I’m thrilled to introduce a three-part series with the diversely talented Eric Shaw Quinn, New York Times bestselling author and co-host of The Dinner Party Show. On June 7th, he released his most exciting and ambitious work yet: a biographical narrative of the powerful love between biblical heroes David and Jonathan. Widely lauded as a beautiful retelling of 1 Samuel 18:1 & 3, Quinn sat down to chat with me about the book and his experiences in sharing it with the world.
The series begins with an “in his own words” guest post from Eric, continued the following week with an interview, and, finally, the best for past: an exclusive excerpt from The Prince’s Psalm!
Part One: Guest Post Written by Eric Shaw Quinn (July 5th)
Part Two: An Interview with Eric Shaw Quinn (July 12th)
Part Three: An Exclusive Excerpt from The Prince’s Psalm. (July 19th)
The Prince’s Psalm- A Guest Post by Eric Shaw Quinn
I’m not really a Bible person. As a gay person, I never really felt welcome in the Christian church around which I grew up. I wasn’t sure what offended me more. The Christians who used their bible and their faith to justify discriminating against and even killing gay people, or the Christians who claimed they didn’t hate “the gays” but did nothing to stop the destructive actions of the lunatics who did. One thing was for sure. Both groups turned me off to the whole thing. It turned out to be a personal blessing as it allowed me to explore my spirituality unfettered by outdated ideas. I got the chance to decide what I believe and what I don’t believe. Without five-thousand-year-old, out of date rules to encumber me, my faith continues to evolve. The only thing I’m certain about is that I don’t believe in organized religion. I think it’s a harmful and destructive force responsible for most of the evil in the world today.
My father is a man of strong faith. He’s had his own struggles with religion. In his lifetime, he’s pursued a career as a minister, studied for a doctorate of divinity at SMU and left the church altogether over its views and inaction on segregation. More recently, Dad was personally shaken when his delegation to the Methodist convention was denied a chance to speak about standing up for gay people against those Christians who wanted to use the church as a weapon against others. His faith remained strong, however. Later when his own minister decided to be a dick in public about the incident at the convention, my father stepped away from his church’s regular organized observances. Still, despite being in his eighties now, he continues his work at the church-based soup kitchen he helped start after he retired. That’s just one of his Christian outreach efforts where he tries to do “unto the least of these.”
It was the nineties, the heyday of Christian hate against gay people. On the television airwaves and beyond, alleged Christians felt free to just say whatever hateful, hurtful thing they wanted to and about gay people. Yet my father’s faith and his belief in his own mission was strong enough that he turned to that same faith for answers to his conflict. In a Bible study group with whom he was reading and discussing the Bible chapter by chapter, he came upon the first book of Samuel and, as he read on, to 1 Samuel chapter 18 which begins:
And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.
2 And Saul took him that day, and would let him go no more home to his father’s house.
3 Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul.
My father could see the truth in these beautiful words. These two men — one of them arguably the second most famous person in the Bible – were not only in love, but pledging their commitment to one another as David was taken into Jonathan’s family. This was gay marriage, right smack dab in the middle of the holy book that was being used to argue against the idea and to justify the hatred of and discrimination against gay people throughout the world. I don’t know where my father was when he read these words or what his Bible study class had to say about it, or if leapt to his feet and raced to call me or just remembered to let me know what he’d found when we next spoke. I do know that from the moment I first heard those words more than twenty years ago, the novel that became The Prince’s Psalm was born in my heart. Thanks Dad, for sharing your faith with me and for inspiring me to tell Jonathan and David’s love story.