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about Me

Monday, March 21, 2011

God is Love. Period.

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. 3-7If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.


 Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.

When I was an infant at my mother's breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.

We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!

But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

1 Corinthians 13 - The Message

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Today's affirmation from A Year In The Now...

"And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:32)

Today I will live in the now! I will live in the now because I am a real person, experiencing the real God in the real world. I will live truthfully today, understanding the difference between walking by faith instead of by sight, and living in denial of reality. Today I will reconcile my preparation for the worst case, with my expectation of the best case in every situation that arises.

Today I will be sober without being sullen – mature, but not morose – levelheaded, yet lighthearted at the same time! Harmony, balance and a genuine sense of serenity will display the peace that passes understanding through my life. The peace of God makes me shockproof today, so that, come what may, I am calm, cool, and collected in every circumstance.

Today I will not waste my time trying to be someone or something that I am not. The people in my life will have an authentic sense of trust in me, because my self-truth will give them permission to be who they really are, and to like who they really are.

Today I will embrace the inevitable. If I can't change it, I will adapt to it, and will live freely and peaceably, choosing to go with the flow, accepting life as it really is. Today I choose truth-inspired tranquility, and welcome honesty-induced happiness. Parting with illusions will bring great relief to my soul, as I live the liberated life with godly contentment.

Today I will tell the truth, plain and simple. My stories will need no embellishment, my memories will remain intact, my ambitions will be realistic. I will see life the way that it is, and call it as I see it. Whatever is built on a lie in my world will fall, because it should fall, and I will have no fear today, because the Lord is my shepherd, and I do not lack or want for anything.

Today I will not get involved with the silly games that people play when trying to relate to one another. I will let my "yes" be "yes," and my "no" be "no," providing a safe haven for those, like me, who seek the truth in the world. I will move on from those who refuse to live in authenticity.

Today I will get a grip on reality. I will not fear telling the truth, or hearing the truth, taking both praise and criticism in stride. Today I will enjoy the effect of speaking the truth in love, even to myself, and today I will live in the now!

Father, help me to live truthfully today. In Jesus’ name, amen

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Food for Thought

To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.
- e.e. cummings, 1955

“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.” (1 Corinthians 15:10 - Today's New International Version)

Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation. - Oscar Wilde, De Profundis, 1905

Who in the world do you think you are to second-guess God? Do you for one moment suppose any of us knows enough to call God into question? Clay doesn't talk back to the fingers that mold it, saying, "Why did you shape me like this?"
(Romans 9:20 - The Message)

The great majority of us are required to live a life of constant duplicity. Your health is bound to be affected if, day after day, you say the opposite of what you feel, if you grovel before what you dislike, and rejoice at what brings you nothing but misfortune.
- Boris Pasternak

The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.
- Thomas Merton

Friday, March 4, 2011

A New Song

Ray Boltz, composer of such Gospel classics as 'Thank You', 'Watch the Lamb', and 'The Anchor Holds' has been the recipient of two song awards from the Gospel Music Association's Dove Awards. 'Thank You' received the 1990 Song of the Year award, and 'I Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb' received the 1994 award for Inspirational Song. He also was one of various artists contributing to God with Us: A Celebration of Christmas Carols & Classics, which won the 1997 award for Special Event Album. He is a great songwriter...and his best days are ahead of him...

God's gifts and God's call are under full warranty—never canceled, never rescinded.
(Romans 11:29 - The Message)

For God's gifts and His call are irrevocable. [He never withdraws them when once they are given, and He does not change His mind about those to whom He gives His grace or to whom He sends His call.]
(Romans 11:29 - Amplified Bible)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Everything Jesus Said About Homosexuality*

*Although Jesus never mentioned it, some scholars believe that Matthew 19:11, 12 contain His words on the subject of people with same-sex attraction...it is an issue that is up for debate...here are verses 3 - 12 from Matthew In The Now...

3. And while He was in the area, the Pharisees came to Him again and put Him to the test by asking, “Is it legal and right for a man to dismiss his wife…to divorce her for any reason that he may have?

4. He replied to them, “Have you never read in your Scriptures that He Who made them from the beginning made them male and female?

5. This is why a man has to leave his father and mother at some point, and be united and bonded to his wife…and when that happens, the two of them become, in a sense, one single entity,

6. so that they are no longer two separate physical bodies, but actually become one new one. And if a particular union between a man and a woman is, indeed, God-ordained, then no human being should do anything to create a disconnect between what God has put together.”

7. They shot back at Him, “Well if marriage is so special…if, indeed, it is a God-created thing, then why did Moses make it so practical and easy to get a divorce? According to his law, all a man has to do to get out of a marriage is to send his wife a written notice, and then just simply dismiss her from his life, and be done with her, altogether.”

8. He said to them, “Moses set up this system basically because of the hardness of your hearts…specifically, your insensitivity to women. He permitted you to simply dismiss your wives with no regard for required responsibility to them because you have had no concept of covenant. But in this Moses did not have the heart and mind of God, considering that this self-serving male convenience was not in God’s original plan.

9. But I say to you that whoever just casually dismisses his wife for no legitimate reason, and marries the next available woman who comes along, really is only committing adultery with her. His shallow flippancy in such a case shows that he has no understanding of the seriousness of covenant. The situation is somewhat different if the wife has been unfaithful to her husband, but the real issue is still about the apparent disregard of covenant. So if a man marries a woman just because she was dismissed for her unfaithfulness to her husband, he is still just committing adultery with her if there is no genuine commitment to the covenant of marriage.”

10. The disciples, listening in on this conversation, said to Him, “If that’s really what marriage is about…if covenant is really that important…if God takes it that seriously…then no man in his right mind would ever want to get married! What would be the point of limiting your options by binding yourself to that kind of commitment?”

11. But He said to them, “Marriage is for men…not for boys. That’s why not all men can accept this concept. It’s for those who are mature enough to understand and appreciate the value of human, adult relationships.

12. But it also requires a certain kind of maturity to understand that this kind of relationship isn’t for everyone. There are some asexual men who, from birth, never seem to give women or marriage a thought. Other men may have been intentionally emasculated for cultural purposes, or for other reasons. And still others are single and celibate for spiritual pursuits…as if they were married only to the Kingdom of/from the heavens. Whatever the case, it requires insightful maturity to comprehend that not everyone takes the same path, or has the same needs in these matters. If you can receive this, you will be able to live and let live.”

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

That Was Then, This is Now

Here are some excerpts from my book Keepin' It Real, written in 2002...these words may seem somewhat ironic now...this was all I could say at the time (or ever intended to say) concerning the subject...

“The Times They Are A-Changin’”

The gospel of the Kingdom must be a counter-culture gospel. Jesus refused to simply accept the status quo. He was outspoken about what needed to be changed in the world and He did what was necessary to bring about that change. Today the word cult has a negative connotation, but the meaning of it is actually derived from the phrase counter-culture. And when there are things about the culture that are contrary to Kingdom principles, it becomes necessary for the gospel to take on an aspect of activism. The gospel should counter a culture where the divorce rate is higher than 50%, where there are more African-American men in jails and prisons than in colleges and universities, and where reports of child sexual abuse have become so common that they don’t even seem shocking anymore. That kind of culture definitely needs a makeover!

The gospel of the Kingdom must be a tolerant gospel. It seems to be the opinion of many in the mainstream religious Church that AIDS is God’s punishment for gay people. Instead of praying for the hurting, many extremist fundamentalists actually consider it their ministry to stand outside the edifices where the funerals of AIDS victims are conducted and hold up placards that read, “AIDS is God’s punishment to fags” or “All fags go to hell.” In Section 3 of this book I’ll discuss some of the challenges that gay people face when it comes to the Church, but I have no examples to site here from the life of Jesus Christ because He was completely silent on the subject of homosexuality. But, when it comes to tolerance in general, He did tell His disciples that those who are not against us are for us, when they wanted to call down fire from heaven on others of whose ministry they did not approve.

The gospel of the Kingdom must be a progressive gospel. In the last couple of decades it seems to have become the popular assumption among many in the mainstream Church in America that political conservatism is synonymous with Christianity. The so-called morality issues have sort of directed many Christians to that conclusion, even though morality is not Christianity. Many people from other religious groups are extremely moral. Parts of Jesus’ message actually do sound quite like the conservative agenda, while other parts of it sound equally as liberal. But Jesus implied that He was rather apolitical when He said, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:1). The point is, the Kingdom mentality must transcend natural labels and stereotypes and, to maintain relevance in ministry, Kingdom seekers must strive to be progressive in all areas of life.

The gospel of the Kingdom makes EXPERIENCING THE REAL GOD possible for those outside the Church. The Church is the proving ground for the Kingdom and the Kingdom is the hope for the world. God has not given up on this planet. He loves it and is still waiting for those people who are in covenant with Him to take dominion over it and subdue it. Jesus is held in the heavens until the restoration of all things (Acts 3:21), and the restoration of this planet can only come through the reign of Christ (the Body), under the authority of King Jesus the Christ (the Head). The Kingdom is proactive. The Kingdom is eternal. The Kingdom is advancing. The Kingdom makes a difference. The Kingdom has the answers. The Kingdom has influence. The Kingdom provides God access into the affairs of the earth. Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God, the Father!


Tellin’ It Like It Is

Many years ago I worked with my father in his midtown Atlanta church where we experienced what we thought was a great “revival” among many of the gay and lesbian people of the inner city. Over the years I counseled with these people, took them through what we believed to be deliverance and inner healing, cast demons out of them (or so we thought), and pressured them into heterosexual relationships, including marriage, so that they could live normal lives. It bothers me now when I hear ministers say that being gay is just a decision. I have never met any straight person who just decided one day to be gay. Why would anyone just decide to make their life so difficult and complicated? When you have looked into the tortured faces of people as they tell you the tragic story of a life spent trying to become straight, or have listened to them sob in a fetal position on the floor of your office because they don’t want to be who they really are, you begin to see the real problem with the “gay is a decision” theory.

During that period I saw everything from grown men vomiting into trash cans, trying to exorcise the demon of homosexuality, to men who had been gay from their earliest memory trying to maintain a sham marriage so that they could fit the definition of being a Christian. To my knowledge, all these years later, every one of these men and women have gone back to living openly gay lives, and the ones who were married to the opposite sex are all divorced. As anyone who has ever really ministered to gay people knows, if they are not born that way, then their world view was developed thusly from such an early age that they may as well have been. It is all they have ever known or felt. Then, when you tell them that if they come to Jesus they will become a new creation, and they expect to change to the point of having their sexual and romantic orientation altered, they are devastated when they discover (only too soon) that it isn’t going to happen.

I know men and women, some even in the ministry, who claim to have been genuinely changed from gay to straight and, if that is their testimony, I choose to believe them. And I know there are ministries that claim to actually have a success rate in turning gay people straight and, if that is their calling, I choose to believe them, as well. As a matter of fact, I struggled with even bringing this subject up in this book because I honestly don’t know the right way to look at this situation anymore. I know everything that the Bible says about it, but in my heart I really don’t believe that people have any control over their sexual and romantic orientation, and that makes me feel hypocritical about some of the positions that I have to take as a minister. At this point, the best that I can offer a gay person who, as a Christian, feels convicted about same-sex union, is for them to believe for the gift of celibacy and live alone. It would really help if Jesus would have said something about this subject, but this is all He gave us to work with:

But He said to them, “All cannot accept this saying, but only those to whom it has been given: For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother’s womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs my men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it.”

(Matthew 19:11,12)

There is a lot more that I could say here, but I’ve probably pushed the envelope enough as it is on this subject – I’ll save it for another book. In the meantime, I pray that these so-called evangelical Christians who can’t think of anything better to say than, “God didn’t make Adam and Steve, He made Adam and Eve!” will realize that Jesus said the sick ones need a doctor – not an antagonist! For people who are struggling with their sexual orientation and are desperately looking to the Church for answers, these kind of moronic statements just make them feel more hopeless. In the meantime, I want to love people as they are, and, with the help of Parakletos, the Holy Spirit, help them find the Kingdom solutions for their own lives. I want to show people the goodness of the Lord which leads to repentance, and I know that God is good because He has been so good to me. The path to peace in the REAL WORLD is to know that you aren’t required to have all the answers to be effective, and that you don’t have to change people to love and accept them as they really are. God is good, and His mercy endures forever!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I Know, I Know...God Didn't Make Adam and Steve

Let me say, once and for all: HETEROSEXUALITY IS ALIVE AND WELL! I make this simple and obvious statement for the sake of the many people who, for whatever reason, write, e-mail, call, text, or post on my other blog to remind me that God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. I’m not really sure what this tired and overused phrase is supposed to mean, really, or what it is supposed to accomplish. I guess it is said to me and to people like me for the purpose of possibly snapping my mind back to the reality of the creation story Genesis 1, and to hopefully change my sexual orientation…as if a statement like this could alter my thinking about the long-held truth of my life, or my beliefs about human sexuality.

But I’ve heard it said so much, not just to me, personally, but also publicly from pulpits across America over the years (and if a preacher is looking for a strong reaction from his audience, making this statement is usually a sure thing) and in television debates over gay rights issues, that I wanted to address the “Adam and Steve” thing, and to make some observations that will hopefully bring a little clarity on the subject (and maybe stop people from saying it to me so often…).

The point is, heterosexuality is not going anywhere. Procreation is not in any danger. The overwhelming majority of the world is straight, and always will be, and men and women will always continue to date, fall in love, get married, have sex, have babies, and do whatever else straight people do. Despite what you regularly hear from the Christian right, the world is not turning gay. There is no “gay agenda” to fear in the sense that gay people are trying to recruit heterosexuals to turn to a “gay lifestyle” (which also doesn‘t exist, by the way, but more about that later).

Nobody “turns” gay. It’s just not possible. There is about the same percentage of the world’s population that is homosexual as there has always been (10 %), you just hear about it more now than you did in the past for many reasons, and so it appears that something strange or unprecedented is happening in society that isn’t necessarily happening.

Gay people, as a rule, are not anti-family, or even anti-heterosexual, for that matter…they are not against the idea of Adam and Eve. Every gay person knows that, were it not for heterosexual procreation, none of us, straight or gay, would be here! Straight people will always be straight, and gay people will always be gay. Period. I know that that statement usually opens up endless arguments on the subject, but so be it. Sooner or later, people are just going to have to realize and admit that no one is making this stuff up. If someone says they’re gay…they’re gay! They didn’t choose their orientation any more than any heterosexual chose his or her orientation.