You open the book, the words clearly say, ‘Rob stood up and said “Jesus Christ!”’ Was I cursing or offering praise? How do you know?
This is Rob, Susan’s husband, writing today.
There is no way to know, or to know the true meaning of what I said, and the heart behind my words, if you do not know my motivation for saying it, my audience, and the culture in which I said it.
But you could go around saying, “Rob said ‘Jesus Christ!’” That would be accurate.
But it would be inaccurate to say that I was cursing or to say that I was praising. The likely motivation for you saying either of those things would be to convey I was doing something bad or good — in your eyes.
The same is true with each of the Bible “clobber passages” used in the LGBTQ debate — and, honestly, other passages in countless issues.
It is not accurate to just open up your Bible and read the words — and then use them to support your condemnation of LGBTQ people. It is not only inaccurate, it is intellectually and spiritually dishonest, and usually incredibly hurtful and damaging.
As with the example of me saying “Jesus Christ!”, you must know the motivation of the author, their audience, and the culture in which they lived — plus, you need to know the original language, and even the history of the book and subsequent translations.
Just reading the words is not taking a “high view” of Scripture.
If you take your Bible seriously, if you want to take it literally, you must go deeper, you must understand all these variables.
If you do, if you are willing to step outside your box and take a journey, your eyes, mind, and heart just may be opened.
It will certainly rattle some of your core beliefs, and that could be scary. It’s often the case that you have to disentangle Jesus from Christianity in order to uncover his truth. But it will be beautiful and glorious.
ROBERT COTTRELL and his wife Susan are founders of FreedHearts. Rob has nearly 30 years experience in the nonprofit and music industries. He is national speaker and teacher, and the proud father of their five amazing children. He has become a vocal ally and advocate of the LGBTQ community.
She is the Vice-President of PFLAG Austin, and her “Mom, I’m Gay” book has been endorsed by The Human Rights Campaign and others. Sharon Groves, PhD, HRC’s Religion & Faith Program Director says, “I often get asked by parents for resources that can address the struggles of raising LGBT sons and daughters without having to leave faith behind. Susan Cottrell’s book, Mom, I’m Gay, does just that. This is the kind of book that parents will love.”
She and her husband have been married more than 25 years and have five children – one of whom is in the LGBTQ community. She lives in Austin, Texas, and blogs at FreedHearts.org and here in IMPACT Magazine’s FreedHeartsand Jesus Blog columns.