Conservatives have long used the Bible and homosexuality passages to "clobber" gays. Is this the appropriate interpretation of Bible and homosexuality verses? Paul the apostle writes about "degrading passions", "unnatural intercourse", "a debased mind", and "shameless acts". What is the appropriate response to bashing in Paul's harsh words?
A Wretched Man, a novel of Paul the Apostle offers a provocative perspective: that Paul's motivation was self-condemnation as a self-loathing gay man, driven by guilt and sexual angst poured out in his Bible and homosexuality passages, a persistent and perplexing "thorn in his flesh." Certain to stir up the discussion, this novel has received critical acclaim: "Agree or disagree, this book opens up the reality of the world of Paul and his contemporaries in a way no other work does," according to one reviewer.
Paul's writings defined God's grace for generations of Christians, he taught God's unconditional love--apart from the rigors of the law--and he promoted acceptance of the unacceptable. What shall be his contribution to the debates over the Bible and homosexuality? Shall it be the gay-bashing interpretation of his oft-quoted words? Or is there another vision, a grace filled vision, a vision that understands the self-judgment that has long been a pricking thorn in the flesh of those deemed sinful and disordered, according to the traditional view of the Bible? Can the apostle yet bring a word of grace to the debates about the Bible and homosexuality?
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