Comstock's emphasis is on the well-being of the community and a reinterpretation of those parts of the community which do harm. Comstock's definition of sin 'is the violation of mutuality and reciprocity, typically in the form of dominance and submission' -- i.e., he sees the power-disparity between a man and woman as far more potentially sinful than a same-sex relationship would have. Comstock freely reinterprets scripture, saying 'the Bible is not a coherent rule book with a consistent, reliable and currently applicable list of sins' -- something I agree with, or else, we're all doomed because we none of us try to hold to all of them equally -- 'but it does provide some guidelines for naming and changing what is wrong.' This is the crucial point upon which the entire theological framework of Comstock's book turns -- how do we determine the boundaries of interpreting scripture to suit the present day situation?
And yes, I do mean interpret, after all, even those who are Biblical literalists sometimes fail to realise that 'to take the text literally' is an interpretation -- I do not discount literalism as something to take into account.
Comstock ultimately sees the exclusion of the homosexual from community as a great sin, while asking those who consider homosexuality a sin to pinpoint the locus of the harm being done.
I find some of Comstock's methodology compelling, and some unsettling. Comstock says at the outset that 'Christian Scripture and tradition are not authorities from which I seek approval; rather they are resources from which I draw guidance and learn lessons' -- from which I take him to mean that he would not be wearing a WWJD arm bracelet. However, Comstock is forward in saying that this particular work represents 'A' gay theology, and not 'THE' definitive gay theology.
Far from definitive, but a series of issues that must be dealt with in the current climate of many denominations -- this book helps to clarify many topics.
Comstock incorporates both revealing autobiographical passages and incisive scholarly work into his explorations of several biblical texts. He also has an admirable sense of humility; in his introduction he notes that he does not claim to have constructed a definitive pro-gay Christian theology. Rather, he writes, "My intention is not to speak for others, but to add my voice to others' and to encourage others to speak."
Comstock's readings of biblical passages are fascinating. I particularly liked his bold re-reading of the book of Leviticus; unlike some who selectively harp on a scattered handful of verses, Comstock looks at the entire book in larger political, historical, and cultural contexts. Also remarkable is his analysis of the book of Esther: he sees in the character of Queen Vashti a "role model for lesbians and gay men."
In his explorations of the Bible, Comstock incorporates quotes and ideas from many sources: poet Gary Snyder, literary scholar Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, African-American writer Audre Lorde, and more. Although he is open to other voices, his own vision is strong and compelling. He is particularly adept at taking cliches and assumptions and turning them upside down.
Gary David Comstock is a gay Christian whose work is relevant to all moral people, regardless of their own sexual identity or religious orientation. Regarding the Bible, Comstock writes, "I have begun to engage it as I would a friend" (Chapter 1). Engage Comstock's own book as you would a friend, and you might come away with an experience that is both intellectually and spiritually rewarding.