After a feast of ideas during July, thanks to the four seminars on Wellbeing Economics, the usual monthly Theology Discovery Group will be resuming in August. For those of you who missed out on one or more of the July seminars, recordings were made by Plains FM – Community Radio and are available under “Community Talks” at: http://www.plainsfm.org.
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Disarming the clobber verses: How was the bible weaponised against LGBTQI+ folk?
There are only 6 verses (out of more than 31,000 in most bibles) that deal with sexuality, but they have caused incalculable harm to people directly affected, and also to the church itself. It is possible to just ignore these ‘outliers’ in the same way that most Christians just ignore the “baby bashing” verses (Psalm 137:7-9). It is also possible to dig deeper and try and understand what was behind each of these six verses, given the harm they have caused. That will be the focus of our August discussion. Garth will lead us through each of these six references, based on Colby Martin’s analysis from his book, Unclobber: Rethinking Our Misuse of the Bible on Homosexuality. You can get copies of the book (which is an easy and engaging read) on Amazon from NZ$11.51 for the e-book. Colby has also made a short ‘cheat sheet’ available – email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The word ‘homosexuality’ was not used in any bible until the RSV English bible in 1946 (in other languages it was much later again or not used at all). And it was soon discovered it was likely a mistranslation, but publisher agreements meant it couldn’t be amended for 10 years. Later versions of RSV, since 1971, replaced the word with a more accurate translation, condemning “sexual perverts” (rather than homosexuals). However, the cat was already out of the bag, and the original RSV mis-translation inordinately influenced many other versions of the bible that didn’t bother going back to the original material.
If you are interested in the amazing story of how a brave young, gay seminarian in the 1950s brought this issue to the attention of the some of the world’s most highly regarded biblical translators, check out this video An Evening with Rev David | The Reformation Project (90 mins) or a 3 min trailer for a movie recently made on the issue: “1946: The Translation that Shifted a Culture“. You might also be interested in this trailer for an earlier award-winning film: “For the Bible Tells Me So” which also focuses on personal stories of several politically and religiously conservative families with gay and lesbian children.
Coffee from 5:15pm, Start at 5:30pm, on Wednesday 11 August 2021, in Wananga Room, Aldersgate, 309 Durham Street North, Christchurch Central.
Activity: Theology Discovery Group