WATCH: Rev. Dr. Howard-John Wesley Tackles Same Gender Love & Scripture in 'Can I Push It?' Series
Rev. Dr. Howard-John Wesley, the Senior Pastor of Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia, is going someplace very few of his spiritual contemporaries dare to go by conducting an in-depth examination of the relationship between homosexuality and scripture. In early September, “Wesley introduced the online series “Can I Push It?,” to address issues surrounding sexuality and faith. In a regular church setting the series would simply be referred to as Bible study, but Wesley is quick to point out that this is “not Bible study as usual.”
"Very few things in life are settled with, “the bible says," said Wesley. "The bible is much more complex than people want to give it credit.”
In addition to his own Biblical analysis, Wesley is sharing his platform with some of the most brilliant African-American Biblical scholars that hold both conservative and liberal-affirming views of LGBTQ people.
On Tuesday’s episode, Wesley focused on what is commonly referred to as the “clobber passages,” or verses in the Bible that are commonly used to argue that homosexuality is sinful. Throughout the episode, Wesley dissects each clobber passage and calls on believers to push beyond "lazy literalism" and long-held beliefs about certain interpretations of scripture and to apply critical thinking to the holy text.
“Too often we do more homework on Shakespeare than we do scripture,” notes Rev. Canon Kelly Brown Douglas, a contributor to the series.
Unsurprisingly, reactions in the comment section during the live stream of the latest episode were mixed. As Living Out Loud 2.0 noted during the live event, it's hard for folks to take a second look at scripture and the interpretations they’ve been fed for years. That would cause people to question everything they’ve learned...everybody’s faith isn’t that solid.
If you’re struggling to reconcile your sexuality with your faith, we implore you to watch the latest episode of “Can I Push It?” below. It’s also a good idea to share this with your family and friends who also may be struggling to reconcile the truth about who you are as an LGBTQ person with their religious beliefs. The two can and should peacefully co-exist, but we have to do the work.