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Other Sheep News
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
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
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)
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:
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).
Body and Soul: Rethinking Sexuality as Justice-Love. Cleveland: Pilgrim
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.
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).
Speech. Boston: Beacon.
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.
Bloomington/Indianapolis: Indiana University.
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.
Therapy: Ethical, Clinical and Research Perspectives. New York: Haworth Medical
book in lesbian, gay and bisexual psychology 2002 by the American Psychological
Association, Division 44.
Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth. New York: Harrington Park.
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.
(New York: Oxford University, 2004)
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).
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.
Pentateuch. T. Desmond Alexander and David W. Baker, eds. Downers Grove:
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
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).
3), which forbade marriage to Canaanites (Deut 7:1-5)….(2003:744).
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."
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
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.
Dean of Berkeley Divinity School at Yale 1970-76.
Associate Dean of Yale Divinity School 1971-76.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org, John Doner, jpdoner@infosel.
net.mx, or Tom Hanks, email@example.com. 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)
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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!
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:
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|"I have other sheep that are not of this
fold. I must bring them in also."
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From the Other Sheep Team – CHRISTMAS GREETINGS!
We rejoice in the gifts of God this year.
\We rejoice in the gifts of your prayers and support.
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