Book Reviews: Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse
Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse
"Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse," says Dr. Truluck, "is over 550 pages of information and encouragement to equip gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people and all others who have been abused and oppressed by religion to learn the truth and to rejoice and grow in their God-given worth as individuals."
"Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse" is organized in 18 chapters. The first five chapters contain introductory material, including essays on "Why this Book is Here," "My Story" by Dr. Truluck, "Jesus Heals Sick Religion," "Guidelines for Small Groups," and "How to Use this Book." The next 13 chapters are the Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse. Each of the 13 Steps contains four Bible Study Lessons, suitable for personal study or small group use. As a result there are 52 Lessons, one for each week of the year.
Reviews From Others
Review from 'Sappho's Palm' in the New Orleans LGBT newspaper Ambush
Review from the Stonewall Society
Review from the Washington Blade
Review from The Other Side
Sappho's Psalm Column, by Toni J. P. Pizanie, 'Bible Abuse'
Our new friend, Toni Pizanie, wrote an excellent article in her column 'Sappho's Psalm' about Chi Rho Press author Dr. Rembert Truluck, entitled 'Bible Abuse.' Toni's column appeared in the New Orleans LGBT newspaper Ambush, Vol. 19, Issue 12, June 8-21, 2001. It is reprinted here with Toni's gracious permission.
'For thousands of GLBT individuals, the Bible has been a source of painful condemnation rather than support or inspiration. Dr. Rembert Truluck has written one of the most stimulating accounts of this abuse set upon us by 'right wing' Christians. His book, Steps to Recovery From Bible Abuse, is an uplifting educational experience that all Christian believers should study and enjoy.
'I was made a gift of this book by Dr. Truluck when he was invited to Faubourg Marigny Books, 600 Frenchman St., for a signing that will take place on Fri., June 8, 6pm till 8pm. Dr. Truluck will be on hand not only to sign his book but to answer questions of importance to GLBT people and their families. Please come and join with us that evening.
'Like many, Truluck was raised in a small Southern town where the church was the center of one's social, and spiritual, life. He began as a young man preaching and working in the Southern Baptist faith. Truluck attended seminary and brought honor to himself through scholastic excellence. Although he questioned his sexuality at a young age, he did what was expected of him as a good man of God. He married, fathered three children and led his church flock in the path of righteousness.
'Truluck pursued his higher education with vigor which resulted in his becoming a seminary professor in 1971 at The Baptist College in Charleston, SC. Here Truluck developed a program of recruitment, church placement and supervised ministry students until 1981.
'This was all to end suddenly when a long-time friend, who was also Gay, outed Truluck to the college. Truluck was told to resign after a secret meeting of the college trustees where no written records were made. Two days later, he moved to Atlanta to be with his sister. His family had been lost to him. It would be five long years before he would see his children again.
'In Atlanta, depression and alcohol claimed Truluck. He is understanding of what low self-esteem can do to destroy our lives. With love and understanding from his parents and a Gay AA group, Truluck fought back against the system that rejected him. He used his superior intelligence to study the Bible more closely and to dispel the ignorance of 'sick religion.' In 1988, he was ready once again to face his calling in church ministry. Dr. Truluck has continued his Bible research, preaching and teaching at First MCC Atlanta, Golden Gate MCC San Francisco, MCC Nashville and other congregations to the present.
'His is the Christian success story that we can all share. His research and the written works that have been born of this endeavor are available for our needs. His words can calm our fears and renew our faith. I personally found this book so inspirational that I asked my mother to read it as well. I have known for some time that her acceptance of my lifestyle was tainted by sick religious teachings. Today, we both enjoy a renewed bond in our Christian beliefs and understanding.
'I encourage you to purchase a copy of these lessons to overcome Bible abuse for your friends and family that have allowed unsubstantiated right wing teachings to destroy your relationship both with them and your God. The book is a comfortable read and the 52 lessons presents an opportunity to feed our souls and clear our minds. It gives us firm ground on which to rebuild relationships harmed by sick religious teachings. In Sept., 1997, Truluck debuted his Web site (www.truluck.com) and had over two million hits in the first two years. This site has become a source of power and information about Christianity and the GLBT community. Presently, Truluck is living in the San Francisco Bay area where he continues to write and teach.
'Dr. Truluck's reasons for being in New Orleans in June are not to promote this worthwhile book. He is supporting and joining with Soul Force Christians and Jews who will peacefully take a stand against the 'sick religion' practiced and taught by the Southern Baptist Conference. Dr. Truluck will also join with Dr. Mel White and Pastor Dexter Brecht at the MCC service on Sun., June 10 at St. Mark's Community Center on N. Rampart St.'
Toni can be reached at mailto:Psalmwrite@aol.com and the newspaper is at http://www.ambushmag.com/.
From the Stonewall Society Web site, Equal Pride, Vol. II, Issue 6, Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse, by Dr. Rembert S. Truluck. Review By Codi.
I have always felt that when choosing a 'name' for any project, one should strive to make a choice, which is self-explanatory. Dr. Rembert Truluck has achieved that and much more. This book is, as stated, a resource for anyone who has experienced 'Bible Abuse.' It is also a resource for those wishing to end such abuses as in; parents, teachers, ministers, and just your everyday person. Formatted and referenced well for quick resource, Steps To Recovery From Bible Abuse also works quite well as front to back reading material.
Dr. Truluck challenges, enlightens, and even amuses while bringing a clearer understanding of how we are abused. His interpretations are based on accurate translations and a good grasp of Biblical timing, history, and social dynamics. This is well thought out work, not just another attempt to offer 'our' version of religious theories. At the center of this premise is that Jesus Christ came to heal sick religions. That certainly places a whole new view and interpretation of many of Christ's teachings. This theory is backed up by on the mark examples. For instance, when Jesus ejects the vendors from the temple, that Christ was more likely to meet with a small group than large crowds.
Going into its second print, Steps To Recovery From Bible Abuse is strong material, which I believe will be a foundation for religious reform. I must stress, this is not a painful read nor activity. Several of our 'reviewers' were let's say less than anxious to tackle Dr. Truluck's work. Why? I believe intimidation and possible disappointment with other attempts to reconcile religious issues to be the core reasons. What Dr. Truluck has achieved is an understandable and believable answer to an old problem. Plainly stated, man is the problem here and our 'interpretation' of his Word - the Bible. Especially those all too much heard 'six examples.' While we as a community seek change, we are not necessarily the first in line to make changes. The mere title of the book tells you that you will be changed by reading this material. An accepted fact, people are afraid of change. I found that change to be a very positive one. Refreshing, yes challenging, and I firmly believe long lasting.
I agree with Dr. Truluck that anyone who has suffered from 'Bible Abuse' should take the time to read this material. The benefits are amazing. However, I have found this to be an excellent resource for those wishing to better understand the Christian religion as well. In all areas the resource strength of Steps To Recovery From Bible Abuse is unbridled. Whether you are looking for personal answers or seeking to establish a group to discuss and understand the issues, the answers are all here. The steps themselves take you through a healing and understanding process in logical and beneficial order, as Dr. Truluck establishes actual plans for group meetings. The lessons are rewarding for both individual study or with a group.
This will without a doubt be one of the most reached for books in my library. I have already found myself doing so not just to address 'Bible Abuse' but in other areas. One of Dr. Truluck's statements had a profound effect. 'Never underestimate the destructive power of ignorance.' Easy to relate to when thinking about 'their' ignorance. But what about our own and the damage we do to ourselves for buying into that ignorance? We must see that ignorance is correctable, and only a negative when we knowingly accept our ignorance for fact. Thank you Dr. Rembert Truluck, for your efforts in bringing this information not just to our community, but to the community of man. This book has the ability to help many within and outside of our community. Whether you seek answers for yourself, for another, or just general understanding, this is a must reference.
For more information on Dr. Truluck, Steps To Recovery From Bible Abuse, visit his website, http://www.truluck.com.
Washington Blade Article on Dr. Rembert Truluck
The Washington Blade, DC's weekly newspaper for the LGBT community, published an excellent article on August 11, 2000, during Dr. Rembert Truluck's booktour in the area. You can access Rhonda Smith's article on http://www.washblade.com/meta/religion/a.htm. We also reprint it here with permission:
The Rev. Dr. Rembert S. Truluck has been visiting various local congregations and faith-based groups recently to discuss Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse, a 551-page tome that took him 11 years to write.
The openly Gay minister only devotes one chapter (31 pages) in the book to a discussion about biblical scripture used to condemn homosexuality. The other 17 chapters generally focus on how to examine one's faith, deal with anger, study the Gospels, and take time to heal and recover.
"My battle scars have been inflicted more by myself and by my friends than by outsiders," said Truluck, 66. "I have been deceived, betrayed, abandoned, and demonized by people I love. The enemy truly is within."
Truluck's own painful past and a doctorate in sacred theology that he earned from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., lend credibility to the lessons he outlines in Steps to Recovery. Some of this information also can be accessed at http://www.truluck.com.
Truluck said he was attracted to other boys as a child, and experienced God's call to the ministry during the summer of 1952. Seven years later, however, he married a woman and began to build a home and family, which included having three children. (He devotes the book to his openly Lesbian daughter, Susan.)
From 1952 to 1968, Truluck said he "wrestled quietly with my own sexual orientation without any counseling or helpful reading material."
He said three psychiatrists he visited and told about his sexual orientation told Truluck psychiatry could not change sexual orientation. So he remained married and continued working as a Southern Baptist preacher at churches in Mississippi and South Carolina.
From 1973 to 1981, he worked at a Baptist college in Charleston as a religion professor and developed a program of recruitment, church placement, and field supervision for ministry students there. On March 3, 1981, he said the president of the college asked him to resign because someone had told the school's trustees that he was Gay.
Truluck resigned for "personal reasons" and later that year moved alone to Atlanta to live with his sister and create a new life.
But for almost a decade, he said he wasted a lot of time visiting Gay bars and abusing alcohol.
"When you lose everything, it makes you angry and depressed," he said. "I couldn't get a job, so I had a paper route, and then worked at a courier service."
Truluck said the sudden and total end to his ministry, family, career, and income sent him into a shock and alcoholic fog that lasted about seven years.
In the late 1980s, however, he joined Alcoholics Anonymous and quit drinking for good on Aug. 8, 1989. Around that time, Truluck also became more active in the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches. And by the time he retired as a minister in 1996, he had served at MCC churches in Atlanta, San Francisco, and Nashville.
A central goal of writing Steps to Recovery, Truluck said, was to help Gay Christians prosper.
"My aim was to help Gay people feel good about themselves," he said, "and to stop hurting themselves and others."
The Rev. Rembert Truluck is scheduled to speak at a "Steps to Recovery From Bible Abuse" workshop at 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 12, at MCC-Baltimore.
He is scheduled to preach at 11 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 13, at Holy Redeemer MCC in College Park, Md., and to lead a workshop discussion about the book at 1 p.m. that day. The church is at 4907 Niagara Road, Suite 102. For information, call (301) 982-5775.
-- Rhonda Smith
The Other Side Review
The Other Side, a wonderful magazine of social justice for people of faith, now carries Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse in their mail order catalog and web site. Here is what they say about this book:
"This book combines biblical scholarship with personal stories of pathos and power about gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people who have been hurt but ultimately healed by Christianity. Taking a fresh look at the Bible as 'the friend of lesbians and gays,' Truluck provides the information needed to respond to the wounding ignorance that damages the spirit. A strong advocate of small-group study, Truluck offers questions for reflection and discussion throughout the book, as well as additional resources (551 pp, paperback)."
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