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 am African American and I don't appreciate being compared with your struggle. Leave us out of it. You can never know what it is like and yet organizations like yours continue to make such a statement. Just as you are convinced that Life is produced from homosexual unions I am persuade to the contrary. I don't believe that just because you have a struggle or inner conflict or even are attracted to the same-sex that you are not born again. But to announce it as God's choice and OK with him is crazy. However, you seem to be quite intelligent and I don't like wasting my time. Live your life and be happy and do what you believe God has said is true and Give others that same right.

Andra8277

 

Editor Candace Chellew Responds:

Andra8277,

Thanks for your note. I always find it intriguing when African Americans object to having their struggle for civil rights compared to the struggle for the civil rights of gay and lesbian Americans. Maybe you haven't really considered the similarities between our struggles. Granted, there are some glaring differences, but no two civil rights struggles will look alike, ever.

First, mainstream white America, at one time (and maybe still in its heart of hearts) saw black people as inherently sinful. Their race sprung from the sins of Ham, they said -- forever marking black people as inherently evil -- less than human, and given to such sins as lasciviousness, thievery, murder and the constant stalking of white women, of course. Now, their sin of being black was certainly no less serious than the sin of say, "lying, theft and wife abuse" but they were sinful nonetheless.

This is one of the first things blacks had to overcome in their struggle for freedom and it is the same uphill battle gays and lesbians face. We are seen as inherently sinful and in need of some sort of redemption from our "sinful" ways. Granted, there are no "ex-black" ministries out there seeking to make you what you are not -- but there are plenty of "ex-gay" ministries seeking to change us. The white mentality changes YOU by seeking to mold you into its ways -- making you less than what you are if not totally changing you to a white way of thinking.

Our struggles are very similar -- and also profoundly different. I'm sorry that you feel offended that gays and lesbians might seek to capitalize on the gains of blacks in America by using the same civil rights tactics and arguments -- but working on the strength of our struggle's similarities is the backbone of our movement. We struggle for equality and the chance to be "normal" in society just as much as your people do. We struggle to break down divisions and prejudices and malice of society just as you do. We struggle to show the world that we are just as dull and plain as they are -- just as the black civil rights movement sought to do. Our struggle -- at its heart -- is exactly alike. We seek full admission into a society that would rather kill us than admit us.

As for being crazy to claim that God is okay with gays and lesbians -- all I know is that God has shown me God's will for my life. That will includes a woman that I love, family that loves me, and a spirit filled with joy, love, and peace that passes all understanding.

I am fully prepared to let you believe that God says otherwise. You certainly have that right. However, you do not have the right to take that belief and use it to make me less than human or less than equal in the eyes of the law. And that is the same argument your forebears made years ago. They told white people that they can continue to hate black people, or think of them as less than human or as inherently evil, sinful people, but they have no right to bar them from full participation in our society.

That is our message too.

Blessings,

Candace Chellew
Editor


Editor:

I know you probably are bombarded with a large amount of people telling you that what you have started was a great help, but I figure one more person ranting about it is always a good thing. I have so many friends that are homosexual and don't even consider God as part of their lives because of the hostility the general public attaches homosexuality and church. But being someone who is deeply devoted to God I just can't believe that he would reject me simply because of the sex of the person that I fall in love with. It's nice to be able to see that there are others out there that feel the way that I do, because when I first came out everyone expected me to end my faith in God, which I thought was ridiculous. I simply wanted to thank you, and let you know that its nice to be able to feel that the homosexual community doesn't have to turn their back on God because they believe God has turned their back on them.

Bridgette


Editor:

Just read your article on the web titled What does the Bible say about homosexuality? The big problem with establishing doctrines or rules of faith on such subjects is that you can virtually prove what you want depending upon which side of the fence you are sitting. I would expect a gay to come up with the same line of argument that you did. This does not detract from the scholarly work undertaken in reaching your final conclusion.

As a heterosexual minister with a Bible believing fundamentalist background, one would expect me to come up with an alternative conclusion. As a matter of interest, I have also undertaken the same study quite independently, not to prove a point but to see what the bible says on the subject. I have written a paper on my findings and quite frankly, I have come to the same conclusions as your organization.

I commend you on your ministry on a group of Christians who have been disenfranchised more by other Christians than the world.

My only concern, as a fellow traveler in the Lord, is that you do seem to be a little defensive of your position. May I respectfully suggest you move on boldly. Don't keep dwelling on your sexuality. Years ago women were put down in the church. They were almost apologetic when they undertook any ministry. Now they are moving on at full steam enjoying all that God has for them. Do likewise. Stand tall and enjoy serving the Lord who loves you unconditionally.

Yours faithfully
Dick Danx

Editor Candace Chellew Responds:

Dick,

Thanks so much for your note. I wish more ministers with "Bible believing fundamentalist backgrounds" would take on the same honest scholarly search of the scriptures that you have done. I realize that you expected a site dedicated to gay and lesbian Christians to come up with the answers that we did in our Bible section, but I would like to believe that our organization would be honest enough to admit if we were ever wrong in our translations. I don't want to ever "excuse" homosexuality if the bulk of the evidence pointed otherwise. But, as both of our research has shown, the scriptural evidence doesn't support condemnation of loving, committed homosexual relationships.

I also understand that you might come away from certain parts of Whosoever believing that we are forever in a defensive posture over this subject -- or are endlessly dwelling on our sexuality. I dare say that is not the overall feeling one gets if you read on into the magazine. We have nearly 8 years worth of issues online now and we have explored such topics as love, hope, keeping God at the center of our lives and cultivating compassion. These are not topics of defense, but topics of hope, joy and what it's like to live a life centered in God whether one is gay or straight. These topics cross all boundaries that we as Christians seem to like to put up between ourselves. I do hope you'll further explore Whosoever and the rich blessings we have to offer to the believing community.

Understand that each gay or lesbian Christian is in a different place as they try to reconcile their spirituality and their sexuality. We must have "defensive" sections like our Bible and homosexuality section, but we try to balance that with articles and commentaries that cross all lines of Christians from liberal to conservative to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and straight. All are welcome at Whosoever (hence the name) -- but we have to keep in mind everyone is at a different stage of their spiritual journey. We try to offer a wide range of spiritual food here.

Again, thanks for your letter. I'm glad to have you as a fellow sojourner in the Lord.

Blessings,

Candace Chellew
Editor


Editor:

I am 73 years of age. I remember when being a homosexual meant you were a - QUEER, someone to avoid at all costs. At times, it has been a very lonely life, but 27 years ago I came to know Jesus Christ as my Lord and those days of loneliness are gone, forever. Not many of us KNOW that - in our hearts. Most of us can talk a lot, write a lot, but what is needed more than ever - we need to be affirming a lot, that God does care for ALL of His creation.

Sherwood


Editor:

This may be all well and good (Study examines why gay United Methodists stay with church) but my husband and I found we had to leave the denomination two years ago due to the policies and practices. We wrote to the Bishop of Florida, our Tallahassee District Superintendent and our, then, pastor and received no reply at all. This after being life long Methodists. I am 59 and my husband is 67 and we were just too tired of fighting the good fight at this time in our lives. I remain in my women's circle, who are in fact accepting as the article says, from that church but we are now very happy in a local congregation of the United Church of Christ that is an open and affirming family. Our pastor is wonderful who coincidentally happens to be a lesbian trained in a United Methodist seminary. Of course the UMC refused to ordain her when she declared her sexual orientation. Their loss and our gain.

Sincerely happy to have switched,
Carolyn Cain


Editor:

[In reference to: "Family Values" and Scripture: The Scandalous Story of Samson by Steve Pearson]

Samson's life didn't have to end tragically the way it did. He knew that womanizing was wrong, yet he still chose to do it, and had to pay the price of his poor life choices.

As Christians we are asked to live for Jesus, Yet we are still give freedom of choice. I don't think its a question of asking am I saved as a gay man. All who follow Jesus and belive on Him are saved. The question really is what are the consequences I pay for choosing to live as a gay man.

When the Isralites were led into the promised land by Joshua , half stood on MT Gerizim and the other half on Mt Ebal they read out all the blessings that would happen to them if they followed God and his ten commandments, and all the curses that would happen to them for making wrong lifestyle choices. (Deut 27-28) The point was to have a blessed life, you had to choose right living!

God wants the best for our lives. Poor life choices, no matter how tempting, will only lead to trouble and strife. If we try to abstain from our fleshy desires, we allow God to bring new blessings in our lives. The more we try to follow his example the more He can work in our lives to make up for our failures. He loves us and forgives us when we fall, none of us can become righteous in our own strength. But when we walk in faith, in His strength, then we can see personal miracles happen, and can live a blessed life of abundance.

Paul

Steve Pearson Responds:

Mr. Bowyer,

I don't disagree with you at all. I think Samson is a very troublesome character who probably did, as you say, bring much of his tragedy upon himself. I would never recommend that we look to him as a moral example.

But I was looking at another part of the story in my article. I was saying was that even though Samson's behavior went against almost every moral ideal held by his culture, God continued to use him as a Judge for the Israelites. Unlike say, Saul, whom God forsook after he tried of offer sacrifices by himself, Samson retains his office and strength in spite of his whoring and his desire to marry a non-Jew.

I find Samson's story shocking given what I was taught in my conservative, "family-values" church background. Samson seems to be the sort of person we would have rejected for any sort of ministerial work. But God chose him anyway and, contrary to what we might expect, did not take away his anointing. My point was merely to highlight the tension between the ways we assume God works and the way scripture reveals God actually does work.

You are right that Samson made some very bad choices, and that poor life choices do hinder us from living the abundant life that God desires for all of us. Surprisingly, however, Samson's usefulness to God is governed by only one command: not to cut his hair; his poor moral choices are less important than his obedience to that one command.

What interests me, therefore, is that sometimes God anoints people whose behavior is, at best, controversial: apparently, our moral standards do not hinder God from using people for his own purposes. Abraham, Jacob, Tamar, Moses, Rahab, Samson, Ruth, Hosea, Mary Magdalene, Paul -- all these heroes of the faith behaved in ways that should make us very uncomfortable. And yet God offers his salvation to them rather than to more acceptably moral people.

Everything you said is right on; I was drawing our attention to a different aspect of the story. And I'm sure there's even more to Samson's story than you and I together have noticed. One of the things that makes it so interesting is that it is, as you say, partly a cautionary tale, while at the same time it defies our expectations about what kind of people God anoints to do his work.

Thanks for writing.

peace and grace in Christ Jesus,
Steve

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