Open Bible Podcast

#03 - How to Follow the Law w/ Karen Keen

November 22, 2019

We all kinda know there are a lot of rules and laws in the Old Testament, but we don’t really know what to do with it all. There are a couple places in the book of Leviticus that say men aren’t supposed to “lie with man as with a woman” (Leviticus 18:22 & 20:13).

Can we just ignore these verses because they’re in the Old Testament? Do we have to follow it to the letter because God gave the law to Israel? In all the complexity of questions of human sexuality and gender, some people believe these verses give us the clarity we need. Others believe we can dismiss them.

We think this question and the insights we’re going to share with you open up scripture in a way that is redemptive and hopeful for all of us on all kinds of subjects. This is about more than the Old Testament law. This is about how all of us have struggled to apply the words of scripture, particularly the Old Testament, to our lives and ethics.

We were delighted to have Karen Keen join us on this episode. Karen is a scholar, author, and spiritual director. She is also the founder of Redwood Center for Spiritual Care. Her book, Scripture, Ethics, and the Possibility of Same-Sex Relationships manages to share new and insightful ideas for a topic that has written about by many. That’s probably because Karen has been deeply thinking and writing on this topic for many years. She is lesbian and has wrestled with these subjects for many years, always seeking to live her life in faithfulness to God and scripture.

You can find out more about Karen, order her book, read her blog, look into spiritual direction, and reach out with the resources below.

Scripture, Ethics, and the Possibility of Same-Sex Relationships

Having a group discussion? Here are some questions for you:


  • Have you ever heard someone say something truly bizarre based on an obscure text they read?


  • What makes a text something we would call obscure?


  • Can you recall a time when you’ve been reading the Old Testament (or New) and come across something that seemed really difficult? What was it? What was the difficulty?


  • What have been the strategies you’ve used to deal with these kinds of texts?


  • Does the deliberative process sound like something reasonable to you? Do you have any hesitations or concerns? Is there anything hopeful about it?


  • Is there are part of the Old Testament that is really important to you? Why do you think that is? Why do you think this is important?


  • What’s the difference between parts of the Old Testament that we love and quote again and again and ones we don’t know what to do with?

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