Christmas 2003
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          Other Sheep News
                                        Christmas 2003

    From the Other Sheep Team – CHRISTMAS GREETINGS!
      
    We rejoice in the birth of our Savior.
    We rejoice in the gifts of God this year.
    We rejoice in the gifts of your prayers and support.
  

Resource Materials Sent to Ministries

    Two significant resource materials have recently been sent to the lgbt ministries and
    documentation centers in Latin America with which we work. OS purchased 60 copies of the
    Spanish translation of Daniel Helminiak’s well-known bestseller (among lgbt), What the Bible
    Really Says About Homosexuality (Lo que la Biblia realmente dice sobre la homosexualidad),
    and these have been sent to the ministries and centers. A like number of "De Colores –
    Lesbian and Gay Latinos: Stories of Strength, Family and Love", a bilingual documentary
    video about the experiences of gay and lesbian Latinos in the United States with their families
    and churches, was also mailed out. We have received very positive feedback concerning the
    value of these materials. Your gifts make it possible to provide such resources to the
    churches and groups we work with in Latin America. Thank you!
  

Ministering to the Catholic Community in Mexico

    Other Sheep is an ecumenical organization which generally works in an ecumenical context.
    However, in Mexico, a country where the majority of people are still traditional Roman
    Catholics, we have had to adapt. Many people will not participate in an ecumenical venture
    and were continually asking Jerry Cleator where they could be ministered to in a Roman
    Catholic setting. So Jerry helped found a new group, Vino Nuevo (New Wine), specifically
    focusing on the needs of Roman Catholics. The group is different from Genesis, our
    ecumenical group, because it is not a general support group open to the general public. It is a
    group of a dozen professional men and women who want to dedicate their spare time in a
    ministry proclaiming the goodness of diversity, including sexual differences. Several of our
    leadership are heterosexuals and every one of our programs now has heterosexuals
    participating. The key word for us is "diversity" and the desire to form a Church which is
    welcoming to ALL God’s children.
      
    The development of Vino Nuevo has been slow. It has taken us time to articulate what we
    wanted to do and how we could do it, and also to form a community of loving support among
    ourselves before we tried to minister to others. But we now give retreats on a regular basis,
    have worked in a local parish, successfully conscientizing the people to a new idea of church,
    have organized special Eucharists and done a lot of counseling to individuals. We are now
    striking out to minister to the parents of gays and lesbians. In all of this we can speak the
    language which Catholics are familiar with and also touch the particular sore points of Roman
    Catholics, especially the teaching authority of the church in these matters.
      
    In reflecting upon what we have been able to accomplish I think of Moises, a man who made
    our most recent retreat. He comes from a traditional Mexican Catholic family and his image of
    God was a harsh one, one who makes difficult demands upon us and then, when we fail this
    God is ready to pounce on us with a sizeable punishment. Despite being 33 years of age he
    was still not allowed to be out of the house after 11:00 p.m. and when he asked to go to a
    party his parents wanted to know where it was, with whom he was going and what time he
    would be back in the house. So Moises not only had an angry God to contend with when he
    came to the retreat but angry parents as well. They were constantly on him about finding a girl
    and settling down.
      
    We call our retreats "healing retreats" and their goal is precisely to heal the participants’
    images of God which come more from paganism than Christianity. Its purpose is to help them
    embrace their sexuality as a gift from God and to move forward in confidence that they are
    indeed children of God. Besides the talks and the dialogue, Saturday evening we have a
    healing service where we pray that the participants can let go of the wounds of the past and
    look upon their persecutors with love and forgiveness.
      
    In the retreat Moises was very happy to embrace a more benevolent, caring God. When he
    got home, without even thinking about it, he also embraced his mother. For the first time in a
    long time there were no harsh words between them. The next week when he called from work
    to say that he wanted to stay out late that evening there were no questions from his mother,
    only the wish that he enjoy himself. When Moises was healed, so was his mother.
      
    Our retreats have been focused on the problematic facing the homosexual in this society. But
    we never wanted to form another ghetto. We celebrate sexual diversity and that diversity
    includes all kinds of sexual preferences, even those of heterosexuals. So it is now normal to
    have heterosexuals also participating in the retreats. No matter what one’s orientation, people
    are hungry for another image of God and when they find someone proclaiming this God they
    come, ready to embrace all those who are ready to embrace them.
      
  
Tom Hanks: Personal highlights from the AAR SBL (Atlanta, Nov 2003)

    Lunch and consultation with OS board member Daniel Helminiak, whom I was able to help
    connect with two publishers possibly interested in his new book (not being an AARSBL
    member he didn't have the requisite badge for visiting the book displays, but we managed to
    smuggle him in). He is very grateful for OS’s efforts (read John Doner) to get his best selling
    book on The Bible and Homosexuality published in Spanish and distributed to our Latin
    American documentation centers. More such projects are on the horizon (he gave me a copy
    of his most recent paper, on "Homosexuality in World Religions and a Psychological
    Response," delivered at the convention of the American Psychological Association in Toronto,
    Aug, 2003, if anyone would like to see it).
      
    Lunch and consultation with OS board member Chris Glaser, who graciously drove me to the
    gay book store (which had one important title missing at the convention) and then to the
    airport. He is looking forward to giving workshops in Mexico in 2004, sponsored by Genesis
    (OS related) and an ecumenical theological faculty.
      
    The AAR’s Gay Men’s Issues in Religion Group devoted one session to the theme "Love is a
    Many Splendored Thing: Varied Views on Polyamory," OS board member Bob Goss delivered
    a paper, "Proleptic Sexual Love: God’s Promiscuity Reflected in Christian Polyamory." If you
    want to ask him for a copy, don’t forget to wear your gloves.
      
  
For comments and reviews of significant new literature see the following:

    Ellison, Marvin M. (2004). Same-Sex Marriage? A Christian Ethical Analysis.
    Cleveland: Pilgrim
  
    "Heterosexuals have no monopoly on love and…the right to marry is a human right, not an
    award for being heterosexual" (Daniel C. Maguire).
      
    Ellison calls for "1) a reformation of marriage as a public as well as personal relationship that
    should serve justice to all women and men; 2) a Christian de-centering of sex and marriage;
    and 3) a recognition of the diversity of human sexualities" (Christine Gudorf).
  

    Ellison, Marvin M. and Sylvia Thorson-Smith, eds. (2003).
    Body and Soul: Rethinking Sexuality as Justice-Love. Cleveland: Pilgrim
  
    "The longest revolution - the sexual one - is far from finished, but (hallelujah!) this volume
    takes a giant step. Ellison and Thorson-Smith have assembled a stunning group of prophetic
    theologians to explore the good news that our sexual pleasure is made godly by relationships
    of love, care, mutuality, and justice. Writer after writer shows how the personal is indeed
    public, and how the transformation of our human eros is intimately connected with enhanced
    justice in race, economics, and ecology. Such boldly incarnational theology might yet revive
    authentic spirituality in our churches" (James B. Nelson). Other Sheep board members Bob
    Goss, Chris Glaser and Virginia Mollenkott are among the prophetic contributors.
  

    Althaus-Reid, Marcella (2003). The Queer God. London/New York: Routledge.
  
    Born in Argentina and now Senior Lecturer in Christian Ethics and Practical Theology at the
    University of Edinburgh, Marcella. Under "Acknowledgements" she writes: "I also need to
    mention Roberto Gonzalez, Tom Hanks and Fabiana Tron from Buenos Aires…for being good
    friends" and refers to Other Sheep’s ministry in Latin America (as she does in her earlier work,
    Indecent Theology, Routledge, 2000). She also writes: "A simple search into the broader
    semantic field of the word ‘oppression’ in the Hebrew Scriptures should be the first step for a
    Queer hermeneutician to reflect upon in order to clarify the starting point of her re-reading"
    (p. 79; with a footnote reference on p. 174 that reads: "For this point concerning the Hebrew
    roots related to the concept of oppression see for instance Thomas Hanks, God so Loved the
    Third World: The Bible, The Reformation and Liberation Theologies (1983:31). Had we known
    back in 1982-83 that in my Spanish and English book I was laying the foundation for queer
    hermeneutics (which didn’t even exist then!), undoubtedly the Latin America Mission would
    have demanded my resignation much sooner (than 1989).
  

    Jordan, Mark D. (2003). Telling Truths in Church: Scandal, Flesh, and Christian
    Speech. Boston: Beacon.
  
    "Adopting the framework that the great Jewish lesbian-feminist poet Adrienne Rich long ago
    proposed for honest speech between women, Jordan probes ‘the lies, secrets, and silence’
    among Christians and refocuses the debate to enable honest Christians to distinguish
    between ‘churchly chatter’ and authentic Christian speech about sex. This is a delightfully and
    refreshingly candid book that any intellectually honest religious person should not miss and
    every religious ethicist had better read" (Beverly Wildung Harrison). Mark Jordan grew up in
    Mexico, is fluent in Spanish, and would be glad to accept invitations for workshops and
    lectures in Latin America.
  

    Wilcox, Melissa M. (2003). Coming Out in Christianity: Religion, Identify, & Community.
    Bloomington/Indianapolis: Indiana University.
  
    Focusing on current and former members of two Metropolitan Community Churches in
    California that serve predominantly LGBT Christians, Wilcox explores their personal histories
    and current beliefs, cultural backgrounds and community influences to determine what helped
    each forge an identify as both gay and Christian. The findings are linked to recent studies of
    religious individualism, identity construction and ritual symbolism and show that the lives of
    religious LGBT people provide powerful case studies that deepen our understanding of both
    religion an identify.
 

    Shidlo, Ariel, Michael Schroeder and Jack Drescher, eds. (2001). Sexual Conversion
    Therapy:  Ethical, Clinical and Research Perspectives. New York: Haworth Medical
    Press.
 
    A book by scientists, highly recommended by other scientists and academics. Awarded best
    book in lesbian, gay and bisexual psychology 2002 by the American Psychological
    Association, Division 44.
 

    Besen, Wayne R. (2003). Anything But Straight:  
    Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth. New York: Harrington Park.
 
    Highly recommended by David Mixner, Donna Red Wing and Andrew Tobias. Good
    bibliography. Cites and includes in the bibliography Other Sheep board member and Soul
    Force director Mel White. Also cites pioneer investigator Ralph Blair of Evangelicals
    Concerned (three times (pp. 100, 261, 263), but does not list his significant studies in this
    area in the bibliography.
 

    The Jewish Study Bible, Adele Berlin and Marc Zvi Brettler, editors
    (New York: Oxford University, 2004)
 
    Lev 18:22 note: "Biblical and ancient Near Eastern culture was not familiar with homosexuality
    in the sense of a defined sexual orientation or lifestyle….It acknowledges only the occasional
    act of male anal intercourse, usually as an act of force associated with humiliation, revenge,
    or subjection (for biblical examples see Gen. 19:4-5; Judg. 19:22). Of the biblical legal
    collections only H [Holiness Code, Lev 17-26] mentions it (here and in 20:13, declaring it to be
    an abominable act and a capital offense. It seems that H views all sexual acts that are not
    potentially procreative as aberrant" (Bernard J. Schwartz, pp. 251-52; see the divine
    command to be fruitful and multiply in the related and late priestly creation account, Gen 1:28).
 

    The New Interpreter’s Study Bible, Walter J. Harrelson, General Editor. (Nashville:
    Abingdon, 2003).
 
    A stunning accomplishment with introductions and notes representing leading Bible scholars
    in their areas of specialization (2,300+ pages). Women are strongly represented (and see the
    Excursus on "Gender in Genesis," p. 10). However, despite having an associate editor (Phyllis
    Trible) and contributor (Mary Ann Tolbert, on Mark) who are lesbian, the notes on the clobber
    texts are not a strong feature.
 

    J.M. Sprinkle (2003). "Sexuality, Sexual Ethics." Dictionary of the Old Testament:
    Pentateuch.  T. Desmond Alexander and David W. Baker, eds. Downers Grove:
    InterVarsity, 741-753.
 
    Although generally reflecting the dominant evangelical sexual ideology (especially regarding
    homosexuality), Sprinkle’s article includes some surprising admissions and has the virtue of
    beginning with a section on the actual Hebrew terms in the sexual area. Instead of the
    common insistence that the Bible everywhere defends modern "family values," Sprinkle writes
    (2003:743):

    Although polygamy seems alien to those in Western cultures, the modern practice of
    serial marriages is, anthropologically speaking, akin to polygamy. Polygamy did serve a
    useful social function whenever the male population was decimated by war (cf. Is 4:1).
     
    In Ezra 9-10 divorce of pagan wives is demanded "in accordance with the law" (Ezra 10:
    3), which forbade marriage to Canaanites (Deut 7:1-5)….(2003:744).

    Sprinkle fails to include in his extensive bibliography William Countryman’s standard textbook,
    Dirt, Greed and Sex (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1988), which Bill tells me he now plans to revise
    during his sabbatical. However, with polygamy described as "useful" in some social contexts
    and divorce on one occasion "demanded" by God’s Law, the article marks a considerable
    advance over many treatments in previous reference works, which often ignore sexual themes
    in the Bible or lump them all under a superficial catchall on "marriage."
 

    Michael Allen on Chris Glaser
 
    Chris Glaser walked into my office and the first thing he said was, "I am going to organize gay
    and lesbians students at this divinity school. Are you with me or against me?"
     
    It was the early seventies, and I was an Associate Dean of Yale Divinity School and chair of its
    Community Life Committee.

    I gave his statement a moment's thought and replied. "I am with you."
     
    And so within weeks we invited Troy Perry, founder of the Metropolitan Community Church, to
    speak to the student body.
     
    The other Associate Dean and the President of the student body confronted us both and
    demanded that we rescind the invitation. For them his presence clearly marked the end of the
    world.
     
    But we stood our ground, and when Troy Perry came the world did not end. In fact in a certain
    sense a new world began, He was very well received by the majority of the students and
    faculty and many programs followed.
 
           I loved and respected Chris then and I still do.

        The Very Reverend J. C. Michael Allen D.D.
     
    Dean of Berkeley Divinity School at Yale 1970-76.
      Associate Dean of Yale Divinity School 1971-76.

     
African Documentation Centers

    As a result of participation in the ILGA conference in Johannesburg, Other Sheep was able to
    set up some 18 documentation/resource centers in Africa. However, efforts to maintain
    contact with these centers to keep snail mail and email addresses current for sending of
    materials in English or French has been more than current volunteers have been able to
    manage.  If you or anyone you know would be able and willing to help us with this very
    strategic task, please write Gordon Herzog, giherzog@aol.com, John Doner, jpdoner@infosel.
    net.mx, or Tom Hanks, thanks@wamani.apc.org.  We have some valuable English books
    requested by some African leaders that have been waiting to be sent from Mexico for more
    than a year and would be glad to send other materials when we have confirmed addresses.
 
Other Sheep at WOW 2003 (Witness Our Welcome)

    WOW (Witness Our Welcome) 2003 (http://www.wow2k.org/) was held August 14 to 17, 2003,
    at the University of Pennsylvania in beautiful and historic Philadelphia. As most readers know,
    WOW is an ecumenical gathering of sexually and gender inclusive Christians from Canada
    and the U.S. who support the full inclusion of lgbt persons in their congregations and
    ministries and is sponsored by the Reconciling Church Movement, the lgbt ministries in ten
    denominations. The theme of the conference was "God’s Deliverance Is For All", and more
    than 800 registrants participated in the event.
     
    Other Sheep was represented by Marco Morales, a volunteer in Mexico City, and John Doner,
    OS coordinator for Latin America, also in Mexico City. We were the only registrants from
    outside the U. S. and Canada. Apparently because of limited resources, there appeared to be
    no effort to include people from other countries, a disappointing policy to us and hopefully to
    everyone involved with Other Sheep.
     
    Marco commented: "We were blessed with excellent worship services, interesting workshops
    and other activities that together, for me, were one of the best representations of what
    Christianity is called to be: collective praise and worship of God, study and teaching with direct
    community actions, joining forces to make real the teachings of our Master and Savior, Jesus
    Christ. The activities began early in the morning with Breakfast Dialogues which, in my case,
    were with Chris Glaser. Chris provided us with brief and concise studies with his congeniality
    and devotion. My first encounter with the Reconciling Ministries Network in the pre-conference
    United Methodist event was a source of real joy for me because I was able to be with lay
    leaders and ministers of my own denomination and to state, in one of the sub-group meetings,
    the need for them to be of support to their Methodist brothers and sisters outside of the
    United States."
     
    Marco continues: "I was the only Latin American who attended from outside the United States
    and Canada. I invite you to pray with me that WOW will also be accessible to the other
    Christian gays and lesbians who live south of the Rio Grande."
     
    Other Sheep was a "Partner" of WOW 2003, meaning an OS contribution of $1,000. That
    included a half-page ad in the program book and an exhibit table in the Resource Room. In
    addition to two large "OTHER SHEEP" signs on two sides of the table (we were on a corner,
    near the check-out area), we had signs on a tall 2-ft.-wide display stand behind the table:
    "Your door to international ministry!", plus photos and information concerning Africa, Latin
    America and the United States/Canada – the number of large cities in each and the number of
    cities without ministries.
     
    John spent most of his time at our exhibit in case interested people stopped by, which was
    rather frequent. Other Sheep still is not known to the majority of WOW participants, so
    reaching out to passers-by was key to making contacts.
     
    We had an "International IQ" quiz, which asked about the number of countries, large cities and
    lgbt ministries in "Christian" Africa and Latin America. Several of the answers were on our
    display stand, and all of the answers were on the back of the quiz.  Most people I talked with
    were willing to take the quiz, providing an entree for conversation in many cases. The majority,
    frankly, did not do very well, but one man was able to name every country in Africa (which was
    not one of the questions)!
     
    We also used the opportunity to advertise for a volunteer to help Other Sheep do outreach to
    Africa, and this resulted in some very interesting contacts. Nonetheless, we still do not have a
    volunteer!
     
    We of course distributed the OS brochure and another description of the organization. We
    also had our materials in Spanish available for sale, including Tom Hanks’ El Evangelio
    Subversivo and Daniel Helminiak’s Lo que la Biblia realmente dice sobre la homosexualidad,
    but sales were disappointing.
     
 
Other Sheep "Trivia" Quiz

    (But there’s really nothing "trivial" about it!)
      
    How’s your "International IQ"?
      
    1.   How many countries are there in Africa? 20 to 30____; 31 to 40____; more than 40___ .
      
    2.   How many countries in Africa have a population which is estimated to be 40% or more
         "Christian"? less than 20 ____; 21-30 ____; 31-40 ____; more than 40 ____ .
       
    3.   How many large cities (metropolitan areas with more than 500,00 population) are there in
         "Christian" Africa? ___________.
      
    4.   How many of these cities have a Christian outreach to the lgbt population? __________.
      
    5.   How many countries in Central America can you name?
     
    6.   How many countries are there in South America? Less than 5 ____ ; 6-10 ____ ; 11-15
    ____ ; more than 15 ____ .
     
    7.   How many Spanish-speaking countries are there in the Americas (including the
    Caribbean)?
         Less than 10 ____ ; 11-15 ____ ; 16-20 ____; more than 20 ____ .
     
    8.   What is the language spoken in Brazil? ____________________.
     
    9.   How many large metropolitan areas (more than 500,000 population) are there in Latin
    America? __________.
     
    10. How many of these cities have lgbt Christian ministries? __________.
     
    11. In what area was Latin America, until very recently, more advanced than the United States?
     
    12. What are the seven largest metropolitan areas in Latin America, in order of their size?
     
    13. An estimated total of 84 million people live in these seven cities. If we consider 5% of that
    population to be lgbt,  then there are 4.2 million lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered
    people just in those seven cities alone. How many lgbt ministries do you think there are to
    share the Good News of "God’s deliverance for all" with these 4.2 million people?
      
      
    Answers to questions.
     
    1.   There are about 47 independent countries in Africa, excluding very tiny countries.
     
    2.   There are about 30 countries in Africa in which 40% or more of the population identify
    themselves as Christian.
     
    3.    Fifty-seven cities in "Christian" Africa have populations greater than 500,000.
     
    4.   To our knowledge, only four of these 57 large cities have a Christian ministry with lgbt
    people!
     
    5.   There are six countries in Central America. Starting south from Mexico, they are
    Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama (technically
    considered part of South America). Mexico and Belize are considered in North America.
     
    6.   There are thirteen countries in South America (beginning at the northern end on the
    Pacific coast): Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, then crossing the Andes, Argentina,
    Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil and Venezuela, plus the three very small non-Spanish-speaking
    countries of Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana.
     
    7.   There are 19 countries (plus Puerto Rico) in Latin America in which Spanish is the official
    language.
     
    8.   Brazilian Portuguese is the language spoken in Brazil.
     
    9.   There are estimated to be 101 cities in Latin America with populations greater than half a
    million people.
     
    10. Only 21 cities in Latin America have a Christian outreach to the lgbt population!
     
    11. Latin America, until very recently, was more progressive than the United States
    concerning the legality of  homosexuality. Until June 26th of this year homosexuality was still
    illegal in 13 U. S. states. In Latin America homosexual relations between consenting adults is
    now illegal in only one country – Nicaragua. It was formerly illegal also in Chile and Ecuador,
    but those laws were overturned in recent years by the courts in those countries.
     
    12. The seven largest cities (metropolitan areas) in Latin America are Mexico City - 21 million;
    Sao Paulo – 19 million; Buenos Aires – 13 million; Rio de Janeiro – 11 million; Lima – 8 million;
    Bogotá – 7 million; Santiago – 5 million.
     
    13. There are only 11 very small Christian groups in these seven cities to minister to 4.2
    million lgbt! The total population of Latin America is around 450 million, or 22 million lgbt! "The
    fields are ripe for harvesting!" (John 4:35).
     
 
HELP, WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT!

    We are growing and, although we still are all volunteers, there are many expenses, and the
    need to plan for growth will require some permanent paid staff. We need funds to continue
    and funds to get a base that will permit growth. PLEASE FORWARD YOUR CONTRIBUTION to
    our new office address:
 
    16768 Old Jamestown Rd., Florissant, MO 63034-1409  
This website was reconstructed in June of 2007
Visits made to this web page since June 2007
"I have other sheep that are not of this
fold.  I must bring them in also."  
John 10:16
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Other Sheep News
Christmas 2003

From the Other Sheep Team – CHRISTMAS GREETINGS!
      
We rejoice in the birth of our Savior.
We rejoice in the gifts of God this year.
\We rejoice in the gifts of your prayers and support.
"I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold.  I must bring them also."  
John 10:16 NRSV
Other Sheep Websites