Volume 9, Issue 1

Who Is My Neighbor?

Cover Stories

Osama is My Neighbor
By Rev. Candace Chellew
Jesus’ entire life was about presenting us with an impossible task – to love God with all our heart, mind and strength and our neighbor as ourselves – and your neighbor is every single person on the face of the earth. Impossible! We cannot do it. There are days we can barely love ourselves, much less our neighbors. There are days we cannot stir good feelings for the person ahead of us in traffic, much less some man whose life of desperation has led him to believe that terrorizing and killing other human beings is the solution to his problems.

I Am My Neighbor
By Lori Heine
Actually, it makes you kind of dizzy trying to keep up with who’s supposed to be the neighbor: the Samaritan or the Jew. And the confusion is deliberate. Jesus knew that even though His listeners would “side with” the Jew, their moral sympathy with the Samaritan would lead them to root for him, too. He wanted us to understand that, no matter with whom we are dealing in our interpersonal relationships, our neighbors — ultimately — are ourselves.

Loving Without Boundaries
By John H. Campbell
It is not easy to feel love towards those who are allowing their fears of an image of God I once feared to withhold a measure of love and respect from me merely because my sexuality does not coincide with their limited and narrow understanding of God and the true depth of God’s Unconditionally Loving Nature. Yet no matter how difficult it can be it is an imperative, as it is only love that can break the chain of hate and evil.

New Wine in New Wineskins
By Rev. Vera I. Bourne
The good news that salvation cannot be achieved by anything we, or any other person, can do, that we are loved and accepted by God, is the new wine we carry. We are changed into new wine skins offering this precious wine of truth and love to all. We are called to offer our wine to those we have been taught to hate.

Neighbor As a Verb
By Rev. Michael S. Piazza
Jesus calls us to make neighbor a verb rather than just a noun. We are to make it something we do not just something we are.

Love’s Liberation: Reflections of a Lay Episcopal Lesbian

By Debbie Graham, R.N.
You are not separate from me. We are not separate from Jerry Falwell, George W. Bush, the Pope or the next person we see. If we hate someone else, we hate ourselves. There is no greater hell than self-hatred. I know this from personal experience.

Love Your Neighbour!
By Colin Blanchard
We would have no problem with singling out a ‘neighbour in need’ but when it comes to loving him our difficulties begin.

Homospirituality

Liberation is Not Free! A Black Gay/Lesbian Critical Analysis
By Herndon L. Davis
Liberation is a continual struggle not a static state of being. Liberation is freedom and freedom gives birth to growth; spiritual, intellectual, and social. The liberation of Black gays/lesbians has a cost as well. There’s a very steep payment for the freedoms which many of us enjoy and scores of other black gays/lesbian desperately long for in their secret shame and dark denial.

Leaving Mormonism
By Bobby Smith
I never spoke to any Church leaders regarding my problem. I could read the scriptures and other Church literature. I knew what I was. I had an almost perfect faith in both the truthfulness of the Gospel and in my own worthlessness. Today I consider myself agnostic and I’ve grown a lot since. As it turns out, I’m not such a bad guy after all.

A Letter to My Best Friend, Steven Powsner On the Death of Former President Ronald Reagan
By Matt Foreman, Executive Director National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
I so much wish you were here today to tell me what to do. You would know if it’s right to comment on the death of former President Reagan, or if I should just let pass the endless paeans to his greatness. But you’re not here. The policies of the Reagan administration saw to that.

Self-Inflicted Terrorism
By Rembert Truluck
Homophobia is the product of spiritual and religious terrorism. GLBT people are subjected to continuous terrorist assaults, by which established abusive religions seek to undermine self-esteem and drive GLBT people into extreme self-destructive ideas and actions.

Features

Anti-Gay Rhetoric Continues: A Soulforce Report on the Southern Baptist Convention

By Laura Montgomery-Rutt
For three days, in the heat and the rain, Southern Baptist messengers encountered Soulforce volunteers at the street corners and sidewalks, handing out literature and booklets, singing songs, and talking about the spiritual violence wrought by Southern Baptist rhetoric and policies.

Metropolitan Community Churches Delegation Meets With Brazilian Minister for Human Rights
MCC Press Release
A delegation of leaders from the predominantly gay Metropolitan Community Churches met on May 5 with The Honorable Nilmario Miranda, Brazilian Minister for Human Rights and a member of the Brazilian President’s Cabinet.

Christians United For the Wellbeing of All God’s Creatures
By Jan Fredericks
There is a growing movement among Christians to relieve the unnecessary suffering of billions of animals each year, for example for furs, for entertainment, and on factory farms.

Letters To The Editor

Same-Gender Marriage

Study: Allowing same-sex marriage would save federal government nearly $1 billion per year
By Lee Badgett
The Congressional Budget Office found that allowing same-sex couples to marry would boost federal income tax revenues by $400 million per year til the end of this decade, mainly because of the so-called “marriage penalty.”

Dignity Decries Discrimination
By Matthew Gallagher
DignityUSA has joined scores of civil rights and religious organizations in opposing the Federal marriage amendment as an unprecedented discriminatory action with sweeping consequences.

Communion Controversy

Wine and Wafer as Weapons? The Regrettable Politics of Holy Communion

By Rev. Troy Perry
In recent weeks, one can hardly pick up a newspaper without reading how another religious leader or religious group has turned Christianity’s most sacred rite into a weapon against LGBT people.

Holy Communion as a Political Weapon
By Archbishop Bruce J. Simpson, OSJB
The Body of Christ was being withheld over whether or not the Church includes all of God’s children, or only those who the current Scribes and Pharisees deem worthy.

Rainbow Communion
By Courtney S. Wilder
Participation in the Eucharist is at the center of Christian worship; by asking to be recognized on Pentecost as both gay and Catholic, the participants in the Rainbow Sash Movement are calling the Church’s conscience to order on the basis of the Church’s own ethical precepts.

Transpirituality

Why Change Your Sex?
By Tucker Lieberman
Accepting our own gayness and transsexuality are life-affirming choices. However, the transsexual choice is different because it isn’t based on getting rid of negative feelings about joy; it’s based on conquering the negative feelings without knowing if there’s any joy beyond them.

From the Pulpit

Ah! The Power of Prayer: Part Eight — “Going Where No One Has Gone Before”
By Rev. Brad Wishon
If you are a “Trekkie” have you ever noticed how it was always about going out there; to go where no one has gone before. To go out there exploring. But what if the greatest adventure that anyone could ever have is not out there? What if the greatest adventure were within yourself?

Doers of the Word
By Gary Simpson
Be ye doers of the word. The Bible is to be lived out in the world. When people see you at school, at work, at home and at worship, they are reading the Bible. Those words can be wonderful words, words that build up, that point people to Jesus. Or they can be devastating words, words that break people down and turn people away from Jesus.

Bible Study and Inspiration

Lepers, Loons and Losers: The Outcasts of the Gospels – Part 5: Children
By Tom Yeshua
These are the aspects of children that usher us into the Kingdom of God. We are to cultivate a sense of wonder, to move through life with eyes, ears and hearts wide open, and receptive.

Holy Humor

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?

Episcopal Guy Joins The Village People