Those ‘Clobber’ Verses: Foreword

This couplet of blogs has been brewing for a very long time. Months of study, prayer, making notes, revising them, reading various versions of the Bible and supporting texts. I’m going to do my best to lay out the distilled version of what has led me to move from a stance of passive uncertainty around gay issues to one of outspoken allyship which has caused me trouble, cost me much and no doubt will do so still. It is so vital though that we do speak up in support of our LGBTQ+ Brothers and Sisters in Christ, for while full acceptance is not the norm, they will still live under a cloud of implicit glass ceilings or explicit rejection in the name of Jesus, and that cannot stand.

Please do forgive any clumsy wording, any untidy theological exposition or any mistakes I may make. I am not a PhD professor writing an academic thesis to share with the learned world. I am a young interested follower of Christ writing a blog post to share with the world at large. So, here goes.

In the UK Legal system, when we enter a Court of Law to prosecute a case, we have to prove beyond reasonable doubt our interpretation of events is the most truthful one in order to have it recorded as the accepted version. If there is reasonable doubt, or potential that another argument may have equal potential to be the most truthful on, a verdict of Not Guilty must be recorded. The threshold for this differs between Criminal and Civil prosecutions, which is why a victim of a crime may get some form of justice suing for civil reparations where a criminal prosecution may not have a demonstrable enough case.

I wonder how far much of what is in our Bible has been tested beyond reasonable doubt? Whether this would even be seen as an appropriate test to apply to it? Here is the reason I begin in this place. My NIV (New International Version) Bible mentions Junia, an Apostle with a female name, in Romans 16 V 7. However the popular American Standard Version names them Junias, a male name. Which is it. Can some think male and some think female, and both still hold true to the Bible? I’d suggest so. Some Christians interpret Jesus’ words of Luke 22:19 – ‘This is my body broken for you; do this in remembrance of me’ as a solemn instruction and prayer, leading to the formation of a ritual in which mere bread becomes the physical body of Christ through the Transubstantiation. Others see it as the recording of a toast at the centre of a highly charged and emotional final meal between friends, with Jesus asking his loved ones to repeat the action whenever they meet to remember their shared love, and that any re-enactment of this we do should be more akin to a ‘Cheers Jesus’ or a ‘Santé’. Who is right? Maybe one, maybe neither. Maybe both…

I often come back to Colossians 2:1-3, which tells us clearly of God’s mystery, and that the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are held in Jesus Christ. I am more than happy for Jesus to hold them and reveal to me what I need as I need it. I am also more than happy for God to hold the vast mysteries of Their world so I don’t need to hold it all in my little head. I sometimes have trouble holding what I have to cook for tea at night in it, so leaving the world to God is much safer! In doing so, I also accept some things I wish were binary will not be, some things I yearn to understand I won’t and some things I would love a clear answer on will always be shrouded with reasonable doubt.

What do I do in those situations? I come back to this, every time:

36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:36-40-KJV)

Peace be with you.

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