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386Chi Rho Connection, Vol. VI, No. 20

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  • Adam DeBaugh
    Dec 3, 2005

      The eNewsletter of Chi Rho Press,
      Your LGBT Christian Publishing House
      Vol. VI, No. 20
      30 November 2005



      1. Bad Back
      2. 2006 Liturgical Calendar
      3. Satire: Or Is It?
      4. May We Suggest? Christian With A Twist
      5. Have you started your Christmas shopping?
      6. "Christian with a Twist"
      7. Sanctoral Cycle
      8. Adam's Last Word


      This issue's Quotes:

      "To accomplish great things, we must not only act,
      but also dream, not only plan, but also believe."
      Anatole France
      1844-1924, French Novelist


      Welcome once again to the Chi Rho Connection, the
      electronic newsletter of Chi Rho Press. Thank you
      for passing this Chi Rho Connection on to others.

      To join our list, send an e-mail message to

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      Please visit our Web site at http://www.chirhopress.com
      to see our entire lines of books, handouts, videos,
      tapes, tchochkas, and stained glass.

      Direct all other e-mail to Adam@....


      1. Bad Back

      We apologize for the tardiness of the Chi Rho Connection
      and of the lack of the weekly meditations, the Chi Rho
      Reflections in November. E-mail communication has been
      slow and delayed as well. Chi Rho Press Director Adam
      DeBaugh suffered a ruptured disk and a radial tear in a
      second disk in his lower back and has pretty much been
      out of commission since Nov. 8. Hopefully we will be
      back on schedule with the weekly Chi Rho Reflections and
      the twice-monthly Chi Rho Connection now.


      2. 2006 Liturgical Calendar

      The 2005-2006 Liturgical Calendar and Lectionary, Year B
      is selling well. You may view it and order it at this link:

      The 2005-2006 Liturgical Calendar and Lectionary sells
      for 11.95 each, $9.50 each for six or more copies, plus
      shipping and handling.

      The Lectionary in the Liturgical Calendar is from the
      Revised Common Lectionary, widely used as the ecumenical
      consensus on readings for each Sunday and holy day in the
      three-year cycle. Our Liturgical Calendar is packed with
      useful information for planning worship and preaching in
      the local church for each Sunday and Holy Day of the Church
      Year. It is intended for use by pastors, musicians, altar
      guilds, teachers, theological students, and anyone using
      the Church Year as a basis for worship or education. The
      Liturgical Calendar is spiral bound so it can lie flat for
      easy use, in the popular 8 ½" x 11" format.

      Featured in this new Liturgical Calendar are these sections:
      A Heading that identifies the day in the church year (for
      example, the first Sunday of Advent, or Proper 20) with
      alternative descriptions where appropriate. The Revised
      Common Lectionary readings, including a brief summary of
      each reading. (These are intended as only a very brief
      overview to identify general themes as an aid to worship
      planning. We do not represent them as anything approaching
      a thorough exegesis.) The First Reading is usually from
      the Hebrew Testament, but there are exceptions, such as
      the use of readings from Acts during the Easter season.
      These are sometimes selected thematically to fit the
      Liturgical Calendar, but often are simply being read
      through key passages over a series of weeks. This is
      followed by a Response, usually a Psalm. The Epistle
      Reading is next, like the Hebrew Testament Reading
      typically a series of key passages from the same book
      being read over a number of weeks. Finally the Gospel
      Reading follows the story of Jesus through the Christmas
      and Easter cycles, plus the teachings of Jesus the rest
      of the year.

      Next is a section on Worship Planning, including the
      liturgical Color of the day, Symbols and decorations
      that can be used to enhance the worship experience, and
      Special Events for the week which the congregation may
      want to remember and commemorate on Sunday.

      Rev. Witt has added lots of Notes in the Worship Planning
      section, which serve to explain in more detail information
      about the time of the church year, provide resources for
      further study and information, and develop liturgical
      themes to make your worship experience more rich and

      The last section for each Sunday is called Following
      God's Footprints and is the unique contribution of
      Raye-Anne Dorn, a former Roman Catholic priest (before
      her transition). For every day of the year, Raye-Anne
      gives us a traditional saint, with a brief overview of
      an important theme for which the saint is remembered
      and what that particular saint can teach us. Some
      Diversity Dates are also included, special occasions
      for celebrations of diversity, such as special celebration
      days for specific cultures (e.g., Cinco de Mayo) and
      special days for the GLBT community (e.g., a day of
      remembrance for Matthew Shepard).

      As a special added section, we have included alternative
      readings for the four Sundays of Pride-Tide (June) prepared
      by the Rev. Gordon McCoy. The four sets of readings for
      Pride-Tide may be used at any time in the year that the
      faith community celebrates LGBT Pride. The standard
      Revised Common Lectionary readings are included for the
      four Sundays in June as well.

      The 2005-2006 Liturgical Calendar will be a helpful aid
      for anyone involved in planning worship, as well as a
      useful resource for all who want to know more about the
      Church year and the rich liturgical life of the Church
      Universal. We think you will like this new Liturgical

      Order the 2006 Calendar at this new link:

      The 2006 Liturgical Calendar and Lectionary sells for
      $11.95 each, $9.50 each for six or more copies, plus
      shipping and handling.


      3. Satire: Or Is It?

      Free Methodists Vote to Install Obese Bishop

      INDIANAPOLIS, IN - In a highly controversial vote that may
      divide the denomination, the Free Methodist Church of North
      America voted today to install Dr. Jack Harvey, an openly
      obese man, as the bishop of the western conference of the
      church. Harvey is the first admitted obese person to have
      been installed as a bishop in the FM Church. The vote, which
      came after several hours of intense debate at the annual
      Free Methodist General Conference, fell in Harvey's favor by
      a margin of 421-385.

      Harvey, who at six feet tall tips the scales at 389 pounds,
      declined to stir the controversy further, offering only a
      succinct statement at the press conference following the
      vote. "I'd like to thank my supporters for their confidence
      in my depth of faith and servant's heart. And I'd like to
      extend an olive branch to the thin community and let them
      know I'm their bishop, too. I will work tirelessly to
      oversee the western conference and care for our wonderful
      pastors, regardless of their race, gender, or body mass.
      Thank you." Harvey refused to answer questions from the
      press, noting with a chuckle that he had to get home in
      time for dinner with his family.

      Opponents of the decision turn to the Bible for support.
      Roger Greenwood, president of Frees Against Gluttony, an
      internal group organized to oppose Harvey's election, says
      the group cites "no less than sixty direct references to the
      avoidance of gluttony and the type of binging so commonly
      practiced within the obese community." Such passages include
      Philippians 3:18-19, which Greenwood claims describes obese
      persons as "enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is
      destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is
      in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things." Greenwood
      also referred to the famous passage in 1 Corinthians that
      describes the body as a temple: "That passage is obviously
      about smoking, but we think it also applies to one's body
      weight. What kind of Christian would dump two or three
      cheeseburgers a day into a temple of the Holy Spirit?"

      Greenwood also announced the launch of his organization's
      Web site, www.godhatesfat.com. The site will be an Internet
      rallying point for opponents of obesity, with a schedule of
      public protests, statements about obesity within
      Christianity, and a laundry list of scriptural support for
      the anti-fat view.

      This sentiment was echoed across the nation, with protests
      organized in several major cities. One such demonstration in
      New York City drew nearly 80 people to the steps of the
      Brooklyn Free Methodist Church. Protestors held signs
      bearing slogans such as "God hates fat" and "Dr. Atkins, not
      Dr. Harvey." Julio Ramirez, the organizer of the Brooklyn
      protest, articulated the sentiment on the minds of many Free
      Methodists across the nation: "It was only a matter of time.
      First the airlines gave the gluttons two seats for the price
      of one. Then it was the movie theatres. Now they're electing
      them to the highest office of our church. We won't stand by
      and let our children see this kind of lifestyle glorified
      within the church."

      Indeed, the matter of schism seems to be a question of when,
      not if. In an expected counter motion, thirty-five churches
      in the western region refused to acknowledge the headship of
      Bishop Harvey, promising to pursue affiliation with the
      Midwestern conference. Several other churches declined to
      participate in that motion, opting instead to seek
      affiliation with another denomination altogether. It is not
      yet known how many individual churches will sever ties with
      the FM church, but some leaders estimate the number to be as
      high as twenty.

      The vote also set in motion an international response. Three
      bishops of Free Methodist regions in Africa-Zimbabwe, South
      Africa, and Rwanda-have already moved to condemn the North
      American church, declaring any church supportive of the
      decision to be "apostate, and fully outside the Free
      Methodist community." The African regions have begun plans
      to send missionaries to North America, beginning with major
      cities and later moving into rural areas, in hopes of
      reclaiming the continent for the true tenets of Free Methodism.
      It remains to be seen how far-reaching the response to this
      decision will be. The swiftness and intensity of the
      response from within the Free Methodist community indicates
      that many were ready for this decision, waiting for the
      right time to submit their arguments to the national and
      global debate. Church experts anticipate the decision will
      open the floodgates to similar controversy within other
      Holiness denominations.


      4. May we suggest?

      "Christian with a Twist: Reflections on Scripture
      that are a bit more inclusive, a bit more relevant,
      and with a bit of a bite," by William Gaston.

      $19.95 each, $14.95 each for six or more copies,
      plus shipping and handling.

      We are confident that you will agree that this book of
      reflections is a work of mighty faith, great skill,
      and surprising good sense. It is also a very
      enjoyable read. So please break open the wonders
      and delights of this "Christian with a Twist." Read
      them all in one sitting, one a day, even one a week.
      We guarantee that you will be blessed.

      This book will make a great Christmas present! For
      a sampling, please see article # 6 below.

      $19.95 each, $14.95 each for six or more copies,
      plus shipping and handling.
      View and order this book on our Web site at:


      5. Have you started your Christmas shopping?

      What if we could point you to a store that is open
      24 hours a day, seven days a week; where you can shop
      in your pajamas if you want; where you can buy books,
      stained glass, and even stocking stuffers; and where
      shipping within the United States is free for orders
      over $100! Of course, we are talking about our own
      Web site, http://www.ChiRhoPress.com

      Books make great gifts! Titles such as Steps to
      Recovery from Bible Abuse, Living as the Beloved,
      Christian with a Twist, The Bible and Homosexuality,
      two different Lenten studies, Come Home!, Called OUT!,
      Positively Gay, My Memory Book, the new 2006 Liturgical
      Calendar and Lectionary, The Road to Emmaus, and
      Together in Love are all available and ready to ship.
      Plus we have audio and video tapes, CDs, five different
      stained glass designs, rainbow key chains and
      bracelets, and more!


      We have designed gift certificates that can be made out
      for any amount you care to give.

      These are not yet available on our Web site, so send
      your check with a note indicating that you are buying
      a Gift Certificate and we will make up an attractive
      Gift Certificate for the amount of your check for you
      to give along with a copy of our catalog.

      Chi Rho Press Gift Certificates make excellent gifts!
      Order some today at Chi Rho Press, P.O. Box 7864,
      Gaithersburg, MD 20898.


      Come shop at Chi Rho Press!


      6. "Christian with a Twist"

      Here is a selection from our second major book of
      reflections, "Christian with a Twist: Reflections
      on Scripture that are a bit more inclusive, a bit
      more relevant, and with a bit of a bite," by the
      late William Gaston.

      "Christian with a Twist" is available for $19.95 each,
      $14.95 each for six or more copies, plus shipping and
      handling. You can read more about it and order it at

      As the subtitle suggests, Bill's writing has a bit
      of a bite, and we believe you will enjoy his sharp,
      but loving take on Scripture, life, and faith.

      Here is a selection entitled "You Had Better Watch Out!"
      from the Advent section of "Christian with a Twist."

      Please read Matthew 24:36-44

      Sometimes we interpret scripture literally, not too
      often, but sometimes. Often we take it metaphorically
      or we read between the lines. Sometimes we find an
      ancient or universal truth, and oftentimes we find
      new meaning in the ancient text for our modern lives.
      Maybe I am weird. You put up with me, so you be the
      judge, but sometimes scripture leads me to a way of
      thinking that really seems almost the opposite of what
      the author must have intended.

      Today's passage does that for me. It very much seems
      to be a warning, an admonition that we'd better have
      our repentance up to date because we never know when
      that final judgment day is coming. Sure, God forgives
      us for our sins much more readily than we would if we
      were in God's place but we could always get run over
      by a bus right after saying dagnabit, or lusting after
      our neighbor's donkey or something and then where would
      we be?

      I do not think God is out to get us. Yes, our final
      day will surely come, and God might have some final,
      final day in the works for humankind as well, but I
      think God's forgiveness is even more a part of God's
      plan. I see God's Grace all around me, and I'm really
      not worried about not being prepared to meet my maker.

      Doing well in the meantime is something I need to think
      about. Not as a precaution, but rather as getting the
      most out of the life God has given me. What I need to
      watch out for is not a final roll call, but rather each
      opportunity to get to know God better.

      Jesus is coming. That is what Christmas is all about.
      Santa may make us hide away in our beds pretending to
      be asleep if we want our stockings filled. Jesus would
      rather have us wide awake and watching.

      No, we never know when the next opportunity to know him
      better will come. We'd better be ready because each one
      is too good to miss.



      7. Sanctoral Cycle

      As a regular feature in the Chi Rho Connection, we
      are offering up traditional saints listed in the 2005
      Liturgical Calendar and Lectionary from today until
      our next scheduled electronic newsletter.


      Thurs., Dec. 1, St. Bibiana. Faithfulness: St. Bibiana
      and her sister were martyred for their faith when they
      refused to recant their beliefs. They were scourged
      while chained to pillars but St. Bibiana made prayer
      her shield and remained courageous and cheerful. Pray
      for fidelity and patience like Bibiana under all trials
      that you may not break God's laws.

      Diversity Dates: World Aids Day
      National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month

      Fri., Dec. 2, St. Osmund (Patron saint: people with
      paralysis). Reverence at worship: Much confusion had
      arisen from the introduction, by foreign clergy who
      came into England, of the particular forms of service
      of the places from which they came. To remove the
      inconvenience and to regulate public worship, and
      bring decency and devotion, St. Osmund rearranged
      the forms of Mass, Divine Office, and ministration
      of the sacraments. "Put off the shoes from thy feet,
      for the place whereon you stand is holy ground" Exodus

      Sat., Dec. 3, St. Francis Xavier. Thirst for souls:
      Some are called specially to work in gathering souls,
      but there is no one who cannot help in their salvation.
      Good example, earnest intercession, the offering of our
      actions on their behalf all of this needs only some of
      the spirit which animated Francis, a desire to make some
      return to God.

      Sun., Dec. 4, St. Peter Chrysologus. Listening to
      sermons: To listen attentively and profitably to
      sermons is a great grace from God. To gain this grace,
      begin with praying for the preacher. If the flock gets
      no good from sermons, the fault is always the preacher's
      own. "Sermons, unlike all other speeches, are the word
      of God. They are not under the command of humans, but
      of God…A good sermon, therefore, often depends on the
      congregation as much as the preacher."

      Mon., Dec. 5, St. Dositheus. The value of obedience:
      "The example of blessed Dositheus shows what progress
      we make by renouncing our own will. By giving up his
      own judgment and inclinations in favor of perfect
      obedience, this man, who had never heard the name of
      God till late in his life, soon became a saint," St.
      Dorotheus. "To obey is better than sacrifice, and to
      heed is better than the fat of rams" (1 Samuel 15:22).

      Tues., Dec. 6, St. Nicholas of Myra (Patron saint:
      children, brides, merchants). Innocence: Those who
      would enter heaven must be as little children, whose
      greatest glory is their innocence. Now two things are
      ours to do: first, to preserve it in ourselves, or
      regain it by repentance; secondly, to love and shield
      it in others. Through a misunderstanding of the tale
      of three children, Nicholas is the origin of Santa
      Claus for his giving of presents to children at

      Wed., Dec. 7, St. Ambrose (Patron saint: learning,
      teachers). Fear of God: "The fear of God sets us
      free from the fear of God's enemies," St. Ambrose.
      "Fear God and keep God's commandments, for this is
      the whole duty of all, for God will bring every deed
      into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether
      it is good or evil" (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

      Thurs., Dec. 8, St. Phocas. The Immaculate Conception:
      "If you follow her, you do not stray; if you think of her,
      your mind does not err; if you ask of her, you will not
      be disappointed; if you cling to her, you will not fall.
      If she be with you, all is well," St. Bernard. "Thou art
      all fair, O my love, and there is not a spot in thee,"
      Canticle 4:7.

      Fri., Dec. 9, St. Peter Fourier. Working for God: Peter
      gave himself to the care of a very poor parish, seeking
      only salvation for them. "As Jesus Christ gives Himself
      to us in the Blessed Sacrament, looking for no return but
      the good they shall receive in communion, so do I give
      myself to you this day, not for the sake of any honor
      or advantage I may receive thereby, but simply for the
      salvation of your souls, which I am set on, even should
      it cost me my life," St. Peter Fourier.

      Sat., Dec. 10, St. Barbara (Patron saint: architects).
      Viaticum: Pray often that you do not meet with a sudden
      and unprepared death; and above all that you may be
      fortified against the perils of your last journey by
      the holy viaticum of our Lord's sacramental Body and
      Blood. "Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in
      death; my enemy will say, 'I have overcome him,' and
      my foes will rejoice when I fall" (Psalm 13:3-4).

      Sun., Dec. 11, St. Dionysius of Alexandria. Humility:
      God will do nothing for us until we are humble. Whenever
      we are tempted to be prideful or take pleasure in
      ourselves, let us stop to reflect that this comes
      from the evil one who would take us away from God
      into our own emptiness and sin. "So fundamental is
      humility that we are not left to learn it from any
      ordinary teacher. It is our divine Savior Himself
      who says, 'learn of me, for I am meek and humble of
      heart,'" St. Dionysius the Great.

      Mon., Dec. 12, The Martyrs of Gorkum. Obedience:
      Obedience and faith are the conditions of eternal
      life. The martyrs obtained their crowns not only
      because they believed, but because they proved their
      faith by obedience. The church allows meat to be eaten
      on Fridays when there is not else. These martyrs
      refused it because apostates in contempt of religion
      offered it to them and because had they eaten it, the
      act would have been taken as a denial of their faith.
      "If you want to enter life, obey the commandments"
      (Matthew 19:17).

      Tues., Dec. 13, St. Lucy (Patron saint: sight impaired).
      The love of Christ: All of the saints had to bear
      temptations and sufferings greater than ours. How
      did they overcome them? By the love of Christ.
      Nourish this love by meditating on the mysteries of
      His life, and by taking the Eucharist, which is the
      antidote against sin and the pledge of eternal life.
      "If we have you, O Christ, what more do we need? Are
      you not enough for [they] who love?" St. Bonaventure.

      Wed., Dec. 14, St. John of the Cross (Patron saint:
      contemplatives). Separation: "Live in the world,
      as if God and your soul only were in it, so shall
      your heart never be led captive by any earthly thing."
      St. John responded to God's inner calling of what his
      needs were, only to have St. John respond with "Lord,
      I need only to suffer and be ill-treated for your
      sake." "I know your afflictions and your poverty
      yet you are rich!" (Revelations 2:9).

      Thurs., Dec. 15, St. Columba of Iona. Remembering
      heaven: Five years before his death, St. Columba
      was extremely ill. When he recovered, he was very
      depressed and sad for this. "Woe is I that my
      sojourning is prolonged." The thought of the
      next world makes all happy, being deprived of that
      joy makes all sad.

      Fri., Dec. 16, St. Nilus of Sinai. Thy will be done:
      We are not asked for tremendous sacrifices, but in
      God's goodness, God does give us things to renounce
      or to suffer for God. It is by our loving submission
      to God's will that we show ourselves to be worthy
      Christians. "But one's delight is in the law of
      the Lord, and on God's law one meditates day and
      night" (Psalm 1:2).


      Order the 2005-2006 Liturgical Calendar and Lectionary,
      complete with the entire year's Sanctoral Cycle, at
      this link:


      8. Adam's Last Word

      Well, my back is slowly getting better. Thanks to
      many of you for your kind e-mails and phone calls.
      I am slowly catching up with e-mails, so please be
      patient if you are waiting to hear from me. I hope
      to be back at my full time secular job, on a full
      time basis next week. I continue to covet your


      We are excited about the production of the Liturgical
      Calendar and Lectionary for the 2005-2006 church year,
      Year B in the reckoning of the Revised Common
      Lectionary. Please order your copy today!


      Of course, with Christmas less one month
      away, it is not too early to start doing your
      holiday shopping at http://www.ChiRhoPress.com
      We never close!


      There are some wonderful tapes and CDs of good
      Christian music available at www.ChiRhoPress.com.
      Please visit!


      Please check out the Chi Rho Cards! Our line of
      greeting cards, by the talented New York artist Timothy
      Leetch, are now available. See the descriptions of the
      cards on our Web site at:

      Order some cards today!


      Gracia y paz,

      R. Adam DeBaugh, Director, Adam@....


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      Copyright 2005, Chi Rho Press, Inc.