Queering Chapter 2 of
the Epistle to the Galatians
An adaptation of Paul's letter by Rev. Stephen Parelli
November 29, 2009, Verses 1-10
January 28-29, 2010 verses 11-21
Galatians 2
King James Version
1 My own story is like this:  I was first impressed with doing
justice work by reading about Soulforce.  I did my first
Soulforce action in front of Thomas Road Baptist Church with
Mel White and Jimmy Creech.  To this event I had taken with
me my life partner Jose Ortiz.  The following year I did a
Soulforce action in Indianapolis at the annual meeting of the
Southern Baptist Convention.  While in Indianapolis, I met Jeff
Miner, pastor of JesusMCC, and subsequently shared with
him my desire to distribute – at no charge, if he could supply
copies – his and Connolley's book
The Children Are Free to
New York City evangelical pastors who marginalize sexual
minorities.  He agreed that a joint ministry of this nature could
be started.  

2 You see, when I first came out - 12 years ago - I began to
study related theological and "Biblical" questions.  Early on I
was again and again impressed with the thought that I must
disseminate to others within the religious community the
information I was learning.  After eight years of studying (it
was the summer following Indianapolis), Jose and I made
plans to go to Mexico to teach English together for July and
August, but something far different was in store for us.  Prior
to our leaving for Mexico  (the opportunity to teach English
had dissipated, but our housing and airfare had been
purchased), we met online a John Doner of Other Sheep in
Mexico City and shared with him by email our desire to use
our time in Mexico by telling the story of inclusion to others
there.  After giving us careful consideration, he arranged
meetings and interviews for us in Mexico City, Guadalajara,
Cuernavaca and Acapulco.

3 Now Jose, who is a guidance counselor in the public
schools of New York City and closeted at work to his junior
high students, gave careful consideration before coming out
in interviews to major journalists in Mexico City; his students
were Spanish speaking and he knew that interviews in Mexico
might easily be obtained and read through the Internet by his

4 He was genuinely afraid because of the popular teachings
of evangelicals worldwide that no gay person could ever be
set at liberty through the message of inclusion which we have
in Jesus the deliverer; these brethren of doom who limit the
message of the-captives-set-free, wish only to bring us into
the bondage of their traditions and their man-made

5 After consulting carefully with Jose, we decided that we
would speak boldly the good news of inclusion in Mexico so
that the gospel of liberty might continue to be known among
all sexual minorities everywhere.  We decided we would not
permit certain oppressive teachings by evangelicals (and the
public humility and rejection their influence imposes) to
dominate our thinking, not even for a moment.

6 So then, we travelled to Mexico and – this being a first for
us – presented publicly to others the good news of God's
inclusive love by telling our ex-"ex-gay" story in meetings and
in interviews that were published in major local papers and
on the Internet.   Now, we were deeply impressed and
grateful for the ministry of John Doner of Mexico City and
Thomas Hanks of Buenos Aires in their founding of and in
their years of service through Other Sheep.  They are indeed
men of vision and hope for sexual minorities living in Latin
America where oppression of queer people by religion is not
uncommon.  Now, with all due respect, we know that God
does not ask one to make career decisions based solely on
the importance or the standing of men and women with whom
one will become associated.  Actually, God is not that easily
impressed with titles and achievements like we are.  So then,
while I was honored and humbled that accomplished gay
activists like Thomas Hanks and John Doner were asking me
to consider the position of Executive Director of Other Sheep,
the response I gave was grounded in something deeper,
firmer, more real than someone else's standing or

7 To be sure, just the opposite was happening:  John Doner,
working with Jose and me in ministry in Mexico, saw that we
did indeed have a ministry of presenting the good news to
others.  Like the many others in this world who before us,
and now along side of us, have received the commitment to
deliver the message of liberty to sexual minorities, John was
seeing the same charge deposited in us.

8 So it is, that, He who before has worked so effectively in the
hearts of individuals to send her or him – yes, a sent-one –
to sexual minorities in a given location or region of the world,
was in fact, doing the same in me and Jose, to make us sent-
ones with the message of inclusion to places like the
Southern Cone, East Africa, and parts of Asia.

9 So, with the recommendation of John and Thomas, and
having concluded for themselves that God was at work in our
lives, the Other Sheep Board in St. Louis – Gordon, Evelyn,
Michael, Peg, Ed and others – who were John and Thomas'
strong supporters in the States, officially welcomed Jose and
me into the ministry of Other Sheep, telling us to go to all the
world.  Always an example to us, they themselves had, over
the years, sponsored programs for the LGBT community
throughout the Greater St. Louis area.

10 They wanted us to remember  – which also we were
happy to do – the very many in the world, both in the LGBT
community and without, who are suffering from HIV/AIDS and
its devastations, especially the blight in Africa where so many
children live orphaned and in poverty largely because of

11 Now there was, in our first travels abroad, a remarkable
American minister who founded and pastored a sizable
church of openly queer believers. The pastor was himself
gay and open to his congregation.  But to his evangelical
constituents back in America (many of them his faithful
financial supporters) where he was known nationally as a
prominent evangelist prior to his mission work in which he
was now engaged, he felt it absolutely necessary to remain
closeted.    Of course, it was not for us to say otherwise. We
allow each queer believer to ascertain for him or herself the
right time to come out to the evangelical world.  But we did
quietly remark to ourselves, if only the church back in
America could see this prominent American evangelical gay
preacher on a Sunday morning, teaching and worshiping
among his gay congregation.  Oh! the Spirit they would
witness in this believing gay community.

12 You see, before the prominent American started his
ministry abroad, he ministered in the United States, as I said,
within a large American evangelical domination as a popular
and favored evangelist; but, knowing God was calling him to
minister to queers, he did so secretively by going to another
country, yet maintaining his original ties with his supportive
constituency back home.  He withdrew and separated himself
from them, fearing the American evangelicals who would
deny him his liberty, his inclusion in Jesus Christ, his ministry
and his livelihood.

13 And so you have the problem of closeted people in the
church (whatever the reason for hiding may be).  God's
"queer" people – straight or gay – all hiding, all pretending to
be what they aren't for the purpose of portraying an artificial
inclusion, not understanding the real gospel of love and
inclusion, causing others to pretend, too, so that the church
becomes carried away with graded levels of rejection based
on class, education, gender, politics and other cultural and
sectarian norms and standards.

14 How is this the gospel of liberty and inclusion, retreating
into the closet to hide one's sexual orientation whenever an
evangelical comes by for fear of being known queer.  So we
have this on-going church-life contradiction:  If a queer
believer, living outside of the closet in fellowship with other
queer believers (joyfully together in the full light of the good
news of liberty for all); who is living not like a homophobe
believer who would deny Christ's law of love to homosexuals,
but living like a captive-set-free; why then would this queer
believer at times compel his fellow queer believers to act like
a homophobe by having them endorse the condemning
message that the homosexual is an abomination before God,
pretending in order to save face?

15 Customarily, we are the recipients of the good news of the
captives set free, unlike some who – not having heard the
good news of liberty for all and failing to listen to their own
consciences about human kindnesses –  discriminate and
marginalize others as less than.

16 For the most part, we – queer and straight –  know that to
be set in a right relationship with one another as equals, as
dignified, as just and good, is not realized primarily through
some letter of the law, but through the spirit of love as
exemplified in the life of Jesus, and so we have come to
embrace his life as our own to live, so that we might love as
he loved, sacrificially and not legally, without bias and
prejudice:  for no one knows he is loved by the regulation of
a law, but through the sacrifice and service of another.

17 Even so, if while seeking to be in loving service to others
by following Christ's example, we actually fall back into hiding,
pretending, hurting, categorizing, discriminating, and
prejudices; then that is not to say that the way of loving as
Christ loved does not work!  Heavens no!

18 You see, if I build again the walls of discrimination which I
have destroyed in the name of Christ, it is I who makes my
self a transgressor against humankind, not Christ.  

19 Because of the discrimination I have caused at times
through observing man-made church standards while
pastoring in forming years, I have turned away from
discriminating others and have denounced rejection that I
might live as God has called us all to live – for the good and
well being of one another, living inclusively.

20 Here is my heart:  20a Christ died loving the world and
telling the world to love all, the marginalized nonetheless; I,
too, give my life along side of Christ – even, like him, unto
death if needs be – for the marginalized, for all.  
20b For the
moment, I am alive and well;
20c so I purpose that my days
are not lived out unto my own self and by my own terms, but
that my waking hours are given for my fellow being, like the
life that Christ lived for others – for the loveless, for the
despised and rejected of society.  
20d So then, this human,
world-while life I still have – may it be extraordinaire towards
the marginalized, as God intended it to be;
20e I will
accomplish this only as I focus on my Master's life and his
demonstrative, outspoken love towards me – a queer,
despised soul – which cost him his very life . . . for he was
speaking out on my behalf to a misunderstanding world that
was steeped in it's belief systems which were so often very

21 So then, God's goodness towards us all – that goodness
working in us to love every human being, I will not frustrate
that goodness by limiting it by rules and regulations, by
classifications and categories according to social and
sectarian norms.  If I were to do so, then the life Christ lived
before his detractors and by whose hands he died – all of
that would be for nothing.
1 Then fourteen years after[,] I went up
again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and
took Titus with me also.

2 And I went up by revelation, and
communicated unto them that gospel
which I preach among the Gentiles, but
privately to them which were of
reputation, lest by any means I should
run, or had run, in vain.

3 But neither Titus, who was with me,
being a Greek, was compelled to be

4 And that because of false brethren
unawares brought in, who came in
privily to spy out our liberty which we
have in Christ Jesus, that they might
bring us into bondage:

5 To whom we gave place by
subjection, no, not for an hour; that the
truth of the gospel might continue with

6 But of these who seemed to be
somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it
maketh no matter to me: God
accepteth no man’s person:) for they
who seemed to be somewhat in
conference added nothing to me:

7 But contrariwise, when they saw that
the gospel of the uncircumcision was
committed unto me, as the gospel of
the circumcision was unto Peter;

8 (For he that wrought effectually in
Peter to the apostleship of the
circumcision, the same was mighty in
me toward the Gentiles:)

9 And when James, Cephas, and John,
who seemed to be pillars, perceived
the grace that was given unto me, they
gave to me and Barnabas the right
hands of fellowship; that we should go
unto the heathen, and they unto the

10 Only they would that we should
remember the poor; the same which I
also was forward to do.

11 But when Peter was come to
Antioch, I withstood him to the face,
because he was to be blamed.

12 For before that certain came from
James, he did eat with the Gentiles:
but when they were come, he withdrew
and separated himself, fearing them
which were of the circumcision.

13 And the other Jews dissembled
likewise with him; insomuch that
Barnabas also was carried away with
their dissimulation.

14 But when I saw that they walked not
uprightly according to the truth of the
gospel, I said unto Peter before them
all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the
manner of Gentiles, and not as do the
Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles
to live as do the Jews?

15 We who are Jews by nature, and
not sinners of the Gentiles,

16 Knowing that a man is not justified
by the works of the law, but by the faith
of Jesus Christ, even we have believed
in Jesus Christ, that we might be
justified by the faith of Christ, and not
by the works of the law: for by the
works of the law shall no flesh be

17 But if, while we seek to be justified
by Christ, we ourselves also are found
sinners, is therefore Christ the minister
of sin? God forbid.

18 For if I build again the things which I
destroyed, I make myself a

19 For I through the law am dead to
the law, that I might live unto God.

20/20a I am crucified with Christ:

20b nevertheless I live;
20c yet not I, but Christ liveth in me:

20d and the life which I now live in the
20e I live by the faith of the Son of
God, who loved me, and gave himself
for me.

21 I do not frustrate the grace of God:
for if righteousness come by the law,
then Christ is dead in vain.
Queering Chapter 2 of
the Epistle to the Galatians
An adaptation of Paul's letter by Rev. Stephen Parelli
Queering Galatians
Chapter 1 verse by verse
Chapter 2 verse by verse
4:21 - 5:1 verse by verse
Photo at left:
Rev Steve Parelli, Lumut, Malaysia
August 19, 2009
 Photo by Steve Parelli
This web page was created January 28 & 30, 2010, in the
Bronx, NY, and was published January 30, 2010
Visits to this web page since January 30, 2009
Personal beginnings:
Laboring in justice work
with Soulforce and a
personal meeting  with
Rev. Jeff Miner
Personal beginnings:
Meeting the work and
ministry of Other Sheep
for the first time:  Out trip
to Mexico
Personal beginnings:
Jose, my life partner and
co-laborer in ministry,
considers the
consequences of coming
out to major news
reporters in Mexico city
--- will his students in
NYC learn through the
Internet that he's queer?
Personal beginnings:
Our ministry with Other
Sheep officially begins --
first, our meeting and
work with John Doner in
Mexico and his
recommendation to Tom
Hanks and the board;
then our meeting with,
and the endorsement of
the Other Sheep board in
St. Louis.
The reality of the
evangelical church'a
closeted queer
Our encounter with a
prominent queer
evangelical minister
whose ministry was
openly affirming and
welcoming but whose
supporting constituency
in another part of the
world had no idea
The evangelical
church's problem of
artificial inclusion --
Pretending:  the "queer"
problem that plagues
both gays and straights--
hiding in closets in the
evangelical church
The problem of the "down
low" queer Christian --
When a "queer" believer lives
outside of the closet with other
queer believers, but inside the
closet with homophobe believers
and tells his fellow queer
believers to closet themselves, too
The evangelical church needs
to live the message it knows it
has received --
We have received the good news
of the captives set free; when will
we live out the gospel message?  
Rules and regulations all fall short
without love and true justice and
only lead to categorizing and
Christ is not the minister of
Wherever the evangelical church
has failed society in its witness to
inclusivity, it is no reflection on
Christ.  Christianity (so-called)
and "the way of Christ" are not
always one and the same.
Here is the way of Christ
To live for our fellow human
being, seeking justice for all but
especially for those where justice
is the least found, where misery
and suffering abound because
injustices are perpetuated; this is
to live as Christ lived, serve as
Christ served, and to love as
Christ loved; and some, as Paul
seems to do here, may choose to
do so whatever the cost -- if even
death is the price, to die as Christ
Laws without  love cannot
produce a just society
.  Without
the goodness of the heart just laws,
though enacted, will not prevail.  So,
if we live life only by the law and not
by love, justice will fail in the end
and then Christ will have lived and
died in vain.
Above photo:
Jose Ortiz, Lumut, Malaysia
August 19, 2009
 Photo by Steve Parelli
Lumut, Malaysia, August 2009
Photo by Steve Parelli
Lumut, Malaysia, August 2009
Photo by Steve Parelli