Last week—while spending a few days in Sweden and while travelling home again, I read a substantial book on homosexuality and then wrote a review of it. The book—entitled Love Translated: Homosexuality and the Bible—was sent to me by the author, a Danish linguist-theologian with the rather un-Danish name K. Renato Lings. Kinship, the organization for Adventist gays and lesbians, had asked me to read the book and to review it for them. Lings’ interest in the topic is, at least in part, explained by his own homosexual orientation.
It was a major undertaking, for Lings needed almost 800 pages to argue his case. Fortunately, the sheer number of pages was somewhat compensated by the fact that the corps size of the text was a little above average. But, yet . . .
Those who want to read my review may find it on one of the websites of the Kinship organization: http://www.buildingsafeplaces.org/index.php/resources/book-reviews. I concluded that the book has a number of serious weaknesses. But this extensive treatment of all so-called anti-gay Bible passages makes it abundantly clear that the modern translations of the Bible often leave us with many questions and demonstrate how translation often also means interpretation. People often say that the Bible is very clear in its condemnation of homosexuality. Such a statement needs, however, considerable modification. In many cases the biblical terms are, in fact, far from clear and the renderings in many modern translations are often quite subjective. I personally felt that the book was very enlightening in this respect.
During the past few days I, once again, was intensely confronted with many aspects of the LGBTI-world. (LGBTI stands for lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender-intersex.) My wife and I were among about twenty people who had gathered in the small German village of Hasselroth, some 25 miles southeast of Frankfurt am Main. Kinship had organized a kind a ‘think-tank’ meeting with a number of (retired) church leaders and some others, who are eager to see increased understanding and more acceptance in the Adventist community of fellow-believers with a ‘different’ sexual orientation . The general conclusion has to be that progress is being made, but that we still have a long way to go. The heart rending stories from far away and nearby continue to be a strong cry against the intolerance of many Christians. Many men and women are rejected and pushed aside, simply because they, supposedly, are ‘different’.
Later this month the international Adventist Church will hold a congress in Cape Town (South Africa) about various aspects of homosexuality. There will also be a sizable number of delegates from Europe (also from the Netherlands). Unfortunately, the program and the list of speakers creates the strong impression that the approach will be rather one-sided. However, the very fact that the topic is now so prominently on the church’s agenda is encouraging. In the meantime those who do not have the opportunity to attend this important meeting may avail themselves of a free download of the documentary Seventh-gay Adventists. Those who want to form a clearer opinion about this controversial issue should not miss this film. The dvd is also very suitable for a screening during a meeting for church members, as the introduction to a further discussion. You can download it (legally) for free. Go to: www.sgamovie.com. On the home page push the icon Buy now: DVD or Blue Ray. Then continue to purchase the DVD edition. Before finalizing the purchase fill in the coupon with the words: watchfree2014. I succeeded and, therefore, 99% of all computer-user must be able to do likewise. Whatever you think of homosexuality, you will not regret having watched this film.