When I was pondering whether or not to officiate a same-sex wedding that I knew would cost me my position at my church, I read every book I could on the topic. I focused on authors and pastors and scholars who did the biblical, sociological, psychological, cultural, anthropologic work. I was not interested in mere opinion. I wanted to dig into the real meat of the matter.
One of the books that had the most profound impact on my journey is called Unclobber: Rethinking our Misuse of the Bible on Homosexuality, by (my new friend) Colby Martin.
Colby, a former pastor in the evangelical world, got fired from his job as a pastor because he wouldn't sign off on the view that being gay is a sin.
In his book, Colby intermixes the telling of his story with chapters on six (SIX!!) Bible verses that get used most to "clobber" folks from the LGBTQ+ community with threats of hell and God's wrath and other damaging, life-threatening vitriol. In the name of Jesus ...
Colby has done the research and he fleshes out the misunderstanding and misuse of these passages, especially as we fail to understand words that were written thousands of years ago in a cultural context so different from ours we can barely comprehend it.
As I read his work, I not only felt my shoulders relax (someone else has walked this road!) but I felt my mind explode with fresh understanding of single verses of Scripture that I had been told meant one thing, when in actuality, they didn't mean that one thing at all. In their context, in their culture, in the understanding of their day, they meant something very different from what I had been told. It was as if my love for very real people in my life and my love for the Scriptures hugged each other for the first time.
Colby has been pure gift to me. And now he is my friend.
AND ... drum roll, please! Colby is coming to the Cedar Valley in April! Threehouse Collaborative Campus Ministries on the UNI Campus and the Tyler Green Fund along with other generous folk, are sponsoring Colby's visit.
On Sunday morning, April 7, Colby will be preaching at both services at St. John Lutheran Church in Cedar Falls. And that evening, Sunday April 7, Colby will be speaking at Lang Hall on the UNI Campus, times yet to be determined. Stay tuned. Colby will share some of his story, his journey toward being fully affirming and his deeply studied understanding of Scripture and Jesus' heart for the inclusion of ALL people. There will be a time for questions, as well.
If you are curious, if you want to be affirming or think you might be but feel confused about what you have been told about the Bible, you are so welcome to join us!
If you are part of the LGBTQ+ community or love someone who is part of that community, you are so welcome and will be greeted with open, loving arms!
If you are skeptical, but open to considering new ideas, you are welcome!
If you are an atheist, agnostic, irreligious or just angry at the church for the ways she has failed to love, you are so so so welcome!
More details soon on social media and on this site.
But this lady would love for you to save the date. I will be there. I will personally welcome you all. And if you need or want a hug, I will be giving them out for free.
I bet Colby will be, too.
All my love, friends. All my love.