Sadly, despite so much fine biblical scholarship over so many years, lesbian and gay people and their supporters still have 'clobber texts' thrown at us - i.e those tiny number of biblical references which are misused to justify received distortions and continued oppressions. Roll on the day when it will not be so necessary therefore to provide informed and healthy commentaries again and again! One recent set of 'clobber texts' resources is that provided by David Coltheart, Pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) in Brisbane. These are available for download from the MCC Brisbane website - or simply click on the links here for access and/or download in PDF:
1 The Sin of Sodom (Genesis 19:1-11)
2 Sex and Abomination (Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13)
3 Natural and Unnatural (Romans 1:26-27)
4 Softies and Man-Bedders (1 Corinthians 6:9-10; 1 Timothy 1:9-10)
Of course there are also an even tinier number of other texts used specifically to clobber transgender and other LGBTIQ people, together with other distorting and destructive elements of church and theological tradition, but those texts above, when misused and abused, are certainly the worst. For a more positive way forward, let us listen and celebrate LGBTIQ voice and stories - as in this moving video documentary (also including David Coltheart) in which parents, children, partners, couples and supporting pastors and psychologists speak from the heart about the experience of coming out in a Christian environment. They discuss the importance of faith, the difficulties of coming out in families and the church, solutions to the problems, their best advice for others, and hope for the future.
For many years I have been involved in organising events (taking a whole variety of different forms in diferent places) for International Peace Day (21 September). This year is no exception, with community candle-lighting in St Luke's Toowoomba, use together of the Universal Prayer for Peace, and a special One Day One Choir community sing led by Women In Harmony (who will then sing a concert at 12.30 pm). What difference however does such a day make? It is impossible to say properly, in terms of prayer, awareness, many aspects of education and the strengthening of wills and partnerships for peace. These are real and vital and alone make everything worth doing. Yet International Peace Day is also effective in specific ways, as Jeremy Gilley, the founder of Peace One Day, illustrates (see video below and the Peace One Day website). So what will each of us do to make Peace Day every day?
Jo Inkpin an Anglican priest, trans woman, theologian and justice activist. These are some of my reflections on life, spirit, and the search for peace, justice and sustainable creation.