Text: “Beloved, let us love one another because love is of God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. — I John 4:7
Excerpt: “Ah! The love of God is a queer thing! God, the genesis of all that is, gave rise to same-gender affection and fidelity as acts of divine, Christ-like love, right alongside all other expressions of genuine human commitment. Though I did not yet know the words “sensual” and “erotic”, I began to understand that the practice of love, truly divine love, took place in the exchange of affection all people had with one another—LGBTQ people, too.”
Stephen V. Sprinkle is Professor of Practical Theology at Brite Divinity School, located on the campus of Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas, and has held the office of Director of Field Education and Supervised Ministry since 1994. He is the first openly gay scholar in Brite’s history. A native of North Carolina, he holds a Bachelor of Arts from Barton College, a Master of Divinity from Yale University Divinity School, and a PhD in Systematic Theology from Duke University. He is an ordained minister of the Alliance of Baptists. Sprinkle was named 2010–2011 Hero of Hope by the Cathedral of Hope in Dallas for his advocacy on behalf of the LGBTQ community and served as Theologian in Residence for the Cathedral for six years. In 2016, he received the Pillar of Freedom Award for his passion, activism, and dedication to the advancement of justice and human rights. He has authored three books and many scholarly articles and holds professional memberships in the Academy of Religious Leadership and the Association of Theological Field Educators. Sprinkle is a human rights advocate, a widely sought after speaker and pulpiteer, and an internationally recognized authority on anti-LGBTQ hate crimes.
Text: “Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one. — Matthew 6:9–13
Excerpt: “My father died a little over two years before I began to transition genders. This left me without a male figure in my life to turn toward. I craved a male figure to connect with, to be a guide through uncertain times of life. When those I tried to turn to learned I was a transgender man, none was available. Then I turned toward God, finding My Father within the Lord’s Prayer.”
Riley Chattin is a Spiritual Director in Roanoke, Virginia. He is a self professed seeker of truth in Christianity. It was in gender transition that he experienced the undeniable connect to God that he believes we all share.
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“Either make the tree good, and its fruit good; or make the tree bad, and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit.” —Matthew 12:33
Excerpt: “I was a good tree and better yet, as a gay man, a food fruity tree!”
Richard Barham was reared in Bridgeport, Alabama. He started preaching on a regular basis at age fifteen. He graduated from the University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa) with a Bachelor of Arts in history and a minor in religious studies. He attended the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Before coming out, he served as an interim pastor at First Baptist Church of Bridgeport, Alabama and as pastor of Kennedy Baptist Church in Kennedy, Alabama. After coming out, Barham served as the associate pastor at Covenant Community Church in Birmingham. Since December, 1999, he has served as the senior pastor of Spirit of the Cross Church in Huntsville, Alabama. He has volunteered for various community LGBTQ organizations and has served on the board of directors of the AIDS Action Coalition of Huntsville (now Thrive Alabama), Soulforce Alabama, and GLBT Advocacy and Youth Services (now Free2Be). He is a frequent guest on local college panels and local media regarding gay and religious issues.
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