Letters To The Editor

Readers are an integral part of Whosoever. We appreciate hearing from our readers, whether they have praise or hot coals to heap on our heads. With the new year, we're beginning this new feature of a reader forum. Here's some of the things our readers are saying.

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Editor:
I just read Adequate Power is Available [by Candace Chellew]. I can say: I'm there, sister. Tired. Yup.

A year ago I was getting into online dogmatic wrestling matches (the folks at Disciples Discussion especially, although I objected to Rev. Dr. Truluck's piece on a 'New Reformation,' too). Today I have no energy for yelling opinions at the top of my voice. It's been career difficulties for my spouse; death in the family; suicide of a young friend ... I have energy to pray and hope for grace. That's it.

The great lesson I have learned in the last year is how much I depend on the spiritual energy of others to give me hope that I can reconnect with my own. It's been primarily people I've never met face to face, Dr. Truluck and John Campbell and Louie Crew, and you.

I'm exhausted, but I can wish you the blessing of peace with my whole heart, by being one more (virtual) voice saying, You ARE making a difference. Christ is with you, and through your words, with all of us who need the inspiration of your example.

Thank you so very, very much.

Liz C.


Editor:
Oh how wonderful it is to come across such an inspirational magazine on line. I can't thank you enough for having the courage to take the work and the word of God to others. I've only recently started my journey with God and Jesus, and so far it has been a blast, everyday I am awakened to the awesome power of love that God has for us. As a young gay man from the Bible Belt of America, I at one time hated the Bible, only because I had been told all the wrong things. I often wonder how many others that are not GLBT, are completely mislead. It saddens me when people fill their hearts with hate towards others, but I feel that I can help change that with your awesome Magazine. Again THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH!!!! I'm glad God brought me across this web site..

God Bless You,

Jamie C


Editor:
While I applaud Rev. Mel White for his actions in the Lynchburg meeting, I also find the skeptic in me looking at Rev. Falwell's actions and wondering if this might not be used as yet another fundraising gimmick.

In the end, I find I have to side with Rev. White's actions. I remember the real reason Gandhi's non-violent movement succeeded. The British, seeing how "uncivilized" they looked when they abused the thousands of Gandhi's followers, relented. After all, these were the same British who considered themselves the epitome of civilization. Finding themselves engaged in such patently uncivilized behavior finally bruised their egos.

I only pray that the followers of Rev. Falwell will come to the same realization. After all, it's difficult to wear one of those WWJD buttons and spout hate for long. Eventually you remember what the letters stand for.

Keep up the good work.

Yours in hope,

Hardy H


Editor:
It really bothers me that people in this day and age call themselves Christians when they know not what it really means to be one. I don't want to come out the wrong way (I'm sure it's too late) but you need to read your Bibles more carefully and stop making excuses for yourselves to keep on doing the things you want to do, the things you like to do.

This isn't hate mail. I don't hate anyone. God doesn't hate anyone either, what he hates is you're sins. And yes homosexuality is a sin, and the bible is very clear on the issue.

Read what the Bible has to say on it:

Leviticus 18:22 Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.

1 Corinthians 6:9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

You can't ignore what the scriptures say. God called us to be sanctified pure and clean.

1 Thessalonians 4:3 It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. for God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.

God wants us to be holy, Clean. Read the bible. How can you call yourselves clean. Okay just think about this for one minute. Think about how God Created man and woman. Think about the functions of the body parts. Men have a penis, and women have a vagina. There functions are for sexual intercourse for reproduction. God made it that way. In the case of homosexual sex, what is the function of the anus? It is the exit passage of the body's waste. The penis was never meant to enter it. The way it was designed was for things to come out of it, not to go in. How clean is it to put a sex organ into something that was meant for the passage of waste? Even if it's done to a woman it is wrong. The anus is not a sex organ. It's not right. God made man and woman, he gave Adam a woman (Eve) as a partner. He didn't put two men or two women in the garden of Eden. Even the animals know it's wrong. That's why two men can't reproduce it wasn't meant to be that way. Stop making excuses for yourselves and repent. I'm sure you love God, but you also have to live by his laws and live a holy life.

As I said this isn't hate mail, you have the choice of changing your ways or living in sin. Don't be fooled, God does not want you to be gay. Read the bible for your self and look and see if you can find where it says that it is okay to be gay, you'll never find it because it's not in the bible. God doesn't change, he has always stayed the same. It is us that has changed.

God Bless you

David


Editor Candace Chellew responds:

My friend ... just how carefully shall I read the Bible ... and which Bible? Shall I carefully read the original autographs in Aramaic and Hebrew or its later Greek and Latin translations or the myriad of translations we have today?

Being a seminary student I've had occasion to read the Bible very closely and there is no condemnation of loving, committed homosexual relations within the pages of the Bible. Nowhere. Yes, there are some homosexual practices that are condemned. Those practices are in the form of idolatry and cultic worship. The Leviticus passage you mention, for example, concerns sexual activity within the temples of fertility cults during the time. As for the rest of Leviticus ... certainly you don't advocate us going back to Levitical law in our modern times, do you? Leviticus condemns a number of practices that are common today. Did you wear clothes with a cotton/wool blend today or ever? Straight to hell with you then ... Leviticus condemns the wearing of mixed fiber clothing!

Within the pages of Whosoever... if you had taken time to actually read it before condemning it ... you will find that abhorrent homosexual practices that are idolatrous, abusive, or not within a loving, committed relationship are indeed condemned. We are not, and will not ever, advocate promiscuity in any form ... be it homosexual or heterosexual.

Certainly the Bible writers do not say, "it's okay to be gay" ... but neither do the authors of the Bible condemn gays. How could they? The Bible writers had no words to condemn homosexuals! The word "homosexual" wasn't even coined until the 1800's, so the Bible translations you quote with the word "homosexual" are not the words used by the original writers of the Bible but were words used by the translators! There are no words in the Bible to describe "homosexuals"... and the word, as we understand it today, would be a foreign concept to the writers of the Bible. Being gay, as we know it today, was not something that the Bible writers thought to even talk about ... much less condemn!

You also bring up the issue of being "clean." Let us look closer at this idea. If you read your Bible carefully, David, you'll find that Paul tells us "everything is indeed clean" [Romans 14:20], and Peter says in Acts 10:28 that "God has shown me that I should not call anyone common or unclean." Indeed, God shows Peter through a dream that everything is clean. 'What God has cleansed you must not call common.' [Acts 11:9] Gays and lesbians are not "unclean" simply because they are gay or lesbian. I find it fascinating that any argument people like you make about homosexuality all boils down to the sexual act! Get your mind out of the gutter for a moment and consider instead the lives gays and lesbians lead. There are many gay and lesbian people living godly, clean, and upright lives. They understand they are children of God, saved by grace as a free gift of Jesus the Christ. In short, they are Christians! Certainly, in the gay community, just as in the heterosexual community, there are people who live lives you might call "unclean"... lives filled with promiscuity, meaningless sexual encounters, alcohol and drug addiction and the like. Certainly these people should be looked upon with compassion and offered a helping hand to turn their lives around. However, it is not their sexual orientation that makes them "unclean"... it is how they choose to use their sexuality, or live their lives outside of the grace of God. Simply being gay or lesbian does not make one "unclean" any more than being heterosexual makes one "unclean."

As for reading the Bible more carefully ... have you noticed there are two creation stories? There are also two flood stories. There are also conflicting accounts in the Exodus story. It's interesting to note that in one account the Israelites cross the Red Sea [the see of reeds to be exact ... it's not even really the Red Sea, that was a later interpretation mistake that we've just kept around all these centuries]. However, in the other version of the story they don't cross the sea at all! So tell me... with your careful reading of the Bible... did the Israelites cross the Red Sea [sea of reeds] or not?

Please do not suppose that I have not read my Bible carefully or that the writers who contribute to this magazine have not read their Bibles carefully. We're all too aware of what you believe the Bible says about homosexuality. All we really ask is that you educate yourself about what the Bible really says about homosexuality. In short, we ask that you read your Bible more carefully.

Blessings,

Candace Chellew
Editor

PS: If you'd like more information about what the Bible really says about homosexuality, please visit http://www.whosoever.org/bible/

In the resources section you'll find links to more sites and books that can help you if you choose to educate yourself on this matter.


Editor:
Thank you so much for the great work you are accomplishing with "Whosoever." Your Open Letter to Our Critics eased my need to directly respond to some critics of my own. I can easily become distracted by people (usually fundamentalists) who want to "meet" with me, or have a "discussion" session to point out the "error of my ways." But I must focus on the "great work" at hand. Thank you for your encouragement.

Best always,

Howard H.


Editor:
I am a female senior anthropology student. I am struggling, at the moment, to write a paper regarding religious rhetoric in the discorse of gender, sex, and sexuality. Throughout the course of my research I have found only sources that marginalize Christians who are not heterosexual males. I find the submissive role of women in the church disheartening and the hate advocated by the Christian Right disgusting. I am trying very hard to be objective in my writing, but it is nearly impossible. Every group uses different passages and versions of the Bible to support their claims. This magazine is the first evidence of the true spirit of Christianity that I have found. While I am not a Christian, I have always been intrigued by the twisting of the teachings of the "original hippie", as some people have called Jesus. Someone's name, who advocated loving one another, is being used to advovate hate, violence, ethno-, xeno-, homo-, etc. -phobia, and sexual oppression, among other things. I don't know if my words will make a difference to you, but I want to tell you that I am with you in spirit and impressed by your strength.

Evan G


Editor:
I grew up a Jehovah's Witness, and struggled for years with the feeling of being an outcast and abomination. Joining the Episcopal Church after college, I finally was able to discover and accept the love of God for ME--a proud gay Christian man.

I pray to God through Christ that your important work continues, as I know there are other GLBT's out there, who, like me, were damaged by hate-filled religions. They need to see that there is a place for them at the table of Christ, and a wonderful loving God who celebrates their very existence.

God bless you, your family, and your work!

Doug C


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