Volume 11, Issue 2: Special “Best Of” Edition | Celebrating 10 Years of Whosoever

Cover Stories

Learning to Love the Questions
–By: Candace Chellew
Sept/Oct 2005: The Good Book
Not everyone can live in the ever changing landscape of the questions. People crave certainty because it gives them a sense of security. They want to know that they’re following the right path. When they read the Bible they read it as love letter meant just for them. They find what they like, use it to form their hard and fast answers and disregard the rest – pulling out the “God’s Word is inerrant” argument if faced with any hard questions.

Did Jesus Laugh?
–By: Louie Crew
Nov/Dec 2003: Holy Humor!
Some modern Christians have trouble hearing the laughter of Jesus because the religious Establishment frequently portrays Jesus in the service of stern authoritarianism. An authoritarian Jesus constrasts starkly and ironically with the Jesus of scriputure. In the bible Jesus treats authoritarians as enemies. Legalist Christians today are out of touch with Jesus the boisterous rule-breaker.

Re-thinking Our Approach to Scripture
–By: Steve Pearson
Sept/Oct 2005: The Good Book
We in the queer Christian community – LGBTQ and Allies – fall into this trap all too often. When we begin to reconcile our faith with our sexuality, we are tempted to reinterpret everything we’ve ever been taught about the Bible. And that’s good. But we’re also tempted to throw out anything we disagree with. And that’s not good. We need to take these texts seriously and give them full authority, even when we do not like what they are saying.

By Our Love
–By: John Campbell
Nov/Dec 2001: What Does it Mean to Believe?
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.

Purchasing Bewilderment
–By: Candace Chellew
May/June 2004: Embracing the Mystery
In the end, we must sell all this cleverness about God and purchase bewilderment. We are reduced to mystery. We are reduced to simply saying, “God is,” because the God that can be described is not the eternal God. The name that can be spoken is not the eternal name.

Never be Angry at God
–By: Jerry S. Maneker
Nov/Dec 2000: To Hell With God! Overcoming Our Anger With God
Don’t be angry with God, or with anyone else, for that matter. If you choose to listen to others, rather than to God’s call on your life, only you are to blame!

Out of Xanadu
–By: Lori Heine
May/June 2005: God and Politics
The true character of God is revealed to us in Scripture as “He” liberates the oppressed from bondage and welcomes the outcast into fellowship with “Him.” People whose politics reflect a preoccupation with their own comfort, security and self-flattery worship something quite different than the God of Jesus Christ.

7 Lessons on Christianity From Xena: Warrior Princess
–By: Candace Chellew
May/June 1998: Surviving a Spiritual Crisis
I had been rushing head long, avoiding God at every turn, intentionally not listening. My attempts to run from God have led me right to him. Now, I’m backed into a corner, and God is speaking. God’s voice sounds remarkably like … Xena.

Our Way Home
–By: Lori Heine
March/April 2004: Reclaiming Our Spiritual Center
The powers-that-be hope that we don’t learn enough about history to understand that the very Bible that liberated African-Americans from slavery was the one that, for centuries, was used against them. Think how it would transform the thinking of many in our world — black and white, gay and straight, Right and Left — if we were to realize that the same con-game is being perpetrated against us all today!

Ministers in Fur
–By: Darrell Grizzle
May/June 2003: God, Humans and Animals
I believe my healing has been greatly accelerated, though, through the prayers of friends as well as by the ministrations of a Reiki healer and also by my partner Michael (a massage therapist). One member of my holistic healing team is a feline massage therapist who came into our household a few months ago.

In Fear and Trembling
–By: Rev. Vera I. Bourne
Jan/Feb 2001: Letting Go of Our Fear
It is only when we are tested to and seemingly beyond our limits that we are able to proclaim triumphantly that it was God who held our hands, God who provided shelter from life’s storms, God who reached forth to heal all those wounds deliberately inflicted.

“Best of” Homospirituality

Worship God Not The Bible:
A Black Gay/Lesbian Understanding
–By: Herndon L. Davis
May/June 2005: God and Politics
Literalism or the act of taking a literalist belief, view, and understanding of the bible is exactly how it has been used in the past to destroy, kill, enslave, and marginalize human beings around the world. Literalism is the tool by which Native Americans were persecuted, our ancestors enslaved, and by which women and gays/lesbians have been kept in cultural bondage.

Life After Exodus
–By: Thom Cooper
Jan/Feb 1999: Hope
During my involvement with the group, I did everything I was instructed to do in order to change what was in my head–fasting, prayer therapy, confession, crying into my pillow, guilt, seeking to find the cause of my gayness.

How Dare They Call it Christian, How Dare They Call it Love
–By: Kathy S. Quinn, Ed.D.
July/Aug 2001: Grace
I cannot believe in what literalism, legalism, and fundamentalism preach and teach. I know only too well what those kinds of beliefs and practices did to my mother and me and that it was, and still is, very wrong. If that is the only kind of Christianity there is, I want no part of it.

What’s a Poor Gay Christian to Do?
–By: Candace Chellew
Sept/Oct 2002: Cultivating Compassion
Gay Christians seek entrance into the kingdom. Fundamentalists seek the “destruction” of a very major part of the gay Christian, namely, the “gay” part of their moniker, as payment for entering that kingdom. The ones most likely to budge in this situation are the gay Christians, who instead of giving up “gay” give up “Christian.”

Articles of Faith: Sewing a Quilt of Black Gay and Spiritual Pride
–By: Rev. Cedric Harmon
Nov/Dec 2005: God
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.

Ontologically Incapable
–By: Susan Russell
Sept/Oct 2005: Revealing Our Glory
What, I want to know, is the point of inheriting a tradition that balances scripture, tradition and reason if we refuse to apply our God-given reason to our theological discourse? Excluding over 50% of the baptized from full inclusion in the Body of Christ based on 13th century biology makes no sense whatsoever to me – nor does the conclusion that ANY child of God is created anything other than “fearfully and wonderfully” by the Creator who loves them.

Jesus For Dummies
–By: Rembert Truluck
March/April 2002: The Empty Tomb: What Does the Resurrection Mean?
The reason that we are dummies about Jesus is because we have been dummied by religious manipulations and misinformation. The same abusive sick religion that has made GLBT people hate themselves and try to destroy themselves and each other is the source of our confusion and misinformation about Jesus.

“Best of” Features

Amazed by Grace
An Interview with author Philip Yancey
–By: Candace Chellew
May/June 2004: Embracing the Mystery
I must now confess that I unfairly judged Yancey. I let a silly “guilt-by-association” taint my opinion of him even before giving his books a chance. I regret that, but perhaps God knows best. If I had read Yancey in 1997 I might not have appreciated his gentleness, his grace or his mercy quite as much as I do now.

A New Pentecost:
An Interview with Matthew Fox
–By: Candace Chellew
May/June 2006: Allowing Abundance
Asking and Receiving the Harvest
By letting go of homophobia and other fundamentalism holding the church back, a new Pentecost, a rebirth of the church, will take place.

Jesusless: The Church of Conservatism
–By: Robert S. McElvaine
July/Aug 2006: “Let us rise up and build!”
A Ministry of Harvest
Coulter and millions of her fellow adherents to ChristianityLite — a “religion” that is the equivalent of a “Lose weight without diet or exercise” scam (“Easy Jesus! Be saved without sacrifice or good works!”) — have aborted Jesus and rewritten his teachings to suit their own selfish desires.

Inerrancy and Insolence
–By: Candace Chellew
Sept/Oct 1997: Can You Be Transgender and Christian?
Proving others wrong can be addictive. It can lead you to believe you are always right, about everything. Even when you are wrong you continue to try to prove others wrong, knowing you are right, no matter what.

The Fecundity of the Barren
–By: Neil Ellis Orts
May/June 1998: Surviving a Spiritual Crisis
Throughout the stories of the Bible we hear again and again the admonition to welcome the stranger, to make a place for the foreigner. As we, the people of God, have failed repeatedly at this directive, I wonder if God isn’t raising up a new challenge for the church. As we continue to raise up walls of race or social status, could God be raising a new sign with all these queer Christian groups?

Strange Fruit: Comparing the Struggles of African-Americans for Civil Rights with the Struggles of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Peoples
–By: Miss Poppy Dixon
July/Aug 2001: Living as a Whosoever
This essay is not intended to minimize in any way the unique sufferings endured by African-Americans due to racism in this country. The purpose is to show that the full rights enjoyed by white Americans are denied to both blacks and homosexuals; and that the crossover between these groups frustrates efforts to pit them against each other.

Will the Fundamentalists Win? A Question Revisited
–By: Dr. C. Welton Gaddy
Nov/Dec 2004: Holy Humor!
In 1922, Harry Emerson Fosdick declared, “I do not believe for one moment that the Fundamentalists are going to succeed.” Yet, fundamentalism seems more alive and sick today than it was when Fosdick spoke 82 years ago. Will fundamentalism win?

“Best of” Same-Gender Marriage

How the Grinch Stole Marriage
— By: Mary Ann Horton, Lisa and Bill Koontz
Jan/Feb 2005: Transformation
Every Gay down in Gayville liked Gay Marriage a lot…
But the Grinch, who lived just east of Gayville, did NOT!!

The Bible and Same-Sex Marriage
— By: Christopher Hubble
May/June 2004: Embracing the Mystery
Clearly, religious views in the United States regarding sexual orientation and sexual minorities continue to have an enormous impact on public policy. The current political row over civil marriage equality is only the most recent example of this fundamental reality.

“Best of” Transgender Spirituality

Discrimination – A Challenge We Must Meet!
— By: Rachel Miller
Sept/Oct 2005: The Good Book
I intend to utilize the power of a man-in-a-dress in a wide variety of public venues, including with family and friends, to prod people to confront their prejudices.

Coming Home
— By: Virginia Stephenson
Jan/Feb 2006: First Fruits: The Giving of the Harvest
During my years of soul-searching to try to gain the strength to transition to female at my job, I remember having to face many fears of losing things.

“Best of” From the Pulpit:

Who Should I Hate?
–By: Rev. Andy Sidden
May/June 2005: God and Politics
Who should we hate? Mom, dad, the kids? Our sweeties, our mates, our life partners? Our brothers and our sisters and even ourselves? Jesus said – what?

Roadside Encounters
–By: Gary Simpson
March/April 2003: Being Present
In the midst of our Emmaus road experiences, those times when the Lord seems so remote, it feels like He is dead, the Lord searches for us, finds us and gives us strength and comfort. When your longed for sexual orientation, your career goals, your dreams for a lover, your marriage, your family or your spiritual success feel threatened, you are not alone. The Lord walks with us when our hopes are dashed and helps us discover the meaning of the resurrection.

Danger of Inhospitality
–By: Rev. Steve Sabin
Sept/Oct 1999: Telling Our Stories
Hospitality in Scripture, you have to remember, arises out of a Bedouin culture where they are living on the edge of the desert. When people stumble into your tent, if you don’t give them food and a drink of water, they die. The reason that everybody hated Sodom and Gomorrah was because the people [portrayed in the Genesis 19 story] were mean, vicious people. They took advantage of people who wandered out of the desert. They robbed them. Throughout the history of the people around the Mediterranean that was about the worst thing you could do.

Joy
–By: Rev. Beth Stroud
Jan/Feb 2005: Transformation
In the midst of suffering and disappointment, laughter wells up from the depths of a person’s heart. In times of terrible losses and setbacks, a person nevertheless discovers a song in her heart.

“Best of” Bible Study and Inspiration

The Burden of Legalism
–By: Rev. Dr. Jerry S. Maneker
Jan/Feb 2006: First Fruits: The Giving of the Harvest
Even though we know that it is only through God’s grace, or unmerited favor, to us that we will spend eternity with Him, we still seek to put burdens upon ourselves and upon others. These burdens give the illusion that we are righteous and deserving of God’s mercy. However, believing that illusion is probably the greatest sin of all!

Texts of Terror, Texts of Hope:
Teaching the Bible as Literature in a Gay-Friendly Context
–By: Michael J. Mazza
Nov/Dec 1999: Renewing Our Strength
A key element in our struggle against injustice–whether we struggle as pastors, as academics, as political activists, or as private individuals in our daily lives–must be a revolutionary, liberatory approach to the scriptures of our particular faith traditions. Indeed, these scriptures constitute a significant manifestation of that powerful, double-edged language of which Audre Lorde wrote. In so reclaiming these texts–these texts of both terror and hope–we accept the challenge to be agents of positive societal transformation.

Two Queer Scriptures for the Pro-gay Toolbox
–By: John Tyler Connoley
Jan/Feb 2006: First Fruits: The Giving of the Harvest
I think even the Clobber Passages can be a source of hope for LGBT people and a challenge to those who condemn us in the name of God.

“Best of” Holy Humor!

Episcopal Guy Joins Village People
July/Aug 2004: Who is My Neighbor?

Freedom from Pets
–By: Jade Catherine Devlin
March/April 2004: Reclaiming Our Spiritual Center

Gay in the Lord Congregation Debates Affirmation of Straight Lifestyle
Jan/Feb 2003: Bringing Heart and Mind Into Harmony