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Volume 4: Issue 3
November/December 1999

Renewing Our Strength


Table Of Contents


Cover Story: Renewing Our Strength:

Adequate Power is Available
--By: Candace Chellew

It is this power -- the transcendent power of the divine-human connection -- that gives us strength. Because of this connection, Paul says, "we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down but not destroyed." [2 Corinthians 4:8-9]


On Earth As It Is In Heaven
--By: John Campbell

As a bisexual, I am so deeply hurt whenever I hear someone in the gay or lesbian community discriminate against me or others like me because of how I live my life as who I am or simply because I am perceived as a threat to gay/lesbian identity. In the Christian community, I sometimes face persecution because of the openness of my beliefs. But as I say the Lord's Prayer, all that melts away and I am close to God. It is a way to me to visit Heaven.


Renewing Our Strength
--By: Rev. Vera I. Bourne

I wonder how often we have sung, "They that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength"? Here lies the truth of our renewal, our intimate and unceasing relationship with God. Waiting upon God! Not rushing hither and thither as if we were trying to put out brush fires with our bare hands, but waiting upon God.


Grace vs. Legalism:
Wherein Lies Our Strength?

--By: Steven Hopesharer

Wherein lies our strength? It lies within the grace of a loving God, equally applicable to all regardless of their sexual orientation, whether it be homosexual or heterosexual or bisexual or even if it be as a transgendered child of the living God. It lies in a God Who manifests His infinite and inclusive love through Jesus Christ and securely seals our eternal life in Heaven through His Holy Spirit. Let no person or groups of people, influenced by the enemy, convince you otherwise least your strength will be depleted and become in need of renewal.


Relationship
-- By: L. Louise

Everyone needs their own private source of refilling. We have to come close to God on our own time and in our own way to do this. This is where the personal relationship that one has with God becomes critical. If the relationship with God is weak, one is unable to connect to God independently.


Be Still and Know
-- By: Rembert Truluck

I was trying to force myself to fit into the religious ideas and experience of someone else. I felt like a total failure. I could not do it. One good thing that happened in this was that I decided to search the New Testament and read everything that I could find about salvation. I found no place where salvation was connected with feeling!

The Light at the Ocean Depths
--By: Carol Stabel

As I assume more responsibility for the world in which I live, I must renew my strength. For this the still small voice of my soul bids me to Light a candle in the darkness, as well as to open myself to the Light in others. In that quiet place, in the stillness, the silence, I can listen and wait for a quickening or opening within my soul.


Stand Up
--By: Rev. Greg Smith

In the scriptures, Moses learned to stand up for himself and his people against the full strength of the Egyptian empire. We can apply the same lesson to our own lives.



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Special Report: Lynchburg 2000

Against All Odds: A Reflection on Soulforce at Lynchburg
--By: Lawrence A. Reh

Two hundred people of faith (mostly Christians, but with a number of Jews, Buddhists and agnostics in the mix) felt called to Lynchburg this fall, the headquarters of the Jerry Falwell Ministries, home of the Southern Baptist preacher who has been one of the leading sources of anti-LGBT rhetoric for the past generation.


A Candid Look at the Journey to Lynchburg
--By: Larry Ellis

Lynchburg is behind us. As I reflect on the good and the bad, I am impressed mostly by the tremendous effort of Mel White for standing on our behalf and in the face of opposition from both sides, for seeing this through to closure. I am moved by Jerry Falwell's leadership in taking the lead among conservative Christians to allow this dialogue to occur.


The Surprise of Lynchburg
--By: Don Davis

I hold Jerry and many others responsible for words that have led and continue to lead to violent acts. I abhor that. Jerry heard condemnation of his words this weekend from two hundred of us and we looked him in the eyes when we told him and his followers our stories. He told us he's going to try to do better; we've told him that we'll hold him to his word and we'll go back to him if he lies to us.


Eating With Sinners
--By: Rembert Truluck

Jesus was condemned for "eating with sinners" and for associating with outcast and "unclean" people. Whatever Paul might have said about problems related to issues that divided early believers in certain often uncertain situations in 1 Corinthians and elsewhere, nothing Paul had to say can negate the clear teachings and actions of Jesus that all people have equal value before God and the obvious fact that Jesus demonstrated his acceptance and identification of himself with all people by eating with them and inviting them to share a meal together.


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Homospirituality

With Feeling
Two: When I Think of Home

--By: Neil Ellis Orts

If I examine my life only to complain and make excuses, then that life isn't any more worth living than an unexamined life. What I want you to hear in this these words is that there is a way to figure out the why of our failures of our discontent. It's the only way to do anything about them.


When I Was a Child
--By: Lawrence Reh

hen I was a child, growing up in a fairly strict home that centered around Lutheran fundamentalism, one of the most punishing things that I remember hearing from either Mom or Dad, in terms of correction, was the phrase, "Shame on you."


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Features:

Call to Witness
-- By: Candace Chellew

"Call to Witness" is a powerful testimony to the discomfort, and broken lives, that the fight over GLBT acceptance has caused within the Lutheran church especially.


Letters To The Editor

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Transgendered Spirituality:

God's Standards of Care
-- By: Caroline Mason

Perhaps, it's time we established a spiritual Standards of Care for Transsexuals. However, this would not be related to how others treat us, but how we treat others.


Will You Try To Understand?
-- By: Rachel Miller

You may think that you don't know anyone in the transgendered community but you probably do. Unless you live alone in a cave, someone you know is likely to be a transvestite who is afraid to tell you for fear of rejection.


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Christmas:

Second Coming: A Poem --By: John Campbell

However everyone reading this decides to spend their holiday season, don't forget that the real meaning of Christmas is celebrating the gift of God's Love for us all as embodied in the gift of Jesus' life, ministry and teachings so that all of us, including LGBT Christians, can share in the glory of the Kingdom of Heaven forever, within all of our hearts --if only we believe.


Two Christmas Stories --By: Rev. Vera I. Bourne

Here are two Christmas stories. One takes a new look at Christmas gifts, the other a different Christmas tree.


Is It Christmas Yet? --By: Mary Sue Horan

Each year there is a moment when Christmas arrives. It doesn't arrive before Halloween when some stores start putting out their Christmas stuff.


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From The Pulpit:

You Are a Whosoever
--By: Rev. Jerrell Walls

It seems that the only people who have no place in the Kingdom of God are the ones who didn't choose their orientation - the homosexuals. The basic Biblical principle in John 3:16 is that God accepts all of us as we are!


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Bible Study and Inspiration:

Texts of Terror, Texts of Hope:
Teaching the Bible as Literature in a Gay-Friendly Context

--By: Michael J. Mazza

A key element in our struggle against injustice--whether we struggle as pastors, as academics, as political activists, or as private individuals in our daily lives--must be a revolutionary, liberatory approach to the scriptures of our particular faith traditions. Indeed, these scriptures constitute a significant manifestation of that powerful, double-edged language of which Audre Lorde wrote. In so reclaiming these texts--these texts of both terror and hope--we accept the challenge to be agents of positive societal transformation.


The Bible Says ...
--By: Rembert Truluck

How often have you heard the words "The Bible says ..." followed by verbal, emotional and religious abuse, rejection and invalidation of you as a person? Did God intend that the Bible should be used to cause the human suffering that is being endured from religion by GLBT people today?


Our Judgments of Morality
--By: Jerry S. Maneker

Jesus as human was the consequence of fornication and whoredom, and He had in His lineage a murderer. The prophet Hosea was told by God to marry a prostitute. (Hosea 1:2) The prophet Isaiah was told by God to walk around naked for three years. (Isaiah 20:3) Can you imagine what the Church world, the Vatican, and we ourselves would make of all these events today?


Gottaleah
--By: Jon Loy

You see, Gottaleah is not a disease of the blood, nor is it a bacterial disease that attacks the different portions of the body. It is a state of mind which predominantly affects the majority of Christians life and attitude and depending on how one deals with it is the result seen.



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Holy Humor!

Hymns of the Lukewarm Church

Hermeneutics Applied to a STOP Sign

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