Rev. Dr. DeWayne L. Davis, Lead Minister of Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis, is a cleric ordained by the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, with expertise in social justice analysis, advocacy, and organizing. He most recently served as Senior Pastor of All God’s Children Metropolitan Community Church in Minneapolis. Rev. Dr. Davis previously served as the Domestic Policy Analyst in The Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations where he represented before the U.S. Congress and the Executive Office of the President the domestic social policies established by the Episcopal Church’s General Convention and Executive Council. In the capacity, he organized the Episcopal Church’s advocacy for marriage equality in Washington, DC at the U.S. Supreme Court. He holds a B.A. in Economics and Philosophy from Howard University and an M.A. in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland at College Park. Rev. Davis received his Master of Divinity degree with honors from the Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. in 2012. He received his Doctor of Ministry degree in Biblical Preaching at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN in 2020.
Paper Abstract: There Is A Word: Using a Queer Hermeneutic
Toward Liberative and Prophetic Biblical Preaching
Preaching to, for, and about LGBTQ people is too often characterized by ambivalence, homophobia, and microaggressions couched as speaking truth in love. And yet, the biblical text includes themes, images, and stories with liberating and prophetic messages for LGBTQ people that include and affirm them within the body of Christ. This thesis argues that preachers can proclaim a liberating, prophetic word for the LGBTQ people within their congregations by using a queer hermeneutic, the intentional and conscious interpretation of the biblical text using the experience, information, and knowledge about LGBTQ people as the lens through which to bridge the world of the biblical text and the world of the contemporary church. Through a qualitative study of affirming sermons and surveying LGBTQ hearers’ experiences of affirming sermons, this thesis shows preachers how to use the marginalized perspective of LGBTQ people in their reading and interpretation of the Bible to make their preaching more liberating and prophetic.