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B-Ville: A Glimmer of Hope
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I can't say that I would be able to dialog with him. I can't say that we could even be civil at this point. But I can say, if what happend today hadn't happened I would have been guilty of not caring for someone the Lord loves dearly. Soulforce is founded on Jesusí words: 'Love your enemies.' Gandhi defines that love as refusing violent actions, violent words, even violent thoughts against our adversaries. King said love must control fist, tongue, and heart.  Mel White

B-ville: A Glimmer of Hope 
by Randy Thomas, co-director 
Living Hope Ministries, Arlington Texas  
Sunday, August 2, 1998  

Believe it or not.  It really is pretty scary over here on SideB for some of us even in our own neighborhood, which I affectionately will call B-ville.  There are some streets I just would rather not go down.  Some areas of town that no matter how quote/unquote *repentant* I am people still go running and start hiding the children. 

I tell God, "God I am afraid of those people."  They are mean and still ignorant to the Truth that you love me and homosexuals.  I don't want to go there, they won't listen. 

So what does the Good Shepherd do? 

He puts me in a conservative Church of Christ two Sunday's in a row!  Last week I spoke with the teens and this week I spoke with the young married's class.  Last week was good but this week completely blessed me. 

I was preparing to give my testimony and knew it was time to go up to the podium once the orchestra started.....just kidding, it was only a harp   :). I got up there and just told it like it was for me and this brings me to the points I wanted to share with you all. 

I shared with them about my life, things like scaring the heck out of a Catholic Priest on a Greyhound bus, meeting God while driving an old 1970something lime green Mercury Marquis and how God used a Drag Queen named Carmella Marcella Garcia Girl! to save my life.  You know, nothing heavy....hahaha. 

When I told them about Tim (Carmella) I looked up and said, "Can God use a Drag queen?"  And believe it or not, amongst all the big hair in the room some of it was knodding and I heard "sure, why not?" 

God had used a Drag Queen to save my life.  I was thrown out of my house for being gay and the first and only time in my life I contemplated suicide.  I had been living out of my car for two weeks, when Carmella got a hold of me (through a boyfriend) and told me to get my *ss over to his condo. 

I got there and he said, "I am going to take you into my home because that is what my Lord Jesus would have me do, there is some food in the kitchen.  When those hateful people turn us out we have to stick together."  I can't remember if I cried or not.  I do remember that was the best ham and cornbread I have ever eaten. 

After I told the Sunday school class about how God had reached down to me and blessed me through a drag queen, I noticed people weeping.  Weeping!!!  Do you get it?  That is astounding.  Normally I would expect to be thrown out, but these people actually saw the loving heart of God.  Did this have anything to do with *repentance*?  No, they saw that God loves His kids and will use them and protect them even if they are in Drag, or homeless. 

Something is happening in B-ville ya'll.  A glimmer of hope that the hate will stop. 

Maggie Heineman replied: 

When Steve Calverley  sent me the url for Denial Isle he said the same thing.  The last paragraph reads: 

At the end of the evening, at Pastor Ken's invitation the group of about 125 men formed small groups of 4, 5 or 6. Each group  considered the questions: "How has the conservative Church responded to homosexuals?" and "How would Jesus respond to homosexuals?". Following this, each group prayed in an act of corporate repentance, and for change from the attitudes and actions that have dishonoured Jesus and have hurt our same-gender-attracted brothers and sisters. The small groups came back together into one large group, and the evening closed with a prayer that we become people that do "What Jesus Would Do."
He told me grown men were crying.

Randy Thomas, co-director 
Living Hope Ministries, Arlington Texas 
Saturday, August 1, 1998 

Warning this is long, but please read through and help me out here. 

Thought Criminal Writes:

Yancey writes, "My friendship with Mel has taught me much about grace. (Thought criminal: "My friendship with Steve has taught me much about grace.") On the surface the word may seem a shorthand expression for the fuzzy tolerance of liberalism: can't we all just get along? Grace is different though. Traced back to its theological roots, it includes an element of self-sacrifice, a cost. 

"I have seen Mel demonstrate a graceful spirit time and time to Christians who revile him." (Thought criminal: " I have seen ex-gays demonstrate a graceful spirit time and time again to those who revile them...") Once I asked to see a batch of the hate-mail he gets from Christians, and I could barely make it through the letters."

Yancey's "Grace-Filled Eyes" chapter closes: "We may be abominations, but we are still God's pride and joy. All of us in the church need "grace-healed eyes" to see the potential in others for the same grace that God has so lavishly bestowed on us, "To love a person," says Dostoevsky, "means to see him as God intended him to be." 

As you probably noticed I totally dodged the Mel White thing. I have some very strong opinions of him that I don't care to verbalize publicly till I finish his books and at least attempt to communicate with him. 

This is about me, Journey's is a first person kind of place so as I mention Mel White it is in reference of my view point and not reality, of course. 

I couldn't get over my inner struggle in that I had no feelings at all for the man's welfare. None. That is unusual for me. I usually care for people even if I am angry with them but when it came to Mel White...I shut off. To be honest, I always considered him the mirror of the pRR [political Religious Right] and someone it would be futile to try to understand. 

Maggie challenged me in the background to see Mel from a different perspective, and I was like...yeah right! 

I was at a local Christian bookstore, lamenting to Rodger (a friend of mine) that we have 8 million Christian books on how to overcome co-dependency and 1 book on learning about PostModernism. I looked left and saw Yancey's book, picked it up and saw the Chapter Grace Healed Eyes. I was sure that I should read it. Thinking back I could almost see Maggie sit on the bench next to me as I read praying for the Lord to show me something new. 

My heart broke for Mel. I didn't cry, does that surprise you :) but all of a sudden I was concerned for him. I can't say that I would be able to dialog with him. I can't say that we could even be civil at this point. But I can say, if what happend today hadn't happened I would have been guilty of not caring for someone the Lord loves dearly. I have Mel's book and trying to read it from cover to cover. It is hard for me. There was something about Yancey's perspective, Christ-like I guess, that broke my heart. Maybe it will be easier to read Mel's book now. 

What really hit me is in the beginning of the chapter, Yancey talks about Mel's effervescent attitude. Mel bought Yancey's wife flowers just to see her eyes light up at the spontaneity of it all. That blessed my heart. I seek that kind of attitude for myself and try to be open to spontaneously blessing people. 

I don't know. Maybe, I just need to pray more about it. Who knows? Maybe I will meet the man (Mel) himself someday. Part of me is glad to be curious about him now but another part of me still recoils and thinks *enemy.* I know all the scriptures and the shoulds on blessing and praying for our *enemies* but I have to forcefully incorporate them in this situation. 

That is just where I am at. 

blessings, Randy

Walking on the Waterline


My Response to Coral Ridge



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