Read Romans 5:1-10;
Galatians 2:16, 20-21;
Galatians 5:1, 13-15; Ephesians 2:8-9 for the triumph of love and grace over law.
Legalism denies the love and power of God in Jesus in the Gospels. Legalism has certain distinct features in the Bible
- Legalism is self centered. "Look what I have done." Luke 18:9-14.
- Legalism emphasizes the externals and becomes preoccupied with trivia. Matthew 23:5-6, 24-25.
- Legalism makes things other than God absolute. Mark 7:5-9.
- Legalism obscures a clear view of God. Matthew 23:13, 15.
- Legalism is insensitive to human need. Mark 3:1-2; Luke 10:25-37
- Legalism ignores individuality. Matthew 23:4; 11:28-30.
- Legalism develops into a religion of experts. Matthew 15:3-6; 23:3; 18:1-4.
- Legalism creates judgment and divisions. Mark 11:15-18; Luke 20:19-20.
- Legalism always needs more interpretation. Matthew 23:16-23.
- Legalism denies your freedom to make your own decisions based on your personal experience with God.
Mark 2:23-28; 3:1-7.
awesome destructive power of judgmental legalism in religion should not
be underestimated. Legalistic religion undermines self
esteem. The individual can never measure up to the absolute legal
standards of "holy living" or "perfection" demanded by the
came to liberate people from hopeless bondage to legalistic judgmental
abusive religion. "Since you are free in Christ, do not be bound
again by a religious yoke of slavery" (Galatians 5:1).
No matter how legalism is disguised, it is the enemy of Christ and of
your self respect and peace in Christ. Grow in Christ, and you
grow in self esteem and freedom.
word "religion" originally means "to bind" or "to limit" and refers to
ideas and beliefs that bind and control people. The New Testament
idea of salvation, however, was expressed in Greek words that mean
"liberation" and "freedom."
The Greek words for "save" and "savior" in the New Testament (sozo & soter)
mean "to set free, liberate, rescue" or to be a "liberator" or
"one who sets people free." In the time of Christ, the words were used
for teachers, who liberated students from ignorance, doctors, who
liberated people from sickness, or leaders, who liberated people from
an enemy. The name "Jesus" is the Greek form of the Hebrew name
"Joshua," which means "deliverer" or "liberator." In this web
site, the author's translations reflect this more exact and accurate
translations of the Greek words for save as "set free" or "liberate".
(See Matthew 1:21; Luke 2:11; 19:10; John 4:42; 2 Peter 1:11; 1 John
4:14 and many other references in the New Testament.)
"OF RELIGION, BY RELIGION, FOR RELIGION"
Update for July 18, 2004
real issue that we face now is not gay and lesbian rights or even
same-sex marriage. The real issue faced by the public today is
whether or not our nation will enjoy government of the people, by the
people, and for the people or government of religion, by religion and
for religion. The vote of the U.S. Senate to reject the anti-gay
marriage amendment was a stark and unexpected defeat for the forces of
prejudice and ignorance that have developed great power in recent years.
the battle shifts to the House of Representatives, which the President
is saying will give the results that he wants and that the Senate
rejected. The battle is being fought on many fronts. But
the battle is the same all the time. Will the forces of
ignorance, prejudice and religious manipulation win or will common
sense, fairness and the good of the people win?
information is the basis of the national confusion and mixed feelings
about GLBT people. The religious organizations that have the most
power today are churning out garbage truck loads of lies and
misinformation about homosexuals every day. If you have not done
so, look up the websites of Focus on the Family, Family Research
Council, Traditional Family Values, Southern Baptists, and other
powerful political/religious forces arrayed against everyone who does
not accept the fundamentalist religious disaster that has enveloped our
lists over 9 million websites related to "Focus on the Family"!
4.9 million websites are related to "Family Research Council".
2.6 million websites are related to "Traditional Family Values."
Baptists have almost a half a million websites related and Southern
Baptists l19 thousand.
the other hand, over 1.4 million websites are related to "Bible Abuse"
and "Recovery from Bible Abuse" lists over 200,000 websites. I
recently received e-mail responses to my website from Mexico,
Amsterdam, Thailand, Canada, Australia, South Carolina, and many other
states. We are being overwhelmed by an avalanche of religious
garbage, and yet the truth is also out there for those who want to find
also lists almost a half a million websites related to "Metropolitan
Community Church". The truth is available. It just depends
on where you look for it. The term "WHOSOEVER" with usually a
message of including GLBT people is related to 360 thousand sites.
WHAT CAN ONE PERSON DO?
can you do? Simply tell your truth to one other person! You
can never know the possible implications of telling your truth to just
one person. I admire many people who have told their truth and
changed many people. Rev. Troy Perry, one of my most admired and
respected friends, has had the privilege of changing multitudes of GLBT
people from fear into hope with his founding and leadership of MCC
Troy Perry's books
and his personal magnetism have been of extraordinary influence in our
present world. See his books and other information in link to UFMCC. Troy Perry began to change the world when he told his truth to one other person.
Rev. Troy Perry and MCC have been invited (July 15, 2004) to "Summit On
Government Adoption Policy" and invited to "take an active role in
recommending strategies…to recruit adoptive and foster families."
(See this story by clicking here)
THE EXTRAORDINARY POWER OF COMING OUT
power and influence are generated when you tell just one other person
your personal truth. You are the world's authority on your
story. Learn to share your truth with confidence and
brevity. Write out your story. Keep a daily journal.
Think about who you are and what is happening to you.
personal friend whom I admire and appreciate is Lawrence Reh, who
founded and leads "First Light" Internet discussion group. (See link to "First Light") What
can you do to make a difference in your world? Each of us has a
torch of truth and light to pass on to others. Jesus reminds you
not to hide your light under a basket but to let your light shine
before others that they may see your good works and glorify God! (Matthew 5:16)
The list is endless. See also "WHOSOEVER"
and the work of my friend Candace Chellew-Hodge. This site
includes a lot of material from my "Steps to Recovery from Bible
Abuse". People frequently write to me to tell me how they have
been helped by "WHOSOEVER."
I have added many of the GLBT supportive websites, including some new ones, to my website in the "RESOURCES" sections. Also look at the same section for "Transgender" websites.
POWER OF THE INTERNET
Internet has truly changed our world beyond comprehension. I have
already reached more people with my Internet website than Jesus reached
during his entire lifetime. That seems almost obscene, doesn't
it? Yet Jesus said that we will do greater things than he did
because he is giving his Spirit to us. John 14:12-18.)
William Carey said when he began the modern evangelical missionary
movement: "Attempt great things for God. Expect great things from
God." Carey preached this sermon from Isaiah 54:2 in May1792 to
the Baptist Association in England where he had begun a revolution in
Baptist thinking that had previously rejected education, evangelism and
missions as an intrusion on God's sovereignty and power of
election. The man who had baptized Carey had told him earlier:
"Young man, if God wants to save the heathen he can do it without your
help or mine!"
Carey went to India as the first missionary ever sponsored by a Baptist
Missionary Society. He learned Hindi and Bengali and taught them
at the Indian University. He translated the Bible into both and
started churches, schools, hospitals, orphanages and did all of the
things that modern missionaries do today. Carey was probably one
of the most gifted brilliant people of his time. We wrote the
first atlas of the world in English. Read the life of William
Carey to learn a lot about creative thinking in spiritual matters and
challenging the contemporary religious system.
today, Southern Baptists and other fundamentalist evangelicals have
tried to copy the earliest methods of Carey and other famous
missionaries; but forget that the main thing is to keep focused on
Jesus, be relevant to today's culture, and to listen to the people
around you while you continue to think for yourself.
what successful people have done in the past is only effective if you
also question all authority, learn from your contemporary culture and
think for yourself in all things.
critics write to me to condemn me for my website material, I often
suggest: Learn to think for yourself instead of listening to
unlearned and misinformed preachers tell you what to believe and what
STAY ON THE INTERNET
day I am touched by the many letters GLBT people are writing and
receiving that give hope and encouragement to and from each
other. Your e-mail letter of encouragement, acceptance and hope
could save a life. Your letter could change the mind of a
bigot. Your letter will change you as you write it and think
about the lessons you have learned from your own experience.
the Internet. It is worth the trouble, time and expense. We
never know how much longer we will have it. The perfect worm
could take it all out at one gulp. I am sure Bill Gates is
spending all of the money that he can raise to keep that from
happening! But there are evil forces out there much stronger than
201 W. Washington St. #805
Greenville, SC 29601
you for your encouragement, prayers and financial help! I do not
know what door of financial support God has yet to open for me and my
Internet ministry, but I pray and expect great things from God and from
Always check "Yahoo! Gay and Lesbian News" for the latest news:
DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE"
Update for July 4, 2004
have my permission to copy and use any of my website material in
teaching and encouraging others. Always include my name and website
link in anything you copy.
is not the same thing as "Freedom." Freedom means that you have
permission to be and do whatever fits you. Independence means
having the resources that you need in order to think and act for
yourself. Freedom can be given to you. Independence is
something that you have to learn and earn for yourself.
and misinformation are mortal enemies of both independence and
freedom. Freedom has to be developed and exercised. As the
old saying goes: "Those who do not read are no better off than those
who cannot read." Freedom to think for yourself and take
responsibility for your own decisions and actions requires you to
study, read, do your own research and maintain an open inquiring mind.
most threatens your personal independence? Is it co-dependency
that keeps your own happiness linked to the attitudes, whims and
desires of another person? Real independence deals successfully
with the demon of co-dependency. (See Melody Beatty links below.)
How much is your freedom compromised by the grip that you have allowed
other people to have over you?
INDEPENDENCE FROM ABUSIVE RELIGION
of the greatest barriers to individual independence is your early
instructions and cultural demands that you learned from your parents
and from abusive religious teachings and leaders. How have you
escaped this life-suffocating process in your own growth and
development? It is not easy for most people to accept the fact
that their family religion was abusive, misinformed and
destructive. It is like rejecting and not loving your grandmother!
years ago my youngest daughter and I attend the movie "Independence
Day" on Independence Day in Charleston, South Carolina. This was
one of the first of many times that I have spent with Susan that helped
us to develop a greater bond of affection and common experience.
threats to your independence are not caused by invaders from outer
space. Instead, your independence is compromised by things you
were taught as a child and by relatives and friends who tried to tell
you who you are without knowing what they were talking about and not
really knowing who they were.
FROM religion as well as freedom of religion was one of the key
provisions of the new American "Declaration of Independence" and the
United States Constitution that came later. Freedom from religion
is far more significant than freedom of religion! In a world
milieu that assumes that everyone is caught up in and guided by some
form of religion, most people have difficulty accepting the reality
that no religion at all is better than abusive, legalistic, destructive
current war that is being fought in the Middle East is clearly a
"religious war" that appears so far to be far from over and which could
be impossible to win or end. Throughout human history, believers
have been willing to kill themselves and kill their own children in the
name of some form of demanding absolute religion.
THE REAL JESUS
Jesus of the Gospels did not come to establish a new religion but came
to destroy all religions and replace them with himself. The only
invitation of Jesus was: "Come, follow me." This commandment is
so simple and clear that the leading "experts" of traditional religions
can never be satisfied with it. Religion seems always bent on
adding, expanding and legalizing the requirements of Christianity until
the whole massive religious mudslide of our time flows like a volcanic
eruption of ash and mud to obliterate the landscape and destroy all
life in its path. (See all of "Legalism as Idolatry" )
all live in a spiritual Pompeii where the excavations of ruins and
relics of a dead society have been preserved in vivid detail for anyone
who will wake up and think. The contemporary religious reign of
terror showers us with the hot lava and suffocating fallout of
religious ignorance and misinformation.
website already includes massive detailed information and explanations
regarding abusive religious threats against GLBT people. Most of
the critical e-mail attacks that I receive are from people who
have not really read all of my website and have seen only the titles
and other superficial features and written to me demanding that I
explain or justify my conclusion that God created, loves and accepts
My explanations and factual information are already given in great detail in my website and book.
THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE
website on "Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse" was prepared and
published in September 1997 with research and explanations of all of
the biblical material used against GLBT people. Since 1997,
hundreds of updates have been added to every section of my website to
give specific information and detailed answers and practical methods to
respond to the abusive use of religion and the Bible against you.
website material and book give you a clear path into personal and
spiritual independence. Take the time to read all of it and pass
it on to others. Freedom from bondage to ignorance and religious
misinformation is a basic foundation for realistic independence that
allows you to know, believe in and accept yourself.
Happy Fourth of July 2004!
Nobody is free until everybody is free.
Check out Melody Beattie
online. Here is a link to information about all of Beattie's books on co-dependence:
The "Ex-Gay" industry remains the
most destructive challenge to GLBT freedom and independence today. See Ex-Gay Fraud
Explore carefully my section on
Psychiatry and Medicine.:
Here I have given recent news and responses regarding John Paulk, Joe Dallas, Southern Baptists and others who have
poisoned the well of truth and accurate information that is available to GLBT people.
See also see information about "The Alliance Defense Fund",
which is the homophobic abusive religious organization that presently
is leading the legal challenge against same-sex marriage in several
states. See also the analysis of this organization in People for the American Way.
"Alliance Defense Fund" published the recent Southern Baptist
sponsored book on "The Homosexual Agenda." See my review of this book
"SPAM, VIRUSES & RELIGION"
Update added September 7, 2003
(A special welcome to new MCC clergy candidates who have received copies of my book and are receiving this update
for the first time.)
Internet is being infected with the double plague of SPAM and
Viruses. The whole world is being infected with the plague of
religion. By now, you probably have good virus protection and a
firewall on your computer. SPAM is another can of worms! I
am getting at least fifty unwanted e-mails for every e-mail that I
recognize and open. Most of the unwanted e-mails contain computer
viruses. I do not open any attachments now. If you want to
send information to me, include it in the body of your letter.
religion is just as pervasive in our culture as SPAM and viruses and a
lot more destructive. Letting abusive religion into your life is
like opening virus-infected e-mail!
SPAM and viruses will take over your computer and destroy its usefulness. Religion,
however, will take over your life and destroy you!
is Sunday, September 7, 2003. My cable television provider has
just added almost 20 new channels to their service. I have been
channel surfing this morning, and I am constantly amazed at the
multiplicity and intensity of the religious programs that dominate
Sunday television. I just watched D. James Kennedy of the Coral
Ridge Church Industry beg for money to support Judge Roy Moore in
Alabama in his defense of the Ten Commandments monument and to support
religious freedom, which is a contradiction if I ever saw one!
religion is all about money. Several years ago James Kennedy paid
for the anti-gay pro "Ex-Gay" newspaper advertisements that featured
John and Anna Paulk and great crowds of people who allegedly had been
changed from gay to straight by religion. Kennedy earlier had
sold copies of his anti-gay video to raise money to send to the city of
Cincinnati, Ohio, to support their effort to outlaw all positive GLBT
programs and legislation.
(Click here for my college lecture on Ten Commandments)
biblical "Ten Commandments" are found in Exodus 20:1-21 and in
Deuteronomy 5:1-33. Read these passages to see how the two lists
are different and notice the terrible threatening setting for this
event. These two lists give different reasons for remembering the
Sabbath Day. If you read the lists of commandments carefully, you
will notice that they are about the property rights of the man.
They assume that the man owns his property, his woman, his animals and
his slaves as personal property that is to be respected and protected
by law. We don't live in that kind of world anymore!
Jewish list of Ten Commandments is different from the Christian
list. The first commandment in the Hebrew list begins with this
First Commandment: "I am the Lord your God" followed by the Second:
"You shall have no other gods before me."
that all of the biblical laws about adultery are about property rights,
not about sex! The word "sex" does not exist in the Greek or
Hebrew languages of the Bible.
over the Ten Commandments will continue as long as abusive legalistic
judgmental religion continues to grip the thinking and control the
religion of multitudes of people. Freedom of religion means
freedom from religious ignorance and oppression. Whenever the use
of public funds and public power is enlisted to force any religious
interpretation on the people, freedom of religion is compromised and
denied. Freedom of religion is always also freedom from religion.
IGNORANCE AND RELIGION
is always based on ignorance and misinformation. People did not
know what caused lightening and thunder; so religious explanations were
created to fill in the ignorance gap. The entire history of
religion is an exercise in exchanging one level of ignorance for
another. To question and discard religious ignorance does not
mean that one rejects God. It simply means that you question and
reject a particular destructive illogical view of God.
WHERE IS GOD?
did you get your view of God? What teachings and cultural forces
developed your belief in the kind of God that you imagine and say that
you worship? Where did your God come from? You were given
some kind of vision of God when you were too young to be objective and
think critically about the subject. You were conditioned to some
form of religion before you ever learned to think for yourself.
Faith had nothing to do with it. You had no choice. Now you
do. So where do you go from here? How much inconsistent
ignorant religious baggage do you have to drag along with you for the
rest of your life? Hopefully, none!
is "Grandparent's Day" and greetings and telephone calls are being made
everywhere to express love and appreciation to grandparents. This
is wonderful. My children have already called my mother to say
"Happy Grandmother's Day" to her. But your grandparents grew up
in a world that does not exist anymore!
You have to learn to think for yourself. If you don't think for yourself, you
updates are not intended to tell you what to think but are intended to
give information and stimulate you to think for yourself.
Disagree with me! Argue with me! But also take the time to
read the best sources for yourself and determine to be free from
ignorance and misinformation and learn to think for yourself.
is filled with emotional hooks that bind you to inappropriate and
irrelevant teachings and ideas that were formulated in a world that
does not exist anymore. Freedom from ignorance is the basic
freedom upon which all other freedoms are built. Education of all
kinds sets you free to think for yourself. Ignorance binds you to
the thinking, prejudices and ignorance of others. Jesus said,
"You shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
Jesus also said, "I am the truth."
whatever you need to know to be able to think for yourself. The
word "religion" is based on the word for "bondage" or "to bind".
Your real freedom to be yourself, to think for yourself and to respect
and affirm yourself is based on your acceptance of factual information
that tells you the truth about your own reality and about the real
world in which you live now.
is the reason for my web site and book, which are given to provide
factual information and realistic explanations based on sound
scholarship and real life experience that help GLBT people to accept
and affirm themselves and to feel good about themselves in spite of
what the temporary religious culture might teach and try to enforce.
new web site for an emerging new GLBT spiritual ministry led by my
friend Rev. Jay Neely, who was District Coordinator for the GLAD
District and has helped me and many other MCC pastors to feel good
about our ministries and to do a better job because of his
encouragement and counsel:
International Christian Community Churches
Rev. Jay Neely' message
Click here to see new material on The Ten Commandments added March 26, 2002
The following update was added May 31, 2001
preparation for my trip to New Orleans next week to join with Soulforce
in challenging the Southern Baptist juggernaut, I have had to rethink
the destructive role of religion in all of our culture. Why is
religion so highly praised and rewarded in spite of its destructive
results in human lives? (Webster's definition of "juggernaut": "a
massive inexorable force, campaign, movement or object that crushes
whatever is in its path.")
dominates much of today's culture. Making religion into a form of
"idolatry" results from making religion absolute and an end in itself,
creating a substitute for God. Any "ism" becomes a religion when
human experiences, ideas and teachings are made absolute and are
protected and defended without regard to the facts and by denying
obviously contradictory experiences and abandoning objective realistic
logic. Some examples are Legalism, Conservatism, Communism,
Socialism, Fascism, Racism, Extremism, Colonialism, Sexism,
Paternalism, Liberalism, Capitalism, Materialism, and Heterosexism.
can be defined as the use of religion as a substitute for realistic
objective thoughtful reason. Religion is such a broad term that
it has been filled with widely contradictory meanings and has become an
excuse for psychological terror and oppression, political deceit and
power, genocide, savage wars, and a multitude of human disasters on a
scale as yet unrealized or admitted by the "religionists."
ABANDONMENT OF LOGIC
first step in "Religionism" is the abandonment of logic. The
followers of religion are convinced that the teachings and demands of
their religion are absolute and cannot be questioned or challenged by
logic or objective realistic thinking. Webster's definition of
"religionist" is "a person adhering to a religion, esp. a religious
zealot;" and as an adj.: "excessively, obtrusively, or sentimentally
religious." The word "religion" is from French. "religare," "to
restrain, tie back." Religion has become a powerful tool of
political, social, economic, and family restraint and control.
How has religion been used to control you? How have you used religion to try to control others? Did it work?
religion, every effort is made by the religionists to justify, explain
and give practical application to their beliefs, no matter how
illogical and obviously confused and contradictory those beliefs might
be. In religion, obvious misinformation often is maintained as
"the word of God." Objective open-minded study and research are
discouraged by religious attacks that condemn "intellectualism" and the
imagined ungodly tyranny of scientific information. Is "religious
logic" a contradiction in terms: an oxymoron?
FREEDOM FROM FEAR
creates a world of fear. Children are born into an environment
filled with fears of God's condemnation and judgment, social
disapproval and rejection, internal doubts and fears of their own
sexuality, and the ultimate horror of burning for all eternity in
hell. Children are taught early to fear failure, strangers,
anybody who is different, other races, other religions, and a
threatening landscape of life full of phobias and destructive people,
including the face that they see in a mirror. Children are taught
to be afraid of certain foods, dangerous water, animals, places, people
and just about everything that their parents also were taught to fear.
of the greatest fears fed by religion is the fear of being left out,
the fear of rejection and abandonment. Religion teaches people to
be afraid of their own freedom to think and to fear their own ideas
when they conflict with the religious "group think" that dominates them.
Freedom from fear is perhaps
the greatest gift that one person can give to another.
from fear was the persistent offer of Jesus in the Gospels.
"Don't be afraid" is a constant greeting from Jesus to his friends when
they were under pressure and were confused. "There is no fear in
love. The goal of love is to cast out fear, because fear causes
pain and panic. Anyone who lives in fear has not yet fully
experienced love." (My translation of 1 John 4:18)
much of your religious motivation is based on fear? You probably
have heard the term "churchianity" as a way of speaking about making
the churches an absolute end in themselves, and therefore
idolatrous. Churches hold great power over people because they do
not hesitate to "scare the hell out of" children as early as possible.
YOUR IMAGE OF GOD
are made in the image of God. Whenever you are taught to fear and
reject yourself, you are being taught to abandon your true self and
your own experience of God within you. The first step in
following Jesus and being like Jesus is to accept and affirm yourself
for who you really are the way God made you. To deny your true
humanity is a spiritual step backwards. In the creation story, it
is obvious that God did not intend any humans to "play god". Adam
and Eve, Adam and Steve, or Eve and Alice were intended to be truly and
honestly human and let God be Sovereign.
idea of accepting yourself before you can accept God into your life may
seem strange, but that is only because you have been conditioned by
traditional religion to question and deny our own value as an
individual. God was here long before the church was! God is
eternal, inclusive, consistent and realistic. The church isn't.
the Bible says: "Remember that God is Sovereign! God has made us
and not we ourselves. We are God's people and the sheep of God's
pasture." (Psalm 100) God comes to us. We do not come to
God. The absolute sovereignty of God is displayed in God's
presence in you in every breath that you breathe. Every breath
you take reminds you of the Spirit of God that is already within
you. It is all so clear and simple. Only years of careful
distortions of reality and outrageous abusive religion could destroy
the simplicity of experiencing God just by being yourself as God made
elevation of the statement that "all have sinned and come short of the
glory of God" to the level of absolute religious dogma has replaced the
truth of God that is clearly given throughout the Bible and in human
experience. God is already with you before you are born.
God never is "gone on vacation" from you, because you contain the image
of God in your very existence as a human being.
TRASHING THE HUMAN RACE
trashing of humanity by the churches as a basis for offering themselves
as the only hope of "salvation" is ludicrous. The churches try to
undo what God has already done and create humanity in the image of dirt
instead of in the image of God. That's awful, and it has to be
challenged and stopped. The history of the horrors of human
suffering and death at the hands of religious people is clear evidence
for any thinking person that something is terribly wrong with
people are being trashed by spiritually insensitive and unrealistic
churches that have opted to play God instead of serving God by
accepting and affirming all people in God's image. The current
destructive abusive churches in their present ungodly configuration
cannot redeem themselves. They are incapable of self-awareness
and honesty. Tradition has triumphed over reason, and there is no
A JOB FOR SUPER GOD
am under no illusion that I as a teacher/writer or any of us in human
wisdom and energy alone can change this world. But God can.
The question is how can we get in touch with the God who already dwells
with us, who made and sustains our every moment of life and who loves
and accepts us just as we are? Is the Creator God of Jesus Christ
also available within us, as Jesus claimed in the Gospels? The
entire life and ministry of Jesus was a powerful rebuke and challenge
to traditional abusive religion. Must you also leave religion and
follow Jesus instead? Is it really that simple? Yes.
So do it!
The following update was added October 26, 2000
"TAKE NO PRISONERS"
WHERE TO FROM HERE?
is our goal, but do we have freedom yet? Are you free from
homophobic discrimination? Are you free from fear as a GLBT
person? Are you free to feel good about yourself no matter what
religion and family and society tell you about yourself?
you free from the draining and preoccupying struggle to accept and
affirm yourself? Are you completely free from self-destructive
and self-sabotage thinking and behavior? Is the war finally
over? No, I don't think so.
majority of churches still claim that the Bible judges and condemns us
as GLBT people. The majority of states still allow severe
discrimination against homosexuals to continue to the point of violence
and death. Public opinion has not yet even marginally approved of
us without reservations.
NEVER GIVE UP
issues that LBTG people face become more complex and difficult every
day. Same-sex marriages and GLBT adoptions, gays in the military,
Boy Scouts, John Paulk, "Dr." Laura, heresy trials of clergy who
celebrate same sex commitments, mass media preachers of fear and
condemnation, big money given to the homophobic destructive "ex-gay"
industry, and new issues and attacks launched every day remind us that
attempted genocide against homosexuals is heating up, not subsiding.
matter what happens or what might seem like progress, we cannot ever
afford to give up and accept the judgment against us that we are sick,
evil, ungodly, abnormal, or any other such unfair unproved
labels. To give up and give in is to contribute to the mass
murder of hope, acceptance, and encouragement for Gay, Lesbian,
Bisexual, Transsexual people. To give up is to contribute to the
genocide of our race.
NO COMPROMISE IS ACCEPTABLE
culture has so conditioned us to believe that we are an abomination to
God and are not of equal value with other people that we often
compromise our integrity and support and help to keep in place the very
institutions of religion, government and society that are working
unceasingly to destroy us. We are like concentration camp
prisoners who are required to dig our own graves before we are cut down
and cast unmercifully into oblivion.
routine compromises that we make every day with sick and abusive
religious people and institutions and with ignorant cultural demands,
antiquated community traditions, and abusive rejecting family ties
builds steady unrelenting internal stress and pressure within us that
often breaks out in crazy self-destructive behavior.
TAKE NO PRISONERS
think that we can adopt the abusive religion that we have inherited and
make it our prisoner to fight for and with us. Has that happened
yet? It won't. The reason why religion and churches are so
hard to convince that GLBT are equally God's children and accepted and
included by God without exceptions is because abusive religion and
churches are out of touch with God in the first place.
Jesus, people came first. For most contemporary religion, the
institution comes first. People are crushed and destroyed under
the churning wheels of demanding controlling religions
institutions. The pope is just as much a victim of the
destructive power of abusive religion as is the gay man who tries to
develop and maintain a mature loving relationship with his
partner. Religion is no respecter of persons. Religion
the life of Jesus, many people who were oppressed by religions laws and
exclusive spiritual rules were set free from abusive religion and
decided to follow Jesus instead. Even the high priest who ordered
the crucifixion was a victim of the religions abuse of which he was a
Jesus did not try to
tame or imprison the judgmental legalism of his day. He abandoned
it. Jesus knew, just as you know today, that to take legalism
captive and try to dress it up to be attractive and respectable is
impossible. The underlying basis for legalism is fear. The
underlying basis for what Jesus taught is freedom. Legalism and
freedom are as far apart as the east is from the west.
greatest danger in taking prisoners is that the stronger and more
entrenched the prisoners are, the more likely they will attack, subdue
and control you.
LOVE AND TRUTH
and truth come together in Jesus in the Gospels and in your life.
Jesus had compassion and felt the pain of others. Jesus told the
truth and had no fear of truth. Keeping love and truth in balance
is one sign of true spiritual maturity. The first piece of our
spiritual armor in Ephesians 6 is truth. God is true, "for it is
impossible for God to lie". God's presence within you leads you
in the path of truth.
said: "I give you a new commandment, that you should love one another
just as I have loved you." That includes loving yourself as well
as feeling and responding to the pain of other people. The
spirituality that Jesus demonstrated and taught has nothing to do with
religion. Religious people and institutions, indeed, were the
primary forces that Jesus fought against and won.
WHO HOLDS THE FUTURE?
a Trans-les-bi-gay person, you have inherited centuries of religion
based misinformation and prejudice. Freedom is available to you
now. You cannot enter into that freedom, however, while sleeping
with the enemy.
of us can turn back. None of us can afford to give up and
quit. All that we have today is our future. Stephen Hawking
("A Brief History of Time") has shown us that time and space are
relative to each other in that nothing in space is exactly the same
from one moment to the next. The movement of time makes all
things relative to when they happen. The future of you and me as
individuals and of all GLBT people is in God's hands. We may not
know what the future holds, but we do know who holds the future.
So far, our best window on God is Jesus. There are many other
windows, but none is the same as Jesus, who is like you and within you,
for you and always available to you, dynamic and accepting.
presence of the Spirit of Jesus within you transforms you into a new
person at every moment of your existence. What you are becoming
is far more significant that what or where you have been. We
cannot take the past as our prisoner and make it support and accept us
without abandoning truth, which is to abandon God.
ONE FINAL QUESTION
do you personally have to abandon in order honestly to follow
Jesus? If it is abusive oppressive forms and structures of
religion, why are you unwilling to let go? What has abusive
religion done for you that a severe beating with a hot poker could not
"We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are
taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ."
--2 Corinthians 10:5
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
Update added on March 26, 2002:
Hebrew Bible gives the Ten Commands twice: Exodus 20:1-17 and in
Deuteronomy 5:6-21; 10:1-5. The Commandments are called "Ten
Words" in Exodus 34:28. The Jews listed the Ten Commandments in
abbreviated form in ten words that were placed on doorways as a
reminder of their relationship with God.
THE FIRST WORD: I Am the Lord
Ten Commandments were based on the relationship of the people of God to
God. The first "Word" of 10 is Exodus 20:1-2. God's mighty
act of deliverance is the basis for the commandments. Compare to
Romans 12:1-2 and 1 Corinthians 6:20.
am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of
the house of bondage." The basis for the commandments is what God
has already done for God's people.
THE SECOND WORD: Have no other gods: Exodus 20:3-6
shall have no other gods before me." Like a parent who tells the
child that what other parents let their children do is not to be their
standard for acceptable behavior! Since God is Spirit, no images
can be allowed. This ideas is developed at length in Isaiah
THE THIRD WORD: Do not ignore God: Exodus 20:7
represents God. God's "name" given to Moses at the bush in Exodus
3:13-15 was "I AM." To "take in vain" means to consider something
to be empty or worthless (the opposite of "worship"). Loving
parents warn their children not to ignore them when they call them away
from danger, as when a parent calls the child to come out of the street
and the danger of oncoming traffic.
THE FOURTH WORD: Remember and Keep the Sabbath
the difference between Exodus 20:8-11 and Deuteronomy 5:12-15.
See also Exodus 23:10-13 for emphasis on the compassion intended in the
commandment is probably the most misunderstood law of all. It is
the one law that Jesus intentionally broke many times (according to the
religious tradition). See Mark 2:23-3:7.
20:8-11 based Sabbath Law on God's example of rest on the seventh day
of creation. The commandment, then, is to remember who you are –
in the image of God! You are to be like God. See also 1
Peter 1:16 and Leviticus 11:44f. "You shall be holy, for I am
Ephesians 5:1: "Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children." See discussion of this in the last chapter of The Cost of Discipleship
by Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
5:12-15 based the Sabbath Law on the deliverance from slavery in the
Exodus from Egypt. Perhaps by the time of Deuteronomy, this law
had already been misunderstood and misused. The command to rest
was a reminder that God's people are free, not slaves. See
Galatians 5:1. The word "Sabbath" means: "rest."
THE FIFTH WORD: Honor your parents: Exodus 20:12
The same promise of
long life in the land is given for keeping the whole law in Deuteronomy
5:33. Parents were the source of the law for the children.
Read all of Deuteronomy chapter 6 for the significance of the fifth
word and as the introductory context to the commandments in chapter 5.
for the future as told in Malachi 4:5-6, the last two verses in the
Hebrew Bible, is based on the restoration of the relationship between
parents and children. Honoring parents implies religious
instruction in the home.
THE SIXTH WORD: Respect for other people:
Not kill: Exodus 20:13
four laws of Exodus 20:13-16 form the basis for many laws. They
express the basic human obligation to respect the life, relationships,
property and reputation of other people. As Thomas Jefferson
observed in the "Federalist Papers": "There would be no need for laws
if men were angels."
law: Not kill: Exodus 20:13 commands respect for life. It implies
what Jesus said about not hating others in Matthew 5:21-22. Implied
also is respect for all that makes life meaningful: opportunity for
education, security of a safe home, job, equal civil and personal
rights, etc.: as implied in the individual right to "life,
liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
THE SEVENTH WORD: Exodus 20:14: Not commit adultery
were viewed as the property of their husbands. The teachings in
the Hebrew Bible about adultery are not about sex. They are about
property rights. In the New Testament, Jesus and Paul saw women
in a different light, as women became persons and then partners in the
mission of Christ.
THE EIGHTH WORD: Exodus 20:15: Not steal
Respect for the
property of others implies protection of the individual's right to work
and enjoy the fruits of labor, fair wages, equal opportunity for
employment, equal housing, etc.
THE NINTH WORD: Exodus 20:16: Not bear false witness
for the reputation, good name, of others is part of the law that
instructions the people of God not to take away anything that belongs
to another. Gossip, judging others, and slanders often are
rebuked in the Bible. Note Jesus in Matthew 5:33-37. See
also Matthew 7:1-5; James 3:1-12; 4:11-12; Romans 14:1-13.
THE TENTH WORD: Exodus 20:17: Not Covet
last summary word of the law deals with attitudes of heart. You
shall not desire to take away from others their life, their women,
their property, or their reputation. Only a "new heart" predicted
by Jeremiah and fulfilled in Jesus can give the love that carries out
the Ten Commandments. See all of Romans chapters 5 through 8.
13:10 points out that: "Love is the fulfillment of the law." See
all of Romans 13:8-10. See the summary commandment given by Jesus
in Matthew 22:36-40 and applied in the parable of the Good Samaritan in
ultimate expression of the meaning of the Ten Commandments is given by
Jesus in John 13:33-34: "A new commandment I give to you, that you love
one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one
another. By this everybody will know that you are my disciples,
if you have love for one another." The example of Jesus is the
Bible definition of "love". See 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 for a
description of love. For the New Testament view of LAW, see
Romans 3:19-26; 8:1-4; Galatians 2:16-21; 3:1-29.
notes were given to my Bible Survey classes at the Baptist College of
Charleston, SC, from 1973 to 1981 as part of the syllabus material
printed and provided to each student. Over 2,000 students were
enrolled in these classes on the Hebrew Bible, which was a requirement
for graduation for each student at the college.)
Professor Dr. Rembert Truluck, Baptist College of