Unclobber: Rethinking Our Misuse of the Bible on Homosexuality
Colby Martin Westminster John Knox Press Softcover $15 (184pp) 978-0-664-26221-1 Unclobber is a breath of fresh air in the often swampy religious conversations on homosexuality.
Colby Martin’s Unclobber is an honest personal look at the way Christians have used the Bible when confronting homosexuality.
Part biblical study, part memoir, the book explores the treatment of homosexuality in light of the six “clobber” passages that Christians turn to when declaring homosexuality a sin. Martin examines these with grace in their historical and cultural contexts to show that while certain behaviors—temple prostitution, rape, adultery—were certainly condemned, committed monogamous homosexual relationships were not.
Through comprehensive and intelligent discussion, Martin offers a frank assessment of Christian attitudes toward homosexuality, intertwining his own story of theological wrestling, including his expulsion from the pulpit of his non-affirming church and his and his family’s search for a new spiritual home. There is no bitterness here: Martin understands and accepts that not everyone is going to see homosexuality in the same way.
The author’s mission is to offer much needed analysis for Christians who want to affirm their LGBT friends and family without abandoning their biblical convictions. Martin recognizes that any re-examinations of biblical texts around this issue are burdened with outside accusations of theological equivocation, and it is clear that he has not assumed this position lightly.
The strongest and most convincing instance of exegesis is the book’s dissection of the narrative surrounding Sodom and Gomorrah. Martin asserts that the sin of Sodom was not homosexuality but inhospitality, according to citations elsewhere within the Bible, including from the mouth of Jesus. Evidence presented is thought-provoking and could be compelling to Christians wobbling on the fence. For those wishing to delve deeper, additional resources are provided.
Despite his clear stance, Martin does not attempt to push his conclusions onto his audience. He instead invites careful interaction with the scriptures, not only reading them at face value, but situating them within their proper frameworks.
Unclobber is a breath of fresh air in the often swampy religious conversations on homosexuality.