Volume 5: Issue 1
Table Of Contents
Cover Story: 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 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.
Conservative churches are built on foundations of "ungrace." In theory, they believe in salvation by Grace. In practice, they do something entirely different.
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.
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
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?
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.
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" ...
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.
Special Report: Denominations in Conflict
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
From The Pulpit:
... 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.
Bible Study and Inspiration:
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.
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.
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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