My good friend Colby Martin, pastor of Sojourn Grace Collective in San Diego, just released his first book UnClobber: Rethinking Our Misuse of the Bible on Homosexuality.

To pique your interest, Colby is letting me post an excerpt from UnClobber, the story that starts Chapter 1 of the book:
Excerpt from UnClobber Chapter 1

As all good stories do, mine begins in a lesbian’s hot tub.

Carol was short, fit, and sported a high and tight haircut. No matter when I saw her she was dressed in shorts, a polo shirt, and white sneakers. Carol lived across the street from me growing up, and I knew two facts about her: she was a lesbian, and she owned the block’s only hot tub.

I was probably eight or nine years old when my mom told me and my two brothers that our neighbor was gay. My mom knew this because Carol had been her PE teacher back in high school, and though I couldn’t have appreciated how unusual it was at the time, Carol lived out of the closet in our small town of Albany, Oregon since as long as my mom could remember.

And I knew she had a hot tub because I could see it through the fence on my route when I delivered newspapers around the neighborhood. Carol subscribed to the Democrat Herald, so I interacted with her from time to time as I tossed a paper on her porch or collected her monthly payment.

Even though I was raised in a conservative Baptist home, with a dad who descended from a long line of Baptists, I think it was because my mom was a first-generation Christian that I never got the sense that Carol was anything other than, well, a retired gym teacher who read the paper. You see, while I remember my mom informing the three of us about her former kickball instructor, I don’t recall her layering it with negative associations. Sure, Mom taught us that homosexuality was a “sin in the eyes of the Lord,” but I think she missed the Sunday school series on homosexuality at First Baptist Church, because she never spoke a word of judgment or condemnation against Carol beyond that. Plus, to the excitement of this particular pre-teen paper boy, she said yes when Carol asked if my brothers and I wanted to swim in her hot tub. I’d never been in a hot tub before, and I wasn’t about to let the sinful lifestyle of one of my longtime customers keep me out of the water.

Three things stand out to me about my first time in a hot tub, which also coincided with my first time in the home of someone who wasn’t straight. First, the iced tea wasn’t very good. I’m pretty sure it was unsweetened Lipton. (No offense, Carol, but this is not the drink of choice for young boys). Second, her hot tub didn’t have any fancy lights, and the jets didn’t work. So it amounted to an oversized bath for me and my brothers, a bit of a letdown for my first time. It took me years to buy into the allure of a Jacuzzi. Finally, thinking back on that afternoon, what stands out the most about Carol-the-lesbian and her backyard hot tub was how, well, normal she was. She might have been a sinner, but she sure was a nice sinner.

Seeds were planted in my heart that afternoon in the piping hot (if sadly motionless) waters of Carol’s tub. I wouldn’t come to appreciate that moment until years later, nor would I be aware of the seeds’ presence in my heart. But in the pages that follow I want to tell you the story of how I discovered that both following the beliefs of my head and trusting the convictions of my heart do not have to be mutually exclusive endeavors.

In fact, I believe that the spiritual journey might very well involve the process of aligning these two realities...
You can order UnClobber at Amazon.

For more about the book visit its website. And go here for more about Colby.

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