Fractured faith leads to fractured lives and to schizophrenic personalities and splintered existence. Our culture today is dividing and conquering millions of individuals simply by fracturing every value and every truth that we hold to be self evident. All people are increasingly not seen to be equal. The great conviction of Jesus that all people have equal value before God is being challenged in every church and every religious and political organization in the world.
All of the progress in human rights and civil rights during the past 50 years is being threatened and attacked by the growing power and authority of religious and political separatism and division at every level of family, social, business, political, educational and religious life. We are not so much a nation divided as we are a nation fragmented.
Finding Consistency Within
Finding a complete and consistent self image and self acceptance eludes you when you look only outside and beyond yourself to discover who you really are. Look within. Let the Creator who made you the special unique person that you are guide you on your inner journey to wholeness and health and to joyful self-acceptance.
I have received hundreds of e-mail messages since the election that express the growing distrust and dismay of GLBT people and others that their individual person and being are being distorted and rejected by increasingly hostile elements of our society. I have also received a great increase in the number of people, especially young people, who have found my website and been helped to accept themselves and to take a stand for GLBT understanding and human rights in school and at work.
Peace with God and Peace Within
Paul used the word “reconciliation” to talk about finding peace with God, peace within and peace with others. Dr. William Hull, Professor of New Testament at Louisville, led a full semester study of “Reconciliation” as part of my doctoral graduate work. One emphasis was on breaking down the walls of hostility that separate us from God, from ourselves and from others. The biblical basis for the study was found in the four places where Paul used the term “reconcile.” Yet the entire ministry of Paul was a ministry of reconciliation bringing Jews and Gentiles together and breaking down the walls of hostility that divided people.
These are the four passages: Romans 5:11; 1 Corinthians 7:11; 2 Corinthians 5:20; Colossians 1:20. See also Ephesians 2:13-22 about breaking down the walls of hostility that separate us from God and from each other. Review all of Step 10 on “Build Your Support System.”
The practical personal method that Paul used to try to bring Gentiles and Jews together in Jesus was to gather a collection from the Gentile churches that he visited and take the collection to Jerusalem to give to Jewish Christians as a way of demonstrating reconciliation and breaking down the centuries old walls of hostility. Paul gave his life for this collection.
When he came to Jerusalem after being warned of danger, he was arrested and sent to Rome. Whatever you may think of some of Paul’s personal opinions in his letters, his ministry was clearly dominated by efforts to bring people together and break down the hostile walls that divided them. (See the “collection” in 1 Corinthians l6:1-4; 2 Corinthians. 8:1-4; Acts 24:17 and related passages.)
Paul felt led to take a collection from Gentile Christians to poor Jewish Christians in Jerusalem. What methods of spiritual reconciliation are available to you today? Be creative. Pray about what you can do to overcome some of the distance and hostility between people around you, especially your own family and friends. Coming out (Step 9) can be a positive step of reconciliation within yourself and with your family. “Coming out” is simply sharing your truth about yourself with others.
Ask God to show you what you can do to bring reconciliation. God always has better plans for us than we do. Discuss this with your partner or home study group. Never underestimate the importance of a phone call, a visit, a small gift, a sincere compliment or even simply going out of your way to greet someone.
Making accurate information available about homosexuality and the Bible from my website and book can be a great means of reconciliation with other people. I continue to get letters from many GLBT people around the world who have found help in my website to deal with their own self-esteem and help in getting along with their parents and friends.
The author of Invitation To Freedom and Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse, Rev. Rembert S. Truluck served in Metropolitan Community Churches in Atlanta, San Francisco and Nashville from 1988 to 1996. He earned a doctorate in sacred theology from Furman University, serving from 1953 to 1973 as a Southern Baptist preacher. He resigned as a professor at Baptist College at Charleston (now Charleston Southern University) and became an MCC pastor after being outed to the college’s board of trustees.