I am writing in response to A Letter of Love to The Rev. Fred Phelps by Rev. Tim Collier, published in the January/February 1999 edition of Whosoever.
Had it not been for its title, I would not have been aware that the Letter was intended in love. Maybe I got out on the wrong side of the bed this morning – and every morning for the past couple of weeks while I have puzzled over the Letter – for I find the Letter offensive, arrogant, patronizing, presumptuous, judgmental and inclined to preach at Rev. Phelps. I am well aware that by making these statements, I too risk being called judgmental, but I really do find that many statements – such as despite Rev. Collier’s being in pain in his love and risking another person’s disdain and hatred, he must love that person because God does – ring hollow and full of self-pity.
We all have different experiences of our God. The fact that someone else may not share my view of God does not mean either that that person does know God or needs help to know “my” God. I share Rev. Collier’s dislike of Rev. Phelps, disparaging remarks about gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender persons, but rather than experiencing anger I find I am overwhelmed by sadness the latter’s strongly-held beliefs prevent his seeing the divine presence created by God within each and every individual.
I wonder if Rev. Collier has sent the Letter to Rev. Phelps – it would seem more genuine and appropriate if this has been done, rather than merely displaying it in an online magazine which Rev. Phelps is unlikely to read because of a probable presumption that the magazine merely promotes the very individuals and behaviours against whom he campaigns.
With the exception of the Letter, I have greatly enjoyed the spiritual depths and challenges provided by the diverse articles in Whosoever magazine, and look forward to future editions. My sincere thanks to the Editor for making the magazine readily available.
— Sue Wilkins
I’m a straight woman who is deeply involved in the issue of full rights for LGBT folks in the Presbyterian Church (USA). I’m just writing to say how happy I am to see your publication. I’ll visit this site often, and will suggest it to others who are involved in this struggle for justice.
— Robin Chambers Iowa City, Iowa, USA
I thank God that you have taken the time and energy to put Whosoever together. I pray that God will bless you and the work you are doing as it touches so many hurting people. People who might otherwise have no way of knowing that God loves his gay and lesbian children too! My prayers are with you!
In His love,
— Curtis W. Towler
Just read Royce Buehler’s A Defense Theory: An Analysis of Six Critical Texts Used To Condemn Homosexuality. I am working on an article for another publication on ex-gay ministries, which of course are based on the traditional theological model that stipulates that homosexuality is a sin. In the course of researching the article, I have read numerous texts, both pro- and anti-gay, and I have to say that Mr. Buehler’s essay is the most convincing I’ve seen.
As a journalist seeking to deal with the issue objectively, congratulations on achieving just that. As a queer Christian woman who’s been dismayed, troubled, and shaken by much of what she has read and seen, I offer you my undying gratitude.
— NR Davis
Like Bishop Spong, in the contemporary Church, I’m in “exile.” The signs, the symbols, the liturgies, the literalism of the words it sings and says — all are so anchored in an antiquity steeped in ignorance they do not ring with authenticity in the world in which I live.
The Experience of God in my life transcends the limited and limiting explanations proffered by the stories, the myths, the midrashic explanations set forth by the writers of the books chosen in antiquity to be the canon of the scripture. Those stories, those words, those myths and those illustrations worked to express what their writers experienced in their encounters with God in the Christ, but those were for those writers in their time, not for a contemporary person in our time when a three tiered universe is a laughable concept, when the earth is no longer perceived as flat and at the centre of all that is.
With Bishop Spong, I experience a mystery which cannot be reduced to words, cannot be adequately described or defined even in modern day myths or illuminatory stories. The personal and corporate imminence together with an incomprehensible transcendency considered are beyond the grasp of any human mind, yet experientially, for me, they are real, a real part of my being and all the “being” I encounter.
Phenomenologically, I experience these celestial awarenesses when expressing and experiencing my transgenderness, for in setting myself free to be the who, the how, and the what I am created to be, I am therewith made increasingly aware of the smile of God, the gentle touch of the Creator loving me. Indeed, whosoever will may come, I have and Just As I AM, gladly that I am as God has chosen for me to be.
J. Reviere, DD, Ph.D
I stumbled upon this site while doing a web search for the title of a 1920s painting entitled ‘Love’s Meditation’. I had no idea this site existed, but am very glad I found it. For a one-woman show it’s quite impressive, well put together, and intelligently written – Bravo!
Of more importance is the fact that you’re here at all. Your site is a ray of hope for anyone struggling to keep hold of their faith (in whatever form it takes) in the midst of all the bashing that is dished out, in overwhelming volume, by the likes of the religious right (wrong!), and the Christian Coalition. It is extremely difficult to continue to feel good about yourself when much of the incoming information regarding a fundamental part of you, your faith, is negative. This site helps remind us that we are absolutely children of God and loved by Him. Go figure!
Having been raised in a conservative Catholic home, it was a long journey to come to a place of true acceptance of who I am, and that it is OK to be me AND at the same time be a spiritual person. It took me 10 years to finally come out to my parents. It was a scary moment, but they already knew (of course) and were/are accepting. Unfortunately, they are diving deeper and deeper into the conservative end of the Catholic church, which makes their struggle for acceptance more difficult, but they try.
Many hopes for continued emotional and monetary support for this publication. It is a wonderful and vital service for those of us fighting the battle, be it internal or external, for unconditional love, acceptance, and equality.
— Rosana Costello Eugene, Oregon
Just a quick note to tell you how wonderful Whosoever is. I’m a young gay Christian man. I’m 20 years old and Whosoever has been a powerful force. My parents are fundamentalist evangelical Christians and I’m scared to death of them finding out that I am gay. Whosoever has helped me with torn emotions about God and the Church. Through this site, I’ve also gotten contacts to gay positive congregations and have talked with Mel White and Troy Perry via email. They have been so helpful to me. Again, thanks so much Candace!
I just happened upon your site while doing some research. Thanks for a wonderful effort.
I’m the webmaster for Broadway United Methodist Church. Our pastor, Greg Dell, faces church trial for celebrating services of holy union for the gay members of our congregation. We are also a target of picketing by Fred Phelps.
Have a look at our site and if you would link to it or, better still, do a story on the controversy over holy unions in the United Methodist Church, I’d really appreciate it. I will add your ‘zine to our links post haste.
Peace & pride,
— Tim Lowe