Volume 12, Issue 5: Peace, Be Still!

Cover Stories:

Run to Your Dreaming By: Candace Chellew We’re not Jesus. We don’t have the power to say, “Peace. Be still,” and have life’s storms suddenly cease. For us, getting still, finding peace in the midst of life’s storms isn’t an instant occurrence, it’s more like digging a ditch. It’s often hard, grueling, endless work. It’s sweaty and nasty work.

The “Duh!” of a Disciple By: Lori Heine We need – like those disciples in that boat – to rely not upon externals, but upon the words of Christ. Yes, we are sorely tossed about by the wind and waves in this storm of societal upheaval. The skies are dark, and at times our situation looks grim, if not downright dangerous. But Jesus has promised to be with us, and to stay with us through the storm.

Into the Woods: Peace in the Wilderness By: Steve Pearson A few Sundays back, as the pastor quoted the lectionary reading, my ears perked up upon hearing the gospel writer’s assertion, “Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil” (Matt 4.1; see also Luke 4.1 and, for an even scarier version, Mark 1.12). What? Jesus was led into temptation by the Spirit of God? How could this be? And worse, what does it mean for us?

Finding That Port in the Storm By: Rev. Suzie Chamness There is peace available in the trials of life no matter what the circumstances. Difficult as it may first appear, there are lessons to learn each day. In our humanity, we seldom recognize the importance until the waters have subsided. Remember even though Jesus was with them the storm still came. None of us are immune to the storms.

In a Perfect World By: John H. Campbell Even with all of its hardships, tragedies and inconveniences, life is essentially good and each new day carries potential. We just have not opened our hearts up to God enough to fully realize, understand and comprehend that yet.

Peace is Hard to Come By By: Colin Thornby Peace is hard to come by. The reality is that if we wait for the world to be peaceful in order for us to feel peace, we’ll be waiting for a long, long time.

Features:

Rescuing Jesus from Religion An Interview with Bishop John Shelby Spong By: Candace Chellew The retired Episcopalian Bishop of Newark, has been writing for years for those he calls “believers in exile,” people who feel like modern versions of Christianity demand blind faith and require adherents to check their brains at the door.

Building a Bridge for Such a Time as This By: Candace Chellew “For Such a Time as This,” set to be released this summer, attempts to build a bridge over the gap between gay and lesbian Christians and the heterosexual Christians who reject them. The film features leaders from both sides of the divide.

African Hate Words and What They Really Mean By: Perry Brass Presently, we experience a condition of extreme hate actions and words directed against a target of ostensibly white or Western homosexuality being seen as something alien to and infecting the purity of black Africa. This is being done often under a Christian guise, which makes me question its real meaning.

Gay Christian 101: Schooling Gays and Lesbians on the BibleBy: Candace Chellew

Brentlinger’s new book, Gay Christian 101: Spiritual Self Defense for Gay Christians puts a new spin on the “what the Bible says about homosexuality” books.

In Christianity, One Size Does Not Fit AllBy: Rev. Dr. Jerry S. Maneker

God made His own LGBT children and has given them as gifts to the Church and to society, just as He has made His own Straight children and given them as gifts to the Church and to society. No one is to ever ignore or deny that fact for to do so not only seeks to limit the sovereign will and work of God, but throws God’s grace and creation back in His face, thereby committing a grievous sin!

Soulforce Plans Year of Activities To Change Christian Image By: Candace Chellew

Soulforce is working this year to change those attitudes about Christianity with several events, including an action that seeks to go to the source of the problem – evangelical mega-churches that perpetuate those images of the faith.

Why Would a Nice Boy Shoot Up His School? By: Bob Minor In February it was a mass shooting at another university by a “gentle, warm, sensitive” young man whom acquaintances described as a student who didn’t fit the profile of a killer. Yet, he was a male in American culture, and therefore the likely gender for workplace, school, and university mass shooters.

Hatred is Alive and Well in Pennsylvania By: Archbishop Bruce J. Simpson, OSJB This union of intolerance is determined to take the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, a document that grants rights and privileges and add to it discrimination, prejudice, intolerance, and second class citizenship to this majestic document.

Growth, Violence, and the Coming Religious Peace By: Martin E. Marty Decades ago an Atlantic editor suggested an idea for an article which I somehow failed to produce. I recall him saying that the magazine rarely covered religion, but when it did, as it had in a recent feature article, it quickened an enormous response. Today, Atlantic editors, along with so many others, recognize the ever-growing power of religion in the world and treat it in depth, as in the commendable March issue.

Queer Christ Books Stir Hope and Hate Includes Excerpt from Jesus in Love: At the Cross By: Kittredge Cherry The Jesus in Love series presents a gender-blind, gender-bending Jesus Christ who falls in love with people of both sexes and with the multi-gendered Holy Spirit. He has today’s queer sensibilities and psychological sophistication as he lives out the Christian myth in first-century Palestine.

Why the Lack of Expressed Outrage? By: Rev. Dr. Jerry S. Maneker I can’t think of any reason why most all LGBT people, and decent people everywhere, aren’t outraged at the fact that our LGBT brothers and sisters being demonized, and denied full and equal civil and sacramental rights!

Three Poems: Meditations on Mark 4:39-40 By: Nahshon Cook So, I was watching the workings of that Strange in-between place called adulthood Where you’re not happy, but you’re not Devastated either, ’cause it’s understood

Letters to the Editor

From the Pulpit:

Caring for the Family By: Rev. Deana M. Armstrong Jesus’ example of holding up faithful lifelong commitments and then reacting to those who fall outside of his definition of those relationships should perhaps cause us to rethink the variety of “marriage and family” issues that we are facing today.

Pharisee, Pharido By: Rev. Candace Chellew Jesus invites us to do both – to come and see. But we are Pharisees, blind guides who are more concerned with our outside than our inside. We resist the call to come and see, because coming and seeing means we have to be here and we have to care.

Bible Study:

The Bible: A User’s Manual, Part 3 By: Rev. Micah Royal Having opened the Bible and begun to read, how can you make sure you understand what is being said?

Holy Humor:

If …

Does God Hear Our Prayers?