All posts by Rev. Paul M. Turner

Founding and Senior Pastor of Gentle Spirit Christian Church, Rev. Paul M. Turner grew up in suburban Chicago and was ordained by the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches in 1989. He was called to Atlanta in 1994 to pastor All Saints MCC. Five years later he founded Gentle Spirit Christian Church. He lives in Decatur with his husband Bill, who he met in 1982 while living and working in Ohio and legally married in 2015.

This Week’s Message

“I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called,  with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,  making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”  Ephesians 4:1-3 (NRSV)

This Week’s Message

“Above all, maintain an intense love for each other, since love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining.  Based on the gift each one has received, use it to serve others, as good managers of the varied grace of God.  If anyone speaks, it should be as one who speaks God’s words; if anyone serves, it should be from the strength God provides, so that God may be glorified through Jesus Christ in everything. To Him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.”  1 Peter 4:8-11 Holman Christian Standard Bible

 

This Week’s Message

“Do you want to be counted wise, to build a reputation for wisdom? Here’s what you do: Live well, live wisely, live humbly. It’s the way you live, not the way you talk, that counts. Mean-spirited ambition isn’t wisdom. Boasting that you are wise isn’t wisdom. Twisting the truth to make yourselves sound wise isn’t wisdom. It’s the furthest thing from wisdom—it’s animal cunning, devilish conniving. Whenever you’re trying to look better than others or get the better of others, things fall apart and everyone ends up at the others’ throats.”  James 3:13-16  (MSG)

This Week’s Message

“So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.”  Colossians 3:12-14 The Message (MSG)

This Week’s Message

“Get along among yourselves, each of you doing your part. Our counsel is that you warn the freeloaders to get a move on. Gently encourage the stragglers, and reach out for the exhausted, pulling them to their feet. Be patient with each person, attentive to individual needs. And be careful that when you get on each other’s nerves you don’t snap at each other. Look for the best in each other, and always do your best to bring it out.”  1 Thessalonians 5:14-15  (MSG)

This Week’s Message

“For thus says the Lord: To the eunuchs who keep my sabbaths, who choose the things that please me and hold fast my covenant,  I will give, in my house and within my walls, a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.”  Isaiah 56:4-5 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

This Week’s Message

“Well, the message hasn’t changed. God-of-the-Angel-Armies said then and says now: “‘Treat one another justly.  Love your neighbors. Be compassionate with each other. Don’t take advantage of widows, orphans, visitors, and the poor. Don’t plot and scheme against one another—that’s evil.’”  Zechariah 7:10 The Message (MSG)

 

Why do we continue to celebrate Gay Pride?

Gentle Spirit Christian Church
Gentle Spirit Christian Church

So why do we continue to celebrate Gay Pride? It is for actual equality. Here’s why:

  • LGBT people can still be fired or denied housing or public accommodations for no other reason than the simple fact of who we are in just about as many states as same-gender couples can now get legally married.
  • Transgender people worldwide are regularly shot, stabbed, beaten, burned, mutilated, tortured, strangled, hanged or stoned – generally to death – simply for being who they are. It’s why the single biggest transgender-focused event in any community is a day of remembrance to honor those who have suffered in the last 365 days.
  • About 40% of youth experiencing homelessness identify as LGBT. LGB youth are also 4 times more likely to attempt suicide as their straight peers – and this is in a context where suicide is already the second leading cause of death among young people age 10-24.

And, this is to say nothing of adoption rights, wage gaps, transgender underemployment, and unemployment… you get the picture.

My point being that, while it has been thrilling to see same-gender love advance from second-class status in America, it’s important for us – and for our allies and observers – to understand that the fight for marriage equality in many ways happened on its own timetable thanks to the courts. However,  the fight and struggle are not over. There are people out there who want us to be quiet, sit-down and go back to our closets. As long as that is the case, each year at this time we will stand with Pride, Courage and the Love of God in our hearts.

Most importantly let us not forget these powerful words of scripture: Matthew 22:34-40

When the Pharisees heard how he had bested the Sadducees, they gathered their forces for an assault. One of their religion scholars spoke for them, posing a question they hoped would show him up: “Teacher, which command in God’s Law is the most important?”
Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.” This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: “Love others as well as you love yourself.” These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.

Rev. Paul M. Turner

About Rev. Paul M. Turner

Founding and Senior Pastor of Gentle Spirit Christian Church, Rev. Paul M. Turner grew up in suburban Chicago and was ordained by the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches in 1989. He and his husband Bill have lived in metro Atlanta since 1994. He is the editor of the Seeds of Hope blog whose posts from 1999-2005 are at http://whosoever.org/seeds/ -- and which now resides at http://gentlespirit.org/topics/blog/seeds-of-hope/.