Volume 6: Issue 3
What Does it Mean to Believe?
Table Of Contents
Cover Story: What Does it Mean to Believe?:
When we say we "believe" in Jesus we are essentially saying that we trust Jesus with our very souls. In fact, the Greek work used in John 3:16 is "pisteuo" which means to "put one's trust" in something. Believing in Jesus means we have given ourselves over to his loving care. It means we have studied his words, begged for his guidance and looked to him in both good times and bad for words of assurance, love and forgiveness.
Belief changes us completely. We can no longer go
along with the world as we knew it: we see through the
lies and the illusions, finding that God alone is
worthy of our trust, both for our daily bread and for
our eternal salvation.
All of God's children have been chosen by God before the worlds were formed (Ephesians 1:4); God knew what we would be like and who would be gay. As the old Sunday School theme says, "God doesn't make junk." The task of the GLBT Christian is to trust in God's sovereign choice of him or her as God's child and seek God's call on his or her life and then act on that call.
If you believe in a diet, do you lose weight simply by believing, without doing anything about it? No. You have to change your behavior. Believing in Jesus doesn't do anything. Believing in what he taught and doing that, now that does something. So where do we begin?
It has been said, "seeing is believing." For the Christian, it is the other way around - believing is seeing. Believing in Jesus is seeing the love of God poured out to us. Believing is seeing the power of God spent to redeem and restore our lives. It is seeing our brothers and sisters the way Jesus saw them, as infinitely precious and worthy of our time and our efforts on their behalf.
In the gospel of John there is a shift, as I see it, from how the word belief
is understood and used as compared with the synoptic gospels of Mark,
Matthew, and Luke.
These two contrasting uses of the word belief are:
1) Belief in or acceptance of the personhood of Jesus.
2) Belief in or acceptance of the soundness of Jesus' positions.
By Our Love
--By: John H. Campbell
I feel that the best way that anyone, regardless of sexual orientation, gender, sexuality, race, denomination, doctrine, belief or whatever factors that may seem at times to "divide" us and create the illusion that we are somehow not all equally loved and blessed children of God to show that they are "believers" is to truly demonstrate the Great Commandment of Christ in action. That is, to express their love for God through their Love for all of God's Children.
Our confidence is not to be in our performance, nor in our ability to keep ourselves, but it is in "this very thing," that God was the one who initiated the work in us and that he will continue that very work until he comes back for us. It is a good work because it is the Holy Spirit who does the work. Only the works of God can be called good, since we know that man cannot produce anything good, seeing that his very nature itself is described by God as no good.
How Pharisaical the church is today! We are willing to point out the speck in other's eyes while ignoring our own. We quickly jump to the injustices committed by followers of other religions and ignore the ones done in the name of our own. The message of Christ has become one of conformity, not transformation. How wrong this is.
What is it about religion that brings out the worst in
people? Why does belief result in intolerance? Simply
because I believe in Jesus Christ, why would I want to
kill people who don't happen to agree with me? Yes, Jesus
Saves. But some of Jesus' followers have been known to
kill, if you are not saved.
What helps make the perverts in the Church world so dangerous is that their message of exclusion is not consistent with the Gospel message of inclusion as seen in the words of Jesus that began this article. Many people, some of whom never set foot inside of a church, feel free to discriminate, shame, bash and even kill gay people and feel no remorse, as they feel they are doing God's will.
It has come to the Church's attention that your Son is no longer eligible for leadership.
I left the conference feeling like I had been present in the armed compound of a dangerously paranoid cult. Gay and lesbian people were consistently presented as either the enemy or as diseased people in desperate need of healing. I began to wonder if this is what it would feel like to be a Jewish person at a "Jews for Jesus" rally - to feel nothing but anger and condescension coming from people who claim to be speaking in love.
The Sept. 11 Tragedy: A Homospiritual Response:
It is my belief that we CAN see the hand of God in this
situation. But not in the disaster itself. God is not
found in the disasters that befall us. God is found in
our response to those disasters. God didn't hijack and
crash four jet airplanes. But God does inspire our loving,
caring responses the rescue workers, the police and fire
fighters, the medical personnel, the heroes and heroines
on the scene in New York and at the Pentagon. And God is
found in us ordinary people who stop to grieve and pray,
who give blood, who light a candle.
As America grieves over the lost lives at the hand of terrorists, we sense a comforting outpouring of God's love. Newscasters, anchormen, people who never mention the name of Jesus are suddenly talking about prayer and church and asking for God's
blessing on America ... and God is listening! Things are changing! The embers of revival are beginning to flicker into flames.
God is on the move.
We are Christians; our hope is always in the Lord. He has not forsaken us; He is not responsible for these acts of terror any more than any one of us are. I ask that we take this opportunity to reach out in love and friendship to our fellow citizens, and that we not turn on each other in this time of great need.
Like the Magi, members of the GLBT community are often perceived as
different. ... Yet, just as their earnest search was rewarded
when they encountered God Incarnate, so we who seek to bring our
vulnerabilities and imperfections to our Maker may be assured that it is
by God's grace we accepted.
So what's in the Christmas celebration for GLBT Christians? No less than this: Into our frightened and fragile world, what Thomas Merton once described as a "demented inn", a world broken and wounded, filled with people stumbling in their own private gloom and fear, God decided to dispel the shadows and calm his children's fears.
From The Pulpit:
Grace is unfair. We don't deserve it. We
waste it when we get it. But God is pleased to give us more grace
anyway, even to commend us for letting others off the hook, too.
Bible Study and Inspiration:
His family was the
men and women who followed Him: "For whosoever shall do the will of God,
the same is My brother, and My sister, and mother." And that's the
message for us today: that if WE do the will of God, then WE are His
brother and sister and mother -- WE are His family.
Comments? Please fill out our Reader Survey!