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Monday, June 4, 2012




"And that's just the beginning: After that—
   I will pour out my Spirit
on every kind of people:
Your sons will prophesy,
also your daughters.
Your old men will dream,
your young men will see visions."
(Joel 2:28 - The Message)

As I've been saying from the beginning of the book, it's all about GOOD NEWS!

GOOD NEWS for the future.

GOOD NEWS for you!

As a seer and visionary, I am very excited about where I see the world heading. Oh, I know about all the negative things...about all the suffering and strife in the world...about all of our problems that should have been resolved some time ago.

But I also see many good things on the horizon...changes...sometimes little changes, but changes, nonetheless...changes that continue to move us in the right direction.

Having been a pastor for so long (and the son and grandson of pastors), I have seen a lot of different types of human suffering, first hand, over the entire course of my life. I am very aware that violence and hatred and prejudice and intolerance and injustice are rampant in many parts of the world, and also in our own backyard...and I also am fully aware that religion has had a lot to do with many of those things.

But at this point in my life and ministry, I find that I am considerably and consistently more and more optimistic and less and less pessimistic in my world-view, and in large part that is due to my connection with so many young (and young-thinking) people in my life. The kids in my life, including my own awesome kids, continue to inspire hope for the future within me.

I talk to so many young people who seem to have such a firm grasp on what is really important in life...they are enlightened, and unencumbered with many of the old ideas that have kept previous generations (including my own) in a certain kind of intellectual and spiritual darkness. They appear to have religion and faith in much better perspective than many of their predecessors and elders do, and instinctively possess an understanding of the importance of love and acceptance in the world.

In a word, the young people that I know are much more connected to seeing the big picture, and that makes me hopeful that my kids and grand kids will live in a better world than the one in which I have lived.


You have your whole life ahead of you...so much to live for...so much for which to look forward!

Be who you are.

Be who you were meant to be, even if it takes you a lifetime to figure out who that person is. One thing is for sure...no one else can figure that out for you...it's your journey...your discovery...your path.

You are the hero of your own story...the star of your own movie...the lead singer in your own band!

The world is not perfect, but it's a wonderful place to live, and there are so many adventures awaiting you...make the decision not to miss any of them.

Believe in God...in something (Someone) bigger than you...and give your life to loving and serving Him. Don't worry about trying to be religious...the God that you know in your heart of hearts is the right One...follow Him...don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Believe in the Gospel...in the True Gospel...the Gospel of God...the Gospel that is only GOOD NEWS...the simple Gospel that very basically consists of two foundational ideas...Love God...Love others (as you love yourself)...living selfishly will never bring you happiness...love is always the answer.

If anyone tells you the Gospel is more complicated than that, don't believe them.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the GOOD NEWS, made up of those two ideas only.

Learn to listen to your inner voice, and trust it.

Do what is right for you.

Believe that God has a plan for your life, and do everything you can to connect with that plan.

Be happy.

Life is too short to live any other way.

Believe that all things are possible.

Believe in yourself.

Maximize your potential in every way possible.

Learn as much as you can...never stop!

Travel...see as much of the world as you can...if more people travelled and met other kinds of people, there would be less prejudice and intolerance in the world.

Think outside the box.

Recognize injustice when you see it, and speak out against it.

Help people.

Always be a part of the solution, never a part of the problem.

Learn to forgive, including forgiving yourself...don't waste your life on bitterness.

Worship God!

Listen to smart people...let them mentor you.

Learn from your mistakes.

Follow your bliss.

Tell the truth.

Celebrate life!

The future belongs to you!


Dear One,

You're beautiful, just as you are...and God loves you just the way you are!

NEVER let anyone convince you otherwise!

You are "fearfully and wonderfully made" (which is just an old-fashioned way of saying that God created you perfectly, in every way!)

You are not broken.

You are not inferior.

You are not weird.

You are not a pervert.

You're not abnormal.

You are not less than.

You are not an abomination.

You are not going to hell.

You don't need to be "fixed".

In a word, you're AWESOME...

And you're in good company...

Many important historical figures were gay...

...Plato...Alexander the Great...Pope Julius II,  to name a few...

...so were some of the greatest artists who ever lived, such as...

Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo...

...as well as some of the most important composers and musicians of all time, such as Tchaikovsky, Leonard Bernstein, and Katharine Lee Bates, the woman who wrote 'America the Beautiful'...

And some of our most important writers were gay...people like Walt Whitman, Thomas Mann and James Baldwin...

I could also mention sports figures like Billie Jean King, or actors like Raymond Burr...or religious icons, such as King James of England (yes, that one!)...

The list of important historical gay figures goes on and on, but the point of bringing them up is to reinforce the truth that these people undeniably made huge contributions to our culture and society...

...and the world is waiting for you to make your own unique contribution to it!

I hope that you have the love, understanding and support of your family, especially your parents, but even if you don't because of your orientation, let me encourage you to still love and be who you are.

As a gay man, a minister, and a father (and grandfather) myself, allow me to speak to you as a father...always be yourself, and love, accept and respect yourself as the wonderful creation that God brought into this world...your life is very important, and God has a purpose for it!

If your parents support and accept you as you are, then count your blessings...you have amazing parents!

If they don't, then pray the prayer of Jesus for them, Who said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do", and move past it as best you can...don't hate them...hatred will never bring anything good into your life.

They may feel that it is their responsibility to try to change you (even though you are who you are, and always will be!)

They may have limited understanding of the Bible, and think that preaching it to you will change you (even though God knew exactly who you were when He created you!)

They may feel that your orientation is their "fault", and are dealing with a lot of unnecessary guilt over it (even though the overwhelming evidence points to the fact that you were born the way you are!)

They may feel sadness at the idea of you not ever getting married or giving them grandchildren (which, in this day and age, is becoming less and less of an issue for gay people!)

They may be afraid that if you're gay you won't have a good life (which you have to show them is a fallacy by living a good life!)

They may simply be afraid of what they don't understand (in which case, help them understand if you can, and if they're open to it!)...

They may be thinking and feeling all of the above.

Just have compassion on them, and show them that you are happy with yourself. The more the people in your life see that you're OK with you, the more they will relax and just let you be yourself. You know the truth about what it means to have same-sex attraction...that it's not a choice, no matter how much straight people constantly insist that it is...so in this case you have to be the bigger person (which isn't easy when you're the kid and they're the adult(s)!...but it is what it is...so get it together and live your life, and if they accept you, great...and if they don't, find people who will, and love and honor your parents for the simple fact that they are your parents. We all want the approval of our parents, but sometimes we just have to take what we can get, and know that God (our heavenly Parent) approves of us.

And don't let anyone use a few Scriptures, taken out of context, to confuse you or clobber you with. Do your homework...find out what the Bible actually says (and doesn't say). Never let anyone use religion to manipulate you or try to control you. Knowledge is power!

And finally, NEVER, EVER, EVER let some ignorant, homophobic bully rob you of any part of your life!

NEVER, EVER, EVER do anything to hurt yourself, no matter how bad the bullying is!

Push back!

Speak up!

Say something!

Get some help!

Tell somebody what's going on!

Don't shut up until you get the help you need!

Make some noise!

Make a difference!

Bullies are cowards who are drawn to your insecurities like sharks are drawn to blood!

The more comfortable you become with yourself, the more powerful you become, and the less likely you will be a target for homophobes.

You have a responsibility to live the life you were meant to live, so never even consider the possibility of ending that life! If you do, you will break all of our hearts, and you will miss out on so much! Don't do something crazy in a moment of despair! There's always hope!

"If God be for us, who can be against us?!"
(Romans 8:31)

You have a responsibility...a responsibility to help create a new world...one in which bullying is simply a thing of the past.

No matter how overwhelmed or scared you may feel, you have to live! You have to be strong! You have to rise above it!

If you let the bullies win, then all those gay kids (and any other kids who are "different" in any way) who will come along in the future will have to deal with the same nonsense!

Don't just survive for yourself...do it for those kids!

Don't ask for trouble, but at the same time, don't forget that this is your world, too, and no one has the right to tell you how you should live in it!

God believes in you.

I believe in you.

And there's a whole world of people out there who will believe in you, too...don't allow some bonehead to steal your world...your life...

Believe in yourself!

Be the thermostat of your life, not the thermometer...

You can determine the life that you will live...

Your best days are ahead of you...

There really is a new world coming, one in which people can just live their own authentic lives in peace, without the threat of someone always trying to control or change them.

Now that's GOOD NEWS!

I speak a blessing over you, and over your family...and over your future...I pray for good friends...a good support system for you...for your protection...for favor with God and man...for your well-being...for your happiness...that love will be in your life...for healthy relationships...that you will continue to walk in truth, and that that truth will continue to make you free...that God will make Himself real to you, and that you will know and believe from the bottom of your heart that He is love, and that He is good!
"I know what I'm doing.
I have it all planned out—
plans to take care of you,
not abandon you,
plans to give you the future you hope for."
(Jeremiah 29:11 - The Message)


  1. <3

    Beautiful. Aren't you glad you finished? :)

  2. My dearest brother, your word to teens is a word to us all. You have done an incredible job with "our" book. It is truly good news, and I know it is destined to open the eyes of the blind and break the chains of the bound. Can't wait to hold my copy in my hand and read it and share it over and over again . . . . So proud of you, and you know I love you!

  3. Cynthia Fruge Alexander said...

    Excellent Bishop!! Now that really is the Good News. I know God had you to be born the time you were, but had you been born earlier and wrote this and people received, I know some of the issues you have spoken of would not be an issue. I too am encouraged by the young people today because their views on people and life are being more removed from that "old way of thinking", Thank God. Thank you for writing and sharing this, it was the news that needed to be told.

  4. A powerful, strength-filled chapter...!

  5. Wonderful!!!! I pray that lives will be blessed because of these powerful words!!!