Out of the Theological Closet

Upcoming New Blog Series

Those of you who periodically read my blog, tune in to my Facebook, or follow me on Twitter may have noticed a recent increase in activity on posts, comments, links and stories relating to issues of homosexuality. Over the past few months I have been more and more openly dialoguing about this issue, and each time the conversation inevitably works its way around to the Bible. In almost every instance I am eventually asked things such as:

Why do you ignore what the Bible clearly teaches?

Where do you get your Biblical support for such beliefs?

What do you do with (insert passage here) this Bible verse?

And so on.

Sometimes they come in a snarky “read-this-passage-and-you’ll-be-fixed” sort of way (implying, I guess, that I just never knew such verses exist??).

But mostly the questions are posed in a “genuinely-curious-about-your-perspective” sort of way.

I’ve briefly mentioned here and there some of my thoughts and perspectives on what the Bible teaches (or doesn’t teach) about homosexuality. But each time I end up wishing I had more space, more time, to really do justice to what I’ve discovered over the past few years.

And so, I am beginning a series of blog posts to deal directly with the issue of the Bible and homosexuality, titled, UnClobber: A Survey of Homosexuality in the Bible.

As you’ll soon discover, if you aren’t already aware, there are only a handful of places in Scripture that address (or appear to address) the issue of homosexuality. These are commonly referred to as the “clobber passages” (I’ll let you guess why that’s so). I won’t be breaking any new ground, most of what I will be writing about has already been written. But perhaps you have never read them before, or never heard the clobber passages broken down in a different way. So I will add my voice to the discussion in hopes that some of you will be exposed in a new way to what the Bible says, and doesn’t say, about homosexuality.

Why this series, on this issue, and why now?

Several months ago I was promptly fired from the church I pastored for five years when they discovered my theological position on homosexuality. During my time there, I did not discuss my views with anybody other than my wife and a few of our closest non-staff friends. I knew my position would be controversial, and probably not accepted or tolerated, so I kept it to myself. However, once I was “outed” and swiftly terminated, I realized my time for silence on this issue was over. I now feel previously unfelt liberty to share my beliefs, and finally able to speak openly about the journey that Christ has taken me and my wife on over the past 6 years.

I am, if you will, out of the theological closet.

And it feels amazing. As hard as it was to lose my job, lose friendships, and lose much of my identity, what I’ve gained back (in the freedom to be open about my convictions on such issues) is incredibly beautiful. I have felt, for years now, this strange conviction (placed only by God’s Spirit, I promise you) to be an active voice in the conversation that is emerging between the LGBT community (Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender) and the Christian church. However, I have not been in a place where I could do that… until now.

So I invite you to join me in this journey. Participate in this dialogue.

If you haven’t already, subscribe to my blog (there is a button on the right side bar. Click it.) and be emailed when a new post goes up.
Friend me on Facebook. Follow me on Twitter. And check in each time a new post has been added to this series.

But don’t just read them (although that IS a good place to start).

Interact with them. Share your thoughts in the comment section. Ask questions.

And then SHARE this blog with your friends and family. At the end of every post there are ‘share’ options for emailing, blogging, or posting it straight to your Facebook wall.
I promise you there are more people out there desperate to have these sorts of conversations (and even more desperate for alternative understandings of the Bible) than you can possibly imagine.

I think this issue is of the utmost importance. Not only for our society today, but even more so for the church. For the Bride of Christ.

If we’ve been wrong on this issue (like we’ve been on issues before), then we need to quickly right the ship and start moving forward in peace, hope and love.

Hopefully you’ll stick around and hear me out.

I think you’ll be surprised at what there is to learn about the Bible and homosexuality as we seek to UnClobber our brothers and sisters.

Part I: Setting Up the Series

Part II: The Clobber Passages

Part IIIa: Sodom and Gomorrah the Story

Part IIIb: Sodom and Gomorrah and the Bible

Part IV: Levitical Law and Abomination

Part V: Paul and Homosexuality

Part VI: But Romans is So Clear!

Part VII: Other Bible-related Thoughts

21 Responses to “Out of the Theological Closet”

  1. bob fabey

    I look forward to reading your thoughts. It will be difficult to walk the fine line of sharing on one hand and becoming what you dislike on the other…truly grateful for the dialogue.
    Blessings to you brother!

    Reply
  2. Augustinus

    I am hoping that your conversation will include the perspectives of Catholics and Orthodox. This is not for only for “Bible-only” people is it?

    Reply
    • colbymartin

      My focus will primarily be the Clobber Passages, and how they are commonly mis-interpreted and mis-applied. I will not be trying to provide a comprehensive overview of the issue of sexuality and the Scriptures (or sexuality and Tradition/Reason).

      I “think” I know what you mean by, “this is not for bible-only people, is it?”

      But I will say this: it will be for a lot of different types of people, more than just “bible-only” types.

      The conversation aspect of it (comments section) is completely open to anyone and all perspectives. I will do my best to engage with them, but my “expertise” (I use that term loosely) is with the Clobber Passages and what they say/don’t say. So the conversation will include the perspectives of Catholics and Orthodox IF those voices make themselves included!

      Reply
      • Augustinus

        I see, thank you. The reason I ask is that many people reading this will, I’m guessing, will be interested in the general ethical dispute about homosexual practices, rather than the theological and biblical stuff –not that the two shall never overlap or cross. But if you decide that the Clobber Passages don’t have the conclusion “Homosexual practice is bad and forbidden”, and you give arguments, that gets us only a conclusion that applies mostly to Bible only people. For if your arguments are successful the upshot is that “The Bible says it’s forbidden” will not longer be sufficient reason for a Christian to believe that homosexuality is forbidden. But to the non-Bible-only people you’ll have only removed (given you are successful in defusing the Clobber Passages) one reason to forbid homosexual practice which was available in the first place to a select crowd. And the issue to a non-Bible-only person, and to so many of the non-Christians and non-theists citizens of this country especially, is much broader than Biblical hermeneutics to embrace philosophical and political issues where Bible-only arguments are usually dismissed anyway (whether successful to the in-crowd or not).

  3. Paul Christensen

    You challenge my thinking. I can’t imagine you changing this old man’s thinking but I’ll give you a hearing. Sorry for the pain this has caused you and Kate.

    Reply
    • colbymartin

      Paul – Thank you so much for your kind words! I don’t want to try and change your mind (only God’s Spirit can perform THAT type of change), but IF that happens as a result of my study, then, well… :)

      Just kidding.

      So glad you’re willing to have an open mind. Not many would even be willing to “give me a hearing.”

      Reply
  4. Meghan

    I can’t wait for this blog series!!! So stoked to read it and to continue to be a part of your journey! Love you guys!

    Reply
  5. Adriene B

    Colby,
    This question is irrelevant to the discussion (which i am looking forward to). . .

    I LOVE the photo of the open doors and I NEED to print it out and let it inspire my continuing series of open door images. Can you please send me a copy, or link to where you found it?

    Thanks

    Reply
  6. Tonya Doty-Perez

    Colby,
    As a lesbian and a new Christian (less than three of my 42 years) that has been turned away by six churches in my search for a church home, I applaud you.

    Our search for our faith is soooo much more difficult than the average person (which is difficult enough) because of the lack of support for us in the religious community. Everywhere we turn we are told that “the Bible
    says…”…though I’m new to this, and believe me, I have struggled IMMENSELY with words I’ve read in the Bible, I believe in my heart Jesus will welcome me with open arms.

    Reply
    • Tonya Doty-Perez

      I anxiously wait to read your interpretations of the passages that myself and so many other gay or lesbian Christians have struggled with and been attacked with.

      Thank you for having the courage and compassion to delve into this topic.

      Reply
  7. Why I Support Our NC Apology Billboard «

    […] Primarily I’ll address the First and the Third Criticism above (for my thoughts on the Second Criticism, I invite you to follow along my current and unfinished-as-of-yet blog series titled “UnClobber: A Survey of Homosexuality in the Bible”) […]

    Reply
  8. Gay Balloons and Star Wars Legos «

    […] all changed back in September of 2011 when the leadership at my church discovered I even HAD a gay balloon! When they learned what was inside that balloon, well, as you know by now, I was fired. Meaning, […]

    Reply
  9. Seth Steiling

    Hey Colby, I’m curious if this series is still slated for completion? I’ve been exploring this topic as I have time, and finding verses and commentary organized in one location has been great–but now I want more. :) In particular, I’m awaiting “Part VI: But Romans is So Clear!”

    Reply
    • colbymartin

      Hey Seth, thanks for the question. Yes, it will be completed! I’ll actually be resuming it next week. Hope to see you then!

      Reply

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