Celebrations (Louisville, KY: Westminster John
Knox Press, 1995), ISBN: 978-0664255350
• Geoffrey Duncan, Courage to Love: Liturgies for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and
Transgender Community (Cleveland, OH: Pilgrim Press, 2002), ISBN: 978-
0829814682
• Robert E. Goss and Mona West, eds., Take Back the Word: A Queer Reading of
the Bible (Cleveland, OH: Pilgrim Press, 2000), ISBN: 978-0829813975
• Deryn Guest, Robert E. Goss, Mona West, and Thomas Bohache, eds., The
Queer Bible Commentary (London: SCM Press, 2006), ISBN: 978-0334040217

Course Requirements:

This class will be offered on a pass/fail basis. In order to pass the course, you must
participate fully in all six of the online meeting sessions. You must also complete and
submit all online discussions and assignments on a timely basis.

No later than midnight on the day before class (i.e., Friday at midnight ET), please post
online your answers (i.e., a paragraph or so) to each of the following three questions
about the readings for the week:

1. What did you find most interesting or surprising about the week’s readings and
why?
2. What did you find most problematic or troubling about the week’s readings and
why?
3. What did you find most difficult to understand about the week’s readings and
why?

You will also be required to post your completed assignments online prior to the same
deadline of Friday at midnight ET. You should expect to spend approximately seven to
fourteen hours a week outside of class (i.e., one to two hours each day) on the readings
and assignments.

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Course Schedule:

Session 1
April 3 -- Introduction

Assignments (by 4/2 midnight ET):


• Complete required readings
• Post an introduction of yourself online in accordance with emailed instructions
(forthcoming)
• Connect hardware and install software prior to class
• Purchase and download required texts prior to class
• Log into the course meeting website prior to class

Readings:
• Course syllabus

Session 2
April 10 -- Sexual and Gender Diversity

Assignments (by 4/9 midnight ET):


• Complete required readings
• Post answers to the three online questions from p. 2 above
• Write and post a 1-2 page reflection on how your own sexual orientation,
gender identity, and sexual practices have influenced your vocation and
ministry, both positively and negatively

Readings:
• Carter Heyward, “We’re Here, We’re Queer: Teaching Sex in Seminary,” in
Body and Soul, pp. 78-96
• “Coming Out” and “Sexual Rating Scales,” in Ministry Among God’s Queer
Folk, pp. 131-58, 216-35
• “Definitions,” “Prevalence,” “Science on Sexual and Gender Diversity,”
“Marriage and Family,” and “Youth,” in A Time to Seek, pp. 7-26

Session 3
April 17 -- Sexually Healthy Clergy and Congregations

Assignments (by 4/16 midnight ET):


• Complete required readings
• Post answers to the three online questions from p. 2 above
• Write and post a 1-2 page discussion of your own sexual history, including any
of the numerous sexual practices that are listed in -- or that might be missing
from -- the Soul Beneath the Skin excerpt below

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• Complete and post the ministry self-assessment in A Time to Build, pp. 15-16
• Complete and post the congregational self-assessment in A Time to Build, p. 31

Readings:
• Sylvia Thorson-Smith, “Becoming ‘Possessed’: Toward Sexual Health and
Well-Being,” in Body and Soul, pp. 232-50
• Anne Underwood, “Clergy Sexual Misconduct: A Justice Issue,” in Body and
Soul, pp. 300-15
• “Creating Communities of Care” in Ministry Among God’s Queer Folk, pp.
159-76
• “Religion and Sexuality,” “Sexually Health Religious Professionals,”
“Welcoming and Affirming Congregations,” “Safe Congregations,” and
“Social Action,” in A Time to Build, pp. 7-16, 30-36
• David Nimmons, The Soul Beneath the Skin (New York: St. Martin’s Press,
2002), p. 80 (online)

April 24 -- No Class

Session 4
May 1 -- Scripture, Worship, and Sexuality

Assignments (by 4/30 midnight ET):


• Complete required readings
• Post answers to the three online questions from p. 2 above
• Write and post a 1-2 page sermon for an LGBTQ congregation on one of the
biblical passages listed in A Time to Build, p. 18
• Write and post a 1-2 page order of service / worship leaflet for an LGBTQ
congregation about one of the themes or topics listed in A Time to Build, pp.
17-18

Readings:
• Johanna W.H. van Wijk-Bos, “How to Read What We Read: Discerning Good
News About Sexuality in Scripture,” in Body and Soul, pp. 61-77.
• Mona West, “The Bible and Homosexuality,” found at
http://www.mccchurch.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Resources&Template=/CM/ContentDi
splay.cfm&ContentID=606
• Don Eastman, “Homosexuality: Not a Sin, Not a Sickness,” found at
http://www.mccchurch.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Resources&Template=/CM/ContentDi
splay.cfm&ContentID=601 (part 1) and
http://www.mccchurch.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Resources&Template=/CM/ContentDi
splay.cfm&ContentID=603 (part 2)

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• Nancy Wilson, “Our Story Too . . . Reading the Bible with ‘New Eyes’,” found
at
http://www.mccchurch.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Resources&Template=/CM/ContentDi
splay.cfm&ContentID=596 (part 1),
http://www.mccchurch.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Resources&Template=/CM/ContentDi
splay.cfm&ContentID=598 (part 2), and
http://www.mccchurch.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Resources&Template=/CM/ContentDi
splay.cfm&ContentID=604 (part 3)
• “Scripture,” in A Time to Seek, pp. 27-31
• “Worship and Preaching,” in A Time to Build, pp. 17-18

Session 5
May 8 -- Pastoral Care and Education

Assignments (by 5/7 midnight ET):


• Complete required readings
• Post answers to the three online questions from p. 2 above
• Write and post a 1-2 page reflection about the one of the ten case studies
(Lenore and Dixie; Jacob; Yolanda; Cecil; Derek and Lionel; Mary Margaret;
Marissa; José, Michael, and April; Damon, Clare, and Abby; Jason and Alice)
from Ministry Among God’s Queer Folk, pp. 190-212, that most resembles a
pastoral care situation that you have dealt with before; explain what you did
then and what you might do differently today
• Write and post a 1-2 page reflection about one of the ten case studies -- other
than the case study already covered in your first reflection -- that you would
personally find the most challenging to deal with and explain why

Readings:
• “The Pastoral Care Relationship,” “The Functions of Pastoral Care,” “Pastoral
Care in the Tough Times,” and “Caring for Relationships,” in Ministry Among
God’s Queer Folk, pp. 1-130, 177-215
• “Pastoral Care,” “Education for Youth,” and “Adult Education,” in A Time to
Build, pp. 20-29

Session 6
May 15 -- Beyond Binaries

Assignments (by 5/14 midnight ET):


• Complete required readings
• Post answers to the three online questions from p. 2 above
• Write and post a 1-2 page reflection about a pastoral care situation that you
have dealt with relating to bisexuality and/or transgender persons, with special
reference to the items listed in Ministry Among God’s Queer Folk, pp. 110-11

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• Write and post a 1-2 page reflection about a pastoral care situation that you
have dealt with relating to LGBTQ people of color, with special reference to
the items listed in Ministry Among God’s Queer Folk, p. 77

Readings:
• Susan Halcomb Craig, “Bisexuality: Variations on a Theme,” in Body and Soul,
pp. 114-28
• Virginia Ramey Mollenkott, “Crossing Gender Borders: Towards a New
Paradigm,” in Body and Soul, pp. 185-97
• Kelly Brown Douglas, “Black Body / White Soul: The Unsettling Intersection
of Race, Sexuality, and Christianity,” in Body and Soul, pp. 99-113
• Patrick S. Cheng, “Jesus, Mary, and the Beloved Disciple: Towards a Queer
Asian Pacific American Christology,” found at
http://www.patrickcheng.net/publications.html