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Volume 10: Issue 1
July/August 2005

Gracious Christianity


Table Of Contents


Cover Story: Gracious Christianity:

Gracious Christianity
--By: Candace Chellew-Hodge

Religion has become mean-spirited, catty, critical, a clique where one must walk in lock step to the doctrine, dogma and yes, the political tenets, or one is certainly bound for a fiery afterlife.

 

Revenge of the Blob?
--By: Lori Heine

The same Jesus conservatives cite as such an authority on the existence of an eternal Hell also told us His criteria for salvation. Those who treat others with compassion (who are gracious) will be saved, whereas those who treat others as they would never wish to be treated themselves are the ones who'll be in trouble. I find it hard to fathom how so many Right-Wing Christians can be so butt-ugly to others, yet expect to be taken seriously when they claim a copyright on Jesus.

 

Those Christians
--By: Cheryl D. Coleman

"Those Christians" need to think a few minutes about the concept. "Those Christians," two words which sound almost like an epithet when I say them these days with increasing bitterness and skepticism about Christianity and The Church. The adjectives that come to mind when I think of them are judgmental, hypocritical, unkind, rigid, hateful, condemning, condescending, and prideful. Gracious? Humble? Gentle? Loving? Christlike? No.

 

When Faith Becomes a Verb
--By: John H. Campbell

Rather than trying so fervently to pinpoint the things about others which we disagree with on a personal level or do not like, work for the common good of all. Stop creating an "other" and/or a "them/they" to be feared and realize once and for all that we are all God's children, no matter how diverse and different we and our individual lives, situations and beliefs may be.

 

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Homospirituality:

Dear Dr. Dobson
--By: Catherine Beckman

Over five decades, Frank could find no Loving God to replace the distant, sadistic one of his Catholic youth. A God that had held arbitrary and unachievable standards of merit and perfection. A loveless God played out perfectly in the mirror of Frank's parents.

 

Out of the Shadows
--By: Justin R. Cannon

A few months after coming out to my family and some close friends I wrote a study in which I examined the six verses commonly misinterpreted to condemn homosexuality. Eventually my Bishop and two others came beside me to financially support the printing and publication of this study. I eventually established www.TruthSetsFree.net as a means of sharing my study with those in need.

 

Gay Pride 101
--By: James C. Chappelle

And standing amongst that harmonious sea of people, all of them wanting nothing more than to just simply let the day happen, I caught God's Spirit. It was found in the warm smiles of little old ladies, and in the roaring of dozens of competing songs from dozens of floats. Grace swelled up in the proud faces of the drag queens who danced their way along Santa Monica Boulevard like roving evangelists wooing the crowds to partake of the days many blessings. It was heavenly!

 

Don't Ignore Me
--By: Marguerite Curtis

Don't ignore me, try to understand that being asexual is a valid sexual orientation.

 

Don't Hang Up
--By: Louie Crew

Don't hang up,
I'm not a heckler.

 

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Features:

Paradox of Grace
An Interview with Authors James Mulholland and Philip Gulley

--By: Candace Chellew-Hodge

Neither man seems to mind stirring the theological pot with their assertions that God's grace is more powerful than evil and that every soul will be reconciled to God either in this life or the next.

 

If Grace is True: Why God Will Save Every Person
--A Book Review By: Rod Gambassi

This is a book that is sheer joy to read and experience. It turns traditional orthodox theology, be it Reformation, Pre-Reformation, Post-Reformation, Orthodox on its ear and is perhaps the best contemporary exposition of Universalism in today's world.

 

Stranger in a Strange Land: Bishop Spong in Cobb County
Bear's Notebook: an ongoing series of reports on current events and ideas

-- By: Darrell Grizzle

The Sins of Scripture offers a fascinating critique of biblical texts that truly are terrible, but Spong's love for the Bible as a whole often gets lost beneath his rhetoric. He spends a lot of time defending positions that are frankly questionable (Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene; St. Paul was a repressed gay man; Judas Iscariot did not exist but was a literary creation to further the early church's anti-Semitism). His preoccupation with such ideas gives his critics easy ammunition to dismiss The Sins of Scripture as just another "off the wall" book, rather than taking seriously the very real concerns about how Scripture has been used (and is still being used) as a weapon against the oppressed.

 

On the Front Range of the Culture War:
Reflections on the Soulforce Action against Focus on the Family, May 1, 2005

--By: Richard Lindsay

As I participated in the activities over the weekend, I kept thinking about Jesus' words to his disciples, that they must be, "innocent as doves and shrewd as snakes." It seems Soulforce has put the pieces together for being both prophetic and strategic.

 

Into the Lion's Den
--By: Dotti Berry

Roby Sapp and Dotti Berry weren't going to let Dr. Dobson's closed doors stop them from having the opportunity to share their stories and take some love inside Focus on the Family. On Tuesday, May 2, after having participated in the weekend-long Soulforce vigil and direct action, Dotti and Roby deliberately missed their 11 a.m. flight out of Denver to spend the morning at Focus on the Family.

 

Out of the Closet:
Straight Clergy With Gay Family Members

--By: Jane Tully

As the church family processes the reality that an estimated 4.5 million LGBT people are members of the Anglican Communion and untold numbers are ordained, those of us who are both clergy leaders and straight family members have experience the church can use.

 

How to Wreck a Relationship: "Be A Lady"
--By: Dr. Bob Minor

By the time they're in junior high -- or sooner -- girls should have internalized the message that in spite of all else they've been taught, their real value is their ability to get the attention, approval, and partnership of a man. As many still put it, a real lady needs a man to "love and protect" her.

 

Officially Sanctioned Hatred
--By: Most Reverend Bruce J. Simpson, OSJB

A perversion of the central core message of Christ has taken place. Fundamentalists have hi-jacked the faith and love given to us by Jesus and they have turned it into an ugly, hate-filled message that is being used to dominate people and impose their will on those who don't agree with them.

 

The Gift of Perfectionism
or How to Trash Your Entire Day Before Breakfast

--By: Howard Hanger

After years of practice and research, we now know that it is entirely possible to destroy an entire day without the help of any major accident or dilemma.

 

Believing and Doing:
The President's Religion

--By: Andrew R. Murphy

Feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and visiting prisoners are, however, precisely the sort of tasks that the president continues to reject as budgetary priorities, ranking them, in terms of governmental commitment, far below tax cuts for the wealthy, militarization of global politics, reliance on foreign fossil fuels, and draining Social Security coffers.

 

Letters To The Editor

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Same-Gender Marriage:

Discrimination is Immoral
Enough Said

-- By: Matt Foreman

Rather than reframing the debate away from moral values, we must embrace them. Or more precisely, the utter immorality of the escalating attacks against LGBT people. And, equally, the utter immorality in the failure of so many people of good will to stand with us. It is time for us to seize the moral high ground and state unambiguously that anti-gay discrimination in any form is immoral.

 

After Doing Everything Right for Marriage Equality
-- By: Dr. Bob Minor

The success of these marriage amendments is not a good measure of the success of LGBT equality. Thrust upon us, we've come to think of the amendment fights as if they represent a line in the sand. The right-wing scared the country into believing so, and even one or two LGBT national organizations have acted as if that were so.

 

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Transgender Spirituality:

An Intense Spiritual Decision
-- By: Rachel Miller

Pretending to be a church member in good standing made me a hypocrite too. I finally realized that in order to be true to myself, I couldn't just resign from my local church but would have to leave the entire Christian church. So, after much soul-searching, that is the step I have taken.

 

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From the Pulpit:

Jesus Has Two Mommies
--By: Rev. Candace Chellew-Hodge

Why is the very idea of Jesus having two mommies so offensive? What makes it so offensive is the exact same thing that makes the idea of same-gender marriage so offensive to so many people. The question of why marriage equality for gays and lesbians - indeed, why the very existence of gays and lesbians - is so offensive to so many people has been one that perplexed me for a very long time.

 

Ha!
--By: Rev. Candace Chellew-Hodge

We laugh with scorn at so many things in our lives - things we refuse to believe will come true, even if God has promised us it will come true. But, that laughter of scorn often turns to giggles of delight when we see the impossible come true.

 

Our Power Is in Our Weakness
--By: Louie Crew

According to scripture, our power is in our weakness. Any rank or position we have, we give up, use up, or risk, to serve others. At the "Great Gittin' Up Mornin'," we will be judged not by how right we are, or smart we are, or grand and powerful we are, but by how much we serve those who are the least among us, even those who are our enemies.

 

Push That Rock
--By: Jerry Maneker

It is therefore most important that progressive Christians, particularly those in the LGBT community, be of a disciplined mind, utilizing their self-discipline that is given to all of God's children, as stated by the Apostle Paul in the first reading tonight, to push that rock of prejudice, stigma, discrimination, and oppression.

 

Queer Eye for the Straight World
--By: Gary Simpson

The story of creation is about Queer Eye for the Straight World. The idea that God sees potential in the void of our world is in the creation story. God has not stopped creating from the void. Our Lord is still in the business of creating. God creates every day in the personal voids of our lives.

 

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Bible Study and Inspiration:

Lepers, Loons and Losers Part 11:
The Soldier and the Spear

--By: Tom Yeshua

For some unknown reason, this one soldier refrains from bone-breaking and, in his mind, chooses a less violent way of making sure this Jew was really dead. So, taking his rather short spear, this nameless soldier plunges his weapon into the chest of Jesus, immediately releasing a flow of blood and water.

 

Examining the Beatitudes Part 2:
Mourning is a Blessing?

--By: Debbie Graham R. N.

The beatitude does not say, "Blessed are those who experience loss." It says, "Blessed are those who mourn." The word "mourn" is a verb. A person who mourns is working with their grief.

 

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Holy Humor!

The Wonders of God

Top Ten Dog Peeves about People

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