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 2:
Turn To God Or Your Higher Power
As Your Guide To Recovery

Pray and ask God to guide you into a healthy spiritual life and into a Christ centered use of the Bible. God wants you to be happy and to feel good about yourself.  God, as you understand and experience God, is very personal and individual.  Nobody else can give God to you.  This is why all recovery programs encourage you to turn your life over to your "Higher Power" or to God as you understand God.  Your sense of self esteem and self worth depends on your view of God.

Philippians 4:6-7: "Be anxious for nothing, but in every thing by prayer and supplication let your requests be known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

1 Peter 5:7: "Cast all of your anxiety on God, for God cares for you."

Further discussion of Step 2 can be found in my book Steps To Recovery From Bible Abuse in the following Lessons:

(Click on Bible references to read them..)

Luke 4:17-30

2 Peter 3:1-18

Luke 18:1-14

Jeremiah 13:23; Luke 12:25-26;
Ephesians 4:22-32; Colossians 3:1-17

This Update added June 14, 2004


God is always equally present in all things.  God is Sovereign.  God is with you now whether you are aware of it or not.  You cannot run away from God!  God is special and unique for you.  Your God is whatever and whoever you imagine God to be.  Nobody else can dictate to you or force you to accept a specific identity for God that does not really fit you.

As Jimmy Durante used to say when somebody would interrupt his television show: "Everybody wants to get into da act!"  Far too many people who mean well but who are wrong want to get into your act and write and direct their personal script for you concerning God.


Many years ago, I went to Vanderbilt University with a group of my fellow seminary students along with Dr. Wayne E. Oates to hear Paul Tillich lecture.  Tillich used his famous descriptions of God: "Ultimate Reality" and "The Ground of Being."  He decided to explain to us what he meant by those titles for God.  I had never before heard a truly convincing explanation.  Tillich simply said that unless God is ultimate reality and the ground of all being, God is not truly God!

How do you describe your personal vision of God?  One person decided that "God is a vague oblong blur."  Many Christians follow the ideas in the first chapter of the Gospel of John and conclude that Jesus is God and that to see Jesus is to see God.  The problem is that we seldom if ever catch a clear glimpse of the "real Jesus" either in the churches or in the doctrines and demands of the churches.

Jesus is reported by John as saying: "If you have seen me, you have seen God." (John 14:9. Read all of John chapters 12-17.)


John A. T. Robinson, Bishop of Woolwich, published "Honest to God" in 1963, in which he challenged the traditional images of God.  This book became a hotly disputed work that many scholars challenged in a subsequent book: "The Honest to God Debate" edited by David L. Edwards and published also in 1963.  Later, in 1996, Robert W. Funk, founder of the Jesus Seminar, published "Honest to Jesus: Jesus for a new millennium," which also challenged all traditional views of Jesus.  (See links below.)

All three of these books are worth your time and energy, and I hope that you will read and study them and their sources, which include Tillich's "Shaking of the Foundations," and the works of Soren Kierkegaard, including "Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing" and "Attack Upon Christendom," along with Dietrich Bonhoeffer's "Letters and Papers from Prison."  Become familiar with the "Quest for the Historical Jesus," the "New Quest" and the works of Rudolf Bultmann and his followers dealing with "de-mythologizing" the Gospels.

All of this is a reminder of two sayings of one of my favorite seminary professors, Eric Rust: "You can't put God in your pocket!" and "God is not found at the end of an argument."


What is your earliest memory of God or religion?  Long before you were able to make your own decisions about anything, your parents and teachers filled your mind with images and descriptions of God.  Perhaps your God was the fundamentalist vision of "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," as Jonathan Edwards proclaimed during the so-called "Great Awakening," which actually was "The Great Mistake" or we could also call it "The Great Heresy" that clouded the image of God and Jesus in a fog of judgmental legalism that remains with us today in every major Christian denomination (over 300 at latest count).

How logical and objective is traditional religion today in America, where over 300 Christian church denominations each claim to know and teach the truth about God and each also teaches that all of the others are wrong!  These obvious contradictions don't seem to make any difference to the radical "company of the committed" that dominates the religious environment of our world.

Accompanying the religious contradictions is the publication of hundreds of different translations and versions of the Bible that devoted "believers" claim are the literal "words of God."  These contradictions may seem obvious to you, but the ludicrous illogical foundations of contemporary church religions seem to be an accepted fact of faith for millions of people.  "The Bible says it.  I accept it.  And that settles it!"  Or does it?


Tillich wrote a very helpful little volume on "Dynamics of Faith," where he showed how doubt is a part of the faith process.  The only person without any doubts is a Hitler shouting his views from his balcony with no thought of questioning or allowing anyone to question his "truth," which consisted of lies so often spoken that people began to believe that the lies were true!

Contemporary religion is a mental illness that includes suspicion (paranoia) and schizophrenia (obvious contradictions that are accepted as true) along with a heavy dose of manic/depressive behavior, co-dependency and unresolved anger at the traditional God and at yourself for failing to "measure up" to the requirements and standards of legalistic judgmental religion, which are rapidly becoming part of the air you breathe and the culture that you feel obligated to obey and defend.  What a mess!


Most traditional religions do not try to teach people to think for themselves.  The aim of the religious system is to convince believers to follow the spiritual leadership of the designated clergy, teacher or bishop authority who can dish out your spiritual truth as though "one size fits all"!  Church has become an elaborate hog trough where the religious slop is dumped out by the spiritual keepers and then is swallowed and digested by the faithful.  If that image of religion is offensive to you, why do you keep coming to the legalistic trough every Sunday?  Is it because you enjoy the company of other pigs?  Or is it simply a disgusting habit that you cannot face and discard.

I doubt that you are enjoying this update up to this point!  Most sick people so not like the idea of undergoing major surgery to remove a malignant tumor.  But most people who face their unhealthy condition and seek relief from the pain and disfigurement caused by a physical or spiritual tumor gladly and gratefully accept the surgical skills of the medical team and are glad to be rid of destructive obstructions and life threatening conditions.


I just received a gift copy of "A LIFE OF UNLEARNING: Coming Out of the Church: One Man's Struggle" by Anthony Venn-Brown, who lives in Australia and receives my updates and has frequently been in touch with me on the Internet.  "A Life of Unlearning" was published this year, 2004, by New Holland Publishers, 14 Aquatic Drive Frenchs Forest NSW 2086 Australia.  This timely book is a powerful personal "coming out" story that will encourage and inform you.   (See link below.)


Biblical translator and scholar J. B. Phillips wrote a helpful little volume with the challenging title: "Your God Is Too Small."  Read it.  Brother Lawrence gave us another brief "classic of practical Christian devotion" in his slim volume: "The Practice of the Presence of God."  Read it.  Learn from others who have had the "the courage to be" (another short study by Paul Tillich) and to think for themselves.

You will learn far more from others who have discovered the gift of thinking for themselves than from all of the religious experts and know-it-all biblical "scholars" who dare to dump their own undigested slop into your trough.

To follow Jesus is to think for yourself.

Rembert Truluck
PO Box 24062
Oakland, CA 94623

Thank you for your encouragement and financial help with my Internet ministry.  You can still make a contribution directly to Dr. Truluck at my PO Box or through my publisher, Chi Rho Press, PO Box 7864, Gaithersburg, MD 20898 or online at:
Write in the amount and indicate "for Dr. Truluck" and your contribution will be tax-deductible.

The Jesus Seminar:

For up to date news related to GLBT people:
Look at "Yahoo! News" and do "search" for "Gay and Lesbian":

To order my book from my publisher:
http://www.chirhopress.com/products/product_details/steps_to _recovery_details.html

Anthony Venn-Brown, author of "A LIFE OF UNLEARNING," can be contacted at his website:

"This triumphant autobiography reveals the torment and guilt Anthony experienced as a conservative Christian who was, God forbid, gay.  Whether you're gay or straight, a Christian or a non-believer, you'll find relevance in Anthony's tale and be touched as you join him on his journey of discovery.  This is a story about living your truth‒embracing who you are and living the life you were meant to live." (Copied from the back cover of the book.)

On to Step 3

Update for November 24, 2002

Thanksgiving Week is here.  Whatever else you might include in giving thanks, you can always give thanks for faith, hope and love that have blessed your life and the lives of people around you.

Stop and take time to read through I Corinthians 13 carefully and thoughtfully.  You can click here for my translation.  No matter what your life has been like in the past year, you still have faith, hope and love, which remain when everything else is gone.


I still have faith that God is at work in everything that happens to me and in all of the various circumstances that I do not understand and cannot control.  Our rapidly changing world challenges our faith but does not destroy it.  Loss, grief, anger and depression can challenge your faith, but they cannot destroy it.  Faith grows stronger under pressure.

Faith is a gift from God.  "God, increase my faith" is a prayer that opens the way to greater faith.  Exercising your faith, like exercising your body, makes faith grow stronger and become better focused.  Faith in God and faith in yourself go hand-in-hand.  The more you believe and accept the goodness of God and God's love and acceptance of you, the more your faith in God and in yourself grows and develops towards spiritual maturity and inner peace.

When a storm raged around the small boat containing Jesus and the disciples, the fear of the disciples caused Jesus to ask: "Where is your faith?"  Where is your faith and why do you place your trust where you do?


Which brings us to hope.  Hope also is a gift from God.  The gift of hope delivers you from despair and depression.  Hope comes into your heart because God is at work in your life all the time, whether or not you are aware of God's presence and God's actions.

Hope is not an indefinite good feeling about what might or might not happen.  Hope is a positive energetic expectation of good in your future.  The basis for hope, like the basis for faith, is the continuous work of God in all things for your benefit.  Where does your vision of God come from?  Is it the product of abusive misinformed religion, or is it based on your own understanding and thoughtful reflection?  Does your vision of God come from others or from within?

The nature of your experience of hope depends on how you see God and therefore how you see yourself.  Both faith and hope are attitudes that are meaningless unless they are truly relevant to who you really are and to what your present world is like.  Living in the past is contradictory to faith and hope.  The joy of a living hope and a solid faith comes from living in the present and in the Spirit of God, who has been given to you to reveal to you what you need to know to enjoy being yourself and be open and accessible to others.


Which brings us to love.  Paul did not give long detailed explanations of faith and hope, but that is simply a matter of emphasis not of importance.  Paul did, however, give a long detailed explanation of love.  If you have never done it, memorize the characteristics of love given in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.  See my discussion of this in Lesson 5l "Growing Up in Love" (pages 426-432) in my BOOKSee also Henry Drummond's brief classic on this subject: The Greatest Thing in the World.

Try this little exercise.  Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 and substitute your name for the word "love" in each statement.  I had my college Bible classes do this, and used my name: "Rembert is patient".  Everybody laughed along with me.  The final statement: "Rembert never fails" also sounded impossible.  All of this makes you realize that love also is a gift from God and not something that we can just work up on our own.  Romans chapter 5 also discusses hope, faith and love and in 5:5 points out that "The love of God is shed abroad in your hearts by the Holy Spirit who is given to you."

A good way to remind yourself of what you have to be thankful for this year is to read all of Romans chapters 5, 6, 7 and 8.  These powerful words of faith, hope and love are a true thanksgiving feast for your soul.


A great deal of the e-mail that I receive is from friends who want me to answer questions for them about what my writings mean or to answer questions about what they should do in various personal situations.  I actually have no answers.  Everything that I have to say is already in my web site and book.  I never try to give personal advice in e-mail.  I cannot know what another individual is thinking or experiencing or how other people are already handling their crisis events.  God knows.  God is already there and working on their behalf.

Your answers are already within you because you are made in the image of God and because the Spirit of God has been given to you at your birth into the human race.  Everything that Jesus did was done for the entire human race.  At his baptism, Jesus clearly identified with all humanity, and he was baptized for all people, not just for the select few who knew the religious formulas and said the right words!

When the Spirit of God was given at Pentecost in Acts 2 the obvious emphasis is that the Spirit came upon all humanity with no exceptions!  The quotation from the Prophet Joel makes that abundantly clear.  The religious captivity of the Spirit is a false notion that has divided people and distorted their vision of God and themselves.  The exclusive religious attitudes that leave out great portions of the human race are a blatant denial of the unconditional inclusive love of God that Jesus demonstrated and taught.


I often receive very poignant touching e-mail from people young and old who tell me how they have been made to feel like outsiders by their abusive religion teaching them homophobic misinformation as God's law.  Then they go on to tell me how reading my web site changed all of that and gave them a new vision of themselves as included and accepted by the God they had been taught to fear and dread and avoid.

Faith, hope and love are not just for the special few.  These are God's gifts to the entire human race.

"THANKSGIVING" is a great time to feast upon the riches of faith, hope and love that have been given to you in abundance by the Creator who made you and sustains you at every moment of your existence.  You are not alone.  God is with you, and you also are surrounded by a great invisible multitude of other children of God who have gone before you in faith, hope and love.

Rejoice and be glad, for this is the day that God has made for you.

Rembert Truluck

Religion can be an incredible distraction from
the true meaning of "faith, hope and love."

Update for January 13, 2002

You may not see what God is doing, but God is at work in your life.

God never abandons you.  God never takes a vacation.  As Paul Tillich observed: God is the ground of all being.  God is the ultimate reality.  Nobody understands God.  The human mind is incapable of grasping the mind and power of God.  Just because you do not understand what God is doing in your life and in your world does not mean that God is not there.

The most painful and destructive things that have come into my life have prepared me for my present ministry through my web site and books, as an MCC pastor and teacher, on the Internet, and in workshops.  Whenever I go through troubled times, I look for what God is saying to me and what God is preparing for me to do next.


"The heavens are telling of the glory of God and the firmament is declaring the work of God's hands."  This is from Psalm 19:1 and has been set to music by many composers.  "Firmament" literally means a "polished reflective surface," like a mirror.  The "firmament" is seen to reflect everything that God has done.  The Psalmist is saying that the entire work of God on earth speaks for God.  God is everywhere and speaks through every tiny detail of human experience.  Our problem is learning to listen when God is speaking personally to us through our experiences, feelings and thoughts.

"Earth's crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God, but only the ones who see take off their shoes.  All the rest sit round and pick blackberries." –Elizabeth Barrett Browning.  God is speaking to you through everything that you see and every person that you meet and in every thought and emotion that comes into your life.


When God brings me to a sudden stop in my journey, the obstacles to what I want to do could be an important stepping-stone into a new path that God wants me to follow.  When I was forced to resign from the Baptist College in Charleston, SC, in 1981, it seemed to be a total disaster, yet it was that event that led to the open door for ministry in the LGBT community for the past 21 years through MCC and in hundreds of meetings, writings, lessons and activism for our community.

Many times the loss of health, a partner, a place to live, a job or other personal stress becomes the sign post to a new beginning as life continues to make progress in our learning more fully how to "let go and move on."  Whenever God closes one door, God opens another.  Everything that God does in your life is done in love and with the purpose of allowing you to enjoy the most full and meaningful life that you can have.

Jesus gave us many reasons not to give up on God.  The following list was developed in one of our small groups as "The Eight Wonders of God" and clear reasons to trust God and not give up:

         1. God always is greater than your need.

    2. God always is greater than your enemy.

    3. God always loves you more than you do.

    4. God always has better plans for you than you do.

    5. God always gives you what is good for you.

    6. God always is available to you.

    7. God gives you what you could never give to yourself.

    8. Whatever God gives to you can never be taken from you.

(This list comes from Lesson 7 on "Do Not Give Up on God" in my book.)


Change and even troublesome events need not be cause for alarm.  God is with you no matter what happens.  For readily available encouragement, read Psalm 23 and Philippians 4:6-7.  Don't be afraid of other people or of changes that you don't control.  Don't be afraid of anything that happens to you.  Don't be afraid of the opinions of other people about you.  Fear can paralyze us and makes us react in panic when we really need to be logical, objective and practical.

Panic comes not from what is happening but from how you perceive what is happening.  One of my greatest difficulties is dealing with my own feelings when I try to make out what another person is really thinking and feeling and over-react to what I imagine is going on.  One of my friends once told me that I have "a catastrophic imagination!"  If I don't know what is going on, I always imagine the worst.  Sometimes it has been worse than I thought, but I have always been able to survive and handle it anyway.  You can too.


God never changes.  God's presence with you is a fact of life.  You continue to breath and live because God has created you in the image of God and has breathed into you the "breath of life."  God speaks to you in everything around you and in the still small voice of God's Spirit within you.  Help is not far away or off in some distant "heaven" or temple.  God's help, direction and encouragement are to be found within your own self.  Look within.  Be open to your inner voice.  God is opening your eyes to new truth and new directions and giving to you the wisdom and power to follow the path that is meant for you.

Rembert Truluck

"God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God to those who are called according to God's purpose." (Romans 8:28)

See the web site of my friend Rik Isensse , who is a gay psychotherapist in San Francisco and has written 5 books on helping us live life better.  Rik offers many kinds of help, including a new program of "Life Coaching." I have added this link to my web site "Resources" page.

Update for December 10, 2001

When you don't know what is happening or why, trust God.  When life does not make any sense and everything seems to be falling apart all around you, trust God.  No matter what happens, trust God.

Why is it so hard for you to trust God?  You trust people that you don't even know.  You trust strangers who drive planes, trains, taxis, and buses and who give directions, but you have a problem trusting God.  Why?  You trust what you read in newspapers and books and on the Internet and television, but you cannot trust God.  Why?  Is it because your mind is not free to think clearly and logically?  Are our minds bound and controlled by misinformation, traditions, cultural conditioning and a thousand other hooks and scramblers?

What can free your mind so that you can trust God?

A man with a disturbed child came to Jesus for help and said: "If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us!"  Jesus answered: "If You can!  All things are possible to the one who believes.  The man replied: "Teacher, I believe; help me in my unbelief!"  Then Jesus took the child by the hand and raised him up and he was well. (Mark 9:17-29)


Where does faith come from?  Martin Luther said that faith itself is a gift from God.  Romans 10:17 declares: "Faith comes through hearing, and hearing through the world of Christ (the Gospel)."  One obvious barrier to strong faith in God is our weak conception of God that does not encourage us to let go of everything else and trust only God.  How can you gain a vision of God that allows you to trust God when everything you have learned about God is confusing and inconsistent with your own reality?

The first step into real faith is to question your old beliefs and recognize and admit your spiritual weakness and failures.  "God, help my unbelief!"

The next step is to admit that you really do need God in your life and that without God and some kind of faith in God, you are a frantic mess!  Recovery from abusive religion and ignorant distortions about God is no different from recovery from any other "unclean spirits" that inappropriately attempt to control you and jerk you around.  You admit your loss of control and turn to your "higher power" for help.  That is trust.  That is faith.


Some call it the "leap of faith."  A leap of faith is not a jump into oblivion or a retreat from reality.  The leap of faith in God is letting go of "false gods" and moving on into something that really works for you.  You already are trusting in a lot of misguided advice and murky instincts that are not working.  Something has caused you to wake up to your need to start over.  You are strongly moved to make some kind of spiritual change in your life.

You have had so much success in running your life without clear guidance and help from God that you have been able to maneuver yourself into a trapped situation that you cannot understand or escape.  How do I know this about you?  It's because I am in the same boat with you and we are all struggling with the same pressures and perplexing life situations.  We are not really different from each other in our sense of need or in our frustration with the solutions that we have tried so far.


Sometimes it seems to take a lot of wrong turns and hasty trips on detours and into blind alleys before we decide to ask God for guidance and strength to accept ourselves and move into inner peace and confident living.  Love is indeed the "greatest thing in the world," but faith and hope are the foundations on which love rests.

You already are placing your trust in a lot of people, ideas, views, arguments, and reasoning that have not worked out for you.  Why not turn to God and trust that the Creator who made you in the image of God has some really good things in store for you if you only believe?

I know that all of this sounds terribly simplistic.  Yet the main thrust of the teachings of Jesus seems to have been an emphasis on simple and humble ideas that really speak for themselves.  Jesus gave a lot of attention to what should be obvious to everybody.  Religion has so completely over-complicated the doctrines and rules of "Christianity" that the simple trust and love that is demonstrated in Jesus has been lost in the mountain of trivia that religion has worked relentlessly to create over the past 2,000 years.


When you are so conflicted about your own self-doubt and self-rejection, as many millions of LGBT people are, being able to trust yourself and your own ideas and feelings becomes elusive and sometimes impossible.  Trusting God and being able to trust yourself go hand-in-hand.  How can you "accept Jesus" if you cannot "accept yourself"?  How can you really trust God if you cannot trust yourself?

Fortunately, God can help you to accept and affirm yourself by reminding you that you are created in the image of God and after God's likeness.  You are not garbage or trash.  You are already a child of God and loved and accepted by God as demonstrated in the life and teachings of Jesus.  Begin by believing in yourself.  The next logical step is to believe in the God who made you and who has great plans for your happiness, love, joy and peace in the full and meaningful life that God has offered to you in Jesus.

Trusting God is a "win-win" situation.  You can do far better by trusting God than by not trusting God and trusting the slippery values of culture, society and abusive discredited religion!  You do not have to remain the way you are.  You can turn to God and ask God to help your unbelief.


The Christmas season can be very frustrating and distressing for GLBT people.  We often have been cut off from many significant people in our lives, and the spirit of the holidays can seem empty and unhappy for many of us.  Read my material on "Help with Holiday Stress" in "A Response to Southern Baptists".

On to Step 3


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