Letters to the Editor
Readers are an integral part of Whosoever. We appreciate hearing from our readers, whether they have praise or hot coals to heap on our heads. With the new year, we're beginning this new feature of a reader forum. Here's some of the things our readers are saying.
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Wow, what a powerful article. I have considered myself a straight, married, conservative, evangelical Christian for over 40 years. However, in the last year, I have become increasingly ashamed of conservatives and evangelicals. I am ashamed of our flaming nostril gay bashing. I am ashamed that we who call ourselves "keepers of the flame," "the last bastion of the holders of Biblical authority" and authors of so many books on love, are violating our own teachings on grace and mercy.
Lori Heine's article Our Way Home hit a home run. The religious right is now owned by the right-wing conservatives. At the same time, it does seem that the religious left worships solely at the feet of the liberal left. It appalls me that we have allowed the political establishment claim ownership of the votes of either the left or right. In my journey to sanity and self-reflection, I have shed the "labels." Am I conservative? Am I a closet liberal? Who gives a tinker's damn anyway?
I want to be a child of God who is open to all God's children. I began reading Nancy Wilson's marvelous book "Our Tribe" and sobbed as I read of her struggles to gain recognition for the gay community. My heart wrenched at the way "my" people treated "you" people. But, I'm learning that it's not "my" or "you" anymore. It's us.
We are a family, children of God, straight, married, gay, lesbian, bisexual, black, white or purple. Beyond that, we are one. In Christ, we are one. For in Christ there is no distinction between Jews or Greeks, male or female, gay or straight, or whatever. None! If God sees us as one, then, by God, we must see ourselves as one and learn to love each other and accept each other as equal partners in the family of God. Yes, we are individuals. Yes, some of us are straight, some not. Even straight vs. alternative labels are bothering me. But know for sure, I, as a "straight and happily married man and an evangelical Christian," am learning to love ALL of God's family.
I feel your pain, at least in a small part, because at a young age, I went through a divorce that ended my ministry in a denomination that frowned upon divorced pastors. I was became "unusable," "tainted by divorce" and no longer a whole person. It took years to overcome that hurt. So, now, God is opening my heart and exposing my prejudices and then allowing your ministry to bring healing.
Thank you for you fine articles and ministry.
I came across your website while researching "rejection." Quite a good website, too, I might add.
I'm straight and consider myself a "born again Christian," but I find the issue of Christians in the church rejecting others quite disturbing. In my opinion, churches should not only welcome gays into their congregation, but they should be standing at the door of the closet ready to escort them from that closet into the sanctuary.
The word "sanctuary" means "a safe place." It is unseemly for any Christian to stick their nose up in the air at anyone. The Bible tells us that "our righteousness is nothing but filthy rags" to God. In Isaiah 9:9, we're told that "All are hypocrites." As humans, we can't understand the mind of God ("As high as the heavens are from the earth, so are my ways different from your ways."). We try to "categorize" sin, when God just has TWO categories: 1) Fit and 2) Unfit. We try to establish "loopholes" with this to make our sins into merely "failures" or "shortcomings." But God doesn't see it that way; our actions are either sin or un-sin. If I served you an omelet that I made with 3 eggs, one being rotten, you wouldn't eat it; even if there are 2 fresh eggs in that omelet, that one rotten egg makes it "unfit." So it is with God regarding sin.
I personally believe that it's stupid to think that someone is going to heaven merely because they're "straight" and someone else is going to hell merely because they're gay. God sees our hearts. He knows our hearts. He knows what we can change and cannot, what we are born with, how we're made. And God alone will judge us all. I find that relieving, for how can anyone judge another human when we don't know everything about him? Therefore, churches should be viewing homosexuals not as "sinners only," but "only sinners." Each person has his own "thorn in the flesh," sin, or whatever; let us love one another and leave the judgment to God. When I became a Christian, I handed over to God my right to judge another person; MY duty as a Christian is to LOVE my neighbor, not JUDGE my neighbor; and I've found that an incredible burden taking off my back.
God bless all of you; you're not alone and there are others like me who have seen your pain and struggles in belonging. Yes, you CAN be a homosexual AND a Christian; how arrogant to think one cannot. If anyone wishes to write to me, I will listen and offer my hand in friendship. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. And you are precious and loved. I'm in your corner. I'll even sit with you in that corner so you'll not feel so rejected. Hang in there.
A friend in Christ,
Just wanted to thank you for [Rev. Candace Chellew-Hodge's] sermon People Suck, especially the story about "Shay." It brought me to tears.
I have experienced some hate mail since my coming out to Christian "friends," or to be more specific, got very unsupportive mail. Now I see that it is dealt with on your website very thoroughly, and I think you have a great courage in dealing with it all. My question though, is how can one deal with it on a personal level? It seems okay when you are a team of people and many have had some theological training. But for others - who perhaps, like me, live in a more remote place and do not have much support - it can be very difficult, especially when it is family and "friends" who are sending you all those accusations.
In other words, where do you find this strength not to let yourself hurt by all this hate mail? And how do you deal with it rationally?
I have a Christian friend whom I love and cherish. He is well-read in the scriptures and he is one of my best friends. He was also one of the first people I came out to. However, he does not approve of homosexuality. The other day, he showed me Romans 1:21-32. I'm scared, does this mean I'm going to hell? Please answer this question on your site, as I'm sure others like me have the same worries.
Worried and Scared
It's because of interpretations such as yours that this world is being flushed down the immorality toilet. I have added you to my prayer list.
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