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Chi Rho Connection Vol. III, No. 15

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  • Adam DeBaugh
    ************************* CHI RHO CONNECTION The eNewsletter of Chi Rho Press, Your LGBT Christian Publishing House Vol. III, No. 15 31 October 2002
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 31, 2002
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      CHI RHO CONNECTION

      The eNewsletter of Chi Rho Press,
      Your LGBT Christian Publishing House
      Vol. III, No. 15
      31 October 2002

      *************************
      Contents:

      1. 'The Journey is Our Home:' Sharing Our Faith
      Journeys, by Charles Coventry, Edinburgh, Scotland
      2. Calls for Submissions
      3. 2003 Liturgical Calendar Published!
      4. Book of the Month: Come Home!
      5. Adam's Last Word

      --------------------------------------------------

      'God answers all our prayers. Sometimes the answer is
      yes. Sometimes the answer is no. Sometimes the answer
      is, you've got to be kidding.'
      Jimmy Carter, former President of the United States and
      recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize.

      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. 'The Journey is Our Home:' Sharing Our Faith
      Journeys, by Charles Coventry, Edinburgh, Scotland.

      As one of the new features of the Chi Rho Connection,
      we have started a series in which people tell about
      their faith journeys.

      We hope you are blessed by the spiritual insights
      found here.

      To continue 'The Journey is Our Home' series, we have
      called upon Charles Coventry, of Edinburgh, Scotland.
      Here is Charles' story of faith:

      + + +

      I am connected with Metropolitan Community Church
      (MCC), Edinburgh, Scotland, which I found out about
      through a friend. I have been disabled since birth
      (cerebral palsy) and had very little contact with
      other children, my primary education was in special
      schools, a year behind others. When I did get into
      mainstream education (age 12) although I got
      qualifications for university entrance, I was never
      fully integrated because no attempt was made to
      integrate me into sports, and I was still that bit
      isolated.

      There was pressure on me to have girlfriends, and
      ultimately, after graduation and in employment to
      get married and produce a family. This kind of
      teasing about not having girlfriends stopped having
      any effect on me after about 17. I had doubts about
      managing school teaching, controlling a class, and by
      extension, knowing what I had lost, about bringing up
      children of my own.

      I failed to fit into ideals of manliness, first of
      all being frightened by pressure to smoke. I was
      expected to take up the pipe and cigars on special
      occasions like Christmas, but the fear of fire was
      part of my disability, I am partially sighted, so
      there was a real risk of being burned. I failed to
      reach the standards of alcohol consumption expected
      of a man, finding spirits impossible for me. When it
      came to shaving, the safety razor was impossible,
      and it was only after a serious accident that I was
      allowed to buy an electric shaver. Again, because
      of my partial vision, I can't drive, and after
      graduation I never got the right kind of job for
      long enough, and was last in employment in 1982.

      My disability includes a severe numeracy problem,
      which extends to anything not a continuation of the
      school syllabus. I was always in trouble for this
      and it was after I was nearly convinced that I was
      mentally subnormal that I heard about the Transcendental
      Meditation technique. I learned and got the chance
      to leave home for further study in the Department of
      Celtic at the University of Edinburgh. I am in fact
      now a linguist and local historian. It was here that
      I also got the chance to learn to swim.

      After my parents died I came to understand that I am0
      gay, and this was confirmed by subsequent experiences.
      I found a gay swimming group and it was through this
      that I heard about MCC. Not only in MCC, but in all
      the gay groups I have become involved with, I have
      found acceptance as a human being, a swimmer, and
      Gaelic scholar, not a specimen of cerebral palsy.
      It was because most church people latched on to my
      disability that I was very suspicious of religion.
      At school I was used as a moral example of goodness
      to the rest of the pupils, and it was only later, when
      I could be sure of not being pestered with magic cures
      derived from literal interpretation of the New
      Testament, that I had anything to do with the church.

      As long as nobody asks about my marital status, I don't
      really need to come out, and in a place like Edinburgh
      it is quite easy to find gay groups. Outside of
      university circles, straight people tend just to talk
      about how their marriages and families are going, but
      in MCC and my other gay groups, although there are gay
      dads, even if I ever find a partner, and could never be
      a parent, it doesn't seem to matter to gay friends.
      I'm just another member of the group, a swimmer, and
      Gaelic scholar. One of my swimming sessions happens
      to be at a time which means that for most of the year
      I can't make the MCC service, but when I apologized for
      this at MCC, they just said that my swim still counted
      as a kind of worship.

      + + +

      --------------------------------------------------

      2. Call for Submissions

      With changes in the look of the Chi Rho Connection, Chi
      Rho Press is pleased to issue a Call for Submissions for
      articles to appear in future issues of our electronic
      newsletter. We are especially looking for the following
      kinds of articles:

      a. Faith Stories for the column, 'The Journey is Our
      Home:' Sharing Our Faith Journeys. If you would like to
      contribute the story of your faith journey for inclusion
      in 'The Journey is Our Home,' please try to limit your
      story to 500 words.

      b. Reviews of Books. Whether published by Chi Rho
      Press or any other publisher, we are looking for book
      reviews. What have you read recently that has inspired
      you? What do you think other LGBT Christians would
      benefit by reading? Please don't forget to include
      the full title, author, publisher, ISBN number, date
      of publication, and price of the book. Word limit,
      400 words.

      c. Inspirational stories are always welcome, but not
      the stuff that is already making its way around and
      around and around the Internet. How about coming up
      with your own original inspirational story?

      d. Link of the Month. What are the Internet Web pages
      that are most helpful and interesting to you? Submit
      the complete link and your brief description of what
      it is and why you are recommending it.

      e. Finally, your letters, suggestions, comments,
      criticisms, and contributions are always welcome.

      Please send your submissions to Connection@....

      --------------------------------------------------

      3. 2003 Liturgical Calendar Published!

      'A Liturgical Calendar and Lectionary, Year B, December
      2002 through November 2003,' compiled by Dr. David Kerr
      Park. Spiral bound, 8 ½" x 11", 78 pages. $9.95 each,
      six or more copies for $7.95 each, plus shipping and
      handling. Now available on our Web site at
      http://www.chirhopress.com/products/devotionals.html#Park.

      Chi Rho Press is pleased to announce a brand new
      Liturgical Calendar for the coming church year. Our
      newly designed 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 a new, larger 8 ½" x 11" format.

      Order your copy of the 2003 Liturgical Calendar today!
      $9.95 each, six or more copies for $7.95 each.

      --------------------------------------------------

      4. Book of the Month: Come Home!

      'Come Home! Reclaiming Spirituality and Community as
      Gay Men and Lesbians,' second edition, by Chris Glaser.
      first published in 1990 by HarperCollins, the second
      edition was published in 1998 by Chi Rho Press with the
      addition of five new chapters to the original 20.

      'Come Home!' is perhaps Chris Glaser's best book. It is
      divided into five sections, each with five chapters.
      The five sections are entitled, 'Welcoming God's
      Acceptance,' 'Receiving Our Inheritance,' 'Discerning Our
      Call,' 'Making Our Witness,' and 'Declaring Our Vision.'

      Bishop John Shelby Spong called 'Come Home!' 'powerful,
      sensitive, and provocative. . . . Glaser stands inside
      his own humanity as a gay male and hears the word of God
      through the Bible. Christians, gay and straight, need
      this book if we are to be the body of Christ.'

      This is a brilliant and important book by perhaps the
      best-known Gay Christian writer in the U.S. today.

      The Rev. Carter Heyward called 'Come Home!' 'an
      enthusiastic compelling testimony to the power of faith
      in the lives of many gay and lesbian Christians.'

      Virginia Ramey Mollenkott said, 'If courage, honesty,
      and insight are beautiful, then this is one beautiful
      book. . . . I rejoice that in this book all the gay
      men and lesbian women who have been robbed of their
      spirituality are issued an urgent invitation: Come home!'

      'Come Home!' by Chris Glaser offers a vision of faith,
      hope, and affirmation inviting gay men and lesbians to
      come home to their spirituality through Christian faith
      and community. Order your copy today!

      'Come Home!' is available for $19.95 each, $14.95 each
      for six or more copies, plus shipping and handling.

      --------------------------------------------------

      5. Adam's Last Word

      It is Hallowe'en here in the United States as we send
      out this edition of the Chi Rho Connection. It is not
      a holiday celebrated in much of the rest of the world
      and is a peculiarly American event, which has been
      adopted by many LGBT people as a special night to
      dress up in costumes not reflective of who we really
      are. Or are they? Perhaps the LGBT community likes
      Hallowe'en precisely because we CAN dress up as we
      really are in the depths of our closeted psyches, and
      appear before the world without blush or embarrassment.
      Or maybe it is just because part of LGBT culture is
      the celebration of the theatrical residing in so many
      of us.

      I shall put on the brown monk's robe I bought a few
      years back at Maryland's Renaissance Festival and hand
      out candy to the children who will wander up to the
      front door of Tawdry Tower, my little town house.

      Hallowe'en is a linguistic corruption of All Hallows
      Eve. The evening before All Hallows Day or All Saints
      Day, November 1. Christians inherited, or rather
      co-opted Hallowe'en from the Pagan celebration of
      Samhain, the day on which the veil between the living
      and the dead is thinnest.

      All Saints Day is an especially wonderful day in the
      life of the church. Our new Liturgical Calendar says
      about the Feast of All Saints, 'The tradition of
      remembering all the saints together dates to the
      early history of the Church, which affirmed 'the
      communion of saints' as the mystical Body of Christ,
      transcending both time and space. Even when no one
      is visibly with us in our prayers and our spiritual
      path, we are surrounded by their presence and inspired
      by their witness. All the saints, some famous and
      some known only to God, answered God's call in their
      life in their own unique way. This collective feast
      reminds us that each of us has our own special gifts,
      and we are each called to DO something holy for God.'

      The next day is All Souls Day, Nov. 2, about which
      our Liturgical Calendar says, 'In some traditions
      there has been a distinction between remembering the
      official canonized saints on All Saints Day and
      commemorating those whose names are not on any
      calendar, but are cherished as models of faith,
      or are dearly loved family and friends. They, as
      well, are part of that great 'cloud of witnesses'
      who encourage us in our spiritual journey.' In
      Mexico this is la Dia de la Muerte, a popular
      Mexican holiday of remembering and honoring the
      dead.

      However you honor the saints who have gone before
      us and your own well-loved friends and relatives who
      have passed away, this is a special time to reflect
      on the Saints who have inspired us and the Souls who
      have loved us.

      Friday evening, I will be attending an All Saints
      Day event at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Washington
      DC with my friends Bill and Bob. Bill and Bob are
      great Anglo-Catholics and major royalists with whom
      I spend Christmas day every year. The St. Paul's
      Parish Choir with orchestra will be performing the
      Lord Nelson Mass by Franz Josef Haydn. Not a bad
      way to mark All Saints Day, I figure. And I will
      reconnect with my high Anglo-Catholic roots. A
      Suffragan Bishop from New York will be preaching
      and a retired Bishop will be celebrating the
      Eucharist so it will be a high old Anglican time
      of it!

      *****

      In the United States next Tuesday is also Election
      Day. I encourage all our readers, as I do every year,
      to vote! This is an especially important election,
      with the entire United States House of Representatives
      and a third of the United States Senate up for
      re-election. If you think that your vote doesn't
      matter, you are sadly in error. The last election
      showed the United States to be almost perfectly
      divided between those who voted for Democratic and
      Republican candidates. The division was so sharp,
      and the Electoral College system we have of electing
      the President, that Mr. Bush won the Electoral
      College votes (thanks to the intervention of the
      U.S. Supreme Court majority appointed by his father
      and Mr. Reagan), even while Mr. Gore won the popular
      vote by half a million votes. With the control of
      both the House of Representatives and Senate in the
      balance, your vote is very important.

      Please don't forget to vote Tuesday!

      *****

      The GLBT community lost a good friend with the death
      of Sen. Paul Wellstone of Minnesota. He was a man
      of integrity and nobility, unabashed by the trappings
      of high office, wearing the same rumpled suits he had
      worn as a professor at Carlton College, and keeping
      his self-effacing good humor. A man of principle, not
      to be trifled with, Paul Wellstone was a political
      hero in a time when politics is filled with charlatans,
      cads, the greedy, the vain, and the unprincipled. He
      will be missed.

      In his stead, the Democrats have named former Senator
      and former Vice President Walter Mondale to stand for
      the Senate seat vacated by the death of Paul Wellstone.
      'Fritz' Mondale is another friend of the LGBT community.
      His wife Joan is a potter and created the first pottery
      baptismal bowl and pitcher for the new building built
      by the Metropolitan Community Church of Washington DC.

      *****

      Autumn is here in the Washington DC area. A long
      drought is being moderated by days of rain and the
      leaves are changing here. Things seem to be relaxing
      with the passing of summer into autumn. Perhaps the
      capture of the hunter/snipers that have plagued our
      community for three weeks in October has helped the
      overall mood. But it is a good, mellow harvest time.
      I hope you are all blessed and filled with love and
      joy as we begin to prepare for the year-end holiday
      season.

      Please take a moment this weekend to honor and bless
      all those faithful saints and loved ones who have
      gone before us. And Americans, don't forget to vote
      next Tuesday.

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

      ******************************************

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      Copyright 2002, Chi Rho Press, Inc.

      ******************************************
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