in the Gospels taught most of the time in small groups and to single
individuals. Jesus promised that "where two or three gather
together in my name, there I am in the midst of them." (Matthew
18:20) Remember that Jesus is part of your group even if you are
the only one in the group!
"Jesus Group" was drawn from many ages, backgrounds, personalities and
points of view. Women were included in Luke 8:1-3. Variety
in the group was both a source of learning and a cause for
tension. The group provided the setting for Jesus to teach and
demonstrate love and truth.
early church followed this same approach. Home based spiritual
growth and recovery groups do not require buildings, budgets, boards of
directors, clergy, or any of the features of traditional
churches. The "house churches" met from place to place in Acts
2:46; 5:42; Romans 16:5.
THAT IS REQUIRED is people who will host, lead and attend a small study
group in someone's home along with some study materials that are
relevant, accurate and interesting. Much of the material in this
web site can be used in a small group. My book, Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse, provides 52 chapters for Gay and Lesbian spiritual seekers to
use in individual study or in a small group.
TO HEALTHY and healing groups is the development of an atmosphere of
non judgmental acceptance and trust within the group. Most
religion tends to be judgmental and condemning of people who do not
conform to the "rules." Successful spiritual support groups
resist the pull of religion away from freedom.
See new page on SMALL GROUPS
SEE NEW MATERIAL BELOW RELATED TO GROUPS.
See my book for details on "How I Lead Workshops and Groups."
An excellent example of small group and individual
help in learning to think for yourself is The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron, New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1992. It helped me, and it could
help you to discover and act on the inner resources and gifts that you already have.
Also refer to Dr. Truluck's brochure on Guidelines For Small Group Spiritual Support for details on the dynamics of spiritual
recovery groups. For more information, visit the NEW Special Offer section of this web site.
"BIBLE ABUSE RECOVERY"
Update for February 28, 2003
in Portland, Oregon, wrote to me today to tell me about her new
ministry based on my web site and book. I am thrilled at this new
development in local small groups and Internet based outreach to our
community! I have included Jennifer's letter to me below and also
the link to her web site, which tells the details of this project.
Jennifer described her plan, "We are a spiritual growth group,
organized around Dr. Rembert Truluck's book "Steps to Recovery from
Bible Abuse." We meet weekly in local home study groups, and on the
Internet, to study, share, pray, grow, and discuss each of the 52
spiritual growth and healing lessons in Dr. Truluck's book."
THIS IS A NEW BEGINNING
planning, organization and promotion that Jennifer has already done is
a powerful new beginning for GLBT spiritual recovery and growth that I
have long awaited and hoped would happen. Ever since my web site
was published on the Internet in September 1997 and my book published
by Chi Rho Press in January 2000, I have urged and encouraged people to
make the kind of use of my materials that Jennifer has begun in
people around the world in many countries already are using the book as
the basis for small group study and dialogue. Many such home
study groups are now a regular part of the ministries of local
Metropolitan Community Churches and other organizations and
individuals. This is the first time, however, that I have been
given the details of the kind of work that Jennifer is beginning in
From the beginning of my work on
"Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse"
I have hoped that individuals and small groups led by the Spirit of
Jesus would see the need and grasp the opportunity to begin small
groups without any outside pressure or control and let the freedom of
the Spirit guide each group in the direction that the individuals in
the group felt and believed fit them.
comes to me every day in e-mail letters that I receive from people who
have found inner peace and a new positive self-acceptance from studying
my web site and book. A growing number of these letters of
appreciation for my web site and joy in new found hope and
encouragement comes from teenagers and other young people.
continue to receive a steady flow of "hate mail" from legalistic
judgmental religious people who are misled and misinformed by their
church leaders and who lash out at me because of the hope and
encouragement that I offer to LGBT people in my web site. My
reply to the homophobic hate mongers is still the same. I
thank them for their letters and tell them that their letters are a
great encouragement to me to keep my web site on the Internet to help
Gay and Lesbian Christians deal with ignorance and religious abuse from
people like them.
hope that you will look at the web site and the work that Jennifer
Lynne and her associates are doing and seek to find ways to do some of
the same things yourself that they are doing.
underestimate the importance of reaching just one individual with the
truth! The Internet has allowed us to reach out and touch people
one at the time in a personal and direct way that has changed and
transformed multitudes of lives. Don't underestimate the value of
what you as an individual can do.
LETTER FROM JENNIFER LYNNE:
Hello Dr. Truluck!
name is Jennifer Lynne, and I am a lesbian in Portland Oregon who wants
to start a home spiritual growth group here (we have 3 folks to
start!), using your book "Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse".
I'm going to advertise the group in the local Gay resource sources (Gay
paper, local gay web sites, etc), and so I could give folks who don't
know us a place to find us I put up an advertising web page for it too.
why I'm writing you. I created my advertising web page using mostly
your information and referring folks to your web site for more details,
and since it will be on the web for all to see, I wanted to make sure
there was nothing on my site that is bothersome to you.
you check out the site at your earlier convenience and let me know? We
have no commercial interest or plans, of course, in any of this but -
as I say - since this is from your material and site, and since I've
never done something like this before, I want to make sure I've not
Our group advertising web site is at:
BIBLE ABUSE RECOVERY
that in addition to the Portland Oregon home group, it also mentions an
internet group available. We set that up in the event our page attracts
people who want to work through your book, but who are too far from us
and don't have a local group of their own to participate in. Please
check that out as well, if you'd like.
for all your time - and your wonderful book! I have a deep heart for
wounded others, and I am really pleased with the book - for my own
healing, and for the healing I know it will give to my partner and
friends who are going to start it soon!
"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where
I intended to be." -Douglas Adams
Here is my reply to Jennifer:
Thank you for what you are doing! I thank God for this new
ministry using my book and web site. I have hoped and prayed for
a long time that other people would pick up on these resources and use
them exactly as you are doing.
"My prayers are with you.
"I would like very much to know how this works out and what
kind of response you have. If I can do anything to encourage you in this project, let me know.
"Give me your phone number and a time to call, and I would like to call you and talk with you about this great new
ministry that you are beginning."
Click here to see the
"Bible Abuse Recovery" web site.
This update added October 1, 2002:
"LIVING IN EXILE"
of LGBT people are living in exile from their families, their religious
backgrounds, their homes, their former professions, and their cultural
places of origin. Some of us have had the privilege of being able
to develop new lives in new locations and with new careers and healthy
situations. Many others have not survived the rejection and
displacement of homophobic exile.
BEING DEFINED BY EXILE
Israel was created in the Exodus from Egypt and was defined by the
Exile in Babylon. The Exile of the 10 northern tribes to Babylon
created a new Israel that produced Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel
and much of the other literature of prophecy and wisdom in the Hebrew
Bible. The Exile also is the setting in which the Pentateuch and
historical and poetic materials were developed into their present forms
of all, the Exile separated the exiles from those who remained in the
homeland and created a total break that produced the hostility between
Jews and Samaritans and the other religious and social dynamics that
dominated the world of Jesus. Exile is an awesome reality for
many of us today.
what extent has your life been defined by your exile from the rest of
your world? How have you handled your life in exile?
LIFE IN EXILE
don't think that I have handled exile very well. I am cut off
from the self that I once was before 1981. When I was dismissed
from the university where I had taught religion for 8 years, I became a
"non-person" and moved to Atlanta to start over. My sister took
me in and helped me to survive. She still helps me to survive
emotionally here in Oakland, California.
year after I left the university, I asked one of my former student
aids, who was still a student, if I was the "horrible example" in
anti-gay sermons now. His reply was, "No! Nobody ever mentions
you. It is as though you were never here!" I also was cut
off from my immediate family and children. After I left home in
1981, I was not allowed to see my youngest daughter for 5 years.
Now she and I are great friends. She came out to me as a Lesbian
3 years ago! See also "MY STORY".
mother at the age of 91 has also experienced a profound exile from her
past life. She has been cut off from her husband and home of over
60 years and now lives in a very good Baptist retirement center in
Laurens, SC. She is almost completely blind now, and her hearing
is almost all gone. She is handling her isolation and exile a lot
better that I am!
How about you? What helps you to survive in exile?
is defined as "a forced absence from one's home or country." This
mild definition does not even begin to express the depth of anguish and
pain that GLBT people experience in exile.
is basically the profound experience of being "cut off" and being
dismissed from the people and the society that have been your basis for
existence and your cultural milieu from the time you were born.
Exile is disastrous and destructive beyond comprehension. Exile
CAN GOD HELP?
depends on what "God" means! The "Doctrine of God" assumes that
God is always equally present in all things and is omnipotent and all
knowing, but how do we know that this is true? We don't. So
now where do we turn for help? Do you turn within? Or do we
turn to each other? Maybe. I am most grateful for the
people that have come into my life, even briefly. I learn from
every person who comes along, and I hope and believe that each one
learns something of value from me.
Since you and everyone you
meet are already made in the image of God, the presence of God in your life is assured.
may have been exiled from your people, but you have not been exiled
from the God who created you and gave you life and love and hope.
You are already alive and accepted and affirmed by the God who made you
as you are. You are not exiled from God!
EXILE CAN BE GOOD
cut off from destructive negative people can be a good thing. You
don't deserve to be abused and demeaned by people who think that they
own the mind of God! You deserve better. You deserve to
accept and affirm yourself and to feel good about yourself, no matter
what others might think or do.
Read again my material on Step Five: "Avoid Negative People and
in the San Francisco Bay Area, I have many friends who are living in
forced or self-imposed exile from their native countries and their
families. One of my best friends is from China and lives now in
Washington, DC, waiting to receive his "green card" and return to San
Francisco. He was rejected and punished for his sexual
orientation in his native city. He was able to escape and begin a
new life in the United States. I admire his courage and have
learned a lot from his example of perseverance and unfailing hope in
the face of many obstacles and delays.
English and adjusting to the culture shock of coming to America can
greatly complicate the lives of some of the exiles all around
you. Are you sensitive and helpful to your fellow exiles?
Learn to listen to others and grow in understanding and in how to
handle your own exile issues.
ALL IN THE SAME BOAT
share your life in exile with a great variety of other people. We
are all in the same boat together, but sometimes the boat seems to be
sinking fast! We all have to work together to bail out the water
and protect and encourage each other. We need each other, and
learning from the Spirit of God how to love each other is basic to our
again and memorize Romans 15:1-7 and let some very positive support
sink into your mind and heart regarding how to handle your own
experience of sharing exile with others. Click here to see Romans 15:1-7.
the time also to read carefully through all of Romans chapter
one. Ignore the problems in translation and context of verses 26
and 27 and concentrate instead on the positive message of encouragement
we have to offer to each other in exile! Don't dismiss Paul
without realizing what he has to give to all of us. When I taught
at Baptist College, I memorized all of Romans and realized that context
is everything! Know what you are rejecting before you dismiss the
Apostle Paul from your mind and heart. Romans chapters 5 through
8 are basic to understanding who you really are.
churches may be out of touch with reality, but Paul is not. Just
remember that Paul lived and wrote 2,000 years ago in another culture
and another world-view. Make the necessary adjustments to your
world today, and you can still find great practical help in Paul.
Paul is not absolute. Only God is.
Paul also lived in exile. You can study the details in Philippians, which is worth your time to memorize and internalize.
This update added September 1, 2002:
"DISCOVER YOUR TRUTH"
week, I again visited the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park and
enjoyed the beauty of flowers, trees, running water, fog and moisture
and marveled at how nature renews itself. We also enjoy renewal
of our spirits and our relationships as the creator sustainer God of
all being nourishes and encourages us in all things. I stood for
a while before the large bronze stature of Buddha and contemplated his
life and spiritual journey. He left his wealth and power to
meditate on the cause of human suffering and experienced the
"enlightenment" that gave him inner peace and joy.
I thought on these things, I realized that the basic message of Buddha
was not to learn the teachings of Buddha but to discover for myself my
own truth and meaning in life. You are the source of your own
truth. Learn who you are and you learn your own truth and meaning
in life. Nobody else can learn this for you. You stand with
your Creator separated from all other individuals by a world. (As
Soren Kierkegaard observed.)
and churches can be a drastic distraction for your experience of who
you really are. Nobody else can tell you who you are. You
have to discover who you are for yourself. But that is not
difficult or impossible. You are already in the image of God and
you already have the gift of the Spirit of Jesus, who has been given to
every human on earth. Why do you struggle so hard to grasp what
you already have and already know?
YOUR LEAP OF FAITH
already have what you need to have and to know. You don't have to
make a decision about God, Jesus, the Bible or the church. You
only have to make a decision about yourself. Who are YOU?
You church cannot tell you. You parents cannot tell you.
Your community cannot tell you. Only you can tell you who you
really are. Believe in yourself.
Just as abusive traditional religion has misrepresented Jesus and God, the same
religion has misrepresented who you are.
are unlike any other person in the Universe. You matter just as
you are. You are not a mistake. You are not a broken thing
that needs to be fixed. You are the significant reality that God
created you to be. Be confident. Be affirmed. Be
resolute. Be brave. Be calm. Be real. Be the
child of God that you know deep down you really are. Act on the
positive vision of yourself that has always been with you, though many
have tried to dispute this.
opens an entirely new path to you. Traditional religion knows
nothing of this kind of freedom and responsibility. Churches know
everything and understand nothing. The institution hovers over
you like a cloud of doom, but you are not obligated to see yourself as
the victim of evil and the child of perdition. You are free to be the
self that you dimly thought you were once long ago in your distant past.
GOD WILL HELP YOU
will help you to break out of the stereotypes and mythical self images
that try to dominate and limit you. You are not a mess. You
are not a dismal rejected creature. You are not a temporary
expression of fragile human life. You are permanent, the child of
God, the ultimate reality of truth in the form and expression that fits
you. You matter. You live. You are an eternal
expression of God's own being.
Never sell yourself short. You are worth far
more than you or anybody every imagined.
are and always will be the most important person in your life.
Get the best education that is possible for you. Equip yourself
to know how to think for yourself and make your own best decisions.
ASTOUNDING NEW "RESEARCH"
A new chapter in the long tedious story of misrepresenting LGBT people was opened this week in a report on "Gay Research"
sent out in the media.
UPI story by Steve Sailer is an interview about "Stereotypes of
homosexuals" with Northwestern University psychology Professor Michael
Bailey. The first quote from Bailey waved a "red flag" when he
said, "I found working with gay people a lot more fun and interesting
than working with crazy people!" No competent psychologist would
ever refer to mentally ill people as "crazy!"
evidence is given at all as to Bailey's research subjects, methodology,
or primary sources. The entire article was a reflection of the
misinformation that is readily available from James Dobson and Focus on
the Family along with their "sexuality expert" John Paulk.
tired old distortions and misinformation are included about gay
stereotypes, a possible "gay germ" and the estimate that only 1 to 4
percent of the population is homosexual Bailey declared
that there are far more gay men than lesbians and reinforced the
nonsense that some kind of failure of the male fetus to develop
masculine characteristics could account for gay sexual orientation.
entire piece was completely non-scientific and filled with speculation
and traditional garbage about human sexuality. Being given
national attention, this "so-called" scientific research will further
mislead and distort the way GLBT people are seen and see themselves.
who claims to be heterosexual himself (with wife and children), seems
to have developed his entire "research" on the basis of reading what
others have written without even realizing how unscientific and
unrealistic his work is.
See also my material on "STATISTICS AND COMMANDMENTS."
to some immediate pressing medical problems, I have had to cancel my
trip to New Orleans this weekend to participate in "A Common Bond"
conference for GLBT Jehovah's Witnesses.
September 1, 2002
This update added on June 28, 2002:
"THE NEXT STEP"
WHAT IS THE NEXT STEP?
stand at a fork in the road. Major churches and religious groups
continue to reject our protests, demonstrations and attempts to open
the blind eyes of abusive religious misinformation about LGBT
people. The ignorant abusive spiritual rhetoric and spiritual
violence against us is accelerating every day. What new direction
is God leading you to take now? You will have to decide that for
continue to give my enthusiastic full complete support to Soulforce and
to Mel, Gary, Jimmy, Doug, Laura, Bill, Kara, Karen, Richard, Gina, and
all of my Soulforce partners and friends in their ministry of spiritual
confrontation and truth. Soulforce policy and planning decisions
are not made by just one or two people but are made by all of the
leaders and trainers as a group. I plan to be with Soulforce in
Lynchburg in October and with Soulforce again at the Southern Baptist
Convention next June.
continues to encourage and lift up GLBT people to build up our own
self-acceptance and self-esteem, which are under constant attack by
religious establishments of our world. Whether or not Soulforce
and others who attempt to challenge spiritual violence and tell the
truth can change the course of abusive destructive religion, the
witness of thousands of LGBT Christians is speaking clearly to our own
community to lift us up and give us hope.
SUDDENLY WE ARE ON SHAKEY GROUND!
I write this, the news is filled with reports about the U. S. Supreme
Court decision to approve the use of public funds to give school
vouchers to children in private secular and religious schools. No
provision is included to make a distinction between private
non-sectarian schools and private religion based schools that promote
and teach abusive religion.
sudden unexpected break with the American legacy of separation of
church and state is a brutal awakening for all Americans who value the
Constitutional protection from Government involvement in the support of
sectarian religion in any form or under any circumstances. This
diversion of public funds to private religious schools is also a
blatant attack on public school education for all people in this nation.
call, e-mail, and contact in every way you can anybody you know in
politics to voice your opinion about this tragic development for all
Americans. The powerful forces of misinformed and abusive
religion in America are finally being felt in their full strength of
new political determination and political influence.
WE ARE TURNING A CORNER
are at a turning point every day. Every moment is a new beginning
as our world changes rapidly at blinding speed. New challenges
and new opportunities are emerging on every hand. Religion based
terrorism far beyond anything that we had imagined this time last year
has now changed our world forever and raised issues about God,
spirituality, religion and human survival on a new level of urgency and
serious reflection in our ongoing search for meaning in the midst of
chaos and uncertainty.
Recently I have
begun to receive a lot of e-mail expressing great disappointment and
discouragement about the slow progress of acceptance in our society for
LGBT people. This concern is worldwide. Some of my friends
in South Africa, Asia, Israel, and other countries are voicing the same
frustration and despair over the accelerating spiritual violence and
misinformation directed at GLBT people.
of my friends have decided to "go back into the closet" because of
their personal experiences of rejection and loss of hope of seeing any
real changes. Some are going back into the closet because of the
sick dysfunctional behavior of other LGBT people, who are sick and
dysfunctional because they have been convinced by legalistic judgmental
sick religion that they are an abomination to God and hopeless. I
am also receiving a great increase in e-mail and web sites that promote
the "Ex-gay" industry and attack me for my web site. The abusive
use of biblical literalism and spiritual terror is growing stronger and
more widespread every day.
GOD HOLDS THE FUTURE
don't know what the future holds. God, however, has already been
there and knows what we will face and how we can handle every challenge
and opportunity with spiritual power and confidence. Perhaps one
thing that will help each of us is to spend more time devoted to
reflection and meditation as a means of listening to God and to the
positive spiritual forces all around us and in the other people God
sends into our lives.
want to be part of whatever God brings into my life to use me to make a
spiritual difference for others. I cannot create the human
connections that are ready for change and hope and new life. But
Murphy is one of my very favorite people. Richard teaches and
organizes Soulforce volunteers in their special ministry of spiritual
vigils and civil action. In St. Louis, Richard told me of a
recent experience he had as a lone protester outside a very prominent
anti-gay church in South Florida, where Richard lives. In Broward
County, if two or more people engage in a protest, they have to apply
for and receive a license to protest. A single individual,
however, can carry a sign and protest without official permission.
Richard was carrying his sign that proclaimed: "STOP SPIRITUAL VIOLENCE AGAINST GOD'S GAY, LESBIAN, BISEXUAL and TRANSGENDER CHILDREN".
A man drove up to the curb and got out of his car and walked over to
Richard and thanked him for being there with his sign! The man
had just been released from prison. He was gay and felt very bad
about himself. He told Richard that his sign had helped him to
feel that he was not alone and reminded him of God's love for him after
wanted to give him some material that would encourage him. He had
printed out the most recent 8 or 9 updates that he had received in
e-mail from me and had them with him. He gave them to the man to
have something to read that could encourage him and also gave him some
money to get something to eat. Richard said he hoped that the man
would follow up on the material and get in touch with me.
don't have to be part of a great movement or be in a dramatic event to
make a difference for a single individual that God brings to you.
When you are confident and ready to share your faith in God's love and
acceptance for you and all people, God will bring people to you.
DR. MAHAN SILER
St. Louis, Mahan Siler shared with me some of his personal approach to
helping GLBT people overcome abusive religion and regain their
self-confidence. On several occasions, Dr. Siler felt led to
exercise his pastoral authority to speak with confidence concerning
God's love and acceptance of people who were filled with fear and
self-rejection. In personal counseling situations, Dr. Siler
would declare firmly that "God accepts you just as you are" and found
that his positive attitude and confidence in God's unconditional
inclusive love made an impact that had a positive healing effect.
conversations can be the setting for life changing spiritual
events. Jesus saw this happen with the "woman at the well" and
with many others. Dr. Siler was professor of pastoral care and
counseling at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and director of
clinical pastoral training at the Bowman Gray School of Medicine until
he was fired because of his acceptance and affirmation of LGBT people.
I talked on the phone with Mahan in North Carolina about the "pastoral
authority" dimension of his counseling ministry. He has written
of several instances in his forthcoming book. Dr. Siler said that
when people tell him that they are afraid that they are going to hell
because they are gay and tell of their belief in abusive religious
teachings from their churches, he declares to them that they are
absolutely wrong, that the teachings that condemn them are lies, and
that God loves them just as they are!
Siler told me that: "pastoral authority has to be stronger than the
voices in their heads that condemn them and has to counter the very
strong self-accusing voice within." Dr. Siler was taking this
approach in pastoral counseling with GLBT Christians in 1991-1992 even
before his church decided to support him in performing the holy union
for two gay men.
continuous religious/political assault against GLBT people is creating
human tragedy that destroys lives and the will to live. Religious
terrorism moves unchecked through every city, village, suburb, and home
in America. The homophobic enemy that most LGBT people face is
not in the church but in their own homes, parents and relatives, and
most damaging of all: in themselves.
are no obvious easy solutions. The challenge to LGBT people is
complex and on multiple levels of human existence. Nobody has all
of the answers. Maybe nobody has any of the answers. The
magnitude of the horror that we face is so great that we all have to
keep trying to find an effective way to change the prevailing
world-view paradigm and to become more convincing in telling our truth.
day I get e-mail from people who are desperately seeking a way to
accept themselves as GLBT people and to keep on living and not give up
hope. Recent reports show that thirty percent of adolescent
suicides are committed by gay youth. Stopping the flood of
homophobic violence against and within our community is like trying to
hold back the tide or trying to stop the bombing attacks by superpowers
against smaller nations in the name of a "war on terror."
SPIRITUAL VIOLENCE CONTINUES
matter how much we explain, protest, make accurate information
available, and lay our lives on the line for the truth, the juggernaut
of religious ignorance and abuse moves steadily on to crush the life
out of people of all ages, sexes, races, nations and religions.
God is no respecter of persons, but neither is religious ignorance and
bigotry! Homophobic legalistic abusive religion casts all people
equally into the same mass grave and covers the bodies with
self-righteous hypocrisy by claiming it is all being done to please God!
did the image of God as a homophobic judgmental monster come
from? Certainly it did not come from Jesus. Our response to
the distortion of the image of God in homophobia can be effective only
if we are more creative and determined than religious fanatics like,
Jerry Falwell, Fred Phelps, Southern Baptists, and many others are!
new directions are available to you as your world continues to turn new
corners and face fresh alien troops every day? You can try to
ignore the rapid changes all around you and fall back on old
discredited methods of forcing social and religious changes on
others. How much energy do you have to waste in efforts that
don't work before you turn to God and listen and learn what to do now
that is totally different, new and effective?
A CALL TO THINK
is not a call to prayer or a call to action. It is a call to
think. It is a call to enter into dialogue with one another and
to think through what God wants you to do next. We need a fresh
new beginning that comes from God and that God will energize and
empower. No matter how clever we might be in planning our next
move, the energy to make it work can come only from the God who also
gives the plan.
at lest one other person or perhaps three or four to sit down together
and think and share and discuss where you go from here. Trust
that the Spirit of God will also attend this small group
dialogue. Exciting effective new directions will emerge and will
be accompanied by truly Pentecostal energy. Only one person
really has the solutions: God. Listen, think, learn together with
others and enter into the action of doing something that is practical,
logical and realistic for YOU.
Following Jesus means discovering who
you are as a child of God and finding and doing what fits you as an individual.
For my book, which can be a guide and source of information for small group study and dialogue, see:
"OTHER PEOPLE'S CRAZINESS"
Update for October 13, 2001
"Don't let other people's craziness make you crazy."
Many of the e-mail letters to me asking for help come from people who
have allowed the dysfunctional thinking and behavior of other people to
disturb and even ruin their lives. I wish I knew a really
effective simple solution. I don't. Life lived in
connection with other people is far too complex for any easy answers or
person who touches your life makes an impact on you. You live in
a field of relationships with friends, family, work associates,
neighbors, group members, relatives, etc. Many of the people in
your life also have connections with each other as well as with
you. Whenever you relate to an individual, you are relating to
all of the other people who know and touch that individual. Our
partners, lovers, parents, children, siblings, and other relatives are
usually our primary human connections. Close friends,
acquaintances, people where you work and play, club and church members,
and an expanding circle of people on the fringes of your life have a
part in how you see yourself.
Paul Sarte declared in "No Exit" that "Hell is other people." It
all depends on how you see yourself and the people that touch your
life. You often have little choice about who comes into your life
and who comes into the life of someone who is very important to
you. You do, however, have control of your own feelings and
thinking. You have little control over the craziness of other
people, but you do have control over whether or not you will let the
craziness of others make you crazy!
people who are not present also affect you. Former friends,
enemies, lovers, family and casual contacts can remain in your memory
and in your heart for a lifetime. Battling the ghosts of the past
can be just as exhausting as trying to play relationship games in the
GAMES PEOPLE PLAY
Eric Berne's Games People Play,
published in 1964, explored The Psychology of Human Relationships" by
showing how our interactions with other people can take the form of
"games" where the payoff is often hidden from view. One such game
is "Kick Me!" in which a person feels rejected and has extremely low
self-esteem and does things to other people to get them to "kick" them
and punish them for their imagined inadequacy and failure. Unless
we are objective and realistic about other people, we can easily be
drawn into the game, usually over and over with the same person.
only way to win the game is to refuse to play. Games are
unconscious attempts to manipulate the other person to give the
"payoff" in actions that are not consistent with reality or with the
true relationship of the people involved.
Get a copy of Games People Play
and read it again. You will find practical help and encouragement
to be yourself and to cope effectively with a lot of the stress all
around you. You do not have to buy into another person's
craziness. You only encourage more craziness by going along with
it as though it was perfectly OK.
DON'T GIVE UP ON PEOPLE
are called to love one another as Jesus loves you. That is
basic. Love is the foundation of all of the teachings of Jesus
and the path along which we follow Jesus. "Love is
patient." Read carefully and slowly all of 1 Corinthians
13. Where the word "love" is used, put your own name in its
place. Notice how it sounds! Realize that every word that
Paul used to describe "love" also describes Jesus in the Gospels.
main message of 1 Corinthians 13 is not to give up on yourself or give
up on people in your life. A special word in 1 Corinthians 13:7
that has helped me: Love "bears all things." The word in Greek
means: "to cover, pass over in silence, keep confidential." It
was "used of love that throws a cloak of silence over what is
displeasing in another person." Love also "endures all things,"
which is Greek: "hupomenei" ("super remain") and means to "remain
instead of running away, hold out, stand your ground."
I am sharing this with you because I need so very much to hear it myself!
TIE A KNOT AND HOLD ON
we are strongly tempted to throw away relationships that have taken
years to build. Rough waters come in every ongoing growing
relationship. Anything that is alive grows and changes, including
our most intimate relationships. Facing and dealing in love with
stress and conflict can produce unexpected growth and maturity for the
individuals and for their relationship with each other.
never ran away from the people who caused stress in his life.
"Jesus loved them unto the end" (John 13:1). Following Jesus is
to remain true to yourself and faithful to your friends: "I give a new
commandment to you that you love one another just as I have loved you,
that you also love one another." Jesus never asked you to do
anything without also providing the spiritual power to do it.
relationships with people often have a strong emotional
dimension. Being logical, objective, realistic and practical can
take a lot of effort. You are tempted to react with fear or crazy
behavior when radical stress and disruption takes place in a
relationship. Take control of your own thinking and be logical
and realistic. Nobody else can do this for you. You are in
control of your will and your desires. Only you can cut through
the craziness that other people send your way. You have the
capacity to: "Keep your head when the person with you is losing theirs
and blaming it on you!"
the basic warning: "Words said in anger can be regretted for a
lifetime." Anger and fear are panic emotions and cannot give a
calm basis for making any decisions. Get a good grip on yourself,
calm down, and think through exactly what is happening and what your
realistic options are.
to other people is never easy. All of life with other people is
"a bumpy ride!" Avoiding others and resisting taking the risk of
getting involved with other people can be depressing and lonely.
You have to be the one to decide where you can be healthy and happy in
relationships. You have God's help and the examples of Jesus to
give you some sense of direction.
Just remember: "You are the most important person in your life!" Be kind to
yourself and expect others to do the same.
The following material was added on April 25, 2001:
"WHAT TO DO ABOUT RELIGION?"
(Includes two powerful recent letters from South Africa and Hong
Religion, like GLBT people, is everywhere! Religion pervades every level of culture, invades every level of politics,
influences every arena of business, occupies territory
in every family, and reaches into every home, sporting event, school,
entertainment and artistic expression. Religion has exploded far
beyond the walls of churches. Religion is an unavoidable feature
of society. Religion can be sick and abusive. Sick religion
leads to the abusive use of religious power to control people in the
name of God.
to do about religion? That is the question that seems to occupy
most of the people who write e-mail to me in response to my web site
and book. It is a complex and perplexing question. No two
people answer it in exactly the same way. It seems never to be
answered adequately by most people.
religion is a persistent trap that snares children early before they
can make any logical objective decision about it. Childhood religion
goes with the individual until the last breath of life. Making
realistic effective changes in the religious conditioning of most
people seems to be almost impossible. (It is possible, however.
See the two encouraging letters below from South Africa and Hong Kong.)
have you resolved the problem of what to do about religion? Have
you made an uneasy truce with the misinformation and spiritual violence
of religion? Have you abandoned religion completely, only to find
it seeping back into your life from unexpected directions? Have
you abandoned your search for an affirming church only to find yourself
still hungering for spiritual food?
FAMILY AND HOME
many LGBT people, the family and home are so intertwined with religion
that to leave the family religion means to leave home. Hostility
and alienation about religion have driven many young GLBT people from
their homes long before they were mature enough to make it on their
own. Many youth who have recently written e-mail to me about my
web site are from 12 to 17 years old. Family conflict over
religion is as abusive and violent as anything that ever destroys the
peace and tranquility of "home sweet home."
you have already "tried everything" and there is no resolution in sight
for the conflict between you and your parents and family about religion
and your sexual orientation. Shouting, tearful prayer sessions,
stern orders to leave, and bringing in the preacher to fix things have
made things worse for you and solved nothing. What can you do
now? Run away from home?
away is hard to do if you are the mother! Or the father. Or the
grandmother. Or even one of the children. Running away from home
is not running away from the abusive religion that has been implanted
within you since before you can remember. Abusive religious
conditioning remains on the internal tapes that run through your mind
just like all the others. Unlearning religion is more difficult
than kicking other destructive habits. You are made to feel
guilty if you abandon sick religion, but you are praised for getting
alcohol, tobacco or drugs out of your life. Religion is also a
habit-forming drug. Religion also kills. It killed Jesus
and has killed many LGBT people.
to abusive religion can destroy your self-esteem, sap your energy,
undermine your personal goals and career, undercut all of your
relationships, make you physically and mentally sick, and leave you
gasping for more religion than ever.
If you think that this is overdoing it and extreme, you should read my e-mail.
START YOUR OWN RELIGION
probably already have begun to develop your own spiritual life.
You have had to let go of a lot of baggage. In order to move on,
you have had to abandon false paths and let go of abusive religious
teachings and practices. Starting over is always difficult.
Nothing has a more tenacious grip on our minds and lives than our own
What has given you your most helpful new sense of spiritual direction? Jesus? God? Nature?
Other people? Your own inner voice? The Bible? What?
you follow Jesus, you will be like Jesus and abandon sick abusive
religion and move on. You recognize and let go of the hypocrisy
and destructive effects of oppressive religion and move on. You
may have tried to get other people to share in your pilgrimage.
That can be the most difficult part. People addicted to religion
are in denial that anything is wrong. The deeply cut paths of
traditional religion are hard to leave. They are familiar and
have become emotionally satisfying even if they are spiritually
empty. Traditional religion is a social setting that many people
are reluctant to give up.
Read Philippians 3:1-14
to see how Paul had to let go of sick religion in order to follow Jesus.
TWO OR THREE
big does religion have to be to be genuine? Jesus set the pattern
of one-on-one and two or three gathered together in his name. How
much bigger than that does genuine spirituality have to be to
work? Where did all those cathedrals come from? A recent
television documentary showed that the cathedrals were built to be the
political capitols of provinces and states in the middle ages and just
got out of hand. It is very hard to ignore stone cathedrals that
are sometimes larger than the villages in which they were built.
It is also hard to challenge and change anything that has been accepted
as sacred for hundreds of years, no matter how out of touch with
reality it might be.
main purpose of my web site and book is to give accurate adequate
information and to encourage and equip small group home study and
dialogue. Many such home study groups are functioning now around
the world. I am greatly encouraged by the spiritual freedom and
progress that many people have reported to me. (See the letters
have you done so far to find and follow your own spiritual path that
really works for you? How have other people helped you or
hindered you? How have you helped others in their search for a
personal faith that works for them?
I love you, and that's why I tell you the truth.
"ADDITIONAL RESOURCES" for books and sites related to this update:
you can find a copy, get Wayne E. Oates: "When Religion Gets Sick"
(recently republished); also see Father Leo Booth: "When God becomes a
Drug: Breaking the Chains of Religious Addiction and Abuse"; Bruce
Bawer: "Stealing Jesus: How Fundamentalism Betrays Christianity"; David
Johnson and Jeff VanVonderen: "The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse:
Recognizing and Escaping Spiritual Manipulation and False Spiritual
Authority Within the Church";
Hartman: "Congregations in Conflict: The Battle Over Homosexuality,"
which tells the details and dynamics of the opposition to attempts by
Rev. Jimmy Creech, Dr. Mahan Siler and others to challenge abusive
religion and to affirm and celebrate gay and lesbian holy unions; Soren
Kierkegaard: "Attack Upon Christendom"; and of special help: John
Shelby Spong: "Why Christianity Must Change or Die"; a final suggestion
is "Leaving the Fold: A Guide for Former Fundamentalists and Others
Leaving Their Religion" by Marlene Winell, Ph.D. (a careful study on
religious recovery based on the author's personal experience and
AN ENCOURAGING LETTER FROM SOUTH AFRICA:
letter came to me on April 24, 2001, from a South African Seminary
student who has studied my web site and has written to me several times.
Dear Dr Rembert,
The 27th of April is celebrated as Freedom Day in South Africa, the day
we celebrate democracy and human rights, a day when GLBT people received their freedom as well.
I had a small taste of my own freedom day. In your first e-mail you
said that you suspected that there were other students with similar
problems at the Seminary where I study. Well, I just could not believe
it! Yesterday I was proved wrong! One of my fellow students and I went
to a coffee bar and we drank some coffee and we had a nice chat. He is
a second year student and we attended high school together, he is the
same age as I am, but he worked for a year after school as a
salesperson before attending the seminary. We use to be good friends,
but somehow we lost touch, anyway, during the conversation he told me
he is gay and I told him that I am gay as well and we had a long
discussion about being gay and a Christian and I told him about your
website and your book and he told me about another gay person at the
seminary, this guy is a first year.
now I can safely say that there are at least three gay students at the
seminary one first year, one second year and one third year, thus one
for every year group. I was delighted to hear about this, so now I know
I am not alone. And the feeling I had when I discussed the liberating
message in your book cannot be described. My friend also told me that
he and the first year student have happy and successful relationships
and that they are happy with their partners. So I received an answer to
the question that has been nagging me (about whether gays can have
also told my friend that I wanted to tell him about being gay a long
time ago, but that I was too afraid to do that, because he (at that
stage) told me that he was trying to "convert" a friend of ours who is
also gay, so I decided against telling him. He also wanted to tell me,
but he couldn't because of the front he put up. But luckily he shared
with his friend and his partner and they convinced him to speak to me,
because during the autumn recess I told them about you and your website
(it was the first time they heard the truth about Bible Abuse) and they
were greatly encouraged by it. So, thanks to your website and your book
we have the potential to start our own recovery group
friend also told me that he wants to leave our denomination and start
his own church or join a gay-friendly church. So I told him about
the UFMCC, and it is amazing that we came to the same conclusion
separately. I feel honored to have received the good news first and I
might also be a leader in the sense that I am the final year student
and I will have to set an example to my friends so that I may not fail
them, or myself. My friend also related to me that there are at least
three other gay people that attended school with us who came out
yesterday, after I spoke with my friend and I after I got your book
(and started to read it) I could hear the freedom bells ringing. I
really struggled with God about which path I should take; now I know! I
always struggled with my sexual orientation and my calling, only now do
I know my true calling! Thank you for your help, God really intervened
and our paths crossed. I have struggled against extreme
homophobia all my life, even from the age of five I have been the
victim of cruel taunting and I had a bad self concept and esteem ever
since. I pray that the Lord will help me and heal me. I do not wish for
it to destroy my life.
Please keep on praying for me and my friends, we are still new at this and it is scary!
Your friend in Christ
LETTER FROM HONG KONG:
Dear Dr. Truluck,
are a LGBT Christian group in Hong Kong since 1992. We have worship,
fellowship & bible study gathering every week.
have bought your book, Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse, &
started the weekly Recovery Group last year. It is absolutely
excellent, and has benefited many of our brothers and sisters in Hong
Kong, recovering their relationship with God. Let me give our deepest
thanks to you & the Lord for the book. We will continue to run the
group until all of us here have listened to the liberating message,
which is in fact the true gospel, at least once.
We are now updating our website, and would like to place a link of your website
on ours if you agree. Also, feel free to link ours to yours if you like.
Our URL is www.bmcf.org.hk (unfortunately this is only in Chinese currently).
Looking forward to your reply. And if you happen to be in Hong
Kong, you are most welcome to visit us.
Brother in Christ,
Blessed Minority Christian Fellowship
Update added Christmas 2000:
"YOU HAVE TRIUMPHED!"
begin the year 2001 far better equipped to live and enjoy life than you
began the year 2,000! You have come a long way. You are
well on your way into full recovery from abusive religion, and you have
made great progress in accepting yourself and affirming yourself and
others. Good for you!
I look back over a year of e-mails and GLBT news reports, I rejoice
with you in how much you have learned and grown in the last 12
months. You are a lot stronger now than a year ago. Bad
experiences you have endured this year have strengthened your
determination to finish your course and enjoy full freedom to be
bad that happened to you this year prepared you to face 200l with more
knowledge, experience and confidence so that you can handle whatever
happens. You are also far better equipped to help others
has been a powerful example for all of us in GLBT activism during
2000. Great progress has been made in getting across our message
of hope, love and truth in many religious groups. In January
2001, SoulForce will stand at the Vatican in Rome to confront abusive
YOU ARE STRONG
are stronger than you think. We as GLBT people tend to focus on
how awful we are and not on our positive feelings and actions.
Our culture has pressured us into questioning ourselves at every
turn. But you have resisted this and moved on. The fact
that you are still alive to read this is evidence that you are one of
the strongest people in the world!
am convinced that GLBT people are the strongest people on earth,
because we have to struggle for self-acceptance and survival far more
than others. Your struggle against all odds has brought you
through many pressures that would have defeated a weaker person.
You have kept on kicking when others have lost courage and given up.
WRITE IT DOWN
experiences are an important part of who you are. You are the
world's authority on your own experience. Write it down.
Now is an excellent time for you to start keeping a daily
journal. Your journal is just for you. It gives you a
written record of what you are learning day by day and is a reminder of
where you were and how far you have come. Writing a journal takes
time and self-discipline. When I started my daily journal in
1987, I did not realize that I would draw on it later as a source for
my web site, books, updates and workshops.
you don't write it down, you loose it. We all have incomplete
memory of past events and people. We have highly selective memory
at best, and when our view of ourselves is contaminated by homophobia,
our backward vision can be obscured or even obliterated. Even if
you write only one or two days a week, regular disciplined thoughtful
reflection on what is happening in your life can help you better to
LISTEN TO OTHERS
can learn a lot about yourself by really listening to other people and
noticing their body language as well as the words that they say and
that they don't say. Learn to listen. Read "The Miracle of
Dialogue" by Ruel Howe. Read through the Gospel of Mark (or all
Four Gospels) and notice the listening ministry of Jesus. Jesus
listened to people, and so can you. Read my book all the way
through if you have not yet done so. It is calculated to help you
learn, heal, grow and recover in every dimension of your life.
or start a small group to enjoy and learn from dialogue with people you
trust and with whom you feel comfortable and relaxed. Dialogue is
not always helpful. Healing dialogue has to be both honest and
non-judgmental. The basis for healthy dialogue is an accepting
and affirming atmosphere that allows individuals to be themselves
without fear of rejection and verbal abuse.
BUILD ON WHAT YOU HAVE
have made great progress in your journey into freedom and
self-acceptance. What are the doors that are already open to you
for further learning and growing and for ministries that really fit
you? Be creative. Look for ways to continue and build upon
what you have accomplished.
Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!
Rembert Truluck. November 6, 1998. Update.
elections show us that anti-gay religious forces are powerful and
persistent. In Alaska and Hawaii, propositions to deny gay and
lesbian couples the right to marry were passed by significant
majorities. In my home state of South Carolina, where the state
constitution was revised to allow people of different races to marry,
forty percent of the voters voted NO!
are we going to stop beating our heads bloody against the brick wall of
homophobic churches to try to gain acceptance in religious traditions
and institutions that have lost their own spiritual credibility and
relevance to today's world? Churches are living in the dark ages
and cling to attitudes and practices that the rest of our society
outgrew centuries ago.
at church are people expected to "check their brains" at the door and
let somebody else do their thinking for them. The ritual of even
the most liberal churches continues to arrange people in obedient rows
of seats or pews so that attention is devoted to the "expert" at the
front who talks uninterrupted for 30 minutes. As though nobody
had yet learned to read, the lessons are read to the unthinking
"sheep", who are directed through liturgy, arm and leg exercises, and
monotonous recitations that have been in use for centuries and that
require no thinking or personal decisions on the part of the
participants. Churches are basically "brain washing" enterprises
that give only one point of view over and over until total agreement is
reached and sustained, whether anybody really understands religion or
no longer live in a time when the average person cannot read and only
privileged people have any formal education. So why do we
practice religion in forms that assume that we still live in the
is time for Spiritual Homosexuals to turn in new directions for the
truth that sets us free for love, joy, peace, and hope. What new
spiritual directions are most attractive to you? What new
directions are you already trying? Where have you found
God? Where are you most likely to experience the spirit of Jesus
viable alternatives to the traditional churches exist for us to
discover and try? How about what Jesus intended in the first
place? When Jesus told the disciples after the resurrection to
"make disciples of all people" and to "teach them everything that I
have taught you", did he expect church buildings, budgets, books,
boards, and agencies to develop? I doubt it. Jesus never
said, "Sell what you have and give it to the building fund!"
Jesus did, however, say that new wine required new wineskins or the new
wine would be lost.
would have happened if the disciples had been obedient to Jesus to drop
everything else and "make disciples of all people"? Jesus never
said, "Make converts." We are all familiar with the principle of
multiplication, where a single person makes one disciple in a year and
then both of them make another disciple in another year and the process
goes on to reach multitudes of people. Jesus gave the "great
commission" to a small group of people. Suppose that there had
been only one disciple who followed the orders of Jesus.
one year there would have been two. Remember that Barnabas and
Paul taught the disciples in Antioch for one year and the disciples
were first called "Christians" (Christ-like) at Antioch (Acts
11:26). If that one disciple had set the mathematical progression
into motion and the number of disciples had doubled each year, in 30
years there would have been almost a billion disciples. The
population of the world would have become disciples without any church
buildings, without a New Testament, and without any organization
besides small home group meetings. Perhaps the Christians would
have taken over the Empire instead of the other way around.
still have the opportunity to turn in new directions that really are
the old directions followed and commanded by Jesus. Small groups
can meet in private homes and focus on individuals rather than on
buildings, fund raising, ecclesiastical structure, church order, and
orthodoxy. Such small home groups do work. You and I both
have experienced the healing spiritual encouragement and acceptance of
of the main purposes of my web site is to provide material and guidance
for small group spiritual recovery. See "Start Your Own Group" in
my web site.
WHAT OTHER NEW DIRECTIONS ARE OUT THERE?
You already have great spiritual resources within yourself. Draw
upon the inner spiritual resources that God has given to you through
your own personal experiences.
2.Learn from others.
Other people can teach you a lot from their experiences. One
purpose of a small discussion group, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, is
to learn from what others have experienced. Free dialogue that
takes place in an accepting and non-judgmental environment produces
spiritual growth and healing. Bible study sessions where people
argue and dispute "what the Bible says" produces confusion, conflict,
Question everything. Always ask "Why?" until you have answers
that fit and satisfy you. Spiritual growth is a process that
takes time and thought.
Don't accept opinions and teachings that don't seem right to you.
You already know a lot. Trust your own instincts. If
something does not sound right for you, it probably isn't.
This is part of being objective. Nobody has the right to make
religious demands on you "just because I say so". The phrase "the
Bible says" is used frequently to make a forceful but dubious point in
religious discussion. Bible texts can be easily taken out of
context and made to say totally untrue things that cannot stand up
under careful and objective examination. This is true of all of
the Bible texts that are used to condemn and reject homosexuals.
A great deal of religious instruction and celebration assumes a
medieval mind set that submits without thinking. In no other area
of life besides religion are grown people today expected to let someone
else do their thinking for them. Jesus came to teach people to
think for themselves. God has given you a wonderful logical mind.
Your parents and society have given you a wonderful education.
Use both of them.
Realize that all people have equal value before God. All people
includes you. Respect your own views and the views of others.
When you respect and accept yourself, you can more easily accept and
respect other people. Demand respect for yourself and for others.
8.Don't Follow the Crowd.
Remember that the majority can be wrong and often is. Be an
individual. Don't let the world around you press you into a mold
that doesn't fit you.
9.Get A Grip on Yourself.
Learn self control. Know yourself. Take a good look at who
you are and learn to be honest with yourself about yourself.
10.Be Willing to Be Different.
As a homosexual, you are already different from most other
people. Buck the tide. Resist going along with the
expectations of others when those expectations are not right for you.
do you think about all of this? I would like to know your
reaction to what I have presented in this letter. What new
directions do you think we might consider? What new directions
have you already tried?
web site obviously is intended to explore new spiritual directions and
new ways of seeing old truths. Your feedback about it will be
helpful in my work on a new book on "HONEST TO GAYS" that will try to
bring a fresh look at new directions for gay, lesbian, bisexual,
transgender spirituality in our constantly changing world.
of this is really new. All that I have said above has already
been said better by Soren Kierkegaard in "Attack Upon Christendom", by
Dietrich Bonhoeffer in "Letters and Papers from Prison", and by Paul
Tillich in "The Shaking of the Foundations", all of these being used by
Bishop J. A. T. Robinson in "Honest to God". Get these classics
and read them.
you for many expressions of support for this ministry. As always,
we need financial help to keep my web site on the Internet and to
produce printed material for those who request it. I have
recently expanded my workshop materials on "Steps to Recovery from
Bible Abuse" because of requests for resources for small study and
spiritual recovery groups. Write to me about my latest
materials. See "Gay Spiritual Survival Kit" in my web site.
"Anyone who is in Christ is a new creation.
Old things have passed away.
Behold, new things have come." II Corinthians 5:17
Recent books that have been helpful concerning the above issues:
Religion Is A Queer Thing,
by Elizabeth Stuart. The Pilgrim Press: 1997. This book deals
with new directions for small group meetings for "Gay, Lesbian,
Bisexual and Transgendered People."
Stealing Jesus: How Fundamentalism Betrays Christianity,
by Bruce Bawer. Crown Publishing, Inc: 1997. Very helpful look at
why we need to find viable new directions for our spiritual path.
Why Christianity Must Change Or Die,
by John Shelby Spong. HarperSanFrancisco: 1998. Possibly Spong's
best book. "A Bishop Speaks to Believers in Exile".
(See other relevant books in Resources and References.)