Yes, People Still Care (About the Bible and Homosexuality)

Talking about UnClobber at Wild Goose 2016. Photo Cred Mary Lesnik
Talking about UnClobber at Wild Goose 2016. Photo Cred Mary Lesnik

Earlier this year, after sharing about my upcoming book with another author (a well known and oft published one, at that) they said to me, "yeah, I'm not sure people are still interested in that issue. I think most of us are past that. I could see that book doing really well a couple years ago."

I tried not to show my disappointment at their words, but they still stung.

Here was a person who has been on the front edge of progressive Christianity for a long time, and who's books I had read. So it bummed me out to think that maybe they were right.

Maybe UnClobber is too little too late.

Two weeks ago I returned to the Wild Goose Festival in Hot Springs, NC, after a two year hiatus. If you're unfamiliar, it's essentially four days in the mountains where left-thinking spiritual people gather for the sake of conversation and education around things pertaining to art, justice, and spirituality.

Lots of music. Lots of great speakers. Lots of wonderful conversations and meeting new and interesting people. Lots of Beer & Hymns. Lots of sweat. And bugs.

But mostly love. Lots and lots of love.

And listening.

And efforting to make this world of ours a better place for all people.

I was graciously invited by my friends from the OPEN Network to give a talk on UnClobber.

Of course I said yes. I'd brave any amount of sweat, ticks, and humidity in order to share about my journey.(you should probably Tweet that)

Yet I'd be lying, though, if I said the aforementioned author's comments weren't ringing in my head in the weeks leading up to Wild Goose.

This festival is probably the most far-left gathering of spiritual folks. In other words, it is chalk full of progressive types. Making it probably a decent indicator about where the movement is at.

If "Bible + homosexuality" is really behind us, then I was preparing myself for an empty tent. Working up the courage to be present and available to whoever showed up, no matter the size of the crowd.

As it turns out, the author mentioned above--who, as I said, has been on the leading edge of the progressive movement for a long time--might actually be too far out on the edge to accurately gauge the interests of the movement.

Because the crowd for my talk was over-flowing.

Standing room only.

Needless to say, field-testing UnClobber for the first time was, for all intents and purposes, incredibly encouraging. And it was/is super affirming to know that people are still wanting to know how to better integrate their spirituality with their sexuality (or the sexuality of their friends and family).

The crowd that showed up, and who were energetically with me the whole time, came not because of me. No one there knew who I was.

They came because the title of my talk and its description.

In other words, they came because "Rethinking our Misuse of the Bible on Homosexuality" is something many of us still want to do.

Including Bob, who I wrote about last week. Don't miss that story.

Yes, it's true that there are people for whom this is a settled matter. Either they have already done the work of unclobbering the Bible, or they have decided that loving and accepting the LGBTQ community is more important to them than a few ancient words, and they don't necessarily need a resource like UnClobber.

But it's also true that:

  • some people still think the Bible condemns gay people
  • some people don't know what to do with the clobber passages
  • some people long for a way to hold the Bible in high regard, yet also be a full ally of their LGBTQ friends and family
  • some people are LGBTQ and still believe what they have been told, that the Bible (and therefore God) is against them
  • some people anxiously await the aligning of their head with their heart when it comes to the Bible and homosexuality

If that's you, you're not alone.

And you are why I wrote UnClobber.