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Religion blog: Giving love a chance

A blog or two ago, I wrote a piece entitled “Forgive Me if I Don’t Raise a Toast” in response to the over-the-top partying and Super Bowl-like mentality of the killing of Bin-Laden.

I never know what's on the mind of someone who makes a comment. Some posts get a lot of response and others get no response at all.

This particular blog post had exactly one comment:

“You ask me to "forgive you".... sorry, I refuse. He got much less than what he deserved. I wish they could kill him once for each life he took.”

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Religion blog: Forgive me if I don’t raise a toast to bin Laden’s death

Let me start by saying that in the deepest part of my soul I am opposed to “capital punishment." The hairs on my neck crawl when the state of Georgia injects killing poisons through the veins of anyone allegedly on my behalf. I take seriously the teaching of Jesus, which says the “one without sin” gets to cast the first stone.

However, I also know if at 2 a.m. someone breaks into my house and has gotten past CoCo and Koda (our dogs) and is coming up the stairs to my bedroom, the phrase, “Your soul had better be with God, because your ass is mine” comes to mind. I will do everything in my power to stop the criminal up to and including killing him. With that I would probably spend the rest of my life in therapy trying to get rid of the nightmares of taking a human life.

Interestingly, my husband, if faced with this situation, would simply shoot the intruder dead, go back to sleep and call the trash people in the morning. He would not feel an ounce of remorse because that person was there to do him and his family harm.

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Thoughts on how Christianity should embrace ‘radical inclusion’ on this Good Friday

This being Holy Week I have been spending a lot of time wrestling with what it means to be an independent, affirming, progressive Christian.

If you have followed my blog or preaching, the you are familiar with those scriptures that drive me both as a person of faith and a pastor.

As long as I can remember these words of scripture have rested in my soul:

John 3:16
Micah 6:8
Matthew 22:34-40
Matthew 25:31-40
James 3:17
John 14:1-4
Romans 8:31-39

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Religion blog: Acceptance Strategy. Ain’t it grand?

Well, it certainly has been an interesting few weeks. First, after a community meeting to find some common ground as to how to handle a belligerent homophobe in the Georgia State House, I was told point blank that I had no clue as to how to get things done with legislators. I was also told I had no idea of what it was to be a target every day at work.

Then a couple of weeks, later the Georgia State House passes a resolution honoring an openly gay politician for achievements including work in our community, and our community is no where to be found in the document except in code. The word “gay” just doesn’t exist.

GA Voice Editor Laura Douglas-Brown wrote a column questioning the legitimacy of the honor if it is handed out in code. “It's one thing to utilize a subtle strategy to pass laws that benefit LGBT Georgians — like a general bullying bill that will help gay students, or a broader bill about hospital visitation when LGBT people are particularly vulnerable in these areas. Such an approach can be necessary to keep progress moving, even slowly, in a hostile legislature.

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Religion blog: Thirteen and counting…

On March 15, 2011, our little contribution to theological chaos will be 13-years-old, and the last five of those years, we've made an intentional choice to worship outside.

It was this choice that moved us from a “gay-centric” church to a church that lives on the edge with all those who find themselves there, as well. Of course, the population of those who live on the edge of society has far more folks than LGBTQIA members; yet, it has been interesting that even though we no longer see ourselves as a “gay church” the community label has stuck.

As we literally have become a “Church Without Walls,” this has been met with smiles, rolling of eyes and about 95% of the time an exclamation of “really!?” This is usually followed by, “What do you do when it rains?”

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‘Church Without Walls’ celebrates milestone

Gentle Spirit Christian Church, the “Church Without Walls” led by Rev. Paul Turner, will celebrate its 13th anniversary at noon on Sunday, March 13 with a picnic in Chandler Park.

The LGBT-friendly church was founded in 1998 and began meeting in Chandler Park (1500 McLendon Avenue NE, Atlanta) on Sundays in 2006.

“The Gentle Spirit congregation of today looks a little different from the one of 13 years ago,” said Turner, founding and senior pastor. “We started the church to offer a home to Christians who felt left out of the mainline churches, and as we’ve explored what it means to extend God’s welcome to everyone, we’ve become a truly diverse congregation with members from all walks of life.”

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Religion blog: A straight man, a trans woman, and a lesson for all of us

I remembered an old quote from a former Hall of Fame major league baseball pitcher by the name of Satchel Paige: “Never look behind you, ‘cause something might be gaining on you.” Ain’t that the truth?

This year has been full of challenges, full of loss and with more to come. But despite all odds, if we are to find peace we cannot and must not look back, but rather continue to move forward.

As I write this blog this evening all across our nation people are caught up in a war of words and ideology. It feels like we are stalled and a fierce fight is going on to push us back to the “good old days,” whatever that was or is. Folks on both sides of the various debates will tell you they are fighting for the very soul of America.

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Guest Editorial: A spiritual call for LGBT unity

We know the LGBTQIA community has made a great deal of progress over the past 40 years. This progress has come because the community as a whole has stepped far out of the closet into the every day world.

There is no place one can go and not find well-adjusted and successful folk. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is about to become a thing of the past. More states are granting rights to same-sex couples. The national polls show we are making great strides to become an accepted part of society.

The more we are honest about who we are and who we love, the more true is Rev. Troy Perry’s proclamation of 30 years ago: “To know us is to love us!”

In every major faith there are affirming congregations who stand proudly for and with us as a whole people of God. We participate in many sports and excel right next to our straight sisters and brothers. We even run for public office and win.

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Religion blog: We must come together now more than ever to obtain full equality

We know the LGBTQIA community has made a great deal of progress over the past 40-plus years. This progress has come about because for the most part the community as a whole has stepped far out of the closet into the every day world.

There is no place one can go and not find well-adjusted and successful folk. Hell, we have even made it into commercials to sell almost every conceivable product and are main characters in the TV and movie world.

“Don’t ask, don’t tell” is about to become a thing of the past. Every time one looks up there is another state granting either marriage or at minimum “civil unions.”

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Religion blog: ‘An unjust law is no law at all’

A little less than a year ago, I wrote a blog concerning the Arizona Immigration law. So if much of this blog looks familiar, forgive me, but what was written this past spring still applies ... especially in view of what is about to happen in Georgia. 

It is my prayer this gets a serious read. My prayer also is for the clergy of our state to step forward and give the moral leadership that is required by our faith, “to do justice, act mercifully and walk humbly with God.”

I find it interesting as a people of the Christian faith we say the sins of the parents (father) should not be visited upon the children, yet there are some who are pushing to make that the law of the state.

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Religion blog: Christmas 2010

I want to share this obvious observation: Even if there were some remote chance I could become pope... they would never let me.  The reason is simple and it is not because of my progressive views of Christian theology, or the fact that I am unapologetically gay or even the fact that I do not believe the bible is the inerrant word of God.

Nope, it's because I believe December 25th is one of the biggest frauds ever pulled on humanity.

Those who are pastors know that what I am suggesting is very true. Y’all went to seminary and know saying Jesus was born on December 25th is like saying there is a real living breathing Santa Claus.  This fraudulent claim has made our jobs and life during this time of the year a living nightmare of endless days of no sleep and one crisis on top of another.