Almost two years ago when a couple young friends asked me to officiate their wedding, I knew it was time for me to do some serious work.

I needed to lean into the experience and knowledge of those who had gone before me, who had paved the way, who had done the work, who understood in more depth than I did how and why the Bible didn't condemn my friends or preclude me from officiating their wedding.

My friends are both Christ-following, faithful women. They grew up in the church. They were an integral part of my church at the time. Not just my church, their church. They loved Jesus and they loved each other. And they wanted me to preside over their wedding.

Cue a whole bunch of reading on my part - book after book after book.

One that struck a nerve with me (in a really good way) was Colby Martin's book, Unclobber: Rethinking our misuse of the bible on homosexuality.

As I told Colby when I talked to him after officiating at the wedding and resigning from my church: Reading your book cost me my job!

Even though it proved to be a costly read, it is now one of my most highly recommended books. It is readable, first of all. Not a thick theological tangle no one can navigate through. It is funny, interesting, full of stories and amazing insight into the way a handful of Bible verses have been used to clobber people God loves. People I love.

This is who Colby invites to read his book:

  • Those who feel it is wrong to demonize and reject the LGBTQ community;
  • Those who are drawn to a more inclusive faith, but are held back by what they have been taught the Bible says;
  • Those with close friends or family members who are part of the LGBTQ community who want to stand on solid biblical ground as they love their people and live out their faith;
  • Those who are affirming already, but want to articulate their stance better;
  • Those in the queer community who grew up Christian or are drawn to faith but have felt rejected or condemned by the church. Clobbered, even. Those who want to hear afresh that being queer and Christian are not mutually exclusive.
  • Christian leaders curious about what the Scriptures actually say about their LGBTQ congregants;
  • All those - both inside and outside of the church - who wonder where on earth the epicenter of homophobia can be found.

In his Introduction, Colby writes this:

... you may discover that the Bible you have held dear for so long has been leveraged to condemn an entire segment of the population based on the misuse of half a dozen poorly translated and poorly understood Bible verses.

To all my friends - gay or straight, Christian or secular, affirming or not - this is an important book to read as we navigate this upcoming election season and watch politicians demonize and damage whole groups of people. As we watch churches and denominations split in two over this issue. As we attempt to move forward as a country.

No matter where we currently stand on this issue, it is time we all ask ourselves:

Do we want to continue to clobber our fellow human beings?

Or is it, perhaps, time to stop using the Bible as a weapon?

*Colby Martin will be in the Cedar Valley on Sunday, April 7. He will preach at St. John Lutheran Church in Cedar Falls that morning at both 8 AM and 10 PM and will speak at Lang Hall on the UNI campus that evening, starting at 6:30 PM.