Step 1
Step 2
Step 3
Step 4
Step 5
Step 6
Step 7
Step 8
Step 9
Step 10
Step 11
Step 12
Give Yourself Time
Follow Jesus' Steps

Step 12:
Become A Freedom Missionary

Encourage others to accept and feel good about themselves.  Develop and share with others your new joy and freedom.  Grow through daily study and meditation.

Matthew 10:8, 19-20; 28:19-20: "Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons: freely you received, freely give... When they deliver you up, do not become anxious about how or what you will speak; for it shall be given you in that hour what you are to speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of God who speaks in you... Make disciples of all people... I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

Telling other people about your own experience of finding freedom from abusive religion and your joy and happiness in feeling good about yourself will help you to grow stronger in your own faith.  As you encourage other people, you also will be encouraged to continue to grow, heal, learn, and recover.

Further discussion of Step 12 can be found in my book Steps To Recovery From Bible Abuse in the following Lessons:

Click here to see recent update on "Accept Yourself".

(Click on Bible references to see them.)

Mark 4:35-41; 5:1-20

Matthew 28:18-20; Ephesians 2:8-22

Amos 5:21-24; Micah 6:6-8; Jeremiah 31:31-34;
Hebrews 13:1-3

No. 48. "FREE AT LAST"
Romans 8:18-39

On to "Give Yourself Time to Grow"

date for August 22, 2004


The disciples of Jesus spent a lot of their time together struggling for power and authority in the group and arguing about their relationships to each other and to Jesus.  Jesus responded calling for a small child and saying: "Unless you are converted ("turn around") and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.  Whoever then of you humbles yourself as this child, then you are the greatest in the kingdom of heaven; and whoever receives one such child in my name receives me."  (Matthew 19:1-11)

Religion always develops into a struggle for power and control.  Most of the warfare that is destroying lives every day is based in religion.  The growing warfare in the United States between GLBT people who seek the civil right for same-sex marriage are being drawn into a growing battle with religious and political powers that are willing to offer no compromise.  Severe battle lines are being drawn.


Wounded people tend to wound other people.  Destructive dynamics of oppression have been documented to show that when minorities get rid of oppression they often become the oppressors themselves against their own friends, relatives and partners.  My e-mail and the great flood of e-mail that I read from many different lists is dominated by the painful stories of GLBT people who have been despised, rejected, abused and beaten down emotionally and socially into very painful self-rejection and self-destructive actions, feelings and relationships.

In San Francisco, the "Gay Capital of the Universe," it is appropriate that this large banner hangs in one of the downtown BART stations: "I LOVE YOU! YOU ARE PERFECT! NOW CHANGE!"  I think that banner was meant for me.  (See update below on Changing Other People.).

Every close personal relationship that I have tried to develop with someone else has always evolved into an unpleasant ongoing struggle about who is in charge and what each of us can and cannot do.  Why can't I grow up into the love that Jesus has given to all of us?  I really do not know.  Rodney King, one of the mot famous victims of abuse, asked the world: "Why can't we just get along?"


Becoming a child in your self-esteem and in your humility in relating to others takes a lot of effort.  Even the best of children will fight over the toys.  When you are attracted to someone else and really love that person and you move in together, why do you and I spend so much time and effort trying to change each other into someone and something different? 

We can readily see the negative results of the homophobic pressures that our society, culture, religion, politics and families exercise against us at every turn.  Recognizing these pressures and these destructive forces can move you into a simple effective experience of recovery and spiritual growth that guards you from becoming impatient and destructive towards yourself and others.

That is a lot easier said than done, isn't it?


This week, Vice President Dick Cheney came out in a statement of support for same-sex relationships and added that his daughter is gay and in a relationship with another woman.  This is incredible in view of the fact that Cheney's daughter Mary and her partner were not invited to the Inauguration ceremony for Bush and Cheney. 

Mary Cheney was in the audience that the Vice President told of his belief that people should be allowed to enter into any relationship that they want.  Cheney also is opposed to changing the United States Constitution over this issue.  Cheney's daughter is demonstrating that "a little child will lead them" in a powerful practical way.

The Bush administration and anti-gay religious organizations quickly repeated opposition to same-sex relationships, but it's too late.  The horse is already out of the barn and the gate cannot be closed.  (See the details of the Yahoo! article .)  I would love to see the expression on the President's face when he was told about Dick Cheney's statements.  He might have looked stunned even longer than the 7 minutes that he remained frozen in place when he was told about the terrorism of 9/11.

Many LGBT citizens have held strongly negative opinions about the Vice President.  In one brief statement, Dick Cheney has become a new person seen in a new light that really throws the fat into the fire for the homophobic establishment in religion and politics.  Who knows?  Dick Cheney may be gay himself.  (J. Edgar Hoover was!)  When Dick Cheney "came out" in support of his little girl and in support of same-sex relationships and voiced his opposition to a federal anti-gay marriage amendment, he risked his own political career (and "infuriated the Archbishop" –a line out of "Amadeus"). 

Dick Cheney had to think about this for a long time before he acted, just as you have had to do.  Cheney has revealed his truth to the world, and the reaction will say a lot about where this highly charged political war is headed in November. This also will encourage you and me and help us to be more direct and clear in our own coming out.


People who have children or friends who are openly gay are far more supportive of same-sex couples and civil rights for homosexuals than the general population.  PFLAG is a powerful force in the world for respect and human rights for GLBT people.  Parents and Friends of lesbians and Gays exists because parents and others have let "a little child" lead them when that little child grew up and simply said: I am gay."

Read again my material on "How Jesus Came Out" at the Temple in Jerusalem when he was only 12 years old.  Jesus simply told his parents the truth of who he was.  Parents were anxiously looking for Jesus and told him that that he had caused them a lot of pain.  The reply of Jesus that he had to be doing what God sent him to do was a wonderful "coming out" demonstration that informs and encourages all of us. (LUKE 2:39-52)

Is it about time for you to face and accept your own personal truth and come out to family and friends so that you can make a difference for your world?

Rembert Truluck
201 W. Washington St. #805
Greenville, SC 29601

If you have a copy of my book, read again the lessons in STEP 9.  If you want a copy of my book, please contact Chi Rho Press at:

Update for March 16, 2003


Your truth is not "out there somewhere".  Your truth is already within you and available to you if you can resist the distractions and false leads that religion and culture throw across your path.  Most of the people who contact me in letters and e-mail are still searching for their own truth.  The search itself is discovery.  The decision to keep searching and not settle for something that does not really fit you is itself a giant leap into your truth.

I just now received the web site link and details about "THE BIG, BIG TABLE" conference in Columbus, Ohio, that I will help to lead for a group of area churches this June 14-15, 2003.  See the link above.  Look at the web site and plan to attend the conference if you can.

The theme of this conference is: "Reconciling Christians and promoting spiritual growth for people of all sexual orientations."  I will deliver the "plenary address" on "LEGALISM AS IDOLATRY: JESUS AND THE BIBLE" and will conduct workshops on "Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse" and on "Personal Evangelism in the Gay Community."

Donna Brooks and Rev. Marj Creech are planning this event.  Donna Brooks is Director of Write On! Productions.  Rev. Marj Creech is pastor of God's Promise Church in Granville, Ohio.  See their web site for all of the details.


As usual, I will probably learn a lot more than I teach at this conference.  My own personal search for my own truth is never ending.  I look forward to meeting the other leaders and the conference participants and hearing what I need to hear from and along with them.  Nobody ever comes into my life by accident!  Or into yours, either! 

Look again at the wonderful help available from Iyanla Vanzant in her truly great volume of "Daily Meditations for People of Color": "ACTS OF FAITH" .  Read and focus on her meditations for July, August, and September: "Others."

Where has your search for your own truth led you so far?  To church?  Away from church?  Into meditation?  Back to school?  Back to the Bible?  As far away from the Bible as possible?  Into a recovery group?  Escape from a recovery group?

Have you tried to follow Jesus?  Did it work?  Have you tried spiritual paths of the various world religions?  Where has your search led you?  What have you learned of your own truth along the way?  The journey is the goal, and the journey never ends.

What have other people taught you?  What have you taught to others?

All of us travel different sometimes opposite paths in our search for our own truth.


One of the greatest distractions from God that traditional religion can throw across your path is the persistent notion that the truth is somehow the same for every individual.  Jesus resisted the prevailing religion of his time that demanded the same rituals and laws for every individual.  See my material on "LEGALISM AS IDOLATRY".

Read again my last update on "EQUAL VALUE" to refresh your memory about the value of each individual to God and to all of the rest of us.

Nobody else can do your personal search for you.  You can, however, learn a lot from the journey that others have traveled.  Whose journey has been most helpful and encouraging to you personally?


Keep searching.  The search is part of the answer and a necessary path into your own self-understanding, self-acceptance and self-worth.  How can you ever know and enter into your own truth if you are convinced by misinformed abusive religion that you cannot accept yourself?  Once you have been taught to believe that you have no value to God or to others, you give up.  Traditional distorted views of "sin" are some of the most evil concoctions that churches have created so far to control and diminish people.

The thief on the cross called out to Jesus to accept him, and Jesus did.  Before the thief could accept Jesus, he had to accept himself as having worth and value to himself and to God.

Your preacher and church may have given up on you.  Your parents and family may have given up on you.  Some of your friends may have given up on you and abandoned you.  Don't ever give up on yourself!  Keep searching for your own truth.


You already are made in the image of God.  The Spirit of God has already been given to you.  The great turning point in biblical prophecy came when Elijah ran from Jezebel and hid in a cave.  God did not speak to Elijah in fire, wind, and earthquake or any other outward event.  God spoke to Elijah in "a still small voice" within.  The original language of that phrase is "the sound of a gentle blowing." (I Kings 19:12)

You already have the spiritual resources that God has willed for you.  You are not alone in your search for your truth.  God is with you and within you.  Don't let religion, the church or the Bible distract you from God's "sound of gentle blowing" that only you can hear.

Rembert Truluck
March 16, 2003

Update added May 3, 2002:

You cannot change or control other people.  They have to change themselves.

Religion often encourages the illusion that if you work hard enough and do the right spiritual manipulations, you can control and change others.  Abusive religion demands that you change others, no matter if they want to change or not.

Jesus let people go.  Abusive religion always holds on.  Jesus respected the freedom of individuals to make personal decisions about themselves and their relationship with God.  Abusive religion tries to make decisions for people through arguments, threats, fear, social pressure and misinformation.

You really cannot change other people.  How, then, do people change?  What is the process of spiritual change?  If we have to make spiritual things happen, nothing spiritual would ever happen!  God makes the truth happen and opens minds and hearts to the love of God.  God encourages you to be honest and true to yourself, to God and to other people.


You cannot change others, but you can share with others what you have found helpful to you in your own spiritual journey.  You can listen.  You can offer your encouragement and your concern.  But you cannot change another person.

A great deal of the e-mail that I receive from my readers is about their frustration and pain trying to change parents, friends, and partners who are judgmental, demeaning and rejecting.  I really have little advice to give.  I never know the whole situation that a person faces, and I don't have a clue as to how to change people who do not want to change.


You cannot change others, but you can change yourself.  You can decide how you will feel about what happens to you, and you can decide what to do that best fits you and meets your needs.  Nobody else can decide that for you.  In the same way, you cannot decide those things for someone else either.

God has given you the gift of creativity.  You can think for yourself and you can create new attitudes and new relationships.  You are not the victim of circumstances.  You are in the image of God.  You have a clear sense of destiny and purpose that God has given to you.  You can make great changes for yourself.  But nobody else can make those changes for you.

You cannot, however, be creative and make changes for anybody else.  You can watch and wait and care, but you cannot change other people, no matter how much you love them or how much you want to change them.  This is a hard lesson to learn, especially for me!  As a Christian minister and a spiritual teacher and leader, I am tempted to try to "arrange things", like Dolly Levi, who "arranged things: like flowers, garden parties, and lives!"  But none of us is equipped to arrange other people's lives!


Since you can never change another person, you have to learn to live with the frustration of not having your way!  How have you learned to handle your frustration and distress over not being able to change somebody who is very important to you?  A lot depends on who the person is to you and what they are doing that you want to change.

Have you tried to reason with the person you want to change, and then when that doesn't work, tried to manipulate and pressure the changes that you want?  Trying to manipulate others into making changes that they don't want to make is a little like trying to play god without the necessary skills and authority!

Our frustration and anger because we cannot change someone can lead us to condemn and reject a person who is really very important and close to us.  Breaking off contact with unchangeable friends, lovers, family members, or others is often our final grasp at power to change other people.  That doesn't work either!


When you feel threatened by the attitudes and behavior of another person because that person refuses to change, you can take a good look at yourself and at why you are so anxious to control and change others.  You can also learn to detach from your entanglement with another person, and you can learn to compromise.  Learn to respect the integrity of the people in your life that are important to you.

Parent/Child/Adult ways of relating to others all three reside within each of us.  To act like the controlling demanding parent or the compliant obedient child is unrealistic for adults.  Yet many couples fall into parent/child patterns of relating to each other.  To relate as adult to adult is to be objective and realistic, but it can take a lot of self-awareness and honesty to break the old parent/child patterns.

Have you ever had anyone respond to your efforts to change him/her by shouting: "You sound just like my mother!"?  I have.


These four basic attitudes of thinking honestly and successfully about anything are especially necessary for getting a grip on your passion for changing other people.  In the first place, be objective.  What is the real reason you want to change others?  That will vary from person to person.  There is a lot difference between why you want your parents to change their homophobic legalistic religious rejection of you because you are gay and why you want your lover to give in to some of your demands for control over her/his actions!

Learn when to let go and move on.  Read again my material in Step 5, "Avoid Negative People and Churches." Study the four lessons on this subject in my book.  Sometimes the only objective, logical, realistic, practical way to handle people who blindly accuse and attack you is to avoid them.  Detach.  Let go.  Let God fight your spiritual battles for you.  You are a lot more likely to win that way.


Many of the attitudes and actions against you from people who are hostile to GLBT people are based on misinformation and emotionally charged religious ignorance.  Use my web site whenever you can to give accurate reliable believable information to correct the sources of abusive homophobic religion.

There is no destructive power greater than misinformation and no greater gift that you can give to others than accurate reliable information.  I get e-mail every day from people who have found my web site and have written to tell me that my web site gave them hope and a reason for living that they had been searching for all of their lives.  The opposite of information is misinformation, and you already know the disastrous results of misinformation, misunderstandings, fear, homophobia, and ignorant religious abuse.

Information is also the key to getting along with your lover and other friends and family.  Honest, caring, nonjudgmental dialogue between people can lead to fresh understanding and insight along with real changes that are made by people who have decided on the basis of evidence and newly discovered truth that they want to change.  Then they will make changes that they really want.  But you cannot make anybody change just by telling them that they should, either to please you or because you think they are wrong and need to be corrected.


Dialogue consists of listening and asking questions, which is the first thing that Jesus is recorded as doing when he was "sitting with the teachers in the Temple, listening to them and asking them questions" in Luke 2:46.  "Sitting" is just as important as listening and asking questions.  Sitting was always the posture of teachers and students.  Sitting communicated an atmosphere of a relaxed, calm, exchange of ideas.  The preaching style of many overbearing evangelical fanatics on television and in crusades pacing about and shouting aggressively at their audience is a pattern than has invaded the thinking of many religious people and turned them into really obnoxious screamers instead of quiet listeners that demonstrate the caring humble Spirit of Jesus.

It is hard to be calm when others are yelling at you and belittling you with false teachings and misinformation.  You can still pray: "God, grant me the courage to change what I can change, the strength to accept what I cannot change and the wisdom to know the difference."  Accept the truth that you cannot change other people.

Learn to wait.  Change takes time.  Plant the seeds of love and truth.  Give them time to grow.  Whatever you do in relationships, you will never regret doing the loving thing.  You can always be an agent of change, if you begin with yourself.

Rembert Truluck

See the current May, 2002, newsletter of Interfaith Working Group ("Religion at Critpath") maintained by Chris and Barbara Purdom in Philadelphia.  This is a great source of accurate up-to-date information related to LGBT issues and events.  Click on: http://www.iwgonline.org/ktf/ to see the newsletter.

Update for December 20, 2001

Many years ago in Havana, before Castro, a Baptist preacher was visiting Cuba and stood with the crowd watching a parade.  A little boy came up to him and said something to him in Spanish.  The preacher did not understand and thought the boy was asking for money; so he told him: No!  Then the little boy tugged on his coat and said the same thing again, and again the preacher said, No.  At last the boy said the same thing again, and the preacher shoved him away and said, No, no money!  Much later, the preacher was in his hotel room and looked up the words that the boy used.  He was not asking for money.  He said three times, "Please, mister, lift me up so I can see too!"

Is that the real meaning of Christian ministry: "Please lift me up so I can see too?"  Probably.  As you move into the opportunities and challenges of the year 2002, what will be your goals and hopes for the future?  How will you relate to the people around you?  What do you want to leave behind so that you can move on?  What have you personally learned from the terrorism and war since September 11?


We live in a world that has become more threatening and fragile since the sudden explosion of terrorism in New York City and in the anthrax biological terrorism throughout the country.  Since September 11, I have made three plane trips to the east coast.  Flying is different now.  Flying was once a routine pleasure, but it has now become a monumental hassle and waiting game.  Yet life goes on, and so do the airline industry and the stumbling but recovering economy.

Whatever you have found to keep you going under pressure is worth sharing with others.  Look around you.  You have plenty of opportunities to lift up others so that they can see too.

Many of you have written detailed accounts of your struggles with coming out, relating to your homophobic families and friends, questions about God and spiritual issues that have frustrated you and challenged your mind and emotions.  You have learned a lot from your personal experiences no matter how awful and threatening they might have been.  You have accumulated a great reserve of "lifting" power because of what you have endured.


LGBT people are the strongest people in the world simply because we have had to work so hard just to survive.  You have faced pressures from religion and homophobic society as well as from your own families and friends that have tested your resolve and have made you develop survival skills that keep you going even in the face of incredible abuse and rejection.

You have been able to work through extreme emotional situations and threatening circumstances that never seem to let up.  You have faced your fears and learned to accept yourself and love yourself no matter what the churches and politicians say.  You have become equipped to "lift up others so that they can see too!"


The basic theory behind "the origin of the species through natural selection" is the "survival of the fittest."  In the ongoing evolution of the human race, homosexuals are leading the way into the future of humankind by learning and growing into better humans by handling pressures and threats beyond what others face.

GLBT people have to concentrate and learn more accurate information than others in order to survive the garbage flow of ignorance that threatens to overwhelm us all.  We also have to face and handle effectively the emotional stress created by living "in the closet" and hiding our true identity.  We grow stronger every moment as we deal with the creeping horror of self-hate and self-rejection to which we are subjected through unrelenting attacks by sick legalistic abusive religion.


In "Cabaret" a scene in the park features a beautiful young man who sings a stirring song about: "Tomorrow Belongs to Me!"  The crowd is drawn into the emotions of the music and the enthusiasm of the Hitler youth and joins in singing in an ever-increasing tempo into an emotionally charged shout.  This scene is probably one of the most effective movie events ever made.  To whom does the future belong now?  Does the future belong to you as a growing, learning, surviving homosexual person?  I think that it does!

As you continue to grow into greater emotional and spiritual maturity and develop into a fully functioning human in the image of God, you are becoming the future of the human race.  You are being prepared to "equip the saints for ministry."  You are ready to hear the plea: "Please lift me up so I can see too!"

You have nothing to fear from terrorism or from pressures and struggles of the mind, body and soul.  You are marching with a great rapidly expanding army of LGBT people who are already changing the world far more than did the events of September 11.  The future belongs to you.  Let go of the past except to learn from it and seize the moment.  Freedom, self-esteem, joy, love, hope and peace with God are here now within your reach.

Enjoy being you.  Accept your necessary role in creating a better humanity and a better world.  God is with you.  You do not struggle alone.  You are "surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses."  A great multitude of others travel the same road with you.  You grow stronger through adversity and you become more powerful every day that you simply survive.  You re-enforce your own self-esteem and vision of truth every time that you "lift up others so that they can see too."

As Jesus and Troy Perry said: "Don't Be Afraid Anymore!"

Don't give up.  Take courage and persevere.  The waters of the stormy sea are parting in front of us, and God is leading us over dry land into a brave new world that you are helping to create simply by accepting and being you.

Rembert Truluck

See the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches web site for messages by Troy Perry and to find a local MCC near where you live.

Update added April 14, 2002

Out of the darkest recesses of your memories and vaguely remembered experiences, truth can emerge into clear perspective with the help of the Spirit of God.  Once you know your own truth, you will cringe before the glare of its relentless light.  Do you really want the truth?  Or do you want to affirm and sustain the hypocrisy of all cultures and religions and the destructive prejudices that society has forced upon you from the time you drew your first breath?

I have had to face and accept some painful truth as I recently read a brief but powerful book by Asian gay men telling the truth about the cultural clashes and racism of gay Asian/White relationships.  The book is "Rice: Explorations into Gay Asian Culture + Politics" Edited with an Introduction by Song Cho; published in 1998 by Queer Press, Toronto.

I noticed and bought the book a few days ago at Different Light Book Store in the Castro.  As I read it, I reluctantly realized how much truth I had missed in my relationships with gay Asian men and other gay men of colors, who often have been my friends, partners, lovers, teachers and tormentors.  And I am sure that I have been the same to them.


Racism is a denial of the truth.  Racism dominates GLBT culture just as it does all cultures.  White male privilege and dominance over people of colors is a destructive fact of life that compromises all relationships and muddies the waters of love, affection, sex and emotional attachments.  The book, "Rice", forced me to face and admit some very negative unpleasant things about myself.

Turning other people into stereotypes and objects is not just what the non-gay world does to us; it is what we do to each other on a regular basis.  I wish it were different.  I would love to think that I am truly objective, logical, reasonable and practical in how I view and relate to the people in and around my life.  But I am not.  This is not because I am a bad person or because I am ignorant.  It is simply because I have usually not been forced to take a really honest good look at myself and my way of relating to many of the most significant people in my life.


I suppose that I have spent a lot of the past 21 years since I was outed as gay and left the Baptist College in 1981 trying to escape from a lot of unpleasant realities and truths about myself and about my own ways of seeing people.  My being gay is not the problem.  My sexual orientation is a given and is simply part of who I am in the image of God.  My attitudes and images of other people, however, are the creations of my own imagination and often the result of my un-objective illogical unrealistic assumptions about other people in my life.

Perhaps you have realized some of these same issues in your own life but have not been able to define and deal with them.  The turning point for me was having the writers in "Rice" make me realize how wrong I had been about what other significant people in my life really felt and thought.  Now the big question is what to do about it!

I really don't know.  Probably just being aware of the truth and what is really going on in my own personal cross-cultural relationships will have a positive and healing effect for me and for my friends.  I hope so.


A gay Jewish Christian in Israel has often been in touch with me about the pressures and conflicts that he is facing and trying to handle in an incredibly tumultuous world.  Every day I receive e-mail from LGBT people in many different nations, many different cultures and religions who are struggling with family rejection and community and religious abuse that threaten their security and even their very lives.

Is there an all purpose answer that fits everyone?  Of course not!  No two people are exactly alike.  I am usually frustrated trying to decide how to reply to most of the e-mail that I get from readers of my web site, book and updates.  I do believe that the Spirit of Jesus and the real Jesus of the Gospels provide a point of reference to the truth, but each individual sees God and spiritual resources in his/her own individual way based on their personal history and way of viewing themselves and their world.


The exploration of your inner world can be both threatening and healing.  Discovering your own personal truth is scary and also the path to renewal and hope for a better way of life and more honest fulfilling relationships.  Don't be afraid to take a good honest look at why you relate to and treat people the way you do.  You cannot hide from yourself, though all of us try to do so at times.

You really do know when you are trying to manipulate other people and use them instead of relating to them as having equal value to you as you have to yourself.  Just remember that all people have equal value to God, and you are not better able to judge and control others than God!  Letting other people be themselves and accepting and affirming them as they are is simply "doing unto others as you would them to do unto you."  This is called "the golden rule!"


My attitudes and behavior towards others is already firmly entrenched in lifelong patterns and channels that can be very resistant to change.  Kermit says, "It isn't easy being green."  But it is even more difficult to change from green to gold.  You don't have to continue the demeaning and dishonest attitudes that may still linger in your relationships.  You can change.  You are wonderfully human, and you have been given the capacity to think, make decisions and act to make changes even in your own ways of seeing yourself and other people.

It is never too late to be honest and face your own truth.  It is also never too soon to be honest and to face your own truth!  What can you do today to make your own life more honest and compassionate?  Compassion is your capacity to hear and listen to others and to feel what they are feeling and see things from their point of view.  This is one of the great gifts that Jesus had and that the Spirit of Jesus freely gives to you.

Becoming aware of what you are thinking, feeling and doing about significant people in your life is a great step in the direction of true love, joy and peace.

Rembert Truluck

I will be at Broadway Baptist Church in Kansas City, Missouri, next weekend: April 19-21 for workshops, preaching, book signings, interviews, group meetings.  Call the church for information.  I will meet with Ashley Moore and the "Transcendence Gospel Choir" (the Transgendered Gospel Choir) of the City of Refuge Church in San Francisco on Saturday, April 27, to share my book with them.  I am sure that I will learn as much as I teach!  See their web site at

Update for November 3, 2001

"God, give me the serenity to accept what I cannot change, the courage to change what I can, and the good sense to know the difference."

A lot of things are beyond your understanding and ability to change.  Repeatedly the Bible tells us that nothing is impossible with God.  Yet we continue to try to do the impossible ourselves.  We try to manipulate other people and force them or trap them into doing what we want.  It never really works, does it?  Trying to play God is truly exhausting work!

Codependent behavior that leads you down the deadly path of trying to control others or letting others control you can trap you in an unending cycle of self-destructive attitudes and behaviors.  Anger is usually the result of frustration, and frustration often grows out of not being able to have your own way.


Don't let it get you down.  Nobody is completely in control of very much in life.  Being able to handle what you can and leave the rest to God is a spiritual goal that few of us reach.  We have a passion for control.  "Man the Manipulator" by Everett L. Shostrom was a popular social studies book published by Bantam in 1968 that described the human passion for control that can disrupt and frustrate our lives.  Like Dolly Levi, we want to "arrange things: like flowers, garden parties, and lives!"

People who are caught up in the religion industry develop a fascination and preoccupation with arranging and controlling the lives of other people.  The ultimate expression of control is probably the preacher in the pulpit or on television, who for long sessions of an hour or more is allowed to speak with authority to other people about how they should live their lives whether or not they have a clue about what they are saying and how it is really affecting the victims of their abusive obsessive religious pronouncements.

Not being in control of what others do is a great virtue, not a dismal mistake.  We ponder and imagine how we can get our partners to cooperate and be what we want them to be, but we often have great difficulty just letting them be themselves and encouraging and supporting them in being who they want to be.  We have difficulty really listening to our significant others long enough to have a clear understanding of who and what they really want to be.

Popular culture tries to press you into a mold that does not fit you, but religion goes farther and tries to press you into a mold that doesn't fit anybody.  How much has your religious background led you to believe that you know more about what other people should do with their lives than they do?


Helping other persons to achieve their full potential and to develop and grow into their real self-identity that truly fits them takes a lot of patience, courage, and common sense, all of which are in short supply!  We have some kind of built in bogus radar that makes us think we know what is best for other people, when we often are making a real mess of our own lives.  What kind of distorted psychology creates that kind of deliberate disaster?  Is it "Satan"?  Or is it just plain ordinary run-of-the-mill abusive religion?

Telling another person who or what he/she should be is a dead-end street for dynamic growing relationships.  Letting the other person feel safe and accepted telling you who or what he/she wants to be can be liberating and redemptive.  Spiritual ministry according to Jesus is far more expressed in creative listening than in forceful overbearing telling.

Have you ever had someone try to convince you that what you want is totally wrong for you?  This is the persistent experience of LGBT people, who are told repeatedly and with great conviction by significant others in their lives that their sexual orientation and what they desire sexually and emotionally in same-sex relationships is wrong, evil, ungodly, and an unforgivable evil!  No wonder we are confused and contradicted by traditional religion.


Nobody has the right to control you but yourself and God, who made you with built in personal values and self-images that spring from your creation in the image of God as the basic fact of your existence.  If you cannot accept me, affirm me and encourage me, just leave me alone!

With your God-give right and responsibility to take charge of your own life goes the obligation to know yourself and to know pertinent accurate information about yourself and your purpose in life.  It is not selfish to concentrate on who you really are what you really want in life.  It is necessary for healthy living and realistic spirituality.  You can never live somebody else's goals and aspirations, and you cannot build truth about yourself on borrowed experiences and prejudices from other people.


If you really want to help your partner to become the person you can love and accept and trust, then help and encourage your partner to think for himself/herself.  Don't try to think for someone else.  You cannot do it.  You can try to impose your goals and ideas on others, but they don't stick.  They don't work.  The only goals and ideals that make any difference are the ones that the individual thinks through and accepts.  You cannot impose anything on another person that will really make a difference in the long run.

Face it: you are not your partner.  You have a lot in common, but you have valuable and necessary differences, even conflicts, that are legitimate and part of the human mix that makes you special and attractive to each other.  Why do we meet people that we find attractive and lovable then immediately set out to try to change them to conform to what we expect and what we want?


People are good at pretending to be what you want them to be.  But the illusion of conformity is a lie, and the relationship is on shaky ground from the word go!  We all wear masks that we think will please our significant other, but eventually the mask dissolves, reality sets in, and frustration builds and the relationship begins to fall apart.  Then we begin the same dismal cycle over again with somebody else.  What a mess!


Is there a way out of the swamp of controlling and being controlled in our most significant relationships?  Yes, there is.  Let God do the controlling.  You do the loving, understanding, accepting, patience and liberating that encourages and helps your partner to be true to who and what your partner really wants and desires in life.

Love is not control.  Love is letting go.  Love is being with and being supportive for whatever your partner really considers to be valuable in life.  Telling the truth takes great courage.  Truth is often very threatening and quite confusing in relationships.  The old saying is: The best way to break up a beautiful friendship is to answer honestly the question: "What do you really think of me?"  Any relationship that cannot survive honesty is false and doomed, no matter who thinks he/she is in control of it!

How do I know all of this is true?  Because I am living in it every moment of every day as I write this to you.  And so are you.  Pay attention to what is really happening in your most intimate relationships.  Who is trying to control whom?  Where is God in all of this?  How much courage does it take for you to let God be in control of what really matters most to you?

Rembert Truluck

The Spirit of Jesus is the most powerful liberating affirming force in human experience.

Update for April 6, 2001

Many of you who receive these updates have endured long struggles for survival and worked hard to build and maintain your own self-esteem. What has kept you going?  What has most motivated you to continue in your purpose for living and not give up?

As I have intensified my study of the Gospel "according to Luke" to discover more clearly the "real Jesus" of the gospels, I have come to realize that the overall theme of the life and ministry of Jesus was based in his own acceptance of himself as to who he was and why he was here.  Luke makes it clear that Jesus consistently affirmed his own humanity and his identification with all people.

Jesus was born as a tiny baby, just like everybody else.  Jesus was descended from a long line of people, just like everybody else.  Jesus grew up and declared his independence from his parents, just like everybody else.  Jesus went to see John the Baptist, just like everybody else, but he did not identify with John.  He never baptized anyone himself (John 4:2).

Jesus identified with the people, the "sinners" and all types of individuals, who came to humble themselves in baptism and turn their lives over to God.  Jesus was baptized just like everybody else.  Jesus was baptized for the whole human race.  Everything Jesus did was done for the entire human race and for you, no matter what you might do or not do about religion.

John wanted Jesus to baptize him.  Jesus said "No."  Later, Jesus remarked about the greatness of John, but he said that the least in the kingdom of God were greater than John (Luke 7:28).  Jesus always plowed new ground.  The most startling new thing that Jesus did was to identify with everybody else instead of identifying with religion and religious leaders.

In his temptations, Jesus refused to use magic and religion to deny his humanity.  He identified with everybody who has been tempted to quit and not follow through with being the genuine human being in the image of God that you are and that Jesus saw himself to be.  All of us like Jesus are tempted to give up and quit being who we really are.  Why have you not quit?


In Luke 4, Jesus returned to his hometown of Nazareth and spoke at the local church and everybody thought he was wonderful.  Then he dropped his bombshell and said that he was just like everybody else and accepted everybody else just like God did.  He included everybody; even the hated and despised foreigners and other marginalized and oppressed people.  For this, the neighbors rejected him and plotted to kill him.  Jesus was not being hateful or abusive.  He was just being himself.  That was not acceptable to the neighbors.

Luke 4:16-30 is a clear concise summary of the story of Jesus according to Luke.  When the hometown neighbors rejected and threatened violence against Jesus, they demonstrated the exclusive attitude that defined their religion on the basis of who was left out.  When churches define themselves on the basis of who they leave out, they cease to follow Jesus and thus cease to be Christian.

What you think about yourself is far more important than what the neighbors or your family or anybody else might think about you.  What you think about yourself and how you see yourself determines your goals and your mission in life.  Who are you to you?  If you are one with all humanity, you define yourself by who you include in your life and not by who you leave out.  You have to love and accept yourself before you can love your neighbor as yourself.


Jesus rejected religion just like everybody else did.  But Jesus refused to be a hypocrite and pretend to believe nonsense that comes disguised as "faith" or abuse and oppression that masquerade as "the will of God".  He rejected the Temple and predicted its total destruction.  He intentionally broke the abusive religious laws of exclusion and accepted everybody equally no matter if they were "clean" or "unclean," sick or well, poor or rich, male or female, gay or straight, slave or free, Jew or Gentile, crazy or sane, soldier or teacher.

Jesus defied and rejected the whole concept of "religion" that uses and controls people in the name of God.  Jesus rejected magic, ritual, idolatry, oppression and all other forms of mind control practiced by religion.  Jesus wanted above all else for people to be free, truly free, to be themselves and to celebrate and enjoy being genuine human beings loved and accepted as the children of God.

Jesus did not accept the prevailing religious opinion of himself.  Do you accept the judgmental rejection of yourself by religion today?  Jesus was despised and rejected by religion, but he refused to reject himself.  Jesus was uniquely human in the powerful dynamic meaning of God's purpose for all humans from the very beginning.  When God made humans in the Genesis story, God said, "That's good."  Religion ever since has tried to convince people that being the human that God made is bad, not good.

If I have a choice between Jesus and religion, I don't see that it is a very difficult choice.  Accepting Jesus is accepting yourself; so do it!  Then let go of whatever gets in your way, including abusive religion, and move on.

Following Jesus means many different things to many different individuals, but the basic meaning of following Jesus is to accept and affirm yourself and your worth and value to God, to yourself, to others and to the universe and then act on your realistic honest vision of yourself to find and follow the will of God for you personally.  You matter a lot more than you think.  Being true to yourself and accepting yourself is your first step in changing the world.


Soulforce led by Mel White, Gary Nixon, Jimmy Creech, Elizabeth Montgomery Rutt, and a great multitude of volunteers and supporters are acting on being themselves and continuing the revolutionary inclusive mission of Jesus in many events in the coming year.  Read about the most recent plans in Soulforce Web Site.  I plan to participate in the Soulforce events at the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention June 11-13, 2001, in New Orleans.

When I was pastor of a Southern Baptist Church many years ago, I attended the Southern Baptist Convention in New Orleans as a messenger.  That was the first time I ever went to the French Quarter.  I visited the French Quarter again on a trip in 1996,when I saw everything through different eyes and enjoyed it a lot more.

Enjoy being yourself.  Feel good about who you are.  Affirm your own value as a human being and help others to accept and affirm themselves.  Welcome and affirm yourself and you can become a powerful welcoming and affirming force wherever you are, within or outside of church.  Religion is often the brick wall across the path.  Jesus can be your detour around the barrier into the full and meaningful life God has planned for you to enjoy and share.

On to "Give Yourself Time to Grow"


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