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“The only thing necessary for these diseases to the triumph is for good people and governments to do nothing.”

    

Stevenkersker@aol.com

Recently, I was declared Satan by a local area church. It is better to disagree with kindness, than judgement. And it's better to preach love and practice love, than say we love and act with hatred.
Ways of Seeing and Loving God: by Steve Kersker
"You are not of Christ, but of Satan." That's exactly what they said to me. That was the declaration recently from a Board of Deacons at a large area church.

Their judgment and condemnation resulted from an article I wrote that portrayed the loving relationship of a gay couple as acceptable to God. In that column I said that Christ's message of love is boundless and for everyone.

Apparently I'd committed an unpardonable sin: I had contradicted the Word of God as they saw it. I'd stepped outside Scripture, which clearly declares that homosexuality is a sin. But worst of all to these deacons, I would not confess or recant my beliefs.   

We all sin at times, and I couldn't resist a little sinning of my own. So, I glanced at one of my accusers, a man who obviously enjoyed that extra piece of pie, and asked, while pointedly looking at his extensive girth, if gluttony was a sin? I'd always been told that to Jesus sin is sin and we all sinned, just in different ways. So wasn't his Gluttony the same as homosexuality in God's eyes? He got red and didn't respond.

I know the above thoughts of mine are unloving, hence sinful and cruel. And ask God's forgiveness and do openly confess them. To me God can never be other than a God of love and kindness. And I see love and acceptance of all the differences inherent in God's children as the best way to experience the joys' Jesus can bring to our hearts and spirits. 

I then asked the Deacons to consider a visit to King of Peace Church some Sunday. I told them how they'd experience the church members' outpourings of love for Jesus, just like they experienced at their own church. Perhaps in that expression they'd come to see the gay and lesbian members as their brothers and sisters in Christ. 

The Deacons' response, voices trembling in anger: "Those people can't be Christians, they can't love Jesus and be gay or lesbian. They don't worship Jesus.  In their sin they worship Satan!"

With those words they closed our meeting and withdrew their church's financial support of my ministries. While leaving, I told them that I loved them and would never stop loving them.

    



Sometimes people disagree over how God sees the world and His children, but disagreement doesn't cause me to reject or not continue loving those who disagree with me. To me, disagreement reveals just how expansive and truly wondrous God is and shows the countless ways there are of seeing God and experiencing God's love. And when we allow ourselves to see Jesus through the eyes of other Christians, or even the God's of other faiths, our knowledge grows and in this increased understanding can develop a boundless love for Christ and others.

In the following letter to me from King of Peace, I hope they can see the love of Christ it expresses and the spirit of the God we all love. I've learned that to return hate for hate or judgment for judgment as I did a little at the beginning of this column with my joking about gluttony, is not the way of love and only harms our spirits. It is far better to search out the love and goodness that exists within all hearts: so instead of seeing their hatred, see the goodness in them and in this goodness, feel love for those who despise you:

 
Dear Steve, Greetings from your sisters and brothers at King of Peace Church. 

    It has been a joy as well as an honor for all us to labor along side of you for the past three years. Our involvement in your many ministries, projects, and outreaches in the community has definitely helped enable our growth in our relationship with God.  As the lyrics go in a song from "Les Miserable" - "to love another person is to see the face of God". 

    We also deeply appreciate your unwavering support of our church's ministries to all people - especially the gay / lesbian / bisexual / and transgender community.
 
     As a Christ-centered church, King of Peace has been called of God to adopt a new model of ministry that is founded on a "Love, Appreciation, and Trust Culture." As a result, new and wonderful changes are happening on a regular basis. 

    As much as we have participated in your work by supplying volunteers and food, offering our cooking services, and planning functions for the homeless, we now wish to do something more!  Our Homeless Outreach Team ( H.O.T.) has changed its name to the Human Outreach Team, and it wishes to further expand its ministry into the community.  That team has decided to offer more direct assistance to you in the way of personal monthly financial support in order to free you up to further enable your work with the homeless, those suffering from Hepatitis C, people living with AIDS, and so many other marginalized and forgotten people.

    



     We see this action by one of our ministry teams as a statement of appreciation and trust in your personal crusade to be a living witness for God in the world today.  It is our privilege to call you a friend of our church and to share in your commitment of love for all God's children.

Yours in Christ,
Reverend Elder John W. Gill, Pastor

 


 Thank you, Steve Kersker