Volume 10, Issue 3


Cover Stories

Behold the Butt of God
By Rev. Candace Chellew
Behold the butt of God! God is not concerned about images. God’s power does not lie in images. God is not vain. We don’t worship God’s image.

Why Is Luther Winking?
By Lori Heine
According to the ELCA, Luther is winking because he was an earthy and fun-loving guy. We are, evidently, trying to get people over the Garrison Keillor-inspired notion that Lutherans are dour and gloomy. My own, personal view, however, is that he’s winking because he’s come to know — maybe a little more than most people — about the love and mercy of God. This man, who suffered through a youth tormented by fear of a wrathful deity, lived long enough to make his peace with God.

God Is …
By John H. Campbell
I do know in my heart that every time I open my eyes and take a breath, I am reminded of God’s Existence. Every time I share an intimate moment with one of my partners. Every time one of the cats curls up in my lap and falls asleep purring contentedly. Every time I see a beautiful sunrise or sunset. Every time I see a work of art another person created, a song that someone wrote moves me, or I hear of someone accomplishing what at one time may have seemed impossible or through their faith and perseverance, overcoming what seemed like insurmountable odds. Every time I feel love or share honest, unconditional love, or joy, I feel God.

Knowing God Like I Know My Mother
By Greg Smith
The kind of knowledge I have of my mother has developed over time through sharing time with her and reflecting upon those times. The kind of knowledge I have of my God comes in the same way.

God: Above and Beyond
By Daniel Payne
A constant theme throughout Scripture is that God is above and beyond what we can comprehend. Descriptive language of God is limited to our finite vocabulary, and can never do justice to the actuality of God’s character.

Defining the Indefinable
By Bro. Frank K. Clark
God is not some “being” who just created the universe and left mankind to strive. He is not a figment of humanity’s imagination.

Radical Christianity
By Claire White
Can I possibly risk everything to experience being one with God? Have I the guts to abandon my old creature normality to learn afresh? Do I have the courage to be born again? Nicodemus came to Jesus by night, he showed prudent caution, he instinctively knew that to walk the aisle would have profound ramifications.

How To Know If We Are in God’s Will
By Rev. Dr. Jerry S. Maneker
Sometimes, I wonder if I’m even in the will of God, or if I’m deluding myself that such a sinner as me has been chosen by God to proclaim His Gospel.

I Believe …
By Jo Ellen Kanne
So here is a walk through the beloved Apostle’s creed in my eyes, with the pictures made with words as closely as I can render them.


Coming Home
By Dotti Berry
My parents were taught certain myths about gay people from society, as well as religious institutions. They believed that being both gay and a person of faith was an oxymoron, and unacceptable.

Articles of Faith: Sewing a Quilt of Black Gay and Spiritual Pride
By Rev. Cedric Harmon
Throughout history, black people have found tremendous strength in communities of faith. And yet those communities of faith have sometimes been the first to reject their LGBT children.

It’s Not Okay
By John Tyler Connoley
After one counseling session, my therapist looked at me with a stern grimace on his face. “I think you want me to tell you this is okay,” he said. “I’m not going to say that, because it’s not okay.”

Out at Forty-Five
By Jimmy Chappelle
It’s been a long bumpy and difficult road to this place of peace and beauty that is now my life. I played the fool, a court jester pretending to be something, and someone, that I wasn’t. Well at age 45 after decades of lying, and living a false life I came clean. I outed myself!

The Rice Crackers of Good Fortune
By Ezekiel Krahlin
The Asian woman then retrieved a small package from her purse: two thin cookies spotted with white sugar frosting and wrapped in cellophane. She offered them up to me: “Do you like Japanese rice crackers?”


New Website Seeks To Connect Gay and Lesbian Christians
By Rev. Candace Chellew
If you’re gay or lesbian, you’re already in the minority. Add “Christian” to the mix and the population you’re included in shrinks even further. For gay Christians trying to network, or find a life partner of faith, the challenge becomes huge. Where do you go?

Exercising Their Faith: Progressive Christian Group Plans Walk To Promote Inclusive Vision of Jesus
By Liz Massey
Elnes’s vision has blossomed into the creation of the organization CrossWalk America, which will present a 2006 event aimed at connecting progressive Christian organizations and introducing the country to a set of Christian values rooted in love of God, neighbor and self.

Beyond SBNR: Spiritual, But Not Religious
By Ko Imani
Because the website is open to including every kind of LGBT-affirming spiritual resource, from any belief system, there’s no artificial limit placed on your spiritual exploration or identity. You can be everything that you are at myOutSpirit.com.

Weather of Mass Destruction
By Robert McElvaine
The devastation of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina provided a sodden, gruesome opportunity for some who call themselves Christians to vent their distortions of the religion of Jesus. They did so by extending the old idea that a deadly storm like Katrina is an “act of God.”

When Will We Get It? A Personal Message from Katrina
By Tuan N’Gai
Meeting the people who were evacuated from New Orleans and working along side the people who descended onto Baton Rouge to help them has been bittersweet for me. The media is showing one thing, and the stories are moving to say the least. To see it first hand is quite another experience altogether.

By Martin E. Marty
To the point: “SHAHD-n-froy-duh” is “a malicious satisfaction in the misfortunes of others.” The adjective “malicious” forces us to call it “sin.” Now we enter the sphere of confession.

It’s Time for Gay Conservatives To Come Out
By Patrick Guerriero
During these historic times, the closet is not only a place which suffocates personal dignity, it is also a place which suffocates the powerful force of personal integrity that can change the hearts and minds of even the most conservative Americans and most conservative politicians.

First Global Group for Gay Pentecostals Launched
By Anthony Venn-Brown
Freedom 2 B(e) is a network that has been created to connect and support GLBTIQ people from Pentecostal and Charismatic backgrounds.

Finding Hope at Lake Junaluska
By Rev. Tom Summers
A hopeful sign in all of this is that, historically, when some bishops begin to step aside from the consensus or unanimity of the Council of Bishops, things can begin to change.

A Farewell Message
By Rev. Troy Perry
What am I feeling on this day as I prepare to close one chapter of my life — and prepare to open a new one? More than anything else today, I feel a deep sense of gratitude. I am so thankful for the calling God placed upon my heart 37 years ago, and I am thankful for God’s guidance, grace and strength that have sustained me along every step of the way.

A Mandate To Teach Stupid Design
By Dr. Robert N. Minor
So, a new type of discussion must take place in science classes. Teaching evolutionary theory as a scientific explanation to understand and predict biological change, is no longer enough.

Letters to the Editor

Holiday Features

Sharing the Table
By Rev. Suzie Chamness
I remember the large dinners that we had as a youngster. Those were the ones that mom and helpers cooked each holiday to celebrate the day. At least I think it was to celebrate the day.


A Sense of Spirituality
By Benjamin D. Thiel
Janice Josephine says she wrote this book “as a means to express my experiences as a transsexual and my life-long struggle to find peace in my skin.” When she writes, “I have grown into a beautiful woman,” I know she has found that peace and I know the world is a better place for her having done so.

Perspectives From a Trans Woman: A Nation of Subcultures
By Janice Josephine Carney
The county is divided into subcultures, and at war with each other’s cultural concepts and values.

From the Pulpit

Sermon Mad Libs
By Rev. Candace Chellew
My life had not made much sense in the years that I turned my back on God. It was like a weird Mad Lib with odd words stuck in all the wrong places. But, the moment I opened myself up to God’s presence in that church, all the pieces fell into place. Suddenly, my life made sense again.

1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
By Harry Knox
Paul was grateful for the Thessalonians’ labors of love. In Paul’s guidelines for how to be a Christian, he says love is a primary standard.

Up to Our Necks in Pearls
By Deacon John Williams
Studying the parables is much like looking for pearls. You have to go through a lot of sand and oysters to find the real pearl. I believe the pearl in today’s parable, as much from what it does not say as from what it says, is teaching about celebration, which I think is appropriately just another word for worship.

Seen, Heard and Have Come
By Gary Simpson
The I Am. This is the same God who loves you. God has not changed. The God who causes to be is the kind of God who changes history for you. And that God is waiting, ever waiting to cause to be in your life.

Bible Study and Inspiration

True Grit
By Talitha Arnold
I resonate with Joshua’s willingness to affirm what he believed, but I want to do it without damning other faiths. How do I retain the essence of his covenant without its exclusivity?

Dedication of the AIDS Memorial Quilt
By Rev. Dr. Jerry S. Maneker
We memorialize and deal here with life interrupted! We mourn for what might have been; for all the hopes, dreams, and accomplishments that might have been realized by these precious lives, taken away from us much too soon, much too tragically. When loved ones are taken away from us, regardless of their age, it always comes too soon.

Holy Humor

Four Weeks Left

Hats Off!