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Volume 5: Issue 1
July/August 2000

Grace


Table Of Contents


Cover Story: Grace:

Got Grace?
--By: Candace Chellew

Grace is not about going to church. Grace is not about being "saved" or "unsaved." Grace is not about righteous acts. Grace is not about right belief. Grace is about our one-on-one connection with God.


The Free Gift of Grace
-- By: Rev. Vera I. Bourne

Grace is a free gift. It cannot be earned by any effort on our part -- by fasting, celibacy, acts of kindness or by prayer vigils. Whatever the value we place on our time or our energy we cannot suppose that God will ever be indebted to us.

Our Gospel of Grace
--By: Steve Pearson

God makes the promise of reconciliation in Christ Jesus, and if we believe it, we have salvation. We do not have to live according to a certain set of rules and standards, nor do we have to do anything except believe in order to gain God's love.


God's Great Gift
--By: Randy Ash

I offer these thoughts not as some expert in theology and faith, but rather as a lowly fellow seeker. As one who sees the pearl of great price and is actively, if feebly, selling all I have to possess it. And yet, grace is already mine without effort. Perhaps the first among the many paradoxes of the Christian faith that collectively frame the narrow way to God.


Doubly Blessed
--By: John Campbell

To me God's Grace is not about sparing me, the miserable sinner, from hell, but about telling me that I am not a miserable sinner but a Child of God, and that the only hell is a result of turning away from God and letting fear create the false illusion that God does not love me or is not there for me.


Grace for the "As Is"
--By: Betty Cusiak

Boy, have I got grace! I just got grace delivered to me from God in a big Fed Ex Overnight Express package. I opened the box and there was a beautiful, big red bow on a gift box that was wrapped with all-occasion wrap. (I guess I was expecting birthday or Christmas wrap). The gift tag said, "To Betty, Love, Jesus."


Grace and Transsexualism
--By: Lucas Hawkins

Grace gives faith to the weakest person. It gives hope to the backslider. It gives encouragement to the person who has failed over and over again, and when a fallen person turns to the Lord, the first thing they must learn is not to change themselves, but to release the grace that they have received.


Trained in Ungrace: Gays and Lesbians as Dispensers of Grace in a Church of Ungrace
--By: Thomas Woodrooffe

Conservative churches are built on foundations of "ungrace." In theory, they believe in salvation by Grace. In practice, they do something entirely different.


A Message of Grace to a Roman Catholic Priest
--By: Jerry S. Maneker

We are to show forth "agape." To the degree that the Church condemns gay relationships, it is to that degree that the Church is culpable in the atrocities of bashing, discrimination, and killing of GLBT people.



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Homospirituality

With Feeling
Five: Mama

--By: Neil Ellis Orts

I've often called Mama the goddess of practicality. Growing up in the Depression will do that, I suppose. We grew up in a household that knew how to do without. I never thought of my parents as tight with money, but they certainly knew how to stretch a dollar farther than you average American.


A Letter to the Pope on Behalf of GLBT Roman Catholics
--By: Philip Joseph Ferrara, Sr.

I beg you in this correspondence to please make the necessary, long overdue, rightful, Godly, Christian decision to accept our GLBT brothers and sisters into the Church as equal and fully participating members, both lay and religious, deserving of all the love, respect, and acceptance that any one else receives in the Catholic Church, as I am sure Christ Himself would do if He were here this day. Surely you cannot do less than this?


How Dare They Call it Christian, How Dare They Call it Love
--By: Kathy S. Quinn, Ed.D.

I cannot believe in what literalism, legalism, and fundamentalism preach and teach. I know only too well what those kinds of beliefs and practices did to my mother and me and that it was, and still is, very wrong. If that is the only kind of Christianity there is, I want no part of it.


A Lambda Theology: Cabin Fever
--By: Mitch Gould

One can imagine Soulforce replying that gay Christians have always traditionally been infected with Uncle Tom's Cabin Fever Syndrome, and that this is precisely why Soulforce is in existence in the first place. Still, it's not clear to me whether Soulforce advocates for little more than a more humane brand of what David AJ Richards calls "moral slavery" ...


Mel White Responds to the Critics
--By: Rev. Mel White

We are committed to the nonviolence teachings of Jesus, Gandhi, and King. We refuse to demonstrate violence of the heart, tongue, or fist. We will bring truth in love relentlessly to those who misunderstand and condemn us. We will love our adversaries and take on ourselves any suffering that our direct actions may cause.


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Special Report: Denominations in Conflict

Speaking Truth to Power in Cleveland:
My experience at the United Methodist General Conference

-- By: Laura Montgomery Rutt

No longer would we sit silently by and watch the church send messages of antipathy and apathy as our brothers and sisters are defrocked, dehumanized, and devalued by the church.


A Pastoral Letter From Cleveland
-- By: Bishop Joseph Sprague

I did not plan to join the protesters. Most certainly, neither Diane nor I intended to be jailed in Cleveland during the General Conference. But the Holy Spirit moved us and here I am in the Cleveland jail for the second day in a row.


A Glimpse of the "Beloved" Community
-- By: Gayle Felton, The Reconciling Congregation Program

The United Methodist Church, broken and bigoted as it is, is our church. We are not going away; we will not be silenced; we will intensify our efforts.


Gay Catholics Saddened by Methodist Vote
-- By: Dignity/USA

Leaders of Dignity/USA, the nation's leading advocate for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered Catholics, said they understood the sense of rejection gay and lesbian Methodists would be experiencing.


"Another Missed Opportunity!"
-- A Message from the Rev. Troy D. Perry

Rev. Troy D. Perry states, "We regard this as yet another 'missed opportunity' on the part of a major Christian denomination to overthrow long-standing injustice in their midst.


Soulforce Civil Disobedience Leads to Arrest of 81 People at Presbyterian General Assembly
-- Soulforce Press Release

Over 100 people had gathered together to protest church policies which exclude GLBT individuals from leadership in the church and to worship and stand together in solidarity during a Revival and Renewal Service prior to the arrests.


The Lost Baptist Ark
-- By: Rembert Truluck

Because of the prevailing Baptist opinion that the Bible is the "word of God" and is infallible in every detail, words have become absolute and worshipped in place of God.


Letters To The Editor

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From The Pulpit:

The Bread of Life is Here!
--By: Candace Chellew

... for my friends who cling so desperately to the Bible as the infallible word of God, this is a tough lesson! The church has changed over the centuries. A once exclusive church has changed to welcome eunuchs, foreigners and even Gentiles! For those who cling to the Bible as the word of God, the precedent has been set ... the church must change.


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Bible Study and Inspiration:

Conclusion:"My Love, How You Delight Me":
The Song of Songs Through Gay Eyes

--By: Tom Yeshua

There are many people who reach out to us. Some want our time, others want our money. Still others desire us as a means to satisfy them physically or emotionally. But only Jesus desires us because he made us out of love and paid for us with his blood, shed for love of us.


Girding Up The Loins Of Your Mind
A Teaching on 1 Peter 1:13-16

--By: Rev. Chancellor C. Roberts, II

We are being conformed to the image of our God. Like the old hymn says, "and I can't feel at home in this world anymore." It makes sense, then, that we should behave as the Lord behaves.


Called According to God's Purpose
--By: Berdine Mitchell Mayes

All things are set forth in Christ. All the purpose and plan of God is seen and revealed in Christ. We cannot separate ourselves from the purpose in Christ. What is true concerning Him is true concerning us as we are in Christ.


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Holy Humor!

Denominational Hermeneutics

Bible Puns

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