An article about the homophobic religious drive of the "Ex-Gay" movement to destroy homosexuals
By Dr. Rembert S. Truluck
(Originally written for and published in Second Stone
spent two years as a resident in a house run by an "Ex-Gay" program in
Marin County across the Bay from San Francisco. He had been
rejected and harassed by his religious parents and had fled from
them and his oppressive rural home and religion to find help in the
program that promised to change him from gay to straight. After
two years of learning to reject and hate himself, he finally bailed out
of the program and moved into the city. Bobby accepts himself as
OK to be gay and Christian, but why has he also sought out a legalistic
and judgmental gay church to attend? What are the long term
effects of the intense religious brain washing that he endured?
experience with people who have survived the ex-gay movement both in
San Francisco and in Nashville, Tennessee, where I served as Senior
Pastor of MCC congregations, is that the lasting effects of abusive
religion are as complex as they are unhealthy. In teaching recent
study groups on Steps To Recovery From Bible Abuse,
I have realized that the first step to "Admit that you have been hurt
by religion" is far more difficult than it seems. Admitting that
your religion has hurt you is like criticizing your grandmother!
You have an emotional resistance to rejecting your childhood religion
as abusive, and you therefore develop patterns of denial and become
defensive about it.
the reaction when Jesus told the people that "You shall know the truth
and the truth will set you free" in John 8:31-59. The people said
that they were already free and never had been slaves to anyone.
Yet they had been slaves in Egypt, exiles in Babylon, the subjects of
Greek rule for many years, and were under the oppressive control of the
Roman army. They also were controlled by an oppressive and
abusive system of religion that never let up in its pressures and
demands of absolute conformity and blind obedience to The Law.
The end of the discussion came when the people took up stones to kill
Jesus because he pointed out that they were being hurt and destroyed by
their own religion.
DELIVERANCE FROM DENIAL
from any addiction begins with admitting that you are being controlled
by something that is hurting you. It can be alcohol, drugs,
codependency, or religion. Many of the people I have seen get out
of the ex-gay movement still have difficulty staying away from abusive
forms of religion, especially judgmental legalism. Like the child
who defends abusive parents and hides their bruises and scars or the
gay/lesbian person who repeatedly goes back to an abusive partner, the
abused gay Christian can develop a fatal attraction to abusive and
oppressive religion to embrace and defend.
This update added May 18, 2003:
"YOUR RIGHT TO KNOW"
"dumbing down of the churches" has reached apocalyptic
proportions! Precise and unrelenting use of misinformation about
GLBT people has so completely contaminated the churches that everything
that current "Christianity" does is suspect.
a letter to me today, my friend Rev. John House reflected on his
situation as a GLBT accepting and affirming pastor of an open and
affirming Baptist Church in the Midwest. John told me how his son
John Mark had received his bachelor's degree and will begin medical
school in August in Little Rock. John Mark also is a good friend
for whom I led a week of revival and workshops in Ft. Lauderdale
several years ago.
House served as pastor of the GLBT church that his son John Mark had
started. John then returned to resume being pastor of his former
Baptist church. Local Baptist Association pastors visited John
and demanded that he not serve the church because he had served a GLBT
church. John's church withdrew from the Association and supported
John and his ministry.
This is what John wrote to me today:
little church is so different to the other churches in town that we
have very little in common. I think all but the Catholic have
taken a stand against "deviant sexual orientation." Actually, the
Lutherans are fairly accepting of gays, but none of the others
are. I've had at least one sermon preached against me, in which
my name was used and our church was anathematized. It doesn't
worry us at all. We just get tired of it once in a while.
Outside the hallowed buildings' walls we are well accepted by all but
the ministers. Two, the Methodist and the Assembly are friendly.
we all experience satan's wrath when we seek to serve the Lord, don't
we? At age 75, I probably won't have to worry about that at all
for very long!
"Keep doing the good work! I pray for you."
THIS ALL MADE ME THINK
one thing, I soon will be 70 years old myself on March 9, 2004. I
don't know how much time I have left to perform spiritual corrective
surgery! I look forward to sharing in the conference in Columbus, Ohio, on June 14-15.
are the churches so willing to abandon logical, objective, realistic,
practical thinking in order to maintain misinformation and lies about
GLBT people in their official policies and doctrines? Thirty
years ago, 1973, the American Psychiatric Association along with the
American Medical Association, American Bar Association and the American
Psychological Association began to declare and affirm that
homosexuality is not a disease or a crime and that homosexuals should
be granted the same legal protection against oppression and
discrimination already accorded to all racial and ethnic minorities.
(See: PSYCHIATRY and APA WARNING.)
YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW THE TRUTH
people most injured and abused by misinformation are GLBT people who
have been seduced by misinformed religion into hating and rejecting and
destroying themselves! The credibility of the churches has been
compromised by their own ignorance and rejection of the facts.
Faithful supportive church members throughout the world have the right
to know the truth that has been carefully hidden by modern religion in
the name of a distorted view of God and a blatant rejection of the real
Jesus of the Gospels.
John House and many other courageous pastors have lived and taught the
truth about GLBT people and have suffered rejection, slander, spiritual
abuse and often loss of ministry and income. A small handful of
courageous ministers like my friends Rev. Jimmy Creech and Rev. Mel
White have been able to help lead truth missions like "SoulForce" and
challenge the religious ignorance dragon directly in dramatic
confrontations in many places.
THE AWESOME POWER OF RELIGIOUS IGNORANCE
churches with the most power and influence are the ones with the most
money. Roman Catholics and Southern Baptists lead the way in
wealth and in spiritually abusive ignorance and misinformation.
rest of culture and science continue to explore new worlds and learn
challenging new facts about every field of human existence – except for
religion! The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in
Louisville, KY, where I earned three theological degrees including a
Doctor of Theology, is now under the leadership of a misinformed and
politically ambitious president and has abandoned the historic mission
of Southern Baptist theological education begun at Furman University
and continued in all seminaries until recently.
leader of past Baptist progress and enlightenment has now become an
instrument of misinformation and unbelievable ignorance about the
facts. In promoting misinformation about GLBT people, the
president of the seminary in his statements in the seminary web site
denounces Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender people on the basis of
lies and distortions about the Bible and science. Shame on you,
Dr. Mohler! You have abandoned the historic mission of the
seminary and become a homophobic slug!
recent revision of the "Baptist Faith and Message" rejects women in
spiritual leadership and declares that women are to be submissive to
their husbands. The SBC missionary board has required
missionaries to sign their agreement to this misleading and misinformed
document in order to continue to serve as missionaries. Hundreds
have refused to sign. Good for them! But resisting the evil
dogmatic dragon can be costly.
LEARN THE FACTS
friends and family of us GLBT people are supportive and accepting
simply because of their love for us. They deserve also to know
the facts that support us and that reveal the hypocrisy and duplicity
of anti gay religion!
have not yet found a way to improve on my web site and my book, which
are both out there and available to anyone who wants to know and share
the truth. As I have read over sections of my book to see if
anything should be changed, I find nothing that I want to change in the
book. The one exception is my translation of biblical
passages. I am never satisfied with my translations. The
original biblical languages and cultural setting defy accuracy in
translations! Making the biblical material relevant and clear to
people today requires constant re-thinking and fresh inspiration at
JESUS IS STILL THE ONE
letters and conversations have made clear to me the absolute necessity
of a "Fresh New Look at Jesus." I don't know about you, of
course, but as for me I cannot get away from the call and mission of
Jesus in the Gospels as the basis that we need for future exploration
and practical effective spiritual actions in our rapidly changing world.
am convinced that there is a great gulf of difference between following
Jesus and following the doctrines and distortions of traditional
religion about Jesus.
I have come to two basic convictions:
Every human is created in the image of God. You already have the
image of God within you. This image may be distorted and blurred
by your religious background, but God also gave you a brain to think
for yourself and to look within for who God is for you.
The Spirit has been given to the entire human race. In Acts 2,
the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was a dramatic inclusive
event in which the Spirit of God came upon all races, languages and
people. Joel 2:28-32, the most inclusive passage in the Hebrew
Bible, was quoted and fulfilled. Nobody was left out! The
religious teaching that you can have the Holy Spirit to guide and
empower you only if you know the proper formulas or have the approved
fundamentalist experiences is ludicrous and assumes that God is as
stupid as the people who distort and deny God while they claim to know
God and represent God!
can be the worst enemy of spiritual realism and practical Christianity
that works in our modern world. Don't let abusive misinformed
religion keep you from knowing and accepting who you really are as a
child of God and a person of great value.
NEW LIFE AND NEW TRUTH
was totally new. Everything that Jesus did was brand new and
inclusive. Nobody ever before had accepted all people of equal
value before God. Nobody before Jesus taught that accepting and
loving outcast and unclean people was the only way to know and serve
God. Jesus said, "I am the truth." "Follow me". Jesus
was simple and direct in his actions and teachings. Jesus wove no
fantastic fabric of convoluted doctrines and religious demands.
It all boiled down to one simple fact: "love one another just as I have
loved you." "You will know the truth, the truth will set you
Back to the basics means back to Jesus.
Where do you plan to go from here now?
May 18, 2003
This update was added August 4, 2002:
"RAGING AGAINST THE STORM"
Raging against the storm does not change the storm. A timely
e-mail from my friend John McNeill last week questioning my
"anti-Catholic" statements in my most recent update caused me to take a
long hard look at my approach to religious oppression and abuse against
LGBT people and against everybody else. Raging against the storm
(or tilting against windmills) cannot really change our world for the
John pointed out, the work of "Dignity" within the Roman Catholic
Church is doing a wonderful job of progress for GLBT rights and
acceptance from within the church. The motto of "Dignity" is most
appropriate: "We are here for good." Within every religious
establishment are to be found many LGBT Christians who are "here for
good." All is not lost, and much is being gained by many
dedicated GLBT believers within every religious group in America and
around the world.
I observe the powerful destructive forces of traditional religion, I am
tempted to take desperate measures to respond and to challenge the
entire religious system at every level. So far, that has not
really changed anybody or anything in the established religious systems
that dominate our culture and society.
do get e-mail every day from individuals who thank me for my ministry
and declare their joy and freedom from abusive religion as a result of
finding my web site. I also get e-mail like the letter that came
yesterday to say simply: "Your entire ministry is bullshit!"
do we find the perfect path to self-acceptance and freedom between
"bullshit" and truth? Nobody ever said this mission would be
easy! Jesus never promised any of us a "rose garden" but promised
only the "way of the cross," which to me means the way of giving
yourself for others no matter what the cost.
"way of the cross" is by nature desperate. It does not refer to
what may happen to you because of your own mistakes or bad
judgment. It refers to what you voluntarily do to accept
responsibility for the sins and mistakes of others just as Jesus did
and pay the price of making a difference for people on the basis of
what love demands and empowers in each individual situation.
"take up your cross and follow Jesus" means something different for
each person. There is no preset pattern to follow. You
follow Jesus in whatever way fits you and your life situation.
Nobody else can decide this for you.
RISK BEING MISUNDERSTOOD
follow Jesus is to risk being misunderstood just as Jesus was.
When Jesus challenged the human misinterpretations and abusive uses of
religious laws, he was declared to be evil and a tool of Satan.
Even the disciples that followed Jesus misunderstood him and missed the
point time after time. See Mark chapters 8 and 9 for graphic
details of this problem.
let being misunderstood stop you from loving and accepting yourself and
every other person your life touches. Jesus didn't.
Misunderstandings happen, no matter what you do. What really
matters is that you understand what you are doing and know that you are
doing the will of God in your love for others as you follow Jesus.
"GOOD SEED AND WEEDS"
famous parable of the "wheat and tares" in Matthew 13:24-30 tells the
story of how good seed was planted and then an enemy sowed "tares" (a
weed that resembled wheat). The good wheat and the weeds grew up
together, and the workers suggested that the weeds should be pulled up
and destroyed, but the wise farmer said, no. Let them grow
together, and then at the harvest we can separate the wheat from the
tares and burn the tares and save the wheat.
point of this parable is that the workers are to let God take care of
the weeds and not waste their time trying to defeat the enemy by
disturbing the harvest prematurely. What does this say to you
about your approach to abusive misinformed religion that contaminates
and dilutes the spiritual lives of multitudes of people today? To
what extent are we to offer a better way in Jesus and to what extent
are we to condemn and reject the weeds?
We wrestle with this issue at every turn in our spiritual journey through the wasteland of destructive abusive religions.
RESIST VICTIM MENTALITY
made me sick." "My religion made me self destructive and
suicidal." "Religion destroyed my self-esteem and made me hate
myself." Yet as we take an honest look at ourselves, we wake up
to the fact that we actually do all of these things to ourselves with
or without the help of "religion." Blaming religion for your
negative attitudes and low self-esteem can simply distract you from
being realistic and taking responsibility for your own decisions by
hiding behind your "victim mentality" that has been encouraged by your
own failure to think for yourself and be logical, objective and
see yourself as the victim of abusive religion is to take a giant step
away from recovery. Accept responsibility for how you see
yourself and deal with it honestly and with accurate information.
Emotional blaming of religion for your unhappy state of mind is no
different from blaming others for bad decisions that you made or
shifting blame for breakups in relationships to the other person
instead of admitting your own part in the conflicts that led to pain
SPIRITUAL RECOVERY BEGINS WITHIN
recovery and growth begin and continue within you. Outside forces
and influences do not determine who you are or how you see
yourself. You can let negative external pressures jerk you around
and mess up your mind, but you do this willingly and without resistance
simply because you have nothing better to give you a sense of
self-esteem and purpose in life. The Spirit of Jesus, who already
dwells with you, is the available positive powerful new direction that
can bail you out of whatever cesspool of self-pity and despair you have
allowed yourself to wallow in.
escape from the slough of despair when you bail yourself out.
Nobody else can do this for you. You do not do it by yourself,
however, because you have already been given the image of God and the
Spirit of Jesus within you. Exercise your spiritual resources and
the mind of Jesus that already have been given to you. Look ahead
in front of you and see the light and freedom that are beckoning you
into the next phase of who you are becoming.
YOU MAKE THE DIFFERENCE
make the difference in who you see yourself to be and in your vision of
what you can become in your unfolding spiritual journey. Other
people either for or against you do not make these choices for
you. You make your own choices, and you alone can act on your own
behalf to enjoy the freedom and responsibility of being the very best
you that you can.
is not the problem, you are! The solution is within you, because
Jesus is within you. Jesus is not the prisoner of religion.
Jesus is far above and beyond religion. Everything in the Four
Gospels makes that clear and plain.
FOLLOW JESUS MEANS:
Jesus does not mean religion. It means to accept yourself, think,
be humble, learn, grow and question everything. It means to be
objective, logical, realistic, practical and relevant. It means
to love people and do good. Following Jesus will cost you
everything. It will also give you everything, including your real
VISITING MY MOTHER
sister, Jackque, and I will travel to Laurens, South Carolina, this
Wednesday, August 7, through Monday, August 12, to celebrate with our
mother her ninety-first birthday on August 11. Mother's eyesight
and hearing are failing now, and she has said that this may be the last
time she can actually see us when we come to visit her! Mother's
mind is as sharp as ever, but her ability to read and to see to move
freely around the retirement center has been greatly limited in the
past few months.
cannot express fully enough my appreciation for the support and
acceptance that I have received from both my mother and my sister in
all of my life and ministry. I am grateful and most fortunate to
have these two wonderful women in my life!
August 4, 2002
See 16 new regional Soul Force Groups
sister, Dr. Jackque Warren, Executive Director of the YWA of Oakland,
CA, has recently written a new book on the use of inner city church
buildings in social and community services. The book, "Open the
Doors, See All the People" is "A Guide to Serving Families in Sacred
Places" published 2001 by Partners for Sacred Places: 1700 Sansom Street, 10th
Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19103; (215) 567-3234: Copies of
the book are free. You can contact Jackque Warren at PO Box
14471, Oakland, CA 98614. For this book project, Jackque earned her
This update was added on August 1, 2002:
"THE PERSISTENCE OF RELIGION"
has been a dominant feature of human life throughout history. The
study of ancient history is primarily the study of religions.
This week, the news has been dominated by the Pope's visit to several
enormous religious rallies in Canada, Mexico and Guatemala. The
incredible amount of power and influence exercised by the ailing leader
of the Roman Catholic Church has been reinforced by television coverage
of these visits.
"persistence of religion," like "the persistence of memory," is a fact
of life that resists change and defies understanding. Why does
religion persist in the face of contradictory evidence and obvious
denials of reality and truth that are characteristic of all religions?
FREEDOM FROM RELIGION
Williams was the founder of Rhode Island Colony and the first prominent
Baptist leader in America. He established the first Baptist
Church in America at Providence, Rhode Island. Williams once
wrote that "to force people to practice a religion that they do not
believe is to make them hypocrites, which is worse than no religion at
all." The Rhode Island Colony was a radical departure from all
previous settlements. Religious freedom was guaranteed to
everybody: Jews, Moslems, Protestants, Catholics, atheists, etc.
was a new idea of community that cut loose from the ancient tradition
that every political unit must have a dominant religion to keep society
orderly and under control. Freedom from religion was the
startling truth that Roger Williams and a lot of other leaders of the
new order in America were committed to promote and protect.
Baptists, Roman Catholics and many others today, however, even in the
United States, take the position that religious freedom means the
freedom to force their beliefs on as many people as possible by
whatever means it takes. Abusive controlling religion is so
persistent in our society that vast multitudes of people accept it as
normal and necessary. It is neither.
THE SPIRIT OF JESUS AND FREEDOM
the Spirit of Christ is, there is freedom." Or is it? Jesus
may set you free, but religion does not! The word "religion" is
built on the concept of "binding" or "controlling" and gives expression
to the inappropriate control of people by other people in the name of a
god. The Pharaohs of ancient Egypt used religion to control their
people, Moses used religion to control Israel, Mohammed used religion
to control the Arabian nations, and the popes used religion to control
Western Europe for centuries. Southern Baptists use religion
today to control their willingly ignorant obedient flock of their
"nation of sheep."
the death grip of religion on the minds and creativity of human beings
has been only partially and infrequently successful. Advocates of
real freedom from religion have been declared to be heretics or insane
and have been discredited and eliminated whenever powerful abusive
religion gains control, as in Nazism, Communism, Christianity, and a
thousand other expressions of the ignorance called "religion."
EDUCATION AND RELIGION
Education is always
a two-way street. We teach and learn from each other in a
non-threatening environment that is accepting and not judgmental and
that encourages a free and unhindered search for truth. Is that
just wishful thinking, or does such education ever really exist
anywhere outside of AA meetings?
I was professor of religion at the Baptist College of Charleston in the
1970's, a large group of Iranian students came to the college to finish
their formal education. I had over 30 of these students in my two
semesters of Bible Survey, which was required for their
graduation. Most of the students had never even seen a New
Testament. I tried to be helpful by meeting individually with
each student and discovering what they needed to help them complete the
course. As I look back on this, I realize now how stupid I was
not to try to learn more from them at the same time that I was trying
to teach them the basics of Bible history.
was just before the revolution in Iran that toppled the Shah and
changed for ever the politics and culture of the Middle East. I
was too busy trying to help these Iranian students learn my material to
stop and listen and learn from them what all of us later realized that
we needed to know and respect.
RELIGION DOESN'T LISTEN
I watched the travels of the Pope in Mexico and Central America, I was
impressed with the enthusiastic crowds and the efficiency of the Papacy
in displaying and flaunting power and wealth in the midst of great
poverty and need suffered by the people of the land. I had to
recall how the Catholic priests and conquistadors many years earlier
invaded these lands and slaughtered the people as they destroyed their
culture and taught the people to be "Christians," never giving any
thought to listening and learning from them.
same tragic scenario has been repeated over and over by "Christian"
destruction of Native Americans, Hawaiians, African Americans, Asian
Americans, GLBT Americans and every group invaded by religious engines
of conquest, control and subjugation.
will religion ever learn to listen, as Jesus did? Only when
people become more important than religion will the true spirit of
August 1, 2002
"Freedom from religion is the beginning of education."
The following update was added on June 7, 2002:
"THE TRUTH ABOUT CHURCHES"
most unacceptable thing about the Roman Catholic and Southern Baptist
churches is not the sexual sins of the priests or the homophobic
nonsense of the preachers. It is the claim by both groups to
speak for God. They don't!
religions are out of touch with their own unreality. They cannot
see the absurdity of their claims to speak for God and the blatant
ignorance of their belief that they alone know the mind of God and
speak for God. No logical objective person can fall for the
hypocrisy and absurdity of current churches to claim to follow
Jesus. What diabolical power has been enlisted to convince great
multitudes of people that lies are the truth, distortions are doctrines
of faith and misinformation is the true gospel?
have the churches been able to blind so many people to truth and to
realistic thinking? Is early childhood brain washing an adequate
explanation, or is something far more powerful and insidious involved?
LOGIC IS ABANDONED
300 Christian denominations dominate the religious scene in America
today. Each of them teaches that they speak for God and each of
them claims that all of the others are wrong. How can anybody
seriously follow any of them? Yet millions do. Do you know
why? I would like to be able to blame it on the devil, but there
is no evidence for that. Perhaps the sins of the fathers are
being visited upon the children unto infinite generations.
unrealistic religious speculation and misinformation have been repeated
so frequently and so powerfully that the average person cannot make any
reasonable choices or informed decisions. Religious lies, no
matter how eloquently, frequently, or convincingly they are told, are
still lies and are the deadliest enemy of the truth.
meet next week in St. Louis and the Roman Catholic Bishops meet the
next week in Fort Worth, not to face logically and objectively the
challenges of a rapidly changing world and to ask themselves the hard
questions about what they are doing wrong, but to work hard to find
ways to convince themselves and everybody else that they alone speak
for God and that they are right when everybody else is wrong.
What a colossal waste of time and energy! The rest of the world
is plunging into a new age of terrorism and cultural warfare of
unprecedented technical capabilities, while the churches are still
living in the middle ages in abject spiritual darkness and mind numbing
THE BEAT GOES ON
preachers continue to deceive and confuse the public. Rev. Robert
Tilton is back on television every day. Rev. Jimmy Swagert still
commands a large television audience. Rev. Dr. James Kennedy at
Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Ft. Lauderdale continues to spew his
anti-gay legalistic venom on a thousand television stations across
America. Rev. Jerry Falwell has not muffled his ignorant attacks
against minorities nor have any of the religious leaders in America
effectively silenced the spiritual quacks and fakes that dominate the
religious landscape in all directions.
Pope still claims to speak for God and yet shows far more concern for
protecting the integrity of the Church than for the suffering of
sexually abused children. The president of the Southern Baptist
Convention continues to refuse to repudiate the Alabama Supreme Court
Judge who said that imprisonment and execution should be used to keep
GLBT people from becoming parents! The horror! The horror! The
horror! The horror is not in street crime and violence or in the drug
trade, corporate stealing and political corruption; the horror is in
pulpits and in pastors' studies, in prayer meetings and in local
up, America! Jesus could be the vital relevant answer to many
questions we face today if only the churches had not twisted the gospel
to serve their own financial power-hungry self interests and distorted
the story of Jesus into the unrecognizable disaster that we are facing
today in all churches.
SOULFORCE IS NECESSARY
will be in St. Louis this weekend to be part of the Soulforce mission
of truth to the Southern Baptist Convention. I identify with,
love and support Mel White and the Soulforce leaders and volunteers in
their ministry of information and confrontation with evil destructive
religious forces. To defend and try to justify the current
policies and teachings of the Southern Baptist Convention against women
and homosexuals and against local church autonomy and soul freedom is a
denial of basic Baptist heritage and a leap into the abyss of
irrelevance and spiritual apostasy.
feature of the Soulforce presentation will be the personal stories of
GLBT people who have been wounded and destroyed by Southern Baptist
teachings and misinformation. In truth, every Southern Baptist
has been hurt by the misinformation and ignorance that have dominated
the denomination for recent years regarding the true meaning of Jesus
and the Gospel. By its homophobic policies and teachings, the SBC
has compromised and repudiated the inclusive mission of all churches at
home and in foreign missions.
of religious Americans dump billions of dollars of support every year
into the religious cauldron of confusion that is dividing and
distorting the spiritual life of our nation, our communities, and our
families. People who give money to this destructive industry
firmly believe that they are serving God and doing the will of God to
the best of their ability. What has so effectively blinded
religious America in the twenty-first century?
the greatest barrier to the use of logic and reason to get through to
the homophobic legalist religious leaders is the fact that religion is
not based on logic and reason in the first place. Religion grows
out of fear, ignorance, family and social pressure, emotions, vague
absolutes, ancient mythologies and just about every possible source
except logic and reason.
THE BRIGHT SIDE OF THE DARK SIDE
is still everywhere. You are still made in the image of
God. The Spirit of Jesus is still available to teach and guide
and empower you in new directions of hope, truth and spiritual
renewal. Your brain continues to function to give you insights
that are objective, logical, realistic and practical.
the face of conflicting and confusing religions, you are far from
helpless and incapacitated. The obvious decline and fall of
current religion is an open door of opportunity for every one of us to
take a good fresh look at the real Jesus of the Gospels and start
over! We still have basically reliable accounts of Jesus in the
TECHNOLOGY OF HOPE
Internet has given to us the incredible capacity to reach millions of
people around the world with a single mouse click. Web sites and
books that teach the truth are growing in number at a rapid rate.
Over a million new web sites continue to be added to the Internet every
month! The pile of information mixed with misinformation is truly
selective. Know what to ignore and avoid. Learn what to
trust and accept. Always consider the source of any information
that reaches you. Test everything that is told to you about
religion. Listen to your inner voice of reason and logic and
follow your personal spiritual instincts that have been given to you by
the Holy Spirit of Jesus.
of the main reasons that I am going to St. Louis this weekend is to
visit with Mahan Siler and read the manuscript of his soon to be
published book that tells the story of his experiences and the
decisions and events at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh,
N.C., that challenged and changed the Southern Baptist world in
1992. We will share in discussion and dialogue that will edify
and strengthen both of us in our ongoing mission of information and
truth. I expect to learn a lot from Mahan Siler.
YOU ALREADY HAVE THE ANSWERS THAT FIT YOU
already have within you the real answers that fit you. God has
not forgotten you or left you to grope aimlessly in the dark night of
the church! There is light within the tunnel, not just at the
end. Jesus is the light that is given to you by the Holy Spirit
to guide you into truth, power and love to lift you above the conflicts
and confusions of religion. A much higher ground is available to
you than the dismal swamp into which contemporary religion is sinking
like the House of Usher.
get drowned because you wasted your life arranging the deck chairs on
the Titanic! Leap now into the spiritual lifeboat that Jesus
offers to you in a form and size that perfectly fits you. When
you face your spiritual choices and they don't fit, then you must
simply quit. There is always a better way than the present
hypocritical religious mess, no matter how convincingly it is served up
by dedicated religious chefs. You can still turn away from
religion and follow Jesus. Read the final chapter of the Gospel
of John as spiritual boost in the right direction.
The following update was added June 21, 2002:
"MEANWHILE, BACK TO JESUS"
sex scandals, sexual orientation and other social, economic and
political issues have dominated recent activities of Roman Catholics,
Southern Baptists and other large denominations. Incredible
distractions from the main mission of following Jesus have driven
contemporary churches off the road and deep into the jungle of
self-inflicted self-defeating hypocrisy and idolatries. What will
it take to bring "Christianity" back to Jesus? What is the real
identity of the Jesus of history and faith?
has Jesus been abandoned and replaced by a deadly mix of politics,
ambition, greed, pride, prejudice, misinformation, deception and
hypocrisy in the churches? How did Jesus get so completely lost
in the religious shuffle that we are witnessing today? Who is the
real Jesus, anyway? Why is the religious fog so thick that all we
can see of Jesus is a pair of sad eyes and a dim halo? Has
religion so misrepresented and distorted Jesus that the real Jesus is
JESUS IS RELEVANT TODAY
continues to be the dominant point of reference in churches and in
spiritual life in America. Yet, the real Jesus is vague, obscure,
misunderstood, and remote. Why? What has so thoroughly
deadened the impact of Jesus in the traditional churches? What
was the intended impact of Jesus in the first place? Can we still
discover the true intentions of Jesus beneath the mountain of religious
dinosaur bones that have accumulated during the past 2,000 years?
think that we can. We can look for the obvious most significant
characteristics of the life and ministry of Jesus in the Four
Gospels. We can reclaim the truth that has been there all along
but has been obscured by the institutionalizing and religious empire
mentality of the churches.
Spirit of Jesus is our best teacher and will guide us into all truth
that is relevant and helpful for us today. Jesus is still the
best source of information about Jesus. What are the simple clear
obvious facts about Jesus?
JESUS ACCEPTED HIMSELF
first most obvious truth about Jesus is that Jesus accepted and
affirmed himself as he was. Jesus saw himself as being in the
image of God, just as you are. Jesus saw himself as having a
special mission from God, just as you do. Jesus saw himself as a
child of God, just as you are. You have far more in common with
Jesus than you have with religious experts and ordained specialists who
think that they have something from God that you don't!
follow Jesus is to accept yourself as God made you. You are like
Jesus in that you are special, different and with a mission in life
that uniquely fits you. As Jesus made quite clear to his parents
at the Temple and elsewhere, "I am not like all of the other little
JESUS AFFIRMED HIS HUMANITY
affirmed and accepted his real humanity. He did not compromise
his humanity by trying to turn religion into magic or satisfy his own
human needs by using superhuman powers. He helped others at every
turn, but he let go and suffered and died as a human being, not as a
When you accept and celebrate your humanity as a gift from God, you are following in the footsteps of
JESUS CHALLENGED ALL AUTHORITIES AND POWERS
challenged and questioned all of the religious and political
authorities and powers of his world. Jesus revealed the hypocrisy
of all religious authority that abuses and rejects people who are
different and outcast as unclean. Jesus came into a world that
separated and divided and evaluated people on the basis of religion,
race, and status. Jesus consistently cut through all of the
cultural walls that separated people and affirmed the equality of all
people before God.
challenged and systematically broke the laws that religion and custom
had developed to demean and cut off undesirable people. The
teachings of Jesus were obviously never intended by Jesus to be written
into a new code of oppressive demanding laws that would create again
the legalism that he came to destroy!
of the greatest challenges to disciples of Jesus today is to follow the
Spirit of Jesus without taking the statements and stories of Jesus in
the Gospels as a new legalism that denies the real spiritual freedom
that Jesus came to give to all of us. Following Jesus today means
challenging and questioning everything that makes itself a rival to
God's unconditional inclusive love and spiritual power.
CHRISTIAN GAY PRIDE
month of June is "Gay Pride Month" as it has been ever since the
Stonewall Riots in 1969. Gay Christians are celebrating their
pride, self-acceptance and joy in who they are along with millions of
others during this special time. Jesus celebrated who he was in
his triumphant entry into Jerusalem when he rode the humble donkey and
identified with the common people instead of coming in a military
display of worldly pomp and glory. Jesus said in every way
possible that he identified with the rejected and outcast people of his
time and not with the religious authorities and civil rulers.
Jesus was baptized, he joined John the Baptist in attacking and
rejecting contemporary religion and even more significant: Jesus
clearly identified with the sinners, the outcasts, the religious
rejects, the unclean, and the common people of his world.
fed the multitude, a great crowd of mixed religions, races, social
status, beliefs, and ancient cultural and social enmities. This
demonstrated his own acceptance of all people as well as creating a
setting of "eating together" that revealed a new and unheard of
equality of all people with each other. Throughout the ministry
of Jesus in the Gospels are many celebrations of God's acceptance and
affirmation of all people.
Pride celebrations continue this heroic movement from oppression into
God's love and acceptance. San Francisco's Gay Pride celebration
is appropriately called the "Freedom Day Parade." (See "Gay Pride
Parade" history web site below.) Thousands of non-gay people will
join in the San Francisco Freedom Day Celebrations the last Sunday of
June. I plan to be there too. The Spirit of Jesus also will
be there. Several MCC congregations and many other GLBT accepting
and affirming churches will march in the parade and will have booths at
the festival. Thousands of LGBT Christians will be in the parade.
ACTIONS AND WORDS
we memorize and demand obedience to misunderstood and misrepresented
biblical teachings and ignore the obvious humble inclusive actions of
Jesus, we compromise our mission and buy into the 2,000 years of
religious empire building that has created the abusive destructive
religious mess we have inherited today.
actions of Jesus speak far louder than the words attributed to him in
the Gospels. All of the teachings and sayings are subject to a
great deal of interpretation and misapplication. Teachings and
religious formulas have been cast in many varieties of languages and
translations with copious added notations and comments to the point
that recapturing the exact "words of Jesus" is probably
impossible. Knowing Jesus, however, does not depend on knowing
the words. As with all people, the actions of Jesus speak louder
than the words.
is why the obvious emphasis in the Gospels is on the action of
following Jesus rather than on learning and enforcing the words
attributed to Jesus. We still need the Gospels, but God has given
you a wonderful brain to equip you to be objective, logical, realistic
and practical in whatever you study and learn. Use your brain to
help you be selective about what really matters and what fits you in
your spiritual journey into communion and communication with God.
repeatedly gave a simple direct invitation to all: "Follow me."
This call begins and ends the Gospel of John. It allows no
distinction between men and women, between laypeople and clergy,
between young and old, between gay and straight, between educated and
uneducated, or between races, classes or cultures. "Follow me"
puts the emphasis on the actions and attitudes of Jesus, not on
difficult often unclear pronouncements, laws and religious formulas.
follow Jesus means to accept yourself as a beloved child of God and to
affirm your humanity by identifying with and having compassion for
other people of every level and condition in your world.
Following Jesus means questioning and challenging ignorance, injustice,
hypocrisy, and religious abuse. Following Jesus means looking for
and encouraging the potential for spiritual growth and maturity in
every person you meet. Following Jesus means accepting and
including everybody as having equal value to you as well as to God.
only Jesus will expose legalism for the idolatry and hypocrisy that it
is. Following Jesus will cost you friends, loved ones, and social
acceptance, just as Jesus also experienced. Following Jesus
invites rejection by legalistic judgmental abusive religion.
Following Jesus may confuse and offend others who do not understand
what you are doing.
Jesus can never be fully explained or justified. Following Jesus
is who you are and what you are in your own personal relationship with
the God who made you in God's image and who surrounds you and fills you
with the Spirit of Jesus at all times. Churches are the greatest
distraction from the real Jesus in our contemporary culture.
The churches say: "Look at us!"
The true followers of Jesus say: "Look at Jesus."
Above all else and in place of all else: Follow Jesus.
SOMETHING YOU CAN DO NOW
sit down in a straight back chair with good light and read carefully
through the Gospel of Mark in one sitting. Use any easy to read
modern translation, like the Good News Bible or the New American
Standard Bible, with large print. Let the actions of Jesus run
freely through your mind and heart. Follow up this event by
making time to read carefully as quickly as possible the Gospels of
Luke and John.
you do this, take some time to stop and think about what you have
learned and felt. You will go away from this with a better grasp
of who Jesus is and who you are as you follow Jesus. When you do
this, please write to me and tell me what you are learning and how you
feel about it.
from Jesus have the same effect as misinformation, false teachings and
homophobic religious abuse. Distractions from Jesus, like talking
on your cell phone in heavy traffic, can be and have been deadly!
"Turn your eyes upon Jesus; look full in that wonderful face;
And the things of this world will grow strangely dim
In the light of God's glory and grace."
the story of the beginning of Gay Pride celebrations in a recent web
site sent to me by my friend David Kelly in West Hollywood:
See San Francisco Gay Pride: http://www.sfpride.org
See a recent development in
the Anglican Church in Canada concerning "EQUAL MARRIAGE" for Same-Sex Couples:
The following update was added on April 28, 2002:
"TRANSGENDERED GOSPEL CHOIR"
Saturday, April 27, 2002, I had the great joy and privilege of sharing
in a workshop with "Transcendence Gospel Choir" of the City of Refuge
Church in San Francisco. Over twenty people were present.
This was the first time that I have been in a meeting where the great
majority of people were transgendered and I, as a gay man, was in the
minority! It was refreshing and inspiring.
Moore, director of the choir, planned the workshop and included me in
it. Todd Holland videotaped the entire workshop, and I hope soon
to be able to make a copy available to you. As usual, I learned
more than I taught.
the four-hour session, I learned more about the people and the issues
faced in the transgendered community than I ever had imagined. I
gained a great admiration and respect for the spiritual maturity and
social skills of transgendered people who have had to struggle all of
their lives for self-acceptance and for a place at the table of the
larger LGBT world.
I met many wonderful
people, who shared their story and their faith journey in the group.
MY TRANSGENDER EDUCATION
Professor Joan Roughgarden, a member of the choir, Professor of Biology at Stanford University and the
author of six books, shared her latest book manuscript with us: "Evolution's Rainbow: Gender and Sexuality in Nature & People"
with specific attention to "Biblical Transgender Expressions & the
"Bible's Affirmation of Diversity". I learned a lot that I did
not know from Prof. Joan.
led us in a brilliant presentation of "The Historical Spiritual Role of
the Transgendered" & "Jeanne D'arc: the Transgendered Patron Saint".
Michelle Garcia, a transgendered Native American member of the
choir, led us in: "Native-American Two-Spirit Shamanism" & a letter from the Elders.
Rev. Jonathan Thunderword,
one of the pastors at City of Refuge, shared with us on "Elements of
Emancipation for Transgendered Christians" or "A Liberation Theology
for Transgendered Christians." Jonathan also gave me some good
lessons in how to preach! He referred us to Vanessa Sheridan's
book: "Crossing Over: Liberating the Transgendered Christian."
could only wish that every reader of my web site and updates could have
been with us on this magical Saturday of encouragement, information and
inspiration in San Francisco! The quotation at the end of the
program was from Beverly Wildung Harrison's "Making the Connections:
Essays in Feminist Social Ethics": "Jesus' death on the cross, his
sacrifice, was no abstract exercise in moral virtue. His death
was the price He paid for refusing to abandon the radical activity of
love – of expressing solidarity and reciprocity with the excluded ones
in His community."
JESUS AND THE BIBLE
part in the workshop was to share my material and enter into discussion
of Jesus and the Bible with special emphasis on recovery from abusive
religion. We read the words and listened to Harry Chapin's great
parable in song: "Flowers Are Red." Many of the participants
secured copies of my book to use in personal study and in small group
dialogue. A number of the people at the workshop gave me their
phone numbers for me to contact them in anticipation of my beginning an
ongoing small group study for them of "Steps to Recovery from Bible
Abuse". The time and place will be decided later.
Everybody in the group was my teacher. I was reminded as never before
that all of us have something important to share with others in telling our story.
in May, I will share with members of the choir and Rev. Dr. Yvette
Flunder, Senior Pastor of City of Refuge, in video taping the story of
the choir and its ministry. This story will be shown on
television. I will let you know further developments in this
exciting new direction in ministry.
April 25, 2002, The New York Times reported that the City Council of
New York "extended protection from discrimination to transgendered
people, transsexuals and others whose gender identity the bill's
backers say does not fit societal norms." Mayor Bloomberg plans
to sign the bill, which was approved by a vote of 45 to 5, with one
SPECIAL THANKS TO KEN GIES
friend Ken Gies in Kansas City wrote a powerful review of my book that
was published in the Kansas City Gay paper: "Midwest Times" on April
12, 2002, just before I went to Broadway Baptist Church last
weekend. You can see this review by going to http://www.MidwestTimes.com
and clicking on "Archives" and entering the April 12 edition and going
to pages 10 and 11. Also includes an article by staff writer
"Blake" on "Recovering from Bible Abuse."
below where I have added Ken's review of my book to my web site.
Ken's review accurately expresses the purpose and nature of my book,
and I greatly appreciate his special writing ministry.
Aril 28, 2002
Jesus never rejected people because they were different.
Jesus never rejected anybody who was abused by religion.
Jesus never rejected anybody.
Jesus never rejected you.
If you follow Jesus, YOU will never reject anybody.
"Transcendence Gospel Choir"
Review of Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse
By Ken Gies: added April 28, 2002:
STEPS TO RECOVERY FROM BIBLE ABUSE
Review by KEN GIES
Kansas City, Missouri
April 12, 2002, pages 10-11
Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse
Dr. Rembert S. Truluck
551 pages/2000/hi Rho Press
www.chirhopress.com/$24.95 + P&H
Also available at Larry's Gifts and Cards
you have ever been the victim of "bible abuse," through a conservative
upbringing, Sunday School or Fred Phelps, then this book should be at
the top of your must-read list. If Dr. Truluck were asking $100
per copy, it would be worth it at ten times that price.
Rembert Truluck has a Doctor of Theology from The Southern Baptist
Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky. He was a Southern
Baptist pastor from 1953 to 1973, and Professor of Religion at Baptist
College of Charleston, South Carolina, from 1973 to 1981. For six
years, he wrote Southern Baptist Sunday School Lessons that were used
throughout the denomination.
1981, Truluck joined First Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) of
Atlanta, where he served as Bible teacher, writer, and preacher.
He then served as Senior Pastor at Golden Gate MCC, San Francisco, and
at MCC Nashville, Tennessee.
he lives in the San Francisco Bay area where he is active as a writer,
teacher, and counselor. In his "spare" time, Dr. Truluck travels the
nation providing workshops based on Steps to Recovery,
sharing his wealth of knowledge and understanding with thousands every
year and encouraging GLBT people everywhere to reclaim their spiritual
Steps to Recovery
cuts through the darkness of shame and guilt that many of us have felt
or are currently feeling. It sheds a million watts of light on
subjects such as Overcoming Hostility and Violence, Jesus and
Same-Sex Love, and How Jesus Liberated Outcast People. It gives practical teaching directed to anyone who has ever felt the pain of religious abuse, rejection and oppression
In the Preface to Steps,
Dr. Truluck writes, "We are living in a New Reformation that will
challenge the churches for many years, probably for the next
century…" In the subsequent pages he illuminates a pathway of
recovery, healing and wholeness, by making clear what constitutes abuse
and then giving a "fresh look at the bible", that emphasizes that
"Jesus came to heal sick religion" and those infected by it.
Steps to Recovery
is not another painful catalog of finger pointing and blame. It
is not another dull book of hard to understand theology. It is
easy to read and although you may not find it a single-sitting type of
book, once in your library, you will turn to it time after time, in
situation after situation, to deal with the realities of being gay and
being spiritual and you will use it to teach others. Its
life-giving vitality springs from the depth of pathos and knowledge and
the enlightening and often humorous way in which it is disseminated.
writes from both a wealth of education and biblical scholarship, as
well as a depth of personal experience. Having taught for several
years at Baptist College of Charleston, South Caroline, he was abruptly
outed by another gay man and then forced to resign his
professorship. From there, a spiral into alcoholism interrupted
what was to become one of the most powerful ministries in Christendom
today. Truluck is a rare treasure, a wise and Godly man, with an
insight into all things biblical, spiritual and religious, that
challenges both the abused and the abusers. At the same time, his
book, his web site ( www.truluck.com),
and his willingness to tirelessly share his insight, endears him to
anyone who will take a risk, buy the book and let its principles of
love, renewal, grace and goodness wash over them in healing waves of
gladness and recovery.
Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse will not be just a great read, but will be the beginning of a revolution of reformation, healing and restoration!
Dr. Truluck will be in Kansas City, at Broadway Baptist
Church, Broadway and 39th
Terrace, April 19-21, 2002, to present his workshop and share his
uplifting and liberating views on healing and recovery among gay,
lesbian, bisexual and transgender people of faith. Join him on
Friday evening for a reception and return on Saturday to experience his
life-changing workshop. Dr. Truluck will also speak at the 10:00
a.m. service on Sunday morning. For details, contact Broadway
Church at (816) 561-3274 or log onto www.roadwaychurch-kc.org.
"TRICK OR TREAT RELIGION"
or Treat" is a mild childhood form of extortion in which children are
given candy and treats in response to an implied threat to play some
form of damaging trick on the adults. We all learn very early to
play along and enjoy the Halloween tradition. So much for playful
"to wrench out or twist;" from French ex + torquere (from which we get
the word "torture"); "to obtain from a person by force, intimidation,
or undue or illegal power"-- Webster's Dictionary.
of the earliest forms of religion were variations on giving treats to
avoid the tricks of angry gods, who were believed to control the
weather, fertility of crops and flocks, volcanoes, earthquakes, storms,
and the outcome of battles. The Hebrew Bible tells of baal
worship in which sexual rituals were performed at shrines called "high
places" to force the gods of fields and flocks to bless the land with
economic prosperity and success. This extended even to the
"treat" offering of live babies in sacrifice to the fire god Moloch to
avoid the "trick" of the displeasure of this angry god. A temple
to Moloch set up in Jerusalem in the time of Solomon was still there in
the time of Jeremiah.
THE THREAT OF HELL
often offer escape from the threat of purgatory or hell as the reward
for "treats" of money, faithfulness, political support, and rigid
obedience to legalistic demands and requirements. "Sinners in the
Hands of an Angry God" remains the underlying basis for religious
demands for unquestioning loyalty and blind obedience to the will of
religious establishments throughout the world.
many Baptist and other churches base their money raising campaigns on
the clear biblical statement that withholding your tithes and offerings
to the church is to rob God. Malachi 3:8 plainly declared: "Will
a man rob God? Yet you are robbing me! But you say: how have we robbed
Thee? In tithes and contributions!" This failure to deliver
the "treat" had resulted in the "trick" curse of plagues, crop
failures, and other disasters.
of money raising schemes in churches rely on the well-known verse: "THE
TITHE IS THE LORD'S" from Leviticus 27:30 displayed on banners at the
front of churches, printed on offering envelopes and made the central
theme in fund raising literature. The only problem is that the
statement is not in the Bible. Leviticus 27:30 is actually a
longer verse that spells out the agricultural and cultural setting of
the legal requirements for supporting the tabernacle and the priests:
"The tithe of the land, of the seed of the land or the fruit of the
tree, is the Lord's; it is holy to the Lord." We know that this
is not the only verse in Leviticus that is altered, misrepresented and
used to enforce a legalism that is not only alien to Jesus but is alien
even to the spirit of Leviticus!
JESUS VS. RELIGION
however, spoke of the tithe only in criticism of those who used their
gifts as an attempt to manipulate God or who gave tithes instead of
showing love to others: "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!
For you tithe mint and dill and spice, and have neglected the weightier
provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness (Matthew
23:23)." All of Matthew 23 is relevant to understanding the
attitude of Jesus about religion that bargains with God and that
practices trick or treat religious extortion.
never said, "Sell what you have and give it to me." Or Sell what you
have and give it to the church." Jesus said only: "Sell what you
have and give it to the poor." To Jesus, people were the avenue
through which we love and honor God. See the words of Jesus about
social justice and helping the hungry, thirsty, homeless, sick,
outcasts and prisoners as a way of following Jesus in Matthew
25:35-40. Why have the traditional churches for centuries avoided
this clear teaching of Jesus regarding the true meaning of spiritual
only giving that Jesus commended was giving everything that you have,
not a percentage or a token and not to a church but to needy people.
WHAT TO DO WITH GOD'S MONEY
years ago, my mother was writing a large check to give as an offering
to her church, even though she and my dad had only their small social
security income to live on. I asked why she was doing it.
She said, "It's God's money!" I asked, "Then why are you giving
it to the church?" She never has thought that was funny.
more I concentrate on the humanity and compassion of Jesus, the more I
realize that Jesus always gave himself and his resources to others and
never took anything for himself. Jesus had no house ("no place to
lay his head"), no change of clothes, no property, no permanent
residence, no formal education, no money, no political power and no
status in society. Jesus became tired, hungry and thirsty.
All he asked for was a drink of water from the woman at the well.
Then he gave her back her self-respect and a new life.
listened to the people that everybody else ignored or despised.
He associated with and dined with the outcasts and rejects of his
time. He gave himself without hesitation wherever he was wanted
and welcomed. Jesus borrowed everything he ever used: the upper
room, the donkey he rode into Jerusalem, the boat from which he
preached and even the tomb in which he was buried. Jesus traveled
WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH GOD'S IMAGE?
are created in the image of God. What are you doing with
it? What are you creating every day with your mind and the other
resources that God has given to you? How would being like Jesus
change your life? Make a list of things that would change.
call to follow Jesus is not a call to play God or put on a big show or
gain a lot of power and control over other people. The call to
follow Jesus is to be truly and humbly human, just as Jesus was.
When you follow Jesus, you see and feel the hurt and humiliation of
other people. You reach out to lift them up and help them to
respect, accept and love themselves. You expect nothing, no
recognition or praise in return. The reward for following Jesus
is following Jesus.
Following Jesus is
to fulfill your purpose by being the real human you were meant to
be. It means being honest with yourself and others and honest
with and about God. It means giving up childish games and
entering fully into spiritual maturity as an adult. It means
above all to love one another just as Jesus loved you.
THE REAL "HORROR SHOW"
Halloween weekend is filled with television reruns of most of the old
horror movies along with ads for upcoming new versions of last year's
hit horror thrillers. The real horror show of 2,000 is the awful
truth of the power of "trick or treat" extortion based religion that
dominates the lives and imaginations of millions of people, even those
who claim to be Christian.
religion is a nightmare where you never wake up. It is the
greatest hindrance to spiritual maturity that exists today. The
nightmare of religion based abuse and oppression is more clearly seen
and most painfully experienced by GLBT people. GLBT people,
however, are not the only victims of extortion religion.
Everybody suffers from this religious plague that has siphoned off
human lives and resources beyond belief. And that's the problem:
few people believe that the "faith of our fathers" could turn out to be
so destructive! When Jesus attempted to apply his mission to
"open the eyes of those who cannot see" and include everybody in God's
love, his own people attempted to kill him (Luke 4:16-30).
We have an easily
available alternative to extortion religion. We can decide to
follow the real Jesus and avoid religious distractions from the truth.
UPDATES are not intended as a substitute for your own experience and
ideas. They are intended to encourage and help you to think for
yourself and be logical about yourself and your spiritual life.
Religion seems to take many forms that encourage people to abandon
logic and forget that God has made us reasonable people with an
incredibly well developed brain that can be objective. We are
learning all the time if we truly listen to what we hear and experience.
So let go and move on.