Volume 4: Issue 3
Renewing Our Strength
Table Of Contents
Cover Story: Renewing Our Strength:
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]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
--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.
Special Report: Lynchburg 2000
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
"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.
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.
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.
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.
Here are two Christmas stories. One takes a new look at Christmas gifts, the other a different Christmas tree.
Each year there is a moment when Christmas arrives. It doesn't arrive before Halloween when some stores start putting out their Christmas stuff.
From The Pulpit:
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!
Bible Study and Inspiration:
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.
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?
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?
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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