|We are sorry to tell all those who gained strength from Dr. Truluck's work and research that he passed away at age 74 on November 13, 2008.|
In lieu of flowers, the family request donations be made to a memorial fund to help pay for funeral expenses and to keep his legacy and work going. Contributions can be made to Russell Truluck, P.O. Box 627 Travelers Rest, SC 29690.
To learn more about Dr. Truluck, click the
"About the Author"
section of this web site.
NEWS AND EVENTS
If you have trouble getting a copy of my book,
you can purchase a copy from me. Send me a check or
money order for $30.00 to cover the cost of the book
plus packaging and postage. I will send you a book
by Priority Mail and you will have it in a couple of days.
"APPEAL FOR HELP"
Update for Sunday, August 29, 2004
longtime friend Amir Ragsac, who designed and created my website and
who designed my book cover, sent this letter to some of his friends
earlier today. I asked him if I could pass his letter on to you,
and you may want to pass it on to others also:
Rembert Truluck, a friend, pastor, teacher, writer and minister
has waged a personal, moral and public
war against right-wing Christian conservatives and their
associated ill effects on law, politics, social mores and human
rights, for over the last four decades. Through his work
and involvement with LGBT churches such as the Metropolitan
Community Church, and through his book and Web site, Dr. Truluck has
helped many gays and lesbians deal with the idiosyncrasies of their
Christian faith and to win their struggle and acceptance of their
own sexuality, and indeed has dissuaded many young people from
suicide through his personal ministry.
Truluck's work and ministry is significant. Over 27 million people
from across the globe have visited his Web site, and many thousands
have been helped by his book, "Steps to Recovery from Bible
Abuse." I personally believe that his work has touched many more
lives, however indirectly, by opening up the hearts and minds of those
in our churches, government, workplace, and that of our very
own families and friends.
Truluck's ministry currently receives no outside financial support or
any outside grants of any kind, and will shut down soon if no offer of
assistance is provided. Please help, encourage, and support this
important, living gay ministry that is so needed today, and help ensure
that it continues to be an important resource to those in our
community. Please visit Dr. Truluck's Web site at
www.otkenyer.hu/truluck/index.html to learn more about his work and why it is so
critical, especially now, as right-wing Christians and conservative
Republicans would once again choose to use the Bible, however
wrongly, as a weapon to bash and deny gays and lesbians their full
and equal right to marry, and thus deny their right to family.
"I make a
personal appeal to you, and encourage you to help Dr. Truluck's
ministry so as to ensure that his important work
continues. Contributions, no matter how small, are welcome and so
needed. Tax-deductible contributions can be made to Dr.
Truluck, in care of Chi Rho Press, a gay non-profit organization
based in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Additional information on how to
make a donation is posted below.
thank you for taking time to read my rather lengthy e-mail. This
is a personal appeal, for a very personal cause. I hope that you
and others decide to give their support to him that have supported our
community for so long and in so many ways, one who has fought our
battles for us, and for one who has given so much of his life to
make so many of us whole again."
Contribution directions for Dr. Truluck:
Truluck is now retired and no longer receives any
proceeds from his book. Please send any contributions to
his home at:
Rembert Truluck 201 W. Washington St. Apt 805;
Greenville SC 29601.
A PERSONAL NOTE (from previous updates):
"The main pressure on me now is financial. I still need your help and
support to continue my ministry of writing, teaching, website, updates,
e-mail ministry, travel and all of the rest of what I have been doing
for the past 7 years. I am grateful for your encouragement and support.
Thanks to all of you who have sent financial help that has truly kept me going during the past few weeks.
you have any personal connections with LGBT supportive foundations or
grant resources, please pass this letter along to them. Thanks.
Dr. Rembert Truluck
201 W. Washington St. # 805
Greenville, SC 29601
Write to Adam DeBaugh and Chi Rho Press at:
PO Box 7864, Gaithersburg, MD 20898
Here is a new website that a friend sent to
me this week. You might be interested in seeing it:
"VARIETIES OF MINISTRIES"
April 23, 2002
REV. PAUL SMITH
with Rev. Paul Smith and the people of Broadway Baptist Church in
Kansas City was an exciting and encouraging learning experience for
me. Paul has served the church as pastor for forty years and has
developed an extraordinary team ministry that includes everybody in the
has had a long history of innovative ministries and has included and
affirmed LGBT people for many years. Recently Rev. Paul came out
as gay himself and took the leap of faith into his own truth that has
inspired and encouraged many other people, including me. I
learned a lot from Paul and from his entire team of Christian ministers.
learned from and greatly appreciated Julie, who is earning her degree
in sign language. Julie faithfully signed the events of the
weekend for a hearing impaired African American gay man who was present
for the entire five and a half hours of the Saturday workshop and for
everyone at the Sunday worship. Julie's faithfulness and talents
were one of many manifestations of the "varieties of ministries" at
Broadway that demonstrated 1 Corinthians 12:4-7:
are varieties (haireseis: "heresies") of gifts, but the same Spirit.
There are varieties of ministries (diakonos: same as "deacon"), and the
same Lord (teacher). And there are varieties of effects (energon: "used
only of supernatural power"), but the same God who works all things in
all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the
Spirit for the common good."
word "varieties" in 1 Corinthians 12 is the same word as "heresy" and
can be used for both good and bad variations or "diversities"
(KJV). No two people have exactly the same calling in
Jesus. People at Broadway Baptist Church were encouraged and
supported in discovering their individual spiritual gifts and
developing and using them in ways that were appropriate and fit them.
abusive use of the Bible and religion in our culture has clouded and
distorted the truth. As a result, other people have rejected the
spiritual gifts of some people as heresies. The truth, however,
is setting us free.
Young was my first contact with Broadway Baptist Church when he
approached me about coming for a weekend to teach and share my ministry
of encouragement and information about "Recovery from Bible
Abuse." Gerry did a great job of organizing, advertising and
promoting the events of the weekend and his tireless efforts of support
and outreach laid the foundation for everything that happened.
Special thanks to Gerry!
PHILIP AND PETER
and Peter were my hosts while I was in Kansas City and I cannot thank
them enough for their kindness, energy and support. Philip is the
worship and music leader on the church staff and Peter is the person
who saw to it that my materials were available and ready for the
various events. They opened their home and hosted a Saturday
evening dinner for sharing and dialogue. I enjoyed them, their
two greyhounds and Waldo, their cat!
RAYLENE AND BILL
and Bill facilitated their 12-step small group preparation for the
weekend. Small Group dialogue and ministries already have a long
history at Broadway and laid a foundation for everything that we
experienced in my workshop and other events.
MICHAEL AND STEVE
and Steve organized the Friday night reception, where I was able to
meet and begin to share in dialogue and friendship with many of the
people who had worked to prepare for the weekend and were present for
the various events of the weekend.
DONNA AND MARSHA
worked along with co-pastor Marsha Fleischman in the preparation and
delivery of lunch on Saturday. Marsha has developed and led many
ministries of the church and in her teamwork with Rev. Paul, she taught
me once again how powerfully and effectively the Spirit of Jesus calls
and equips women for discipleship and ministry of all kinds, in spite
of what the disastrous current Southern Baptist Convention policies
about women might be!
helped to promote the events with posters and other activities, and his
work along with the work of many others whose names I did not know made
history with team ministries to lay a foundation for and celebrate the
first event of my "Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse" teaching
ministry in a local Southern Baptist Church with an openly gay pastor
and an accepting and affirming congregation.
What a personal joy and encouragement my visit to Kansas City was for me!
people I have named here were listed in the Sunday bulletin and thanked
for their part in making the weekend happen. Many others also
gave their time and energy as ongoing partners in the service of Jesus
in the church and in the community. Artwork has become a great
part of the message of the church, both in the collection of "Faces of
Jesus" in the halls and some very creative artwork by Donald Batman and
others in the sanctuary.
BROADWAY BAPTIST CHURCH
Baptist Church meets in an impressive 125 year old historic building
that has been transformed by new ideas and current challenges to make a
powerful impact on the entire city. The worship style and
enthusiasm in the sanctuary of the church on Sundays is innovative and
adapted to the realities of today's world. The church has
resisted living in the past and has broken the bondage to medieval
religion that limits and undercuts the effectiveness of most local
Paul is a compassionate teacher and a writer and his ministry reflects
the Spirit of Jesus in helping people to become informed and equipped
to think for themselves and to accept and affirm themselves as
individuals in the image of God. I was inspired and greatly
encouraged by what I experienced at Broadway Baptist Church.
TRANSGENDERED GOSPEL CHOIR
Saturday, April 27, 2002, I will share my "Steps to Recovery from Bible
Abuse" materials and help along with others to lead a time of learning
and inspiration for the "Transcendence Gospel Choir" of the City of
Refuge church in San Francisco. See their web site.
of you in the San Francisco Bay Area have contacted me about
participating in a small group study and dialogue group in my
home. I am working on setting a date for our first meeting, and
if you are interested, please send me e-mail and tell me about yourself
and give me a phone number where I can reach you.
Celebrate who you are with joy and thanksgiving.
This is update for October 23, 2001: REPORT ON TRIP TO MCC WINSTON-SALEM, NORTH CAROLINA.
leadership in many varieties was demonstrated at MCC Winston-Salem
during my visit there this weekend. Pastor Ken Hull and his
partner Jerry were gracious and generous hosts. I learned a lot
from them and came to appreciate greatly their effective ministry of
encouragement and leadership in the church.
with the people in my workshop and in the enthusiastic worship services
on Sunday also revealed a high level of spiritual ministry and
leadership. One reason that spiritual leadership was so evident
was that many people had worked hard to develop and lead small groups
for spiritual growth and sharing.
was a rare privilege for me to go to a church to lead workshops and
preach where my book was already in use in several home study groups
for several months. I had the privilege of meeting with the group
leaders and their partners on Saturday night and learned from their
experiences and their enthusiasm for what they were doing.
to the group leaders tell of their ministries and share their problems
and questions made me realize that I need to develop a guide book for
small group spiritual growth leaders. I am working on it
now. (See chapters 4 and 5 and lesson 40 in my book. Also
see START YOUR OWN RECOVERY GROUP.
LEARNING FROM EACH OTHER
MCC Winston-Salem I was able to observe first-hand the powerful
spiritual impact that Christian people can have on each other if they
have the opportunity to learn new information and dialogue with
others. I am most grateful for what I learned by listening to the
pastor and people of this church.
DeBaugh, publisher of my book at Chi Rho Press, had visited MCC
Winston-Salem earlier in the summer and had introduced my book and
helped to get the book started in groups. Many people in the
church and some visitors already had my book, and many others bought
books during the weekend.
ACCURATE INFORMATION, TIME, DIALOGUE
have long been convinced that three necessary elements for spiritual
growth and recovery from abusive religion are ACCURATE INFORMATION to
replace misinformation, TIME to study, learn and think through new
ideas and experiences, and DIALOGUE with others who are dealing with
the same issues.
group discussion and dialogue are not free from stress and
challenges. No two people see things in exactly the same way, and
the differences in people are both a source of learning and a source of
stress and challenge. Each member of a group is important and
necessary for learning and growth to take place. Several people
shared leadership in each group, and every person contributed to the
discussions. Group membership varied from time to time, but there
were three ongoing groups with approximately 9 people in each
group. New groups will be formed as needed.
ACCEPTING AND AFFIRMING
leaders and members emphasized the need for creating and sustaining a
nonjudgmental atmosphere of acceptance and affirmation. Effective
spiritual dialogue requires "open spaces" where individuals feel free
to think for themselves and express their ideas without fear of rebuke
and rejection. None of these processes are easy or
automatic. Religion usually is judgmental and condemning by
nature. Special effort is required to cut through traditional
religious thinking and to allow and encourage people to be honest and
open without fear.
indication of the effective spiritual leadership that is emerging in
MCC Winston-Salem is the fact that a local Southern Baptist pastor and
a Methodist pastor attended the activities that I led. Both of
these pastors are already affirming and accepting of GLBT people and
were present because they wanted to learn more about helping people
recover from religious abuse!
felt that I had come into a wonderful radical new kind of "revival"
that is spiritually powerful and is dealing honestly and successfully
with recovery from abusive religion. This looks like a new and
growing movement in the direction of spiritual revival. I thank
God that I was able to experience and see the revival for myself at MCC
Thanks to every person who helped to make the weekend such a
positive and spiritually uplifting experience for everyone.
October 23, 2001
Report on visit to Vermont Law School October 5, 2001:
"RELIGION, SEXUAL ORIENTATION & THE LAW"
Vermont Law School
was an exciting and very positive experience. All day on Friday,
October 5, 2001, I participated in the seventh annual "Conference on
Sexual Orientation and the Law" sponsored by "The Alliance" of Vermont
Law School. This "Conference of Clergy & Lawyers" provided an
in-depth time of dialogue, panel discussions, special presentations,
and other features with the purpose of "examining the intersection
between religion and the law and what it means for the GLBT community."
professors, clergy, political leaders, activists both for and against
the Vermont law providing for civil unions of same-sex couples, and law
students contributed to the conference. I learned a lot of law
related to religion and sexual orientation that I did not know.
One of our speakers was Professor David Cruz of the University of
Southern California Law School in Los Angeles. He challenged us
with a powerful presentation: "On Nature Worship and the Constitution:
Dis-establishing the Religion of Gender." Professor Cruz and his
partner celebrated their civil union Friday morning shortly before the
had the opportunity to present much of my own material. Dan
Stafford, student chairman of the conference, had printed 21 pages of
my web site in the official program. I had the pleasure of
quoting myself in my presentations. I also had the opportunity to
respond to many of the statements made by other conference
leaders. Some participants made assumptions that had to be
areas of GLBT concern needed to be clarified: statistics about LGBT
people, the causes of homosexuality, and the idea that gays want
special rights. There are no accurate statistics about GLBT
people, because most homosexuals are still in the closet and
unknown. We don't want "special rights," but we do need and want
protection from special abuse and attacks because of our sexual
causes of homosexuality are not the legal issue. The Supreme
Court of Tennessee ruled that the state laws against same-sex relations
were in violation of the state constitution's guarantee of the right to
privacy. The state had argued for the laws by calling an anti-gay
psychiatrist to testify that homosexuality was caused by early
childhood trauma and all of the other tired discredited
arguments. The superior court judge stopped the testimony and
ruled it to be irrelevant because the issue was not about the origins
of homosexuality but about the right to privacy. The court of
appeals and the state Supreme Court agreed. The unfair Tennessee
laws against GLBT people were over.
CORDIAL AGREEABLE ATMOSPHERE
though very different views were expressed in the conference, everyone
was respectful of others and listened and took seriously the ideas and
opinions that were expressed. It was the first time that I had
been in a conference where strong disagreements about GLBT rights were
given equal time and expression. I learned a lot and enjoyed
being part of such a vigorous and helpful dialogue.
law students who moderated the discussions did a great job, and all of
the participants on the panels represented their churches,
organizations, or other groups with well prepared and effectively
presented information. Vermont law allows same-sex couples to
have a civil union recognized by the state, and we heard from people
with the Human Rights Commission who had worked for the law and from
political leaders who had worked against it!
law students and conference participants managed to create an accepting
nonjudgmental atmosphere for dialogue and discussion that was most
impressive. I was honored and encouraged to be included in this
event, which is an example of how progress can be made in GLBT human
THANKS TO LAURA AND NORA
I was in Vermont at the Vermont Law School conference on "Religion,
Sexual Orientation & the Law," I met many highly motivated creative
people who are living in successful same-sex committed loving
relationships. I am grateful for all that I learned from every
person at the conference.
very special people were Laura and Nora who invited me to stay with
them on Friday night at their home in a remote area of the
mountains. They had designed and build their house
themselves. The house is located on 43 Acres of beautiful Vermont
woods and mountain scenery. The maple trees, including maple
syrup trees, and others were in full fall colors.
works for the Vermont Law School, and Nora is a teacher. They
have been together for 8 years, and their family includes two frisky
dogs and two friendly kitties. We had some strong wind and rain
while I was there. A large tree was blown down across the road
when we started out on Saturday morning for me to get on the Interstate
to Burlington. Laura and Nora were driving their pickup truck to
show me the way. We turned around, and they led me back to the
highway another way.
and Nora are a great partnership in everything that they do. This
was not the first time that I had the joy of observing gay or lesbian
couples demonstrate what domestic partnerships are all about.
Laura and Nora did, however, encouraged me very much in our efforts to
gain respect and civil unions for our GLBT sisters and brothers.
Many of the people at the conference were living evidence of the joy
and success of long-term same-sex committed relationships.
special thanks to Laura and Nora and to every one of the other people
at the conference who included me in your group and who became my
teacher in many very pleasant ways.
Click here to see my web site biblical material on the committed same-sex relationships of Ruth and Naomi & David and Jonathan.
for report on Dr. Truluck's participation in Soulforce at New Orleans
during the 2001 Southern Baptist Convention.
Click Here for
Report on Dr. Truluck's visit to Resurrection MCC in Houston, Texas, January 6-9, 2001.
Click here for additional information about this event.
See also the material below on "IN THE BEGINNING GOD":
Click here for report on weekend workshop and preaching at New Hope MCC in Santa Rosa, California
, included in update on "Credibility."
Dr. Truluck is available to speak at churches and other groups.
He has conducted Bible conferences, spiritual renewals, church revivals
and workshops in hundreds of churches, conferences and other meetings
as a Southern Baptist pastor, evangelist, teacher, and college
professor from 1952 to 1981 and in Metropolitan Community Churches and
other gay and lesbian affirming and accepting congregations since 1981.
Dr. Truluck's book, STEPS TO RECOVERY FROM BIBLE ABUSE
, was published on January 31, 2000. See Book Offer for details.
Please click here:
e-mail Dr. Truluck and request to be put on the e-mail list to
receive updates if you do not already get them.
Update for January 14, 2001
"HEALING POWER OF LISTENING"
Thanks also for making links to my web site from yours!
Yahoo now reports that over 1400 web sites have links to mine.
(Be sure to change your e-mail address for me to
has been a basic feature of my ministry for many years. Listening
is the main thing that I have done regarding the tens of thousands of
e-mails that I have received in response to my web site, book and
updates. I learn a lot from your e-mails about what concerns you
and what you have learned from your own experiences. I also try
to respond to every e-mail letter. I always include in my
response the letter that was sent to me so that writers can read again
what they wrote and learn from it. When I go to lead workshops
for churches and other groups, I spend a great deal of time listening.
I reflect upon my recent trip to Resurrection MCC in Houston, I realize
more clearly than ever that listening is the starting point of teaching.
LISTENING OPENS DOORS FOR DIALOGUE
whole new world of understanding and dialogue can begin when we listen
with empathy and non-judgmental openness to those who are different
from us and even those who demonize and condemn us. We will make
a lot more progress when we listen long enough to understand what
homophobic religious and political leaders are really saying.
When we take seriously the ideas and feelings of others and listen
attentively, they frequently can see for themselves the errors and
mistakes in their own attitudes.
listens to us. That is the assumption in all prayer. "If
God listens to us, we ought also to listen to each other." Love
is expressed through listening. See 1 John 4:11: "Beloved, if God
so loved us, we also ought to love one another." Read all of 1
John for helpful information about God's love and ours.
WHY LISTENING TEACHES
succeeds only when students believe that teaching is relevant and
personally helpful. Jesus always listened and adapted his
teaching to address the real needs of real people. Jesus listened
even when he was trying to teach his enemies the truth that they had
distorted, misunderstood and rejected. Preaching is not
listening. Pontificating is not listening. Judging and
condemning is not listening. Gossip is not listening. Most
of the negative communicating that we do is negative because it is not
first thing that you want to teach to people is that you respect them
and that you care about them. Listening is the best method that
we have to do this.
WHY LISTENING HEALS
listening allows and encourages people to think for themselves and to
face and deal with their own issues in constructive and practical
ways. Telling others what they ought to do changes very little
human behavior. Listening with empathy and respect to someone
work through their own ideas and feelings can lead to dramatic changes
in attitudes and actions.
WHY LISTENING EXPRESSES LOVE
listening requires self-discipline. Our cultural conditioning and
human pride often impel us to make judgmental comments when people tell
us the truth about themselves. Judgmental opinions and words of
criticism cut off dialogue and lead to misunderstandings and
rejection. Learn just to listen. Resist the temptation to
comment and express opinions about everything that others share with
group dialogue ends when people in the group stop listening to each
other and start criticizing and contradicting each other.
Accepting what others say without approval or disapproval requires
objective disciplined listening. Breaking old habits of judging
and criticizing others when they disagree with you will take special
effort. With God's help, however, you can do it.
WHY LISTENING IMITATES JESUS
first thing that Luke reported Jesus doing was LISTENING. Luke's
story of the appearance of Jesus in the Temple at the age of 12 says
that Jesus "listened and asked questions." (Luke 2:41-52) Read
all the way through the Gospel of Mark in one sitting and notice the
listening ministry of Jesus. You will be surprised at how much
and in how many ways Jesus listened and taught others to listen.
This exercise will be overwhelming if you do this for all Four Gospels.
the Transfiguration in Luke 9:35 the voice from heaven said: "This is
my Son, My Chosen One: LISTEN to Him!" This reflects the most
important verse about God in the Hebrew Bible: Deuteronomy 6:4: "Hear O
Israel, The Sovereign your God is One." The word "hear" means
listen and is SHEMA in Hebrew. The verse is called "The Shema"
and was written on little scrolls and placed in the leather pouches
called phylacteries that devout men wore on their arms and
foreheads. See also Deuteronomy 18:14-22 where Moses predicted
that God would raise up a prophet like himself and "you shall LISTEN to
is not just passive silence while someone else talks. Listening
is responsive to what is felt and said. Keep to yourself your
opinions of what the other person says. Instead, ask neutral
clarifying questions. Express your genuine interest in what is
being said. Just "u-huh" or an occasional understanding "grunt"
or whatever comes naturally to you to encourage the speaker to keep
talking and tell you more indicates that you are still paying attention
and care about what is being said.
you might want to repeat what you hear and ask if what you heard is
correct. You can become a creative and healing listener if you
try. "Am I hearing you right?" can open the way to let another
person tell you how helpful your listening has been.
means feeling what another person feels. The Greek word in the
Gospels for compassion comes from the word for the viscera and means
that you feel "in the pit of your stomach" the pain and deep feelings
of another person. In the Gospels "compassion" is used only of
Jesus or of God or characters in parables who represent Jesus or
God. True compassion is a gift from God into your heart to make
you more like Jesus in how you hear and relate to other people.
say too quickly that you understand when you really don't. Many
years ago in Greenwood, SC, where I was pastor, I visited with a woman
whose mother recently died. As she described her grief and loss,
I said, "I understand how you feel." She quickly replied, "How
could you understand how I feel? You still have your
mother!" I backed off and admitted that I did not really
understand her feelings. I tried to redeem myself by pointing out
that God understands. Yet I have always felt uncomfortable about
how my easy statement that I understood when I really didn't caused
this woman, who was a friend, to feel cut off and not affirmed as I
Wayne Oates, my teacher in pastoral care, often reminded us that when
people are distressed and suffering, just being there is the most
important thing that we can do. Being with people, "standing with
them" (paraklete) and listening to them can say far more than our
opinions or wordy comfort. Dr. Oates said that we should let our
loving presence speak for itself and not mess up what we are doing as
representatives of God by trying to explain everything, which we do not
my clinical pastoral education in the state mental hospital, Dr. Oates,
who had written several books on religion and mental illness, told us
that we first have to sit at the feet of the mentally ill and let them
teach us before we can teach them.
will be surprised by how helpful you can be by simply listening with
real interest and no comments. That's hard to do. We are
always tempted to pass judgment and give advice. Resist the
temptation to "play god" with people by saying too glibly "I see" or "I
understand" or "I know what you mean" especially when none of these
statements are really true! Be "accepting and affirming" with one
another just as we want churches to be for us. The Spirit of
Jesus can develop in you an accepting and affirming lifestyle that will
be demonstrated in how you listen.
Thanks for listening.
"Mary was listening to what Jesus said, sitting at his feet"
--Luke 10:39 shows Mary in the posture and attitude of a disciple.
Update for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, 2001
January 15, 2001, is the special day to remember the life and ministry
of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Read one of his speeches
today. Find "I Have A Dream" online and read it. Buy a book
of his messages and study them. They speak to us of what real
freedom is and of what the true Spirit of Jesus is all about.
Racism and homophobia walk hand-in-hand in our culture and limit and undermine everybody
that they touch.
is a short update today. Just to remind you to think about Martin
Luther King, Jr. for a while today and remember how far all of have
come and realize how far we have yet to go to enter into "the dream"
"IN THE BEGINNING GOD"
Update December 29, 2000
the beginning God created…" is the way that the Bible begins.
"Genesis" means "in the beginning." The year 2001 is just around
the corner. The Twenty-first Century begins Sunday night!
God has exciting new beginnings in store for you. You don't have
to wait until January 1 to start over and begin new directions for your
life. Every day is a new beginning and the opportunity to live
life "one day at a time" with hope, confidence, love, growing
self-esteem and compassionate outreach to others.
creative presence of God within us is our best hope for seeing the
beginning of a new world where love, joy and peace reign and where the
inclusive unconditional love of God pervades all aspects of human
life. Abusive oppressive religion will vanish when God creates in
all of us the new heart and new mind promised through the Spirit of
Jesus or through whatever path you have experienced the presence of God
in your life.
(Read again the prophecy of the New Heart in Jeremiah 31:31-34, which is repeated exactly in Hebrews 8:6-13.)
of the greatest problems with traditional religion is the emphasis on a
once-in-a-lifetime experience with God, that is often called "being
born again," and that turns out to be the end of the road instead of a
new beginning that leads to spiritual growth to maturity in love,
humility, kindness and self-respect along with compassion and
acceptance of other people. Whatever you experienced in the past,
your lively enjoyment of God and your usefulness in changing the world
depend on what happens today, not years ago or even yesterday.
God creates new life in you every day.
is the first day of the rest of your life!" I frequently have to
remind myself of this when I get into the well-worn rut of the "same
old thing" day after day. Today, however, is important for many
reasons. One special reason is that Col. Dr. Margarethe Cammermeyer,
whose military experience was told in her book and a television movie
"Serving in Silence" with Glenn Close, interviewed me today on Gay
Tom Hawken, Executive Producer at the GAYBC Radio Network in Seattle, invited me to come on the program
and talk about my web site and book. See the Link to Gay Radio. Interviews on GAYBC remain on their web site and can be heard at your convenience. My
interview will be available beginning tomorrow.
January 5 to 9, I will be in Houston, Texas, at Metropolitan Community
Church of the Resurrection to lead workshops and other events and to
preach at both Sunday morning services. See the details of my
schedule at "Contact Us" page of my web site (See Link below). If
you live in the Houston area, I hope to see you on this visit.
While in Houston, I will stay with Rev. Carolyn Mobley and her partner
Adraine Bowie. Adraine is a professional video producer and will
tape the workshops so that we can make my workshop presentations
available to you through an up-to-date video.
am grateful to Rev. Ralph Lasher for his detailed and inspired planning
for this event and to Rev. Dwayne Johnson, Pastor of MCCR, for his
enthusiastic encouragement and support of these plans. Also
thanks to Vickey Gibbs and Diane Jasso for their help. You can reach me
in Houston or get information from the church at (713) 861-9149. See the MCCR web site.
NEW INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDER
I have had to move to a new ISP for e-mail and to host my web site. You can e-mail me now at
email@example.com, and that will be my permanent e-mail address.
Please change your e-mail address for me to
. my domain name will be moved to AT&T small business hosting
in a couple of days. There will be no interruption of your link
to my web site at http://www.otkenyer.hu/truluck/index.html or your e-mail to me.
is necessary for progress. Sometimes we put off making needed
changes until we have to run to catch up. The Internet world is
changing constantly. Many of you have great ministries over the
Internet. Good for you! You know how hard it is to keep up
with the changes and the fast developments of new opportunities.
"LEARNING FROM YOURSELF"
Update for January 20, 2002:
are your own best teacher. Whenever people write long e-mail
letters to me telling me of their situation in great detail and asking
for my suggestions and help, I usually write back and suggest that they
read again carefully their own letter to me to see if they can find
clues in their own story as to what they should do about their
situation. I sometimes suggest that they ask themselves what
advice they would give to someone else who wrote the same story to them.
it takes, getting yourself to think objectively and logically about
your own situation is a necessary step in finding solutions that really
work for you. You can learn a lot more from yourself than you
imagine. Your own experiences are special to you. You are
the world's authority on your own experience. Treasure it.
Write it out in a daily journal. Learn from it. Nobody can
tell you what to do with you life with the authority that you already
CLIENT CENTERED THERAPY
Years ago, Dr. Carl Rogers
began to teach and practice an approach to helping people that focused
on encouraging and helping the individual to find solutions for
him/herself rather than telling the client what the therapist thought
should be done. Client centered therapy is non-judgmental and
accepting. Client centered help focuses on a lot of creative
people seem to think that they can be most helpful to others if only
they can give the right advice. Actually, however, giving free
advice is, as the saying goes, worth what it costs! The only way
you can help somebody else to find and follow a healthy path is to
encourage that person to think and act for him/herself.
YOUR STOREHOUSE OF RELEVANT KNOWLEDGE
really knows as much about you as you do yourself. Nobody can
improve on your own self-awareness. Uninformed advice can greatly
muddy and distort your view of your own situation and can delay any
workable solutions that you might have discovered for yourself.
you learned to be objective, logical, reasonable and practical about
yourself? If so, what has most helped you to see yourself clearly
THINK AND DECIDE FOR YOURSELF
"The road to hell is
paved with good intentions" is a sobering old saying, and it applies
double when that road is the "good intentions" path of giving advice to
other people. You cannot help other persons by trying to do their
thinking for them. You can, however, be of great help if you
encourage others to think for themselves and draw upon their own ideas
and experiences to decide issues for themselves.
truths are so "self evident" that it is amazing to me how so many
preachers, teachers, family members and "best friends" think that the
greatest help that they can give to others is to decide for them and
try to convince them about what they ought to do.
PRACTICAL TECHNIQUES OF HELPING
is the first step in being helpful. Listen to learn. Listen
to understand. Listen to avoid giving stupid advice. Listen
to become involved and credible with the other person. Listen in
order to be heard yourself.
listening means listening intently with total concentration on what the
other person is saying, feeling and acting out. Caring enough
really to listen to another helps far more than any amount of prattling
on about what the person should think or do.
talked with Jane about how upset she was with Bob. Jane said,
"You should leave him and forget him." Why didn't Jane say, "What
have you thought of doing?" You don't know what another person is
thinking or feeling until he/she tells you. If you ask
non-judgmental questions, you can learn a lot about what is really
happening. Remember, whenever you are trying to help other
people, your opinion is not nearly as important as their opinion.
asked questions that opened the way for people to take a good honest
look at themselves: "What is your name?" "Do you really want to get
well?" "Will you go away also?" "What do you want?"
"What do you want me to do?"
can I help you?" is a question that opens the way for another person to
relate to you honestly and openly and to begin to think about who they
are, what they want, and to face their own situation more objectively.
healing conversation always centers in people, not in ideas.
People are dynamic, growing and changing and are capable of feelings
and actions that go beyond even their own expectations and hopes.
Really listening to what other people say about their feelings and
thinking can open the way to great "aha! Experiences" where new ways of
seeing old experiences and ides spring forth in life-changing power.
the Book of Job and see how Job's friends were helpful as long as they
sat in silence with him in his pain and trouble. When they began
to condemn Job for what they imagined he must have done to deserve so
much pain and loss, Job called them "miserable comforters" and said
they were full of "hot air" and did not know what they were talking
about (Job 16:2).
LET GO AND MOVE ON
in helping troubled people, the principle of "let go and move on" is
vital. Let go of your own opinions and advice and move on to take
seriously and respond honestly to the other person's real feelings,
ideas and experiences. Encourage others to get accurate
information, think clearly and objectively, consider their options,
make their own decisions that really fit them, and act on what they are
honestly convinced is the best plan of action for them.
you encourage others and help equip them to think for themselves, you
set them free to be honest and to enjoy the full and meaningful life
that really fits them.
Unfortunately, much religion is too busy giving advice
really to listen and be of effective help to anybody.
"ON GIVING ADVICE"
Update revised on September 28, 2001.
of thousands of e-mails have come to me in response to my web site in
the past 4 years as a result of over 12 million hits since the site was
published on September 14, 1997. Many readers ask questions and
many ask for help. Some ask for advice.
answer all e-mails, including the critical and judgmental ones. I
get my share of "hate mail" along with the compliments and letters of
appreciation. Sometimes I have to look up information to give my
answer, and sometimes I read letters several times and think about them
for a while before writing.
disclaimer on the Home Page of my site states that "the contents of
this site are published as an information service and do not constitute
professional advice." I try to avoid giving personal advice in my
e-mail. For one thing, I never really know the whole story of
what an individual situation might be. For another, the
temptation to give advice can be a seductive trap to attempt to "play
god" and give absolute answers and advice when the personal problems of
an individual may be far beyond my ability to know or understand.
more important than giving advice is our obligation to help others to
become equipped with the facts and all necessary information to
discover answers for themselves. My site is filled with
information and important facts that relate to recovery from religious
abuse. See information on dealing with anger, family problems,
and coming out in the "Twelve Steps to Recovery."
often was asked for advice, and even though Jesus had perfect knowledge
of God and people, he usually gave information instead of advice.
Jesus taught people to think for themselves. His teaching style
included clear exposure of false and abusive religious teachers and
teachings that had oppressed and confused the people. In
addition, Jesus was careful to give factual information about God and
about what the Hebrew Bible did and did not mean.
Matthew 22 for several instances where Jesus gave information as a
response to difficult hostile questions. Then read Matthew 23 to
see how Jesus exposed the hypocrisy of oppressive judgmental legalism
and revealed the facts about the abusive use of Scripture to humiliate
and condemn people.
INFORMATION THAT I GIVE
of the suggestions that I often make is to contact the nearest
Metropolitan Community Church and get to know the pastor. MCC
clergy are usually well equipped to listen to GLBT people and are able
to refer people to community resources for help. You can also
contact MCC headquarters for help in locating churches and services in
your area. See URL and address below.
no MCC is available, I suggest that the reader find a friend who is
objective and can be trusted to share and help think through the
situation. Sometimes a professional counselor, doctor, or
psychiatrist might be needed. There is no way that I can take the
place of a local person who knows the individual and the
circumstances. Some GLBT support groups are available through
GLBT community centers and HIV groups. Many churches,
schools, colleges, and other organizations offer GLBT positive services
and counseling. Local college chaplains often can give direction
and practical help.
INFORMATION is of utmost importance in finding solutions to personal
frustrations and confusion about GLBT spiritual issues and in dealing
with internal and external homophobia faced by the individual.
Advice without accurate information is worse than useless.
Religious advice from pastors, teachers, parents, and friends who do
not know the facts about the Bible and homosexuality can be deadly
medicine that confuses and wounds the individual.
Whenever you are tempted to give advice, give information.
shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free"(Jesus in John
8:32). Then Jesus pointed out how the people believed the lies of
false teachers and added: "Because I speak the truth, you do not believe me." (John 8:45)
web site: where you can find a complete list of local MCC
congregations and ministries and helpful links. Call UFMCC at
(310) 360-8640 or write to UFMCC at 8704 Santa Monica Blvd., 2nd
floor, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
Internet offers an overwhelming volume of information, but all of it is
not accurate or useful. As in all learning, consider the source
of your information. Be on guard for seductive uses of the Internet to
give false information. Be aware of the cunning uses of the
Internet to advance the cause of religious and political hate groups as
well as other highly specialized personal agendas.
I saw "Inherit the Wind," the 1960 movie version of the Tennessee
"Scopes Monkey Trial" with Spencer Tracy, Frederic March, Gene Kelly,
and a cast of other great actors. It is a brilliant presentation
of the conflict between religion and evolution in the public schools in
1925. The issues and arguments are the same today in the present
conflict between homosexuality and religion. Rent the video and
see "INHERIT THE WIND" if you can.
JANUARY 14, 2000, UPDATE: (See also "THINK")
"THE BIBLE AND SPIRITUAL TYRANNY"
publication date for my book is January 31, 2000. I am excited
about it and can hardly wait to see the book. This book is timely
and greatly needed.
week I received e-mail announcements that a group of eighteen churches
of various denominations in Silicon Valley are planning a study of the
Bible and Homosexuality to be held in February at the First
Presbyterian Church of Palo Alto, California. This study is
intended to "speak out in support of gay and lesbian people" to help
inform people as the state of California moves rapidly to a state-wide
vote on the "Knight Initiative" on March 7, 2000, to deny marriage to
recent announcements reported plans by the United Methodist Church to
deal directly with Gay and Lesbian marriage rights at their National
conference in May. Another e-mail called for volunteers to help
with the Millennium March on Washington for Equality on April 30, 2000,
to make GLBT voices heard around the world. THE NEED FOR A FRESH
LOOK AT "THE BIBLE AS THE FRIEND OF GLBT PEOPLE" IS ACCELERATING
RAPIDLY EVERY DAY!
THE BIBLE AS A WEAPON
Much of the misinformation and hostility against GLBT people is based on the abusive use of the Bible and
publication of my book on "Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse" at the
end of this month is a significant event for all of us. Until the
misuse of the Bible against GLBT people is faced and effectively
answered with objective factual information, change in favor of GLBT
people will be painfully slow.
I have reviewed the translations of the main Bible passages used in my
book, I have been struck by how many of the most familiar verses have
been incorrectly translated. The "Great Commission" in Matthew
28:18-20 is taken by the average Christian to say "Go into all the
world." Countless sermons have been preached on "Go!" The
fact is, however, that the Great Commission does not say: "Go."
In the original Greek, the only imperative in the Great Commission is
"make disciples." The word "go" is a participle and means "as you
go." Jesus did not say: "Go." The commission says: "As you
go, make disciples of all people." The result of this mistaken
translation is that many multitudes of well-meaning people have gone
out. But few have used their time and energy to make
disciples. The emphasis on "Go" has somehow overlooked the main
purpose to "make disciples."
first verse in the Bible is always incorrectly translated.
Genesis 1:1 is given as: "In the beginning God created the heavens and
the earth." The Hebrew word for "God" is the plural form
"Elohim." The "im" at the end of the word makes it plural.
The correct translation would be: "In the beginning Gods created the
heavens and the earth." The explanation is usually given that the
plural is the "plural of majesty" and not to be taken literally.
But the Hebrew text does not say that. The traditional
translation is simply incorrect. The translation of Genesis 1:1
is an interpretation, which is true of all translations.
few obscure verses that are translated in order to read homophobia into
the biblical texts are not the only passages that are incorrectly
translated. Many of the most familiar texts in the Bible are
consistently translated incorrectly.
can the Bible be the "word of God" if the words are wrong? It is
clear in the Gospels that Jesus, not a book, is the "Word of
God." Any truly spiritual Christian approach to the Bible follows
the Spirit of Jesus in using the Bible. The superstitious
approach to the Bible, however, makes the Bible a magical end in
itself. The Bible can be flipped open, and wherever the pages
fall, some people believe they will find the passage that speaks for
God to them. Such nonsense puts the Bible into the class with
card tricks and magic. God has given us a brain and expects us to
use it. Can you be objective and open minded about the
Bible? If you can't, then you can't really use it honestly and
responsibly, can you?
purpose is not to dismiss or reject the Bible but to restore the use of
the Bible to sanity and to realistic honest study and research.
Jesus approached the Hebrew Bible with a clear sense of his own
spiritual purpose and with a common-sense objectivity that somehow has
been missed by a lot of preachers, teachers, and other religious
leaders. To make the Bible into an end-in-itself and to make
absolute the wide variety of interpretations of Bible materials is
idolatry that obscures the face of God and substitutes human
speculations and greed for the good news of Jesus.
mission of Jesus Christ and the good news of his gospel depend on a
radical effective challenge to the prevailing abusive use of the Bible
to confuse, mislead and destroy God's children. We have no choice
but to try.
can you be part of the solution to the spiritual dilemma of Bible abuse
in our churches, homes, schools, politics and personal lives? How
can you become better informed and better equipped to answer anyone who
asks you as a GLBT person "to give a reason for the hope that is in
you, yet with gentleness and respect"? (1 Peter 3:15)
ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS
don't have all of the answers. The longer I work on my web site
material and try to understand and communicate the true message of
Jesus, the more I realize that I do not even know the right questions
to ask most of the time. I certainly don't have all of the
answers. I am continuing to explore, question, learn, study,
listen, and search for the truth. The goal of our mission is to
know, live and speak the truth in love. All of that comes as gift
ADDITIONS TO WEB SITE
I have added an INDEX of Bible Passages
to my web site at the end of the first page of "Resources and
References." These Bible passages are intended to make this site
and my book more useful to you. I have just completed
navagational links from the Bible Texts to the Bible List.
the way you see things begins with a sense of need for change and a
willingness to take the time to learn and study something new.
Becoming part of the solution to Bible abuse will not happen by
accident. You will have to work at it. Only self-discipline
and an unquenchable desire for the truth will propel you onto the "road
less traveled" that leads to enough life, light and love to make a
difference for yourself and for other people around you.
Our greatest enemy is ignorance, not other people.
"And God said: Behold. I have given you a brain.
Now use it."
CLICK HERE for January 18, 2000, update on "THINK"
See "Book Offer"
Update for October 8, 2000
SOME THINGS TO THINK ABOUT
have never met or seen most of you who receive these updates. The
Internet has created a new kind of world that allows us to communicate
with each other without knowing each other. These updates also go
to many of my closest long-time friends and to my family. I am
grateful to all of you who have written to me and let me get to know
you for sharing your experiences and ideas with me. You have been
my teacher a lot more than you realize. I keep learning and
growing and changing (for the better) because you have taken the time
to write to me.
purpose of these updates as well as my web site and book is to change
the world one person at a time by giving accurate relevant information
related to issues and decisions that all of us face. We can be
easily misunderstood even when we talk face to face. Within the
limitations of e-mail, false impressions and misunderstandings are
inevitable. But we keep trying. We have no other
choice. The misinformation and deceptions that dominate the
world's view of GLBT people demand that we continue to try to tell the
truth as long as we can and by whatever means is available to us.
"WE SEE THROUGH A GLASS DARKLY"
ended his great hymn of praise of love in 1 Corinthians 13 by saying:
"Now we see through a glass darkly ("a mirror dimly" NASB), but then
face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know fully
just as I also have been fully known, but now faith, hope, and love
remain, but the greatest of these is love." We can love people
with faith and hope, even if we never see them face-to-face.
Every time we send an e-mail message to someone, we are acting in faith
person that you have the most difficulty understanding is often
yourself. Paul admitted in Romans 7:15: "I do not understand
myself." He had mixed feelings about the commandments and Law
that he had once been conditioned to trust and follow. Now,
however, his new relationship with God through Jesus caused him to
recognize an inner war in his mind between law and grace. The
powerful message of chapters 8, 9 &10 of Romans flows out of Paul's
own inner struggle to understand himself and to overcome abusive
darkness and confusion created by abusive oppressive religion has
greatly multiplied the suffering and self-rejection of millions of
people, not just Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transsexual folk.
Multitudes of people today are looking through a glass even darker than
the one Paul mentioned, because the good news of truth in Jesus has
been perverted into judgmental legalism by abusive sick religion far
beyond anything that Paul imagined might happen.
FREEDOM ON THE INTERNET
large part of the world still does not have free use of the
Internet. A news story today revealed that China's policies
regarding the use of the Internet have prevented many Internet
providers from moving into the China market. The government
closely regulates and monitors what the people of China can access on
the Internet and tracks the sites that are seen in order to weed out
"subversive sites." Internet technology can both give enormous
access to information and can track and control what people are allowed
to see and hear.
knows how much longer the incredible access to free information that we
have now on the Internet will last. The ultimate virus could kill
it all in a click. Internet access flows through very limited
points of relay that could be shut down, as some have been from time to
time. All that we can do is to use this marvelous means of
communication to the fullest as long as it lasts.
is always threatened by the truth. Dictatorships in politics and
in religion cannot survive under the searing light of truth.
Ignorance, lies and misinformation are always the chief tactics of
are learning the ways of the Internet while their parents remain in the
dark and un-linked. Children always thought that they knew more
than their parents, and now for the most part, it's true. I often
ask people if they are on the Internet and they reply, "No, but my
HOW DOES JESUS FIT INTO ALL OF THIS?
fits into the Internet picture just as Jesus has always fit into human
life. The Holy Spirit of Jesus is within those who "follow"
Jesus, and that automatically puts the Spirit of Jesus into Internet
communication. We don't have to "put Jesus into the
Internet." Jesus is already there through people like many of
you. How are you using your connection to the Internet as a means
of finding and doing the will of God in your life and encouraging
others to do the same?
the Internet help you to think for yourself? I am convinced that
one purpose of the ministry of Jesus was to help people learn to think
for themselves. Jesus challenged the authority and power of
abusive religion to control people. Sick religion destroys your
self-esteem. Love and truth in Jesus gives it back so that you
can trust yourself, feel good about yourself and think for yourself.
BREAKING OUT OF ISOLATION
many GLBT people, the Internet has become an escape from the dismal
isolation and loneliness that often cut us off from other people.
We have found people to talk with and share ideas. The
limitations are obvious, however, when our main connection with others
is with faceless folk on line.
is one of the main reasons for the form of my web site, book and
upcoming "Jesus Bible Studies for Everybody." The best format
that I know for learning, growing, recovery and healing is small group
home study on a regular planned basis. Accurate relevant
information is essential for the success of these groups. There
is no adequate substitute for face-to-face spiritual sharing, learning
and growth. One-on-one or two-or-three at a time is still as
necessary as in the time and ministry of Jesus. People really
have not changed, though our technology has.
of people, including our GLBT sisters and brothers, are "victims of
misinformation." I try to deal with and respond to an avalanche
of misinformation in e-mail every day. My purpose in my web site,
books, updates, e-mail and group workshops is simply to give accurate
well-researched information in a convincing and relevant form. I
am learning constantly how better to do this. You are helping me
learn both by listening to me and by sharing your experiences and ideas
with me. Thank you!
"I will give you my Spirit to be your teacher and to
reveal to you what is really happening in your world."
"I will not leave you stranded. I will come to you."
"Where two or three have gathered together in my name,
here I am in their midst"
--Jesus in John 14:26-27; 16: 13-15 and 14:18; Matthew 18:20