Reverent Responses

Meet Our Writers!

"Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account
for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence"
--1 Peter 3:15

As the editor of Whosoever I get a lot of letters. I'd say the majority of the letters I receive are supportive, written by people who found the magazine and its mission helpful to them as they reconcile their homosexuality, bisexuality, or transgender feelings with their spirituality.

A minority of the letters I get could be termed "hate mail." That may be a harsh term for some of the letters, though. Many of those who write me letters of condemnation do it out of a true concern for my [and my readers'] salvation. Their condemnation is sometimes harsh, but more often the condemnation is out of a misguided belief that we GLBT Christians need "saving" or "healing" from our "sickness" or our "sin."

No matter how the letter writer calls us to account for our hope, they deserve a gentle and reverent response as proscribed in 1 Peter 3:15.

We've assembled a roundtable of theologians, pastors and laypeople who have agreed to take on the sometimes daunting task of answering such letters. I hope you take the time to get to know these people. Moreover, I hope their responses to the issues raised by these letter writers will assist you when you face such condemnations in your own lives.



Meet Our Writers!

Rev. Vera I. Bourne

One of the growing number of ordained clergy who are opening new frontiers in ministry while working in non-stipendiary ministries, Vera Bourne serves those whom conventional parish ministry is unable to reach. From rural Australia she combines the roles of priest, author, animal husbandry and mother with insight and humour.

Rev. Dr. Jean H. Orost

Rev. Dr. Jean H. Orost is a retired pastor and psychologist who is currently serving as a chaplain in a nursing home and as an adjunct professor at Eckerd College in Florida. She has her doctorate in child development from Rutgers University, and received theological training from Berkshire Christian College, Talbot Seminary and Columbia Graduate Seminary. She was formerly the pastor of an evangelical church in Quebec and worked for many years as a Christian psychologist in Vermont and New Jersey. Raised as a dutiful daughter, she was previously married, has 5 children, 11 grandchildren, and 4 great-grandchildren. She came out as a lesbian at age 57 and is in a committed relationship. She continues her commitment to working within the church to bring the liberating Word to the GLBT community and to help heal the pain and anger of those who hate them.

Neil Ellis Orts

Neil Ellis Orts is a native of Central Texas and lifelong Lutheran. His main interests are in the performing and literary arts but got distracted by theology long enough to get a Masters of Divinity from the Lutheran Seminary Program in the Southwest in Austin, Texas. He pursues a writing career in the evenings and weekends (when he isn't using that time for theater or dance) and spends his day as a faceless bureaucrat at the University of Texas at Austin. He is not ordained and, if things go well, never will be. He can, however, still use phrases like "historical critical method" and "eschatological fulfillment" in sentences of 50 words or more.

Peter Padilla

Peter Padilla lives in Denver, Colorado, where he is active in lay leadership roles in the United Methodist Church and Dignity, the Roman Catholic organization reaching out to support the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered community. Peter speaks from his experience, having visited and studied with a multitude of Christian denominations. At one time or another, he has identified as Roman Catholic (his upbringing), Episcopal, United Methodist, Presbyterian, and United Church of Christ (Unitarians Considering Christ). He studied the Old Testament as literature and the New Testament as history in college, and has drawn some conclusions that are probably Orthodox to none of the traditions he treasures. However, he is secure in his Christianity, grounded in the belief that the greatest instruction we are given is to "love one another as God has loved us."

Angela Rose

Angela Rose has been a staff musician, teacher and board member of various churches during her lifetime. She also is a thirty-something year old male-to-female transsexual, who also happens to be a lesbian. Her hope is that her presence in Whosoever will offer a unique perspective to this ministry.

Maarten P. van den Driest

I am a 24-year old, living in Leiden in the Kingdom of The Netherlands. I am a total lay-person and have no authority in church matters at all. No one has to accept anything just because I say so. Well, except in matters concerning Slavic languages maybe because that is my chosen field.

I am a rather liberal protestant Christian, belong to a small Dutch church called the Remonstrantse Broederschap, sometimes translated as Arminian Church. It has a creed you have to sign which goes like this: "The Remonstrantse Broederschap is a faith community that, rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, true to her pledges of Freedom and Tolerance, wants to honour and serve God." It loses something in translation, though. Anyway, that's it, there is no confession you have to follow, no further bounds. I wholeheartedly believe in Jesus Christ, my Saviour, who is king over the world and that is enough for me.

Blessings to you all, may you each become yourselves.