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The Real Jesus

Added May 30, 2003

Jesus in the Four Gospels is the point of reference for me in my spiritual life and my understanding and experience of God.

The first step in reclaiming Jesus for your own spirit and life is to become as familiar with the Four Gospels as you can.  Read through the Gospel of Mark in one sitting at least once a week.

Begin to memorize the content of the Gospels of Luke and John.  Spend some time with these sources every day.  Read through each of them at one sitting at least once a month.  Memorize John and then Luke.  As you absorb the exact content of these sources, your grasp of the Spirit of Jesus will grow and shift and change and develop.  Jesus will become a part of you and within you as the chief point of reference in your thinking about everything else.

Use a good accurate translation.  I still recommend the New American Standard Bible.  Always read and study from a Bible with large clear readable type and no additional commentary.


The writings of Paul in the New Testament are the earliest reflections about Jesus that we have.  Go through the letters of Paul and isolate and assemble Paul's statements about Jesus.  These statements and observations are much earlier than the material in the Four Gospels.  Learn and meditate upon these passages.  I will list them for you later.

Begin with Romans, the longest and most important letter by Paul.  When I taught courses in Romans at Baptist College, I memorized the entire book of Romans word for word.  That was the only way that I found to keep all of what Paul said in proper context within the total message of the letter.  Later, I did the same thing with Philippians and other letters.  Paul's view of Jesus is clearly stated in Romans and Philippians. 

Colossians, Ephesians and Galatians also are full of Paul's way of seeing Jesus and applying Jesus to practical living situations.  I and II Corinthians are helpful, of course, but these two letters give one side of a lengthy argument and dialogue between Paul and his readers.  We do not know much about what his readers had said or written to Paul.  We have only Paul's responses.  It is like listening to one side of a telephone conversation.

Your best use of Paul will be for you to read all of Paul's letters for yourself and select out those passages about Jesus that most clearly speak to you.

In the New Testament, Paul's letters are listed in the order of their length, not in order of importance, etc.  The Book of Hebrews is helpful, but it is not by Paul or in the style of Paul.  The true author of Hebrews is unknown.  The letters to Timothy, Titus and Philemon were probably written by Paul and Luke (his fellow prisoner) together after Paul lost all of his sight and was completely dependent on someone else to write for him.  All of Paul's letters were written from a group of people to another group of people.  Most of the time, the person who did the writing for Paul is named in the letter.

Paul's letters to the Thessalonians are brief and are usually considered to be the earliest letters written.  These two letters give brief statements about Jesus that Paul later elaborated at great length in later writings.  


Create a time and place where you can share in your exploration of Jesus and your own inner world with one or more other people in a home study group.  A home is a good setting, but any other place that is available will do just as well if home is not a viable option.

Let Jesus of Nazareth be the teacher and trust that the Spirit of Jesus has been given to you as promised in John 14 – 16.

Keep it simple.  Jesus did.


The objectifying of Jesus as the One out there in ancient history (2000 years ago) in a foreign culture (Roman Empire of the first century) and in the remote inaccessible reaches of spiritual eternity and the presence of God can greatly impair your own personal experience of Jesus who is already with and within you.

You do not need me or any other teacher to usurp what you will learn from Jesus directly for yourself.  You and I are vastly different in personal history, temperament, personality, interpersonal relationships, and education.  You have to discover and learn from the Spirit of Jesus for yourself.  Nobody else can do that for you.  Your personality and personal history are unique to you.  Jesus is person, and so are you.  To learn from and grow in Jesus is to take the time to get to know and really trust and follow the One.

Jesus is called the "coming one":  "He that cometh".  Jesus has already come to you in your family life, your religious traditions, some of your formal education, your experience in church and churches.  Most profoundly, Jesus has come to you in your inner being simply because you are human and the Spirit of Jesus has been given to the entire human race at Pentecost.  So you already have the Spirit.  It is your task to learn to listen to what the Spirit of Jesus is already saying to you and to be open to the new world that already surrounds you and is waiting for you.

You will not find your truth at the top of a distant mountain, unless going to the top of a distant mountain will help you shed the distractions that are keeping you from seeing your truth that is already within you.

God is not playing a game of hide-and-seek with you.  God is present in everything and in every person around you and is present with and within you whether you see and experience God or not.  You cannot run away from or escape from God, for you are God because of the breath of God that animates and informs your existence. 

You already have all of the Jesus you will ever have.  Now the basic step in knowing and following Jesus is to look within and be ready to be surprised by joy, hope, love, peace and eager anticipation of something better in your life every day.

Update added May 31, 2003:

Those who do not learn from the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them.  Even more powerful are the irresistible forces of the future.  To ignore the clear movements and trends that are setting the stage for the future is to make mistakes that can destroy us and the world in which we live.  The terrorism of 9/11/01 really did change the world and indicated a vastly different future than we had imagined before.

"Future Shock" is the name given a few years ago by Alvin Toffler to the rapid changes in our culture and society that cause the same kind of shock and difficulties of adjustment as "culture shock" when one goes from home to an unfamiliar alien culture or society.  The rapidly developing future before us is so shocking that we dread facing it and avoid the realities of its demands.  Traditional religion dwells on and insists upon a highly fanciful and unrealistic view of the future that fits a multitude of contradictory eschatological schemes. 

Religion has distracted us from the real future with an imaginary medieval world view full of angels, demons, heavens, hells, cosmic wars and a hardcore dichotomy between God and Satan that leaves everybody confused and dependent on so-called religious experts.  The end of the biblical world has already come, and nobody noticed!

What is the future of the unrealistic misinformed irrelevant legalistic judgmental religions that dominate the spiritual life of contemporary culture in every country and society in our world?  How can you afford to "hitch your wagon to a star" when that star is obviously illogical, un-objective, unrealistic and impractical?  The future of traditional organized religion at every level is bleak but continues to be extraordinarily compelling!


A recent e-mail requesting that I add the writer to my update list included this quote: "People who don't read newspapers are better off than those who do because it is better to be uninformed than misinformed." (Thomas Jefferson).  People who stay away from churches are better off than those who go to churches for the same reason!

The churches, like the Titanic, seem to be riding high and rejoicing in their power and glory, but they are at the mercy of the icebergs and storms of reality and are sinking fast.  Why, then, do so many otherwise clear thinking GLBT people struggle to jump on board and go down with the ship into the inevitable oblivion of deep darkness and death? 

How can your resources be better used than trying to get unrealistic impractical failed religions to accept and affirm you?  You don't need to be affirmed by anybody.  Your existence speaks for itself.  You are not broken and do not need to be fixed by people who are more broken than you will ever be!


I hope you watched or will get the video and watch the History Channel presentation of the Tsars of Russia.  Absolute monarchs who firmly believed they were appointed by God controlled Russia for 300 years.  Industrial and social changes that were creating a brave new world were ignored by the rulers.  Finally, the end came as the gathering storm of irresistible forces of the future broke like a tidal wave upon the crumbling foundations of Russian monarchy.  1917 and the Communist revolution changed the world just as much as 9/11 has.

To ignore the lessons of the future is just as unrealistic and destructive as ignoring the lessons of the past.  The Age of Reason and the legacy of Socrates are still gathering momentum in trying to bring a new level of sanity to civilization.


The remarkable message of The Gospel of John in chapters 13-17 builds a clear picture of Jesus preparing his followers and therefore you and me to face and deal with the future, whatever it might be.  Jesus gave his followers what they needed.  He did not give them a book.  He gave them his Spirit to be their teacher and to show them "things to come". (John  14:25-27 and 16:12-15)

 Jesus knew that all of us face a constantly changing world, and no book, set of rules or commandments can prevail and be adequate and relevant in the uncertain threatening future.  So Jesus gave us himself through the Spirit to teach us and guide us into understanding and to show us how to handle the unexpected future that is always looming before us like a great dark unknown storm full of lightening, thunder, hail, floods, tornados and destruction as well as offering fresh opportunities for learning and growing and a glorious ever expanding light to illuminate all things.


The churches have yet to learn to use the invention of printing (1495) responsibly.  Instead of using printing, the Internet, and modern media to tell the facts and help people learn to think for themselves, the churches have misinformed the world and sought to control the minds and thinking of people.  Churches and church institutions and schools do not teach people to think for themselves.  Some did at one time, but they have retreated into mind warping systems of repressive control.

Churches teach people what they are supposed to think and what they should and should not read and details of who and what to believe.  Different churches practice a variety of methods and levels of thought control, but all of them are more interested in "brain washing" their victims than in liberating their minds to enjoy personal freedom in the Spirit and really think for themselves.

How can you learn to think for yourself with a healthy, objective, logical, realistic, practical mind if all you are fed is misinformation and self-serving religious opinions and teachings by those who claim to speak for God?


Most people vote for a revolution with their feet.  They simply walk away from the ludicrous claims and practices of abusive misinformed religion.  GLBT people are leading the way.  We have walked away and started our own churches.  But is that really the revolutionary new spiritual future that we need and want?  Other GLBT people have worked hard to get traditional churches to accept and affirm and love and appreciate and employ us.  This has been a really retarded revolution so far.  Most churches still welcome and enjoy the support and services of GLBT people only as long as we remain IN THE CLOSET!

None of this has so far catapulted us into the realistic future that is beckoning us to higher nobler ground.  We are dragging too much baggage along with us on the steep upward climb to the top of the mountain.  Unless we have the courage to let go of the totalitarian religion of the dismal defeated past and move on in totally new forms and frames of reference, we will never get to the top of the mountain to view the Promised Land beyond.


Religion tells you to trust something outside yourself and not to trust yourself.  Your inner thoughts and desires and feelings are somehow not right for you and should be replaced by the "group think" of the religious establishment.  This is beyond hogwash and BS.  It is stupid and unrealistic.  If you deny who you really are, then who are you?  You can always give in and become a very uncomfortable hypocrite and pretend that you believe the absurdities of contemporary religion.  There is no integrity in that.  Without integrity, you cannot even trust yourself.  That is a dismal dead end road that the church wants you to follow.  Don't do it!

Walk away.


Once you walk away, you will be tempted to give in to panic and fear that you have been conditioned to feel when you disobey the Great Super Ego of your particular culture.  You will be tempted to call your new freedom "a sin" and "running away from God."  You are not running away from God!  You are escaping from prison.  You are learning to enjoy God in an entirely new holistic dimension that really is relevant to you, within you, and encouraging and affirming to you.

Enjoy your freedom to be you.  Enjoy telling others about it.  Enjoy writing down your new spiritual adventures in a daily journal.  Look for ways to help others share in the truly good news of accepting and trusting yourself.  You will not have any trouble finding the words to say, because you do not have to be taught the "formulas" and "the words."  Your words and feelings and your enthusiasm will come naturally to you and bubble up from the depths of your own spiritual being.  God is with and within you.  You are not alone ever again.  There is no longer a wall erected by religion to separate you from God or from other people.  You don't have to break down the wall; just walk around it, and there you are: free!

If you do make the break and begin your own personal journey into future freedom, write and tell me about it.

(These updates are not an attempt to think for you or to give advice about what you should do or believe.  They are intended to stimulate and inform you to think for yourself and be free to decide and act on what you really think is best for you.)

Rembert Truluck

See my most recent study of "THE REAL JESUS".

Look at "Alvin Toffler" on your browser and discover his other books in addition to "Future Shock" (1970) and his work as a "futurist" in viewing and interpreting our world from the perspective of where the future is leading us:



Update for August 22, 2003

I recently secured a copy of The Homosexual Agenda: Exposing the Principal Threat to Religious Freedom Today by Alan Sears & Craig Osten, published in 2003 by Broadman & Holman Publishers, the fractured publishing arm of the Southern Baptist Convention.  This 229-page book is the most recent Southern Baptist attack against GLBT people that builds an elaborate argument of misinformation and distortions in order to attack discredit and destroy homosexual people.

This book begins with a misrepresentation of the life and career of John Paulk, the discredited "sexuality expert" employed by Focus on the Family until he was caught cruising in a gay bar in Washington, DC.  See my web site material on John Paulk and my review of his work.   The entire book is made up of bogus research, fabricated statistics and other "tricks of the trade" of homophobic "scholarship" and polemics.

The book claims that the homosexual agenda is primarily aimed at the destruction of religion and the attempt to turn public opinion into hate against anyone who opposes homosexuals.  The book is based on fear and inaccurate information that would be ludicrous if it were not being taken seriously by so many millions of Southern Baptist leaders and obedient church sheep!


Broadman Press for many years was the SBC organization that published many of the best works by the various scholars and seminary and college professors in Southern Baptist Institutions until the radical fundamentalists took over the denomination in recent years.  The name is built on the name of Dr. John A. Broadus and Dr. Basil Manley, two of the four founders of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Greenville, SC, in 1859, and now dishonors those two great men by using their names in dishonest destructive scholarship and publications.

Broadman Press published the 12-volume Broadman Bible Commentary beginning in 1969 written by the best seminary and college professors in the SBC.  Almost immediately, the convention attacked the commentary and ordered the first volume to be withdrawn and rewritten from a conservative point of view.  Now the entire commentary has been withdrawn from the Baptist Seminaries and other bookstores and is unavailable anywhere for purchase.

One definition of "religious fanatics" is religious people who have lost their sense of direction and redoubled their efforts!  Southern Baptists certainly now fit that definition.


Dictators always rule by means of fear.  From ancient warlords, popes, emperors, kings and conquerors to Hitler, Stalin and Saddam Hussein, submissive people have been controlled and crushed by fear.  Why are informed Southern Baptists afraid to expose and end the regime of ignorance and terror that grips and misuses this once great defender of religious freedom and objective theological education?

I was present at the Southern Baptist Convention that voted to reject the first volume of the Broadman Bible Commentary because a small group of misinformed preachers was able to convince the messengers that the first volume on Genesis was a threat to truth and to the will of God.  I saw most of the famous and respected leaders of the denomination go to the podium and beg that people not to pass this destructive proposal.  But the people followed the fear factor, and the deed was done that set into motion the downhill slide of the SBC ever since.


Recently several critics of my web site have written to me to tell me that they were not homophobic because they were not afraid of gay people and did not know of anyone else who was afraid of gay people!  I wrote back to give the definition of "homophobia," a word that was invented in 1972 by Dr. George Weinberg in his book on "Society and the Healthy Homosexual."  Homophobia is not the fear of gay people but is the fear of homosexuality in others and in one's self.

Popular mythology about homosexuals has become religious tradition in our culture.  Bringing objective factual information and logic into the public mind is almost impossible.  The homophobic mythologies are perpetuated by religion and politics and a massive media attack against GLBT people that is mind boggling both in its ignorance and its effectiveness.


The underlying false assumption of the "The Homosexual Agenda" is the notion that there is some kind of great homosexual organization that represents all GLBT people and has worked out and promoted an agenda that speaks for all of us!  How absurd.  We can hardly get together to redecorate the house, have a decent pride parade or sustain a local GLBT center much less a world-wide conspiracy to destroy straight people!


The agenda of the homophobic organizations and movements today is emerging with greater clarity every day.  The first principle of homophobia is the use of fear based on distortions of the facts, the invention of bogus statistics, citing discredited scholars and other "experts," misrepresenting the truth about sexual orientation, and ignoring the position papers and statements supporting homosexual rights by all of the professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, legal and educational associations in the United States.

"The Homosexual Agenda" book includes 15 full pages of footnotes and references to give the impression of careful academic research, when in fact; there is no objective reliable research at all in the book.

One basic principle of the homophobic agenda is the use of misinformation and bogus statistics to try to convince people that homophobia is sound reasonable thinking.  It is not.

Religion is the primary tool of the homophobic agenda.  The Bible is cited as the absolute rule and requirement for right thinking about everything, and the varieties of scholarly translations and interpretations are completely ignored in favor of preaching and posturing based on highly questionable distortions and fabrications of biblical material.


The false teachings and lack of academic credibility is never more obvious than in the subtitle of the book "The Homosexual Agenda": "Exposing the Principal Threat to Religious Freedom Today."  The book itself expresses the principal threat to religious freedom today!  The SBC and the homophobic agenda, not the "homosexual agenda," is the principal threat to religious freedom today.  Distortions and lies are always a greater threat to freedom than the truth.


The "ex-gay" industry has become the primary everyday tool of the homophobic agenda.  The Southern Baptist Convention and the growing rash of family research and protection organizations promote and even demand that the bogus claims of the "ex-gay" industry be accepted as fact and supported with financial contributions and a daily supply of living victims to be sacrificed to this modern version of the worship of Moloch in biblical times.


Whenever anything other than God is made absolute, the result is idolatry.  See my material on "Legalism as Idolatry".  The homophobic agenda demands blind obedience to ignorance and misinformation that replaces God with human error and the Holy Spirit with misguided human opinions.  The real Jesus is replaced with a fake Christ who goes along with homophobia just as obediently as the Pharisees and Hypocrites at the time of Jesus went along with idolatrous legalisms that were destroying the people in the name of God.  As always, read Matthew 23 to see again what Jesus had to say about this powerful abusive form of religion.


The homophobic religious establishment led by the Roman Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention, the Mormons and various "save the family and marriage" sects like Focus on the Family and Family Research Council along with individuals like Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and Lou Shelton spew a constant stream of the lies and distortions of the homophobic agenda into every level of American culture.  The homophobic virus is infecting everybody within reach. 

Professional sports, local state and national governments, arts and entertainment, publishing, broadcast news and the educational system all are being infected with the homophobic agenda that contaminates the very air we breathe.  GLBT people are not immune.  The growing presence of internal and horizontal homophobia within our own community and even in many personal relationships is a seeping poison that quickly becomes a rising flood of homophobic filth.

The extent of the anti-GLBT onslaught of the Homophobic Agenda is seen in the fact that Google lists 126,000 web sites related to the "Homosexual Agenda"!

Paul saw the devastating results of legalistic judgmental religion that defines itself by who is left out.  In Philippians 3:8, Paul used the Greek term "skubala " to describe his former abusive destructive exclusive legalism.  Skubala is a rare word, used only in Philippians 3:8 in the New Testament.  (KJV translates it "dung" and others translate it rubbish, refuse, etc.)  The word means "excrement" either animal or human.  It is a very strong word!

If Paul were walking in the barnyard, he would say, "Watch out!  Don't step in that pile of skubala!  (I checked out skubala in Arndt & Gingrich; in Moulton & Milligan and in Kittel and they all supported this understanding of the word.  No modern biblical translation correctly renders this word for "B.S." accurately!


"Perfect love casts out fear."  "The love of God has been poured out in your hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given to you."  You do not need to be afraid anymore.

The churches have always ruled their people on the basis of fear.  Fear of burning forever in hell, fear of falling into the crushing hands of an angry God, fear of dying unforgiven for your sins, and fear of who you yourself really are all make up parts of the arsenal of fear based control exercised by churches.

Recognize the homophobic agenda for what it really is: a blatant denial of Jesus and the mind of God that homophobic people pretend to proclaim and protect.  Homophobia is a disease that must be resisted at all cost.  Homophobia is the virus that kills far more GLBT people than AIDS or any other human illness.

Become informed.  Know the facts.  Challenge homophobia at its ignorant lying roots.  Resist the lies that try to convince you that your sexual orientation is a mistake and that you are some kind of "abomination of God" because ignorant preachers say you are!

This is not a new problem.  The last book written in the New Testament was probably 2 Peter, which concludes with the following statement in 2 Peter 3:15-18, after reflecting on how the writings of Paul were already being misunderstood and distorted:

"Regard the patience of our Lord to be liberation (salvation) just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught (ignorant) and unstable distort ("twist" "torture" "torment") as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. 

You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard lest, being carried away by the error of unprincipled people, you fall from your own steadfastness.  But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to Him is the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen."

Rembert Truluck
August 22, 2003

Update for August 27, 2004


Full equality for all Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, Bisexual people is the only acceptable choice!  Equality in the workplace, equality in marriage rights and benefits, equality in schools and churches, equality in medical care, equality in political representation and social life, equality in foster care and adoption are the only acceptable choices for LGBT people!  We have no reason to compromise our integrity or our demands for equality.

The basis for denying equality to GLBT people is misguided, misinformed, unreliable, and based on bogus statistics and founded in erroneous misrepresented religion.  Now is the time to demand and get changes whatever it takes for GLBT people to have true equality and acceptance in this nation of freedom and respect for all people.


The Democratic and Republican Parties are trying to compromise the rights and the equality of GLBT people to appease certain radical uninformed and misguided religious/political forces in the United States.  The deadly fallout of these efforts against God's GLBT children are unacceptable and have to be opposed and fought with whatever political/protest weapons we can develop and use.


Many of the freedoms and benefits of GLBT people are being debated by the Presidential Candidates now.  Demand attention from them and expect realistic plans and programs to guarantee equality at every level of life for LGBT citizens of the United States of America.  Disrupt the Republican National Convention next week in New York if necessary.  Protest the ignorance and lies about GLBT people that lie back of the anti-gay homophobic nonsense that the religious establishment has dumped into the lifeblood of America!


Jesus Christ, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Mahatma Gandhi demonstrated the power of civil disobedience and changed their world.  We stand at a crossroads that will determine our future for the next four years.  We cannot allow destructive forces to practice emotional and physical genocide against homosexuals any longer.  We have no choice but to fight back with whatever weapons are at our disposal.

Pray, write letters, volunteer for SoulForce, tell people you know in political office that you are gay or lesbian and you expect them to respect you and give you equality in all things in our society.  Talk with your pastor, priest or preacher and demand to be heard.  Interrupt church services and yell your protest if necessary.  Carry signs.  Get on radio and television to express your demands for equality.  Be creative.  Find new disruptive ways to get attention and make your voice heard.


You can change the world with your collective voices and bodies and lives.  Come out and enlist the support of your family and all of your friends.

God is with us.  We are not fighting for acceptance and equality alone.  The Spirit of the Living God as revealed in the life and work of Jesus has been given to us to energize us and give us direction in our mission of change and our battle for equality.

Never doubt that you are doing the right thing to go to war for equality.  Just remember, nobody is free until everybody is free.

God bless you and empower you in whatever you decide to do in this unavoidable struggle for equality and acceptance in 2004.

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

Look at my website links to Soulforce and to PFLAG and UFMCC.

Update for August 8, 2004


My earliest memory of Jesus in church was a shadowy yellow stained glass picture of Jesus in a dark hall in the Southside Baptist Church in Spartanburg, SC, that I attended with my parents when I was less than six years old.  I had to walk through that dimly lit hall every Sunday morning on the way to my Sunday School room.  The picture was lighted from the back, because it was the picture that had been placed in the wall behind the baptistery in the main auditorium.  I am sure that nobody intended the picture to scare little children.  But it scared me!  My first impression of Jesus was to be afraid of him.


Who is the "real" Jesus?  For 2,000 years the images and meanings of Jesus have changed and developed constantly as cultures, languages, artists, architects, churches, doctrines, denominations, opponents, friends and just about everybody who knows that there is a "Jesus" have twisted and distorted the image of Jesus to fit their ignorance, their lust for power and their temporary secular need to raise money, to spend money, to go to war, to destroy unwanted minorities, to build empires, to destroy empires and to manage and control society and individuals in the name of a god.

Now in the twenty-first century, we have inherited this whirlwind of distortions and misinformation that so blur the image of Jesus that nobody knows the "real Jesus"!  Where can you find the "real Jesus"?  Bibles, books, creeds, dogma, doctrines, churches, preachers, warring religions, family traditions, the proliferation of legalistic fundamentalists, rigid orthodoxies, the pomp and circumstance of spiritual warfare, wealthy television evangelists, and a plethora of television and movie presentations of Jesus in our lifetime cannot really cut through the 2,000 years of distortions and lies that have so mangled the image of the real Jesus that nobody knows for certain who the real Jesus is!


I have a 2001 video of "THE FACE OF JESUS IN ART", narrated by Mel Gibson, Stacy Keach, Ricardo Montalban, Bill Moyers, Patricia  Neal, and others.  It is a fantastic collection of a multitude of paintings that represent various views of Jesus.  (See link below.)

When I first viewed this video, I was struck by the great variety of ways individual artists viewed the face of Jesus.  I realized then that no representation of Jesus in art or religious architecture and ritual could be accurate, because all of these secondary sources about Jesus were radically different from each other.  So the question remains, where can you find the "real" Jesus who fits your personality and your life?


The familiar old hymn helps us to sing of our devotion to Jesus as we "Stand up, Stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the cross…"  Yet today, the greatest need and challenge that we face as GLBT people who are oppressed and denied by the churches is for the "real Jesus" to stand up for us!  You cannot stand up for Jesus if you have only a vague distorted vision of Jesus.  You also have trouble standing up for or following Jesus if your mental image of Jesus has been distorted and misinformed by legalism, abusive churches, and religious wars and greed.

My forthcoming book is my attempt to address these problems and suggest some practical, logical, objective, reasonable ways to let go and move on in a faith that fits you and a vision of health, hope and life that make sense to you in today's world.  (Take a look at my website material on "Jesus Bible Studies" in the link below.  These are my earliest explorations into this issue. The final book will build on and develop beyond these initial studies.)


The problem of finding the real Jesus is not new.  A recent book by Donald Spoto,  "The Hidden Jesus: A New Life" (See details below), is one of the latest attempts (1998) to take a fresh look at the "real Jesus."  The "Quest for the Historical Jesus" that was kicked off by famous missionary doctor and scholar Albert Schweitzer led to new directions in modern theological education led by Karl Barth (and his son, Marcus, whom I met and heard lecture at Union Seminary in Richmond), Emil Brunner, Rudolf Bultmann, and the host of students who followed up on these teachers to begin a "new quest for the historical Jesus" that now has produced the remarkable "JESUS SEMINAR" led by Robert W. Funk and hundreds of modern biblical scholars.  (See references below)

When I was a graduate student at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, I had the privilege of hearing and meeting two of the famous scholars who continued the work of Bultmann: Professor Oscar Cullman and Professor Ernst Kasemann, both of whom have written important books exploring the "real" Jesus.

This historical development and present explorations and research have been based largely on the historical critical study of the Bible.  The problem for the average person is that very few people can devote a large part of their lives to learning Greek, Hebrew, Theology, Church History, Archaeology and the "thousands natural shocks" that biblical scholarship is heir to!

I have been through all of that in my college and seminary education and in research for teaching and writing ever since.  Yet this is not a path that guarantees that people will discover the "real Jesus" for themselves!  The greatest of the scholars and authors of many books on and about Jesus disagree with each other just about as much as the various church denominations disagree with each other while claiming that each one is right and everybody else is wrong!


Is there a "more excellent way" to go about your personal quest for the real Jesus in your own life?  I think there is, and that will be the theme and substance of my forthcoming book.

"The Word was made flesh" and "The Sprit was given to everyone."  These two affirmations form the heart of the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles.  The church throughout the ages has focused on the divinity of Jesus and not on his humanity.  The emphasis of traditional religion has also been on spiritual gifts to the chosen few, the clergy and religious, rather than on the average person who can be like the "little child" and be lifted up by Jesus and become a testimony to the love and mission of God.

Traditional religion has built walls and developed a great set of doctrines, rituals and architectures of "distance" and "separation" between God and the people.  This is a blatant rejection and denial of the picture of Jesus in the Gospels, whose most famous invitation was, "Come unto me!"


Jesus focused on his humanity and his identification with all people, not on his divinity.  Jesus refused to "play god" when he was tempted in the wilderness and would not turn stones into bread.  The temptation to "play god" always comes from Satan (the adversary).  At his Baptism, Jesus identified with the crowd of sinners coming to be baptized and not with the prophet John who was doing the baptizing.

When the voice from heaven said to Jesus, "You are my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased," the message was clearly intended for the multitude with whom Jesus had identified by his baptism as well as for Jesus, otherwise the multitude would not have heard it.  Jesus always identified with the outcasts, the unclean, and the rejected people of his time.  You can follow the human Jesus by simply doing what he said: "I give you a new commandment that you love one another just as I have loved you."

The linking of the coming of the Spirit of God upon Jesus at his baptism and the coming of the Spirit of God on all the nations at Pentecost in Acts is a clear demonstration of the purpose of God in Jesus to link with the average person and not with the religious professionals.  I cannot walk on water or turn water to wine, but I can follow Jesus in accepting and lifting up rejected and despised people!  I can love and forgive people who hurt me!  I can treat all people with equal respect and encouragement!  I can follow the human Jesus, and that's enough.


The presence of people from every nation and the multiple languages at Pentecost make it clear that the Spirit of Jesus has been given to the entire human race and not just to those who know the formulas and can recite the creeds!  You are already created in the image of God.  The presence of God within you is in the very air you breathe.  You are alive because the breath of God is within you.  To find God, look within.  Jesus has given you the Spirit.  To find the Jesus that fits your life, look within.  Nobody else can tell you who you are or who God is for you.  People who try to do that, whether preachers, teachers, priests or denominations, are merely distractions and not in any way the voice of God for you!


The primary call of Jesus to you as an individual is to "let go and move on!"  That means letting go of anything that keeps you from being your true self as YOU see yourself.  It means letting go of any religious pressures and abusive church teachings and demands that demean you and make you hate and reject yourself.  It means sharing the good news of your own personal freedom to be yourself with as many other people as you can.  God is with you and within you, and don't ever forget it!


Thank you very much for financial contributions that you have sent to help me keep my website and e-mail ministry on the Internet!  I still need your help in whatever way you can offer it.  You can mail contributions directly to me or to Chi Rho Press as indicated in previous updates.

Chi Rho Press contributions are tax free:
Click here and simply state the amount and say for Dr. Truluck.

Or you can send a check by mail to Chi Rho Press at
PO Box 7864
Gaithersburg, MD 20898, USA
Telephone: 301/926-1208 phone/fax

Order my book from Chi Rho Press:
http://www.chirhopress.com/products/product_details/steps_to _recovery_details.html

Use my book to start your own small group home study for dialogue and spiritual recovery from religious abuse.

INVITE ME to lead a conference, revival or workshop for your church or association, group or community.  Call me at 510-220-8743 or send me e-mail so we can discuss a time and a plan.  Thank you for anything that you do to get the truth out to more of our people and to the rest of the world.

Dr. Rembert Truluck
201 W. Washington St. #805
Greenville, SC 29601
August 8, 2004

Someone recently sent this website to me. 
Look at it and realize why my website must remain on the Internet:


You can see all of the pictures in a quick slideshow. It takes a while.

The video is available from http://www.Kultur.com:

http://www.kultur.com/AB2046000/showdetl.cfm?&DID=6&User_ID=922585 &st=2676&st2=-66782331&st3=-30369037&Product_ID=4332

See my website material on "JESUS BIBLE STUDIES":
(The first unit in this website page sets forth the basis for the book.)


Donald Spoto: "The Hidden Jesus":

Update for August 18, 2004


"Jonathan Livingston Seagull" was a wonderful fantasy several years ago that invited you to fly away into the freedom of the sky with a little bird who learned to be free and soar beyond where any bird had gone before.  It was a lot of fun.  You can still get the slim book about Jonathan Livingston Seagull and read and enjoy it for yourself.  (See link below.)

Jonathan Livingston Seagull managed to escape from the boundaries and limitations that ordinarily keep all birds bound to the earth and prevents their real escape and freedom.  You and I are bound by culture, society, religion, churches, the Bible, tradition, and a thousand natural and unnatural shocks that flesh is heir to.  How do we escape and "fly away?"


What does freedom in Jesus and the "Christian" hope and promise of liberation, forgiveness and rescue really mean?  As I asked in my recent update: "Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up!"

The historical churches, theological education, Sunday School, modern translations of "The Holy Bible," television religion, millions of religious books and denominational propaganda and study literature, and your own personal religious brain-washing by your parents, teachers and others has failed you!  Is there a way to fly away from the weight and distress of religion that pulls you into the ground rather than setting you free to fly away into the heavens?  I think that there is a better way.

Look within yourself.  You are not a mistake.  You are not a terrible mess.  You are created in the image of God and you reflect the mind of God in your innermost self.  The Spirit of Jesus has been given to you in your birth as a human being.  You do not need to be "saved" by some ignorant misinformed self-serving, manipulative evangelist whose grasp of the Bible is distorted and wrong headed without any logic, objectivity, realism or practical application to the real world.


"Heaven" is not out there somewhere or up there somewhere, but the real heaven in which God dwells is already within you.  You cannot run away from yourself.  To run away from yourself is to run away from your real God within.  The "Hound of Heaven" from whom you cannot escape is already within you and is part of who and what you are as a fully functioning thinking individual made in the image of God.

You can never be free from God.  But you can be set free from abusive destructive religion.  That is exactly what the real Jesus offers to you with the persistent invitation: "Follow Me."  That invitation by Jesus is not an offer for you to become an angel or a spiritual being but for you to become the fully human person you were created to be. 

To become truly human as Jesus was is the ultimate goal of loving your neighbor as yourself and accepting and affirming others who are different from you.  Jesus forgave his enemies.  So can you.  Jesus loved and associated with outcasts and rejects of life, so can you.  Jesus brought out the best in people who hated themselves.  So can you.


Jesus is the human that God intends you to be, not the god that you cannot hope to become in your wildest imagination.  Jesus resisted "playing god" when he asked John the Baptist to baptize him like all of the other outcasts and sinners in the baptism line.  Jesus refused to "play god" when he was tempted to change stones into bread to satisfy his hunger.  Jesus celebrated his humanity throughout his life and identified with you and me and not with the spiritual powers and authorities.  Jesus showed you how to be a real man, a real woman, a real human whatever your sexual orientation might be.  Jesus is the pattern for being the real you. 

You are not exactly like any other person on earth.  You are the unique you.  You were made and formed as a work of God because you matter and you have a place to fill in this world that nobody else can possibly fill.  You are one of a kind.  You are not a copy or a duplicate of anything or anybody else.  You are the only you that will ever exist.  Treasure your self.  Recognize the value that you have.  Nobody else can ever be the person that God has created you to be.

You are not Adam or Eve or Steve; you are the individual that God created you to be and you are not like any other human in the history of the world.  What you can do is unique to you.  Be your real self.  Celebrate your own uniqueness.  Nobody else has what you have.  How wonderful!  You are beautifully and wonderfully made.  Be the human self that God created you to be.  In that act, you follow Jesus and are truly "Christian."


Celebrate and enjoy who you are.  Look within your own heart and mind.  What you will find there is your own personal truth that can give you a sense of direction and strength for living that is positive and healthy.

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

There are thousands of references to "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" online.  This is one of the many:
http://spiritdimension.com/book-store/richard-bach-book-jonathan-livingston-s eagull.htm

PERSONAL NEWS: My son Russell and his wife Peggy have brought a wonderful baby girl into the world.  Ashley Lynn Truluck was born on August 7, 2004, weighing 7 pounds 13 ounces.  Russell, Peggy and Ashley live in Raleigh, NC.  Here is the most recent picture of Ashley.

Update for October 12, 2004
(The anniversary of the death of Matthew Shepard in Wyoming)

This update includes the speech of Matthew Shepard's father at the trial of Matthew's murderers.  Pass this on to others as you have opportunity.

The Greek word for "Gospel" means "Good News'.  The good news is that there is nothing wrong with you as a LGBT person that needs to be fixed!  You can improve your life in many ways, of course, and you can learn a lot of useful and helpful information.  You are, however, already a child of God and in the image of God and have the Spirit of Jesus within you.  Explore who and what you already are.  You are a gold mine of spiritual treasures.  Look within and discover what you already have and know.

Multitudes of people went last weekend to churches, synagogues, shrines, and other places of worship to let other people tell them about God and religion and to try to convince them that they need somebody else to tell them the truth that they cannot possibly discover for themselves.  This entire religious system and subculture is a severe distraction from who God really is to you as an individual and as a responsible thinking person who is already created in the image of God and endowed with spiritual insight that fits you and only you of all the people in the world.  Nobody else can tell you who you are or who God is for you.

A friend sent the following message to me and I am passing it on to you on this the anniversary of the martyrdom death of Matthew Shepard, whose murder changed our GLBT world as much as any other event in my lifetime.

I remember well where I was when we were given the news that Matthew Shepard had died.  I was at a LGBT rally at Dolores Park in the Castro on the day that Matthew died on October 12, 1998.

Dennis Shepard's Statements to the Court
November 4, 1999

Your honor, members of the Jury, Mr. Rerucha:

I would like to begin my statement by addressing the jury.

Ladies and gentlemen, a terrible crime was committed in Laramie thirteen months ago. Because of that crime, the reputation of the city of Laramie, the University of Wyoming, and the State of Wyoming became synonymous with gay bashing, hate crimes, and brutality. While some of this reputation may be deserved, it was blown out of proportion by our friends in the media.

Yesterday you, the jury, showed the world that Wyoming and the city of Laramie will not tolerate hate crimes. Yes, this was a hate crime, pure and simple, with the added ingredient of robbery. My son Matthew paid a terrible price to open the eyes of all of us who live in Wyoming, the United States, and the world to the unjust and unnecessary fears, discrimination, and intolerance that members of the gay community face every day.

Yesterday's decision by you showed true courage and made a statement. That statement is that Wyoming is the Equality State; that Wyoming will not tolerate discrimination based on sexual orientation; that violence is not the solution. Ladies and gentlemen, you have the respect and admiration of Matthew's family and friends, and of countless strangers around the world. Be proud of what you have accomplished. You may have prevented another family from losing a son or daughter.

Your honor, I would also like to thank you for the dignity and grace with which this trial was conducted. Repeated attempts to distract the court from the true purpose of this trial failed because of your attentiveness, knowledge, and willingness to take a stand and make new law in the area of sexual orientation and the "Gay Panic" defense. By doing so you have emphasized that Matthew was a human being with all the rights and responsibilities and protections of any citizen of Wyoming.

Mr. Rerucha took the oath of office as prosecuting attorney to protect the rights of the citizens of Albany County as mandated by the laws of the state of Wyoming, regardless of his personal feelings and beliefs. At no time did Mr. Rerucha make any decision on the outcome of this case without the permission of Judy and me. It was our decision to take this case to trial, just as it was our decision to accept the plea bargain today and the earlier plea bargain of Mr. Henderson.

A trial was necessary to show that this was a hate crime and not just a robbery gone bad. If we had sought a plea bargain earlier, the facts of this case would not have been known, and the question would always be present that we had something to hide. In addition, this trial was necessary to help provide some closure to the citizens of Laramie, Albany County, and the state. I find it intolerable that the priests of the Catholic Church and the Newman Center would attempt to influence the jury, the prosecution, and the outcome of this trial by their castigation and persecution of Mr. Rerucha and his family in his private life, by their newspaper advertisements, and by their presence in the courtroom. I find it difficult to believe that they speak for all Catholics.

If the leaders of churches want to comment as private citizens, that is one thing. If they say that they represent the beliefs of their church, that is another. This country was founded on separation of church and state. The Catholic Church has stepped over the line, and has become a political group with its own agenda. If that be the case, treat them as a political group and eliminate their privileges as a religious organization.

My son Matthew did not look like a winner. After all, he was small for his age -- weighing, at the most, 110 pounds, and standing only 5'2" tall. He was rather uncoordinated and wore braces from the age of 13 until the day he died.

However, in his all too brief life, he proved that he was a winner. My son -- a gentle, caring soul -- proved that he was as tough as, if not tougher than, anyone I have ever heard of or known.

On October 6, 1998, my son tried to show the world that he could win again. On October 12, 1998, my first-born son -- and my hero -- lost. On October 12, my first-born son -- and my hero -- died, 50 days before his 22nd birthday. He died quietly, surrounded by family and friends, with his mother and brother holding his hand. All that I have left now are the memories.

It's hard to put into words how much Matt meant to family and friends and how much they meant to him. Everyone wanted him to succeed, because he tried so hard. The spark that he provided to people had to be experienced. He simply made everyone feel better about themselves. Family and friends were his focus. He knew that he always had their support for anything that he wanted to try.

Matt's gift was people. He loved being with people, helping people, and making others feel good. The hope of a better world free of harassment and discrimination because a person was different kept him motivated. All his life he felt the stabs of discrimination. Because of that he was sensitive to other people's feelings. He was naive to the extent that, regardless of the wrongs people did to him, he still had faith that they would change and become "nice."

Matt trusted people, perhaps too much. Violence was not a part of his life until his senior year in high school. He would walk into a fight and try to break it up. He was the perfect negotiator. He could get two people talking to each other again as no one else could.

Matt loved people and he trusted them. He could never understand how one person could hurt another, physically or verbally. They would hurt him, and he would give them another chance.

This quality of seeing only good gave him friends around the world. He didn't see size, race, intelligence, sex, religion, or the hundred other things that people use to make choices about people. All he saw was the person. All he wanted was to make another person his friend. All he wanted was to make another person feel good. All he wanted was to be accepted as an equal.

What did Matt's friends think of him? Fifteen of his friends from high school in Switzerland, as well as his high school adviser, joined hundreds of others at his memorial services. They left college, fought a blizzard, and came together one more time to say good-bye to Matt. Men and women coming from different countries, cultures, and religions thought enough of my son to drop everything and come to Wyoming -- most of them for the first time.

That's why this Wyoming country boy wanted to major in foreign relations and languages. He wanted to continue making friends and at the same time help others. He wanted to make a difference. Did he? You tell me.

I loved my son and -- as can be seen throughout this statement -- was proud of him. He was not my gay son. He was my son who happened to be gay. He was a good-looking, intelligent, caring person.

There were the usual arguments, and at times he was a real pain in the butt. I felt the regrets of a father when he realizes that his son is not a star athlete.

But it was replaced with a greater pride when I saw him on the stage. The hours that he spent learning his parts, working behind the scenes, and helping others made me realize that he was actually an excellent athlete -- in a more dynamic way -- because of the different types of physical and mental conditioning required by actors. To this day I have never figured out how he was able to spend all those hours at the theater, during the school year, and still have good grades.

Because my job involved lots of travel, I never had the same give-and-take with Matt that Judy had. Our relationship at times was strained. But, whenever he had problems we talked. For example, he was unsure about revealing to me that he was gay. He was afraid that I would reject him immediately, so it took him a while to tell me. By that time, his mother and brother had already been told.

One day he said that he had something to say. I could see that he was nervous, so I asked him if everything was all right. Matt took a deep breath and told me that he was gay. Then he waited for my reaction. I still remember his surprise when I said, "Yeah? Okay, but what's the point of this conversation?" Then everything was okay. We went back to a father and son who loved each other and respected the beliefs of the other. We were father and son; but we were also friends.

How do I talk about the loss that I feel every time I think about Matt? How can I describe the empty pit in my heart and mind when I think about all the problems that were put in Matt's way that he overcame?

No one can understand the sense of pride and accomplishment that I felt every time he reached the mountaintop of another obstacle. No one, including myself, will ever know the frustration and agony that others put him through because he was different.

How many people could be given the problems that Matt was presented with and still succeed as he did? How many would continue to smile -- at least on the outside -- while crying on the inside to keep other people from feeling bad?

I now feel very fortunate that I was able to spend some private time with Matt last summer during my vacation from Saudi Arabia. We sat and talked. I told Matt that he was my hero and that he was the toughest man that I had ever known.

When I said that, I bowed down to him out of respect for his ability to continue to smile and keep a positive attitude during all the trials and tribulations that he had gone through. He just laughed.

I also told him how proud I was because of what he had accomplished and what he was trying to accomplish. The last thing I said to Matt was that I loved him, and he said he loved me. That was the last private conversation that I ever had with him.

Impact on my life? My life will never be the same. I miss Matt terribly. I think about him all the time -- at odd moments when some little thing reminds me of him; when I walk by the refrigerator and see the pictures of him and his brother that we've always kept on the door; at special times of the year, like the first day of classes at UW, or opening day of sage chicken hunting.

I keep wondering almost the same thing that I did when I first saw him in the hospital. What would we have become? How would he have changed his piece of the world to make it better?

Impact on my life? I feel a tremendous sense of guilt. Why wasn't I there when he needed me most? Why didn't I spend more time with him? Why didn't I try to find another type of profession; so that I could have been available to spend more time with him as he grew up? What could I have done to be a better father and friend?

How do I get an answer to those questions now? The only one who can answer them is Matt. These questions will be with me for the rest of my life. What makes it worse for me is knowing that his mother and brother will have similar unanswered questions.

Impact on my life? In addition to losing my son, I lost my father on November 4, 1998. The stress of the entire affair was too much for him.

Dad watched Matt grow up. He taught him how to hunt, fish, camp, ride horses, and love the state of Wyoming. Matt, Logan, dad, and I would spend two to three weeks camping in the mountains at different times of the year -- to hunt, to fish, and to goof off. Matt learned to cook over an open fire, tell fishing stories about the one that got away, and to drive a truck from my father.

Three weeks before Matt went to the Fireside Bar for the last time, my parents saw Matt in Laramie. In addition, my father tried calling Matt the night that he was beaten, but received no answer. He never got over the guilt of not trying earlier. The additional strain of the hospital vigil, being in the hospital room with Matt when he died, the funeral services with all the media attention and the protesters, [and] helping Judy and me clean out Matt's apartment in Laramie a few days later was too much. Three weeks after Matt's death, dad died. Dad told me after the funeral that he never expected to outlive Matt. The stress and the grief were just too much for him.

Impact on my life? How can my life ever be the same again? When Matt was little, I used to take showers with him, just to teach him not to be scared of the water. Later, Matt helped me do the same thing with Logan. Anyway, Matt and I would be in the shower spitting mouthfuls of water at each other or at his mother, if he could convince her to come into the bathroom. Then he would laugh and laugh. We would also sing in the showers.

I taught him the songs "Row, Row, Row Your Boat"; both "Brother John" and its French version, "Frère Jacques"; and "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star." Matt would sing loud and clear. Now, that voice is silent, the boat has sunk, Jacques is no longer frère, and the little star no longer twinkles.

Matt officially died at 12:53 a.m. on Monday, October 12, 1998, in a hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado. He actually died on the outskirts of Laramie tied to a fence that Wednesday before, when you beat him. You, Mr. McKinney, with your friend Mr. Henderson, killed my son.

By the end of the beating, his body was just trying to survive. You left him out there by himself, but he wasn't alone. There were his lifelong friends with him -- friends that he had grown up with.

You're probably wondering who these friends were. First, he had the beautiful night sky with the same stars and moon that we used to look at through a telescope. Then, he had the daylight and the sun to shine on him one more time -- one more cool, wonderful autumn day in Wyoming. His last day alive in Wyoming. His last day alive in the state that he always proudly called home.

And through it all he was breathing in for the last time the smell of Wyoming sagebrush and the scent of pine trees from the snowy range. He heard the wind -- the ever-present Wyoming wind -- for the last time.

He had one more friend with him. One he grew to know through his time in Sunday school and as an acolyte at St. Mark's in Casper; as well as through his visits to St. Matthew's in Laramie. He had God. I feel better knowing he wasn't alone.

Matt became a symbol -- some say a martyr -- putting a boy-next-door face on hate crimes. That's fine with me. Matt would be thrilled if his death would help others.

On the other hand, your agreement to life without parole has taken yourself out of the spotlight and out of the public eye. It means no drawn-out appeals process, [no] chance of walking away free due to a technicality, and no chance of lighter sentence due to a "merciful" jury. Best of all, you won't be a symbol. No years of publicity, no chance of communication, no nothing -- just a miserable future, and a more miserable end. It works for me.

My son was taught to look at all sides of an issue before making a decision or taking a stand. He learned this early, when he helped campaign for various political candidates while in grade school and junior high. When he did take a stand, it was based on his best judgment.

Such a stand cost him his life, when he quietly let it be known that he was gay. He didn't advertise it, but he didn't back away from the issue either. For that I'll always be proud of him. He showed me that he was a lot more courageous than most people, including myself. Matt knew that there were dangers to being gay; but he accepted that and wanted to just get on with his life and his ambition of helping others.

Matt's beating, hospitalization, and funeral focused worldwide attention on hate. Good is coming out of evil. People have said "Enough is enough." You screwed up, Mr. McKinney. You made the world realize that a person's lifestyle is not a reason for discrimination, intolerance, persecution, and violence. This is not the 1920s, 30s, and 40s of Nazi Germany.

My son died because of your ignorance and intolerance. I can't bring him back. But I can do my best to see that this never, ever happens to another person or another family again. As I mentioned earlier, my son has become a symbol -- a symbol against hate and people like you; a symbol for encouraging respect for individuality; for appreciating that someone is different; for tolerance. I miss my son; but I'm proud to be able to say that he is my son.

Mr. McKinney, one final comment before I sit, and this is the reason that I stand before you now. At no time since Matt was found at the fence and taken to the hospital have Judy and I made any statements about our beliefs concerning the death penalty. We felt that that would be an undue influence on any prospective juror.

Judy has been quoted by some right-wing groups as being against the death penalty. It has been stated that Matt was against the death penalty. Both of these statements are wrong.

We have held family discussions and talked about the death penalty. Matt believed that there were incidents and crimes that justified the death penalty. For example, he and I discussed the horrible death of James Byrd, Jr. in Jasper, Texas. It was his opinion that the death penalty should be sought, and that no expense should be spared to bring those responsible for this murder to justice. Little did we know that the same response would come about involving Matt.

I, too, believe in the death penalty. I would like nothing better than to see you die, Mr. McKinney.

However, this is the time to begin the healing process. To show mercy to someone who refused to show any mercy. To use this as the first step in my own closure about losing Matt.

Mr. McKinney, I am not doing this because of your family. I am definitely not doing this because of the crass and unwarranted pressures put on by the religious community. If anything, that hardens my resolve to see you die.

Mr. McKinney, I'm going to grant you life, as hard as that is for me to do, because of Matthew. Every time you celebrate Christmas, a birthday, or the Fourth of July, remember that Matt isn't. Every time that you wake up in that prison cell, remember that you had the opportunity and the ability to stop your actions that night. Every time that you see your cellmate, remember that you had a choice, and now you are living that choice.

You robbed me of something very precious, and I will never forgive you for that. Mr. McKinney, I give you life in the memory of one who no longer lives. May you have a long life, and may you thank Matthew every day for it.

Your honor, members of the jury, Mr. Rerucha, thank you.


I hope you had the patience to read all of this incredibly important historical document that is part of our GLBT history.

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

Update for December 5, 2004

Christian homosexuals who do not let the Spirit of Jesus become part of their daily living often are a real mess, even if they do go to a gay affirming church.  The Spirit of Jesus is already present throughout the human race.  The Gift of the Spirit at Pentecost (Acts 2) was to all humankind, with all races and languages present to make this perfectly clear.  The main emphasis of Acts 2 is the word "all".  The Spirit came upon "all" and "all" spoke with inspiration.  "All" includes you.

You already have the Spirit of Jesus within yourself and you already are created in the image of God.  So act like it.  You do not have to go to church to experience Jesus.  Church can be a great distraction from the real Jesus.  Look within and find your own true self and your own vision of God and Jesus.

You don't live your daily life in a "middle ages" culture and mind set; so why worship and try to find Jesus in a medieval setting that is a total break from your daily realities?  A lot of what you find in church is a monotonous repetition of contradictions of the gospel, not a confirmation of anything relevant to you today.

Learn to think for yourself.  By all means be relevant and personal in your own experience of the Spirit of Jesus.  Resist letting your thinking be controlled by people who lived centuries ago in long dead cultures and who are frozen in time like a mosquito in a block of amber.


You are distracted by the Jesus myth in churches.  Paintings, statues, banners of the name "Jesus", vestments with colors that represent the qualities of Jesus, the reading of gospel passages about Jesus, sermons preached about Jesus, hymns about Jesus, lengthy prayers "in the name of Jesus" and the rest of the architecture, religious symbolism, liturgy and hocus pocus of worship are not Jesus.

Jesus is within you.  Jesus is the person sitting next to you.  Jesus is people, including you and everybody you see.  "Inasmuch as you have done it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters you have done it unto me."

This includes what you do for yourself and for the person next to you.


My daddy liked to say marriage is like a besieged city.  "Everybody outside is trying to get in and everybody inside is trying to get out!"

I recently have seen myself like a besieged city, being raped, robbed, pillaged and plundered by mongrel hordes.  It has not been pleasant.  I am far too generous, which translates into "stupid and too trusting."  One of these days I will write my real life story for you with all of the grimy details about being betrayed, deceived, used, rejected and destroyed by people that I love and foolishly, trusted and tried to help and to live with.

All of my friends are not crazy.  But I am.

God, however, always uses us crazy people to bring sanity into the world.  I recently received e-mail from a man in the Czech Republic who had seen my website and had some questions about gay adoptions.  I enjoyed his letter and enjoyed trying to give a positive helpful response.  This week has included a lot of positive encouraging e-mail responses to my ministry, website and book.  I always need encouragement.  So do you.


Perhaps you also feel like a besieged city.  People around you exercise unrealistic and inappropriate control over you, and you let them do it.  You try to do the same thing to others.  It never really works, does it?  If I knew the answer, I would be the answer.  But I am not.  The human Jesus is the answer. Jesus never tried to escape from his humanity.  Jesus lived a full and meaningful life as a truly human being who was able with God's help to rise above the turmoil and self-defeating pity and defeatism that brings you down and stomps you flat as a run-over toad frog.

 What's a girl to do?  I wish I knew!  One possible solution is to get negative people out of your life.  That is hard to do, because you love them so much, need them and depend on them.  So here is the dilemma: Do I let go of the people that I love the most or do I try to change them and know that I will fail?  If this sounds desperate, it is!


Jesus remained true to himself and loved people with honesty and bravery and non-possessive compassion.  Only with the Spirit of Jesus in control of your mind and heart can you do the same!  Give it a try.  You will really like the person you are becoming.  I don't really like myself yet, but I am working on it.


You do have to learn from the past, but you cannot live there.  Jesus lived in the present moment and the living realities of the people his life touched every day.  Jesus let go of his parents and moved on into the ever changing present. (See Luke 2:39-52 below.)  Your parents and family have had a great lasting influence upon your life, but you cannot live in any of your past, no matter how pleasant or unpleasant it might have been.

A young married couple was eating breakfast, and the husband said to his wife, "You certainly can't make biscuits like my mother!"  She replied, "And you can't make dough like my daddy!"

Let me know what happens when you really decide to follow Jesus and not religion, church, doctrines, traditions, your parents, the expectations and demands of other people or "the yellow brick road."

Rembert Truluck

Learning to think for yourself is one of the most liberating experiences of life.
Mailing address:
201 W. Washington St. #805
Greenville, SC 29601

See my website material on "The Real Jesus"
"Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up"

Luke 2:39-52
Jesus also redefined family in Matthew 12:47-50 in terms of the present.

Update for January 18, 2005
The Day after Martin Luther King's Birthday Celebration

As we celebrated the life of Rev. Martin Luther King yesterday, I called and talked to many of my friends and my family to share thoughts of MLK with them and hear of their memories and feelings on this important day of remembrance.  Most of the memories were positive and many were very moving, especially from Rev. Chuck Larsen, my pastor in Atlanta, who met Dr. King and gave me his impressions.  Rev. Carolyn Mobley a long time friend of mine and a vital leader of GLBT people of color in Atlanta and Houston was an inspiration to me as usual.

I selected the title for this update as "FAKE FRIENDS AND SHAMELESS USERS" because my life has often been controlled and distracted by fake friends and shameless users.  So was the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi (who was murdered by one of his followers) and Jesus Christ, who was betrayed by one of his best friends and disciples, Judas Iscariot.

If you get involved with other people in love, friendship, trust, and revolutionary activism to change the culture, you will have fake friends and shameless users in your life.  Much of my life in the past several years has been dominated by fake friends and shameless users.  I have tried to be objective and realistic in my close relationships, but I have not always been vigilant and reasonable in getting close to people either to try to help them or in trying to cultivate intimate long term relationships.

Several great leaders have said, "I can deal with my enemies, but God save me from my friends!"

Maybe you also have faced this kind of challenge in your life.  How did you handle it?  Jesus handled the fake friendship and treachery of Judas by continuing to love him, giving him every opportunity to back away from his plot of betrayal, and finally had to stand by helpless as Judas destroyed himself in treachery and suicide.  Jesus never took revenge himself.  Jesus left judgment to God, as you and I must also if we truly follow the Master.


I have begun writing my next book on "WILL THE REAL JESUS PLEASE STAND UP."  This book is already being expressed in my website material on "Jesus Bible Studies" and updates on "The Real Jesus." (See links below.)  Jesus was the ideal perfect human.  To follow Jesus is to be fully human and to relate to other people as fellow humans and not as a divine presence of power and authority over others.  Jesus resisted playing God in his temptations, and he suffered and died as a man, not as a God.  Jesus demonstrated practical reasonable relationships with people that were expressions of love, compassion, understanding, helpfulness, and a vision of the potential in people that they did not yet see in themselves.

Even with this entire great spiritual arsenal, Jesus also had fake friends and shameless users in his life.

I do not regret any of the things that have happened in my life since I first experienced the call of Jesus to follow him in ministry when I was 18 years old.  I have learned from even the most traumatic events and have become better prepared to help others by every problem and challenge that I have had to face and overcome.  Whenever I have failed and fallen flat on my face, it has been for a reason and has taught me necessary attitudes and skills to reach out to you and others in all of my life work of ministry, teaching, writing, and relating to others.


Perhaps the greatest challenge we face in life is selecting the people who will be close to us and will most influence who we are and, what we learn, and who we are becoming.  Sometimes the friends who cause us the most distress are the very people who teach us the most and influence us to overcome "the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" that test us and lead us on into successful outreach and ministry in the name of Jesus.  It is impossible for you to lift up the fallen and care for the dying unless you also have been along that same path.

I am crying as I write this, because it brings into clear focus many painful memories and many difficult relationships, many of which are still with me today and as I face tomorrow.  I cry and pray for many of my local close friends who are destroying themselves with prostitution, drugs and other self-destructive behaviors.  Please pray for me as I try to be part of the solution and not part of the problem.


As you read this, my hope for you is that you will meditate and look within yourself and discover your own spiritual resources that God has already given to you by the Spirit of Jesus and by making you in the "image of God and after God's likeness."  You are not a lonely pilgrim on a desperate private pilgrimage. 

You are accompanied by all of the saints throughout the ages and by the great company of the heavenly host that God has surrounded you to guide, protect, defend and empower you into a full and meaningful life of following and continuing the life of our "Lord Jesus Christ," which is a term that I do not often use, partly because I prefer "Sovereign" to "Lord" and partly because we are called to follow the human Jesus and not to try to play God in our relationships with others.

When "the word was made flesh" and Jesus came into the world as human flesh, he became vulnerable and subject to the temptations and pressures and human frailties that all of us also endure.  Following Jesus does not mean that you win every battle, but it does mean that you are never alone and that you always learn what you need to know to become better equipped to follow Jesus along your own life's path and to lift up the fallen and rescue the perishing who come into your life.


Change and decay in all around, we see.  Every time we make progress in GLBT spiritual, civil and human rights, a homophobic backlash develops to increase the power of our religion/political enemies.  This does not mean that we are losing the war.  Jesus did not lose the war.  He died, but he still won the war.  Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi also were killed, but they still won the war.  Victory in your personal life and human struggles is a gift from God that is promised throughout the Gospel.  Setbacks happen.  Failures happen.  Disappointments happen.  But the victory belongs to God who made you and called you into the life you are living now. 

Let God be the source of your knowledge and strength.  God is available to you already through the presence of the Holy Spirit within you.  Look within.  Learn from your own experiences and from the still small voice within your heart that speaks to you whenever you take the time and let go of external distractions so that you really can listen to yourself and to the Spirit that is within you. 

You never face fake friends and shameless users by yourself.  The one who created you in God's own image is with you at every moment of every day to inspire you and give you the gifts of objective, logical, realistic, practical thinking that can set you free to love without hurting yourself or others.  As I read back over these words, I pray that you and I both will have the wisdom and strength to put it all into practice today as the first day of the rest of our lives.

Peace, joy, and love to you,
Rembert Truluck

I still very much need your financial support for my Internet ministry.
Dr. Rembert Truluck
201 W. Washington St. #805
Greenville, SC 29601

If you want to talk with me, send me e-mail requesting my phone number, and I will send it to you.  You can still make contributions to my ministry through Chi Rho Press.  Look at my website homepage and click on "Click here for information about making financial contributions."  Special thanks to Adam DeBaugh and Chi Rho Press for help with all of my ministry and this website.

My book on "STEPS TO RECOVERY FROM BIBLE ABUSE" is still available from Chi Rho Press.  Use it to start your own home study group for information, dialogue, growth and recovery.

See "Jesus Bible Studies" and "The Real Jesus"

I received e-mail today from Debb in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, who is planning to start a regular monthly small group in her home to study my material and use my website and book.  She asked me to add her to my update list and to "pray for our spiritual leader to come and lead this group once a month."  I am passing her prayer request on to you.

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