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On today’s show, I talk with the author of ‘UnClobber’, Colby Martin.
Colby and his wife, Kate, live in San Diego where they co-pastor Sojourn Grace Collective, a progressive Christian church they planted 2 years ago.
Recently, Colby’s first book was published, titled, “UnClobber: Rethinking Our Misuse of the Bible on Homosexuality.” He is currently on Tour, speaking at churches and colleges about how the Bible does not condemn LGBTQ people like we have been led to believe. You can read more of what Colby has to share at his blog at at www.colbymartinonline.com
or on social media @colbymartin (both Twit and Instagram); or his www.Facebook.com/colbymartinauthor
His book is incredible, and you can find it at www.unclobber.com on Amazon right HERE. Listen to sermons and learn more about his church at www.sojourngrace.com
music by bensound. com
You’re listening to episode number 10.
My guest today is a pastor at a church in San Diego. He’s the dad to four boys. He’s a husband to a wife of 13 years and he’s also a new author. He’s recently published a book called unclutter. Now, I’m not going to tell you what the subtitle of the book is, because I really want you to listen into here. But I will tell you that what he’s doing is standing up for something that he believes taking a step back from what he was taught his whole life and sharing what he believes in his heart is the real truth about some of the passages called the clobber passages inside the Bible. He’s going to be in our online community at SS lB community.com. That stands for start small, live big community comm where he’ll be continuing this discussion. If you want to jump in there and ask any additional questions or just get involved in the discussion. We’re keeping it really positive because of the subject matter and you’ll understand more as we get going. But I’m excited to have you listen, this is a really important message and I’m glad you’re here. Welcome to the art of living big My name is Betsy Pake entrepreneur, author and personal success coach. This is the show that brings you stories and small ideas to help you live a big life. I hope this once a week podcast will inspire you, motivate you and encourage you to think differently about what could be possible for your life. Thanks for spending some time with me today. Now let’s go live big. Today we have with us Colby Martin Coby thanks for being here.
Betsy, it is so good to be with you. Thank you.
Yeah, I’m excited. I get all excited for all my guests. But this one, this sort of holds a special place in my heart. So share with the audience a little bit about yourself, if you would,
yeah, sure. At the moment, I live in San Diego. We’ve been here for just over four years. I’m the father of four boys, and the husband of one wife, my wife, Kate, and I’ve been married for about 13 years. And we’re here in San Diego, in part because we have been doing our best to follow wherever the spirit seems to be taking us and we did not necessarily come here by choice. Yes. So where I’m at right now in life is my wife and I started a church about two and a half years ago. And this was the result of having been told by two churches in two years, that you are no longer welcome here. And so Kate and I finally decided, you know, what we want a church where we feel safe, where we feel loved, but more importantly, where we can raise our kids and, and feel good about that. Sometimes better, you just have to make your own thing. thing that’s going to be in the world that works for you. Yeah, that’s what we’re here doing. And three weeks ago, my first book was published and released into the world. And yes, thank you. Some of those bucket list things. Yeah. years. I’m like, I just want to read a book. I didn’t know what it was gonna be. I just knew I want to write a book. Yeah. And life sort of unfold in the way that it did. And it turns out, my first book is now out. And it’s called uncover rethinking our misuse of the Bible, on homosexuality.
Awesome. It’s such a good book, such a good book, and it’s fun, and it’s easy to read. And your stories are good. And it’s just a really, you should be really proud.
Thank you. It means a lot. That means a lot. When you put it out there, you have no idea what will happen. Yes, yes, you’re right, the thing and then like, all right, it’s done. Yeah. To hear the feedback, like what you just shared is, it’s just so fantastic. Okay.
Well, we’re gonna unpack your story a little bit. And, you know, when you were talking just now, the thing, the only thing I could think of was really, that you always knew you were a candle. And it wasn’t until you got in the dark that you knew why. And so I want to talk a little bit about that. I want to tell the audience, my little story, and and i allude to, and I’ve talked to this in some of the other episodes. And so it may not be totally for an idea, but I have a daughter who’s 14 and she’s gay. She came out about four, three and a half years ago, I guess, to us, three years to the world. And I grew up Catholic. So I grew up in the church, you know, we went to Sunday school and that whole thing. And then when I was in high school, my mom died. And then I went off to college and in with all of those things that happened, I sort of, you know, Lost my way I left I didn’t leave the church, but I kind of left going to church, you know, especially when you’re in college and that sort of busy time and then probably About eight years ago, we moved to Georgia and I found a church here that I really loved. And we connected, we volunteered, I mean, my daughter, even at, you know, six and seven was helping as a greeter at the door. And so really felt like it was a good place for us. Now, at that time, I really am not one that knows all the Scripture. Like, if somebody comes at me with like, a lot of Bible verses, I’m not. I was, I like to think of myself as I had come into the movie theater and gotten my popcorn and my candy, and I was just sitting down to like, really get into the movie. Yeah. And my daughter went to teen night And long story short, she was told that she was going to hell for being gay. And I called the youth pastor, because I thought that she must have misunderstood. And I had a long conversation with him. And although he was kind, he made it clear that that is what they think. And so we just never went back. Now, I’m a big fan of Glenn and Melton Doyle as a writer and as a person, and I follow her and I saw that she shared some about Kobe’s book. And so really, that’s how I found you. And so I’m excited to have you here because I want you to help me take some of the mystery off of everything and, and clarify sort of what your message is. Yeah. So let’s start to unpack shall
Man, I yeah, I was just gonna say in response. Well, thanks for sharing your story with me and sharing a bit of your daughter’s story. Because, I mean, that’s how the world changes is through story as to people. hearing the stories of others, specifically the other like someone who’s different from them to hear that story, and it humanizes it humanizes the other, which is really the beginning of sympathy. It’s the beginning of compassion, understanding, and rooting out sort of the the, the fear that’s grounded in ignorance. So, man, the more we can share each other’s stories and listen to each other’s stories, the more we can start to see and remember the humanity and one another, just power. So thank you for sharing that. Yeah.
Well, thanks for listening to it. So tell me how did you come to the point now, you know, when I read your book, I really got from it that you were, you are extremely faithful and very well versed on the stories in the Bible. And so tell me kind of how that evolution took place. Like what can happen to your heart that made you go Wait a minute, this this story, I don’t think is is interpreted, right?
Sure. Yeah, you use the illustration of just going to the movie theater, grabbing your snacks and get done for the show. But I’m the sort of guy that’s gonna spend days reading reviews and Wikipedia entries and IMDb articles, like I’m gonna, I’m gonna understand the movie before I see the movie.
That’s kind of how I roll. So I grew up in,
in the Baptist world, so conservative, fundamental, really an evangelical world. And I was on track for really crushing it in that world. So the way I tell the story is my parents were what kept us in church. And even after my, my parents divorced, my mom kept us in church. And, and then when I was 17, going into my senior year of high school, I had an experience on a youth trip that really cemented for me this lifelong desire to want to want to live as I called it back then live for Jesus, right? That was kind of the language I used back then. But it gave me a change of vocation, I was going to be a graphic designer. And then I realized, no, I just want to be a pastor, I want to, I want to study the Bible and teach the Bible and I want to inspire people to live in the way of Jesus. And so I went to a Christian college. And Betsy, I became this phenomenal answer, man, like I could, I just I knew the answers. And people knew that I knew the answers. And even if I didn’t have an answer, I would make something up because I just what was most important to me was to be certain, and to have the right answer, and to have the right beliefs to know the right things. And so I graduated from college, and I got this great job as an associate worship pastor at this really large church, and it was really just cruising down the path towards, quote unquote, success in the evangelical world. And then, as often happens, because I’m a voracious reader, I picked up a book from a guy named Brian McLaren. And this book is called a new kind of Christian. And what that book did for me is it unlocked this awareness that there has been other ways that faithful sincere Men and women throughout the history of the church, there have been other ways that they’ve thought about all sorts of issues. So for me, I just had this kind of one narrow, Baptist flavor too conservatively rooted view of what the Bible was, who God was, and so on. I read this book, and it just it all sudden unlocks all these questions. It gives me this incredible peace to maybe not have the answers for everything and to be able to say, I don’t know, which was an amazing gift for me at the time, even though it kind of rocked my world at the time, and that really just set me on a journey of reading different things, listening to different like listening different people’s stories, understanding that maybe my narrow way of seeing the world and seeing the Bible wasn’t the only or the best or the most true way of seeing things.
Now, that itself must have been. I mean, that’s a big leap, right? Yep. Yeah.
Because you go from I went from a world of certainty is king, and you have to know the right things, and then clench them tightly with everything you have, and then defend against all intruders defend against all opposition, or questions or doubts. I went from that sort of mentality to the world of maybe maybe I can relax a bit on this and ask questions and listen to different people’s thoughts on it.
Was that, right? Like, as you were reading the book, or was that over a process of several years that you sort of started loosening your grip?
I honestly, as best as I can remember, it was that it was
that time like
that. Yeah, it was those two weeks of reading that book that just unlocked all these things inside me that I don’t, maybe there was some dormant seeds that had been planted previously. But All I knew is that I was, I was entrenched in this way of seeing the world in the Bible and Christianity in my face. And then I wasn’t, and it was simultaneously the most liberating and terrifying thing. And I say terrifying, because if your whole worldview is built around a God who’s mostly concerned, primarily concerned about that, we have the right belief about things. And that’s like, the most important thing to this God. And then you start to maybe no longer believe some of those things. Like that’s a that’s a terrifying proposition. Well,
yeah, cuz it’s your, what you’ve been standing on, and then all of a sudden, what you’re standing on is wobbling all over the place, right?
Hopefully wobbling, so make that shift. And I’m still mate, I’d say it’s still making it. This is present tense shift. So this is 1011 years after that, that book, still making the shift of maybe the most important thing to the creator of the world is not that we have the right thoughts in our brain. Maybe, for instance, Jesus was onto something when he said, the most important command is that you love like, maybe maybe that. So anyway, so I kind of set me on this path of relaxing a little bit on beliefs, being open to questions, being open to doubts being open to different perspectives, then over the next three, four years, just simply opening the door to the possibility of maybe ahead, some theological things. Not very right. And so kind of these, these little dominoes just kind of begin to fall left and right. And sometimes, sometimes a belief would collapse, under the weight of this new way of thinking, and I wouldn’t have anything to put in its place. I would just be like, I don’t know, I just no longer think of that. But I don’t know what I think anymore. Other times, you know, through authors like in tea, right, I would sort of reassemble some sort of belief system. But I would make sure to hold it more loosely this time, because maybe this you know, it seems right now, but maybe in 10 years or so anyway.
Yeah. So it really did change the way you were viewing everything that was coming at you.
Um, yes. During all of this, you were married at that time?
That’s right. Yep.
Yep. And so was she, I’m assuming she was on board with how you were before. So we see on board with like the new you.
So there was this moment. I read that book, and Oregon where we, my wife and I are born and raised. And then we moved to Arizona, outside of Phoenix to join this young church that had brought us out to be the pastor of worship and arts. And about nine months into that job. I remember this conversation because I was I had begun my journey into different spaces. And I remember this conversation between my wife and I. Were I don’t remember what I said or what specifically the topic was, but I remember like the look on her face of just Panic of what has happened to my husband. Where, where did he go? Where’s he going? And she said something to the effect of like, you need to figure this out because you are like in a position of leadership and you’re pastoring people. And if you don’t know what you think about these things, like, that’s not okay, like, you have to figure this out. And so yeah, there was this moment in our in our history together. Because we were both born and raised very similar. And so we married with kind of the same belief, structure, philosophy and all those things. But then I take this journey, and I’m moving. And for a while she, it really scared her. But then, and this is one of my favorite things, Betsy is then she started her own journey. And it wasn’t through my coercion. It wasn’t through, like any of that it was just kind of her own independent thing, she started her own journey. And it took her, you know, in parallel direction with me. And so as the years went by, we noticed we were kind of moving in the same direction. And I described it as being as like moving left, not because I think it’s super helpful to talk in terms of liberal conservative right and left, but sometimes the labels are the quickest shortcuts, being left of center, left or far right, left of center, and my wife in her own way, and in her own journey, also started traveling left. And you know, we talked about it now. And at some point, I kind of slowed down in my travels left, and then Kate just like sped on past me. Just you know, so we are we are very, like, valued in so many ways. But yeah, to answer your question, there was a period of time where was pretty scary for us. We weren’t quite sure what that was going to mean for our relationship, our family. Yeah. But now a strong
woman to be really listen and to be open, because even if you weren’t directly trying to change her mind, you know, just like all of us in relationships, but still just being around somebody that’s learning or changing sort of, you know, influences the other to do the same. So that’s, that’s really cool. Yeah,
yeah. incredibly strong. She’s amazing.
Yeah. Well, she lives with five boys.
Yeah. Got a puppy two weeks ago. And the one the one rule in our house is if we ever get an animal it has to be a girl.
I love that. That’s funny. That’s funny. All right. So everyone now is thinking, I wonder what kind of puppy so now we have to know.
Okay. My name is Bell bell hooks. And she is she’s a mutt. She’s a beautiful mix. Her mom is a German Shepherd Schnauzer mix, and her dad is a chihuahua pug. So he she little. She’s little now we have no idea what
are the best? That’s all?
Yes. That’s okay. So the other day much of the best. Yeah. And I totally agree. That’s good. And
girl mots. Even better.
That’s funny. All right. So now you guys are on the same path. You’re moving this way. You’re in Arizona. So kind of what what happens? How do you share this what you’re feeling with with people? Because I’m assuming where you were in in Arizona isn’t?
Yeah. I don’t know if you know this, because I didn’t in 2007. When we moved there. Arizona was really conservative. Yeah. And so we moved there, and not even a year into our job. And we were we, like I said, I just began my journey left. Kate was kind of just starting hers and like a year into it. We had this moment where we realized and I talked about in this book, I tell this story of this email that was going around about Obama and McCain election and how I responded with a Snopes articles or disproving it, and that, like set off a panic, and some of our church that just the thought that we would maybe look into a story and anti Obama story, set up this panic. And this one woman came to our house and said, you know, if you vote for which we can even say we’re voting for a bone,
trying to debug something that was fun.
Yeah. She said, if you vote for Obama, the blood borne babies will be on your hands. Like she said, it’s like, in a room full of oxygen, that sentence was uttered in our actions so that we could hear it. And I and I get that her heart was in, you know, a place which was really meaningful for her. But it when it communicated to Kate and myself is that we are not safe. Like we are not safe here to divulge anything about ourselves. That does not line up with conservative evangelical, and it has to even like look and smell Republican. Yeah. But that was not a great context for us because we like I said, we were on this journey of a more expansive faith, a more mysterious faith or more inclusive and loving and grace filled. Right. Right. And so as the years we were at that church for five years ended about the four year mark I noticed this massive disconnect between my internal convictions. And my external reality like I was, I was not in alignment at all I was, I was one person on the inside with beliefs and convictions and ideas about the world and questions about things. But on the outside I was this entirely other person who functioned in this church in this ministry and in this world that had to perform in a totally different capacity than who it wasn’t the inside.
And when you’re incongruent like that, you don’t realize how much it wreaks havoc on your mindset and your health. And like everything about you just feels off balance. When that happens.
It’s incredibly destructive, like the human. The human soul and Glennon talks about, you know, we are Trinity’s Body, Mind soul, like we are not, I don’t think we are built to be like you said, and convert to be out of alignment like that for very long. We can, we’re tough, so we can withstand it for a while. And there are seasons where it might make sense for us to kind of be out of alignment. But I just think long term health and well being to find the flourishing abundant life that I think Jesus talked about, it involves like aligning those things and involves like, being one with our mind, body and spirit. And, yeah, so we were, we were not in a good place. Individually, Kate and I were not in a good place together, like our, our little family structure was suffering. Because we just didn’t have a community around us by which we could say, Hey, here’s the things that we’re thinking about. Here’s the questions that we have here, the new ideas that we are, that are resonating with us.
And I think you say in the book is that you really didn’t. And correct me if I’m wrong, but you really didn’t know any gay people.
Like, for me, I always think and I tell my daughter lots of times, because in the beginning when she first came out, I think it was so freeing, she wanted to walk up and tell everybody, and and i would say like, if that’s what you really feel, then you do that. But an idea is to let them get to know you. Because if they’ve never met anyone gay, they’ll like you. And then when they find out, they’ll get you’re gay. they’ll realize they like someone who’s gay. Instead of finding out you’re gay first, and then making a judgement. Yeah. So I do think like being around so I found that actually fascinating when I was reading the book, because many times it’s the catalyst is that we know somebody who’s gay. And so we go, Oh, well, maybe I think differently. But the fact that you had that, you know, come to you that you were like, this isn’t right.
Yeah. And you’re absolutely right. Like, I’m, you know, going back to the movie theater thing like I do, I do the research, and I figure out as best as I can, you know, how to sort of think about things. So for me, coming to a place which I described is open and affirming. So for me open and affirming means I do not think the Bible condemns people who are born not straight, I do not think the Bible condemns any and all same sex sex acts do not think the Bible divinely prohibits same gendered relationships. So I, I celebrate, and I affirm, you know, all people in that in that way, I came to that conclusion, like you said, not because a brother came out or in and came out or best friend came out to me, I came to that conclusion, because I was in this process of studying the Bible on a number of different topics and issues. I was in the process of listening to the spirit inside of me, trying to be open to you know, where God was leading. And for me studying the clobber passages studying the six or seven verses in the Bible that have historically been used to justify discrimination against LGBTQ people studying those and saying, Is this really what the Bible is saying? Is it really because it is Betsy like, I was committed to following where spirit was leading me through the Bible. And I went into studying the clobber passages saying, if, if I need to find a way to be like, loving, and yet also hold this position of being gays not Okay, then I’ll do that, if that’s where the scriptures are taking me. Like, I’ll do that, like that’s, and that’s where many people are at because, you know, for whatever reason, they either haven’t spent time with clobber passages or they came to a different conclusion. But for me, it was a process of, I need to study this for myself. I need to figure out what I believe. And then through that process, in becoming open and affirming in that way, it wasn’t until like, maybe a year after that, that I really found my first gay friend. Just kind of embarrassing to say, but that was just my journey.
Yeah. And that was like, where you who you are surrounded with, if you were? No, I read an article a couple of weeks ago. And in it, they were talking about the influence of their pastor on how they think. And the, the quote was, like, 21% of Americans who are pro gay, it’s because directly because of the influence of their pastor, so the power that you have to change how people think, is enormous. Oh, and I think about as a mom, you know, and my daughter being gay, it’s everybody, everybody has kids, and you know, you worry about them, you worry about them when they’re little, and then you worry about them, when they get a little bit bigger, and then you continue to worry, I think, as they’re adults, but for me, I feel this burden of like, a whole extra level of pain and worry and, and being scared of what people will do to her. And, you know, when the, the thing happened in Orlando there not too long ago, where they, you know, bombed that nightclub. And, like, I can’t even tell you how much that impacted me. Like, I mean, I cried for days and days, and I cried for the mothers, you know, like, like, we just want our kids to be happy and safe. And so, you know, I’ll say, I appreciate that you took the time to listen to that voice, because it made directly impact my kid. And so thank you, I will say that that just came out of nowhere, I don’t know that I have the right to thank you. For all on behalf of all gay moms out there. But I will say that that’s how I felt when I was reading it like, thank God, like, why don’t more and the people that have come at us. You know, and I know that my friends that have come at me to say, you can love her and not support her. I know, they’re doing it out of love. But they’re, I feel like they’re so misguided. And so and so let me ask you about some of those passages. Because that, you know, that’s what people come at me with, they’ll send me articles or podcasts or you know, and I just say like, come on, like, you know, stop. I even had somebody that I really respect. Say that, that maybe it was a mental illness?
can we talk about some of those passages and sort of where, yeah, the disconnect is? Yeah,
yeah. Yes. And just really quick, on, on, on the people that you describe, who do come at you are come out other people. And they have this posture of, you know, love the sinner Hate the sin, like you said, I think in many ways, they’re doing the best they can to live out their convictions. And so it’s really, it takes all we can muster up sometimes to step back and apply that sort of grace, and say, they’re doing the best they can like this, somewhere in their minds. This is what they think about things and, and they’re trying to figure out how to live consistently with that. And when I got fired from that church in Arizona, because they eventually did discover my theology on sexuality, and they, they fired me over it. It took me a good two years to separate my anger and hurt towards them, the eight men on the board who fired me, it took me a good two years before I think I more appropriately placed that anger not into them. But in the theological convictions that drove them to do that, right. And I can recognize now that they were just doing the best they could to live consistently with their theology. And so my, my frustration, that my disappointment, my energy is poured into the theology that took them to that place. And so I think that’s why that’s where you’re coming from, like, how can we? How can we make more readily accessible and available and more well known this, this way of understanding the Bible on homosexuality, that can help foster theologies that are more loving and inclusive so that people can consistently live into maybe the desires of their heart, you know what I mean? Like they want they want to be loving, and they want to be compassionate and grace filled, but they they have this head heart tension. And that’s that was me for a number of years head, firmly rooted in this conservative way of seeing things and yet heart of like, oh, but man, why? Why is the church treating LGBTQ people in this way? So yeah, I hope part of my hope with the book with unclutter is to show how you don’t have to dismiss the Bible You don’t have to ignore the Bible, you don’t have to go around it. But you can actually go straight on through the heart of these six passages, and discover on the other side of faith that is more open and inclusive and loving, and gracefield. And that’s what that’s what really excites me is to not just say, Oh, yeah, this verse says that, but it was written a long time ago. So let’s just kind of move on, but to actually sort of uncover what was going on there. And what is it saying to us?
Yeah, and you know, what I really like, too, is, you know, you tell your story in the book, but then you break down, like each passage. And, you know, for me, some of those. I mean, those passages were more familiar to me than a lot of other passages, because they’ve been emailed to me
about this before this will settle it.
Yeah. So. So it was actually really helpful to kind of get like a little bit of the history of the time, because when we’re looking at some of these passages, were we’re putting our terms on that what that word might mean today. And that’s not necessarily what it meant in the time that the story was being told.
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So prime example of that, if, if a well intentioned person was curious about what the Bible said, on homosexuality, they might Google homosexuality in the Bible, and Siri would return for them. Probably, you know, the verse one Corinthians six, nine, because depending on which translation you have, in that passage, Paul describes that those who commit adultery, idolatry, and then some translations will say, homosexuals, or some translations will say, men who practice homosexuality, and then there’s a few more vices that are listed, and then Paul says, will not inherit the kingdom of God. And so what, what has happened is there seems to be now this very clear verse in the Bible, it’s so clear, right? We’re told it’s so clear, because it says right here, homosexuality will not inherit the kingdom of God, or even worse, homosexuals will not. So now you have two different translations already, you have two different issues. So one, you know, little Johnny, at eight years old, who’s discovering these new feelings, goes to his grandma’s bookshelf pulls off, if he’s unfortunate enough to come from a heritage that values the New American Standard, he’s going to read homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom of God, which is a statement of identity, like yeah, so just little Johnny having the feelings that he has. Now he’s being told that that prohibits him from being a part of the kingdom of God, if at least his heritage favor something a little more like the ni v, at least it’ll say men who practice homosexuality, so at least little Johnny’s like, okay, as long as I never practice, whatever, as long
as I never act on my feet.
Yeah, you can already understand like translators, okay, is Paul having language of identity or language of behavior? And so we’re already sort of, in two different ways with our English. But what’s even worse is that this word, homosexuality, I mean, that word is not even a century old in our English lexicon. And, and so we’re taking this word that has so much modern meeting, meaning and baggage, and mystery around it, and we’re going back 2000 years, and we’re putting it into Paul’s mouth, which I think is making Paul say something that Paul had no intention of saying. And so what I try to do is I tried to, I try to, you know, unpack the language in which Paul wrote this letter in one Corinthians six and again, one Timothy one, and try to say, Okay, what were the words that Paul use that are giving translators such fits, and you have two words in there, you have one word, Malik boy, and a second word, arsenic boy time, Malik boy, we know pretty well in ancient Greek meant soft, so it can be used for describing fabrics. It was often used pejoratively of people who were like weak spined. So if your morals were weak, you might be described as Malik boy. And then oftentimes, in a sexual context, it would be referred to as the the passive partner, the weaker partner the one sort of receiving the sexual act would be it’d be like a euphemism Malik boy. And then arsenic boy tie this other word is our best guess is that Paul probably made this word up like he took compound words and or made a new compound word. And that’s our guess just because it doesn’t exist before Paul in any Greek literature.
But it does get used after Paul a little bit to describe a
that word, yes.
words when you need them, and I needed a word to describe this. And so now I have
this word. That’s why he
trademarked it. So there you go.
And so yeah, I get it translators have tried to understand what is Paul saying with Malik boy and arsenic boy tie. And arsenic boy tie is made up of, you know, two words, which is basically man in bed. So in some way, Paul is referencing sex between men
like that that part is, I think
nobody’s going to argue that. And I’m not arguing, like I’m not saying, Paul never talked about men having sex with men or women having sex with women, like that would be kind of an ignorant statement to make. Yes, Paul talked about it. But in what way? did Paul talk about it? And what does that mean for us today. So this is what I try to argue in the book is that in these lists of vices, in First Corinthians at First Timothy, or Paul is describing as he’s describing certain ways of being in the world, that renders somebody not compatible with the thing that God is doing with this kingdom breaking in on earth as it is in heaven. And when you track the list of vices, what you discover is that Paul is linking together
sexual sin, and economic
exploitation. And right in the middle of these two ideas, is Malik coin Arsenal coin time. And I think what Paul is doing here, and this is, you know, based off of the context and history and these words, it’s he’s describing sexual acts between men that are exploitive in nature,
where there’s an imbalance in power,
where there’s like a rape or something like that,
it could be a rape,
it could be, it could just be as simple as prostitution. That’s why some translations actually will say, male prostitution, I think that’s a really good way of getting out what’s going on here, because you have Malik boy, which is sort of the passive partner. And then you have arsenic, boy, Thai, which is the sort of exploiting sexual acts. And so I think Paul’s describing is there, there is a dent. And this was the only conception that people had on this time, meaning the only conception they had for two people of the same gender who were in a sexual relationship was an imbalance of power. There was not a concept by which two people shared a loving, committed mutual, like egalitarianism type relationship, which didn’t exist, there was always a imbalance of power, an older person, abusing a younger person, a wealthy person of using a slave, whatever it was temple prostitution, there was an imbalance of power. And so what Paul’s describing is sexual activity between two people of the same gender, when it’s exploitive, and nature is not congruent with the kingdom of God. So this is what I think Paul’s doing. And I think what I say in the book is looks Paul’s describing here is, I think, in this compelling invitation for all people, gay, straight, lesbian, transgender, bisexual, queer, all people to be conscious of the ways in which we live in the world as a manifesting kingdom, or is it perpetuating violence and division and hatred and greed. And what I wary of is these two different standards that we have. So straight people, you have one standard, you can love and be loved, you can be in a relationship, you can be in the world and make family but LGBTQ people, we have a different standard for you. And some people demand celibacy, some people demand some sort of conversion therapy, others demand like you have to just repress, and we have this totally different standard for people. And my thinking is what Paul is saying is He’s inviting all of us to this awareness of what it means to be healthy and flourishing, and chase after Kingdom living. So really,
it’s not so much a statement about homosexuality as much as it’s a lesson for everybody with relationship,
or for Yeah, for relationship. And it’s a statement about, look, if you’re exploiting people for sex,
that’s not cool. If there’s
an imbalance of power, that’s like, that’s like, Well, you could have, you could have a mere, a straight married couple, in which there is an imbalance in power. And the man is sort of exercising his power over the woman and forcing her to engage in sex acts that she’s not comfortable with. And that for me falls straight in the middle of what Paul is describing as not compatible with kingdom. Like I don’t care that you’re married, I don’t care that you’re a straight couple. It is an imbalance an abuse of power. This is not mutual. This is not equals. So that’s what I think Paul is, and he’s using the context of same gender people because that was, again, for them. The only way they understood the same gender relationships, or not even relationships, same gender sex acts was exploitation. imbalance, right?
so interesting. So yeah,
homosexuality, not an orientation.
I talk a little bit in the book about Unix, and how maybe there was some idea of how people In the ancient world were born maybe like a man not being attracted to women being attracted to men. And they would refer to them as Unix. So that’s, I think the book is worth it just for that section on Unix
do honest with you.
Yeah, yeah, it’s really a great book, I would encourage anybody, it doesn’t mean that it’s going to change your mind if you’re right. But I think that if you really, really believe something, that it’s worth learning more. And so you know, you can read it and reject it, but perhaps it will just give you more information about the passages that you’ve read, so that you do understand people in a different way.
One thing that I and and I know you’ve been so kind to be here, so long, who we were going a little longer than usual. But I have two questions that you may or may not be able to answer. But this is just something I want to say because maybe other people listening are thinking it too. When I talked to the youth pastor, and he said, No, that is actually what we believe is that you’re going that she’ll be going to hell. I, you know, I was respectful because I understood, that’s what he really thought. But I’m divorced and remarried, but I’ve been divorced. And I knew at that church, they had a divorce care program. That was huge. I mean, like, I bet a lot of people that your divorce, isn’t divorce a sin. I couldn’t figure out why. He wasn’t telling all the people that, you know, in my head, I couldn’t believe why he wasn’t telling all the people that were giving them him a check every week that they were also going to hell because isn’t it one sin isn’t worse than the other sin isn’t just a sin a sin a sin?
I mean, yeah, the simple answer is, Yes, sure. It just it just as you know, it doesn’t really play out that way. But then also built into that question, right, is the assumption that homosexuality is a sin. So let’s just treat that not any worse, in other sense. And of course, I would reject
Yeah. So but I understand sort of the question, and it was interesting for me, is, when I was 10 years old, and my parents were going through separation, which led to divorce. And so this would have been 24 years ago, the Baptist Church that I was at, they were, they were really biblical. They were very committed to the sinfulness of divorce. And they’ve followed certain verses to that tee, and they shunned my dad. And, you know, my mom went through her own journey of being seen as a sinner, but then sort of released of that because of the details of the divorce like, oh, okay, well, I guess this one’s biblical. But my point is, like we have seen pretty tremendous, I want to say progress, because I do think it’s progress in terms of how the church has understood, sort of the Bible’s the way it’s talked about divorce, and how that kind of makes sense in our context today. But it for me, it’s not a total equivalency again, because I’m not, you know, I want to sort of re talk about how we think about the sinfulness of same sex activity. Yeah, I love. Yeah. All right. But that in the same sort of context of the simpleness of croston, like,
of straight people, like it’s just, it’s the same. So
yeah, don’t exploit people don’t cheat on people don’t use your body for sex, don’t use other people’s bodies for sex. I don’t care what parts you have, like, these are just the things that are working against human flourishing what it means to be the people of
God in the world.
Yeah, but I love that.
You’re right. Yeah, thanks. There is and go back to this just youth pastor, which I i’m sure has an enormous heart and desire to live his convictions out. But there is this thing right now in our society. And I think it’s passing I think it’s changing. But right now, there’s a litmus test. And it involves LGBTQ people. And you can be incredibly conservative in your theology with all of the things you know. And yet if you have this one piece about you where you are open and affirming, you have crossed the line, you’ve betrayed the faithful, you’ve gone against the Bible, and you are now a heretic. Like this has become the thing by which people have drawn the lines in the sand. So yeah, divorce. We have all sorts of gray matter and grace for that. abuse and relationships. Look, we can find forgiveness, we can work around that greed, Oh, sweet Jesus, like how many people are leaving churches now that suffer with greed, or with gluttony. And again, I keep coming back to like, I don’t want to say almost like all sins, treat them because I’m kind of rejecting you one way or the other, but my Just echoes what you’re saying where, for those who, in their own minds, see homosexuality is a sin. They have created this own category like, like my old pastor used to say there’s no discrimination in the kingdom of God. But what he didn’t tell you is the Asterix, you know, you have to read the fine print. Yeah, well, except, except for LGBTQ people, we’ll find some discrimination there. Right. tragic, tragic. But I think we’re changing. I’m hopeful.
I am hopeful too. And I have to say that as a parent, and I’m sure whether you have a gay kid or not, maybe you’ve had this experience, but to be able to look your kid in the eye, and say, when I told you, I loved you, no matter what I really meant it. There’s nothing better, you know, so I tell all of my daughter all the time. I love that she loves our I love that she’s so creative. I love her friends are really cool. I love that she’s gay, like it’s just part of
she is not a lesbian. show my daughter of God. And
I gotta tell ya, I like walking in my pride parade every year with my rainbow t shirt. That’s sort of my thing. So now we do have an online community. And my second question to you was just to check to see if maybe you could jump in there during the week that the show airs in case someone has questions. I’m going to urge people to really be asking, like thoughtful questions. It’s not going to be a place to fight about it, or to have an argument about it, but certainly a place to seek better understanding. Yeah, so you can find us at SS lB community.com. That stands for start small, live big community.com. That’s our free Facebook group. And you can find us in there. And Coby, will you be able to jump in that week?
Kelly ancestor All right, all in baby. Cool.
And so to really just kind of wrap it up. Really, if you’re questioning, it’s really, Jesus is coming from a place of love, am I right? So, find, find the love, and you will find your path. You know, that gets sometimes dismissed as sort of like, just hippie dippie.
But I just when I read the Gospels, when I when I pay attention to not just what Jesus said, but how he lived. I get the sense. And Hebrew says Jesus is like, the best picture of what God is the exact representation, the express image, I get the sense that what was most important to Jesus was love. And I feel like you cannot go wrong. If you err on that. You just can’t like, it sounds. And I’m taken. I don’t care if it’s cliche, you know, like, it’s just one of those that maybe it’s just worth living into. Yeah, that that did really seem to be both by what he said. I give you a new commandment. There’s the new commandment. You’ve had 667 commandments of Jewish people. I’m giving you a new one. Are you ready? Love one another? Yeah, sounds like there it is. I can’t do that. Do that. And you’ll be Oh, okay.
Ah, I Well, I love you, man. Thank you for being brave. And thank you for following this, this candle that you saw and seeking truth and then being able to share it with others. I appreciate it so much.
Thank you so much for having me.
Yeah, this was good. Thank you. Thanks for spending some time with me today. I’d like to hear what you think. So be sure to get in on the conversation at SS lB community.com. And of course, here’s a little message from my husband.