During August and September 2013 I planned a tour of the north eastern part of the United States. The main purpose that drew me across the Atlantic at this time was the desire to promote my latest book in English entitled Love Lost in Translation: Homosexuality and the Bible (Trafford Publishing, 2013, 700 pp.). In this work, which took ten years to complete, I adopt a fresh approach to the biblical texts, focusing on the numerous mistranslations and misinterpretations that have occurred over the centuries.
For photos of Renato’s book tour click here (the link will redirect you to an album in Other Sheep Facebook). This is a Facebook permalink. If the link fails to work, try logging into your Facebook account first or visit www.facebook.com/TheInclusiveShepherd.
Before setting out on this trip, I contacted three potential audiences in the US: (a) Christian LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) groups, (b) religious bodies, including local congregations, that have publicly declared themselves to be reconciling, affirming, or welcoming, and (c) academic institutions with programs involving LGBT theology.
Lectures and presentations
Among the local churches and groups that invited me to speak, these denominations were represented: Lutheran (ELCA), Quakers (Friends General Conference), Episcopal, United Methodist, Metropolitan Community Church (LGBT), and Dignity USA (Catholic LGBT). In addition, I gave a lecture to the LGBT student association of the Presbyterian Theological Seminary (PTS) at Princeton, NJ. In total, I offered fourteen lectures or presentations in Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania, and Washington, DC. On a number of occasions copies of my book were sold. In Philadelphia I was guest author at a book signing event held at the LGBT bookstore Giovanni’s Room.
In Northampton, MA I was invited to say a few words on the early morning show at a local radio station, sharing the space with an Episcopal priest and a Jewish rabbi. In addition, I had fruitful interviews with a number of relevant personalities: Dr. Patrick Cheng (Episcopal Divinity School, MA); Dr. Benjamin Dunning (Fordham University, NY); Dr. Ralph Blair (Evangelicals Concerned, NY); Dr. Brian Rainey (PTS, Princeton, NJ); Lutheran Ministers Kari Hart and Stephen Keiser (Philadelphia); Lutheran Bishop Richard H. Graham in Washington, DC; Dr. Sharon Groves, director of the Religion & Faith Program of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (Washington, DC); Dr. Gilles Herrada (author of The Missing Myth, NY), and Luciano Kovacs, North America regional secretary of the World Student Christian Federation (NY).
I thank all the wonderful people who helped me by providing information, advice, and practical support in numerous ways. Their gracious efforts made a huge difference throughout.
My lectures were attended by approximately 350 people. Many questions were asked about my research and interpretation of the biblical passages concerned. In general, audiences were attentive, supportive, and sometimes enthusiastic, confirming the impression that a growing number of Christians feel uncomfortable with the traditional exclusion of LGBT people “on biblical grounds”.As pointed out in Love Lost in Translation, the problem with the issue of homosexuality and the Bible is not the Bible but misinterpretation. This message is being heard. One man in Pennsylvania suggested that perhaps, in the not too distant future, Christian discrimination against LGBT people will be considered as unacceptable as racial segregation. I pray that Love Lost in Translation may help to bring about necessary change. Soli Deo gloria.
Editor’s Note: This article, dated December 19, 2013, is an update of (and replaces at this same link) the orginal article dated December 6, 2013, both articles by Renato Lings.
For photos of Renato Lings and Other Sheep at the SBL (Society of Biblical Literature) Queer Reception event click here (the link will redirect you to an album in Other Sheep Facebook). This is a Facebook permalink. If the link fails to work, try logging into your Facebook account first or visit www.facebook.com/TheInclusiveShepherd.