New publication helps homosexuals,
From the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Thursday, January
Chellew hopes that her new magazine, "Whosoever," can make a difference
in the debate about the role of homosexuals in the Christian faith.
As Whosoever celebrates
its ten year anniversary, we'll be presenting articles that have appeared
over the years about Whosoever or by Whosoever founder and editor Whosoever
This article originally
appeared in the January 9, 1997 edition of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
monthly magazine made its nationwide debut in June and is evolving into
a publication that features in-depth discussions focused on specific themes.
The most recent issue discussed mainstream churches that are welcoming
gays and lesbians into their congregations. "I'm taking great pains not
to be evangelistic," she says.
Her target audience is composed of those who were brought up in a Christian
church but found themselves angry at God because of their homosexuality
and unwelcome in Christian communities. Chellew's motivation, however,
stems from her experiences as the daughter of a Southern Baptist minister.
Once she realized at age 16 that she was a lesbian, Chellew found her
father's sermons confusing and contradictory concerning Christianity and
homosexuality. For a time she turned her back on God, believing that he
had done the same to her.
It wasn't until she was 21-years-old that she came to realize that God
had stood by her during many experiences.
Chellew came up with the idea of "Whosoever" after attending a "TalkBack
Live" show (on CNN) that dealt with same-sex marriages.
"It was amazing to me how hateful these people were," she says. "It
didn't seem to be very Christian to me."
"Whosoever" takes its title from the Bible's John 3:16, which states
that whosoever believes in Jesus Christ shall not perish but have everlasting
life. Jesus didn't specify that his believers be rich, poor, gay, straight,
right or wrong, she explains.
In addition to the magazine, Chellew has set up a Web site with an e-mail
address. Many of her subscribers and contributors have come through the
Web site, which she said has helped broaden the magazine's scope beyond
"I haven't gotten any death threats," Chellew quips, but she has received
many esponses to the magazine's premise that the Bible is not infallible
and that blind faith harms people by keeping them from interpreting the
Scriptures for themselves.
She has developed e-mail correspondence with many of her readers, including
a man in Minnesota who initially told Chellew to repent or die. After
several exchanges, he told her that he had formed his opinions about homosexuality
without ever knowing any gay people. He and Chellew now have a friendly
"Sometimes you have to educate people one at a time," Chellew said.
"I may not change their minds now, but who knows what will happen down
"Whosoever" is carried by more than 35 bookstores around the country.
In Atlanta, it's available at Brushstrokes, Borders at Perimeter, Oxford
Books, and Charis Books & More.
Linda Bryant, owner of Charis Books, says the magazine is a good resource
that connects people who have similar ideas about homosexuality and Christianity.
Chellew writes and edits the magazine from her Ormewood Park home, and
a friend helps with the printing. Production expenses, about $600 an issue,
come out of Chellew's pocket. Her next task is to search for grant money,
financial backers and someone skilled at selling ads.
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