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Chi Rho Connection, Vol. IV, No. 10

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  • Adam DeBaugh
    ************************* CHI RHO CONNECTION The eNewsletter of Chi Rho Press, Your LGBT Christian Publishing House Vol. IV, No. 10 31 May 2003
    Message 1 of 1 , May 31, 2003
      *************************
      CHI RHO CONNECTION

      The eNewsletter of Chi Rho Press,
      Your LGBT Christian Publishing House
      Vol. IV, No. 10
      31 May 2003

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

      1. "The Journey is Our Home:" Sharing Our Faith
      Journeys, by Candace Chellew
      2. A New Printing of "My Memory Book"
      3. Dear Abby on Gays in the Military
      4. Proudly Mutants
      5. Link of the Month: Whosoever.org
      6. Sanctoral Cycle
      7. Adam's Last Word

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

      This Issue's Quote:

      "It is ridiculous to divide people into good and evil.
      People are either charming or tedious."
      -- Oscar Wilde

      *****

      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.

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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 Candace Chellew

      The Chi Rho Connection is pleased to continue its
      series in which people tell about their faith journeys.
      To continue "The Journey is Our Home" series, we have
      called upon Candace Chellew.

      Candace Chellew is a recovering Southern Baptist and
      founder/editor of Whosoever: An Online Magazine for
      GLBT Christians at http://www.whosoever.org. For
      money, she works in Columbia, S.C., as a
      communications coordinator for a federally funded
      child abuse prevention program administered through
      the University of South Carolina.

      Here is Candace's story of faith. We hope you are
      blessed by this part of her spiritual journey.

      + + +

      It was a hard thing to lose God. I don't remember
      what day it was, or what the weather was like, but
      I remember feeling lonely.

      I had to make a choice, God or the life I felt led
      to experience. It was a lonely choice. It didn't
      seem fair. But I had asked to be unburdened. I had
      begged to be changed. I had accepted Jesus, loved
      his story and teachings, yet I had to choose.

      "I am a lesbian." I was 16 years old, staring into
      the mirror when I first uttered those words out loud.
      They were hard to say, even harder to hear. I knew
      by saying it I had to make a choice.

      My father was a Southern Baptist preacher, an evangelist
      who pastored several churches from Georgia to Virginia,
      and spent his later years holding tent revivals. I knew
      from sermons I had heard from many pulpits over my 16
      years that being a Christian and being gay was a
      contradiction in terms.

      When I had the first inkling that I might be a lesbian,
      I began to pray fervently. I knew I could only be one
      thing, gay or Christian, but not both. I desperately
      wanted to be a Christian. So I prayed for God to make
      the choice easy, to make me straight.

      As I stood staring in the mirror that day I was convinced
      God had abandoned me. God had not listened to my prayer.
      I had been forsaken to a life without God, left to wallow
      in my perversion.

      "Fine," I thought, "if God doesn't love me, then I don't
      love God. I can live just fine without God."

      For years that's what I did, or so I thought.

      With my first real relationship in crisis, my partner
      decided we needed to go back to church. I was dead-set
      against the idea, but she persisted.

      We found ourselves in a Metropolitan Community Church
      congregation in Atlanta. The speaker that evening was
      the Rev. Elder "Papa" John Hose. As he spoke, I felt
      the spirit of God surround me. I knew I was home.
      That night I discovered that I might have turned my
      back on God, but God had never turned her back on me.

      But, there was still the question, how could I be gay
      and a Christian? I thought that was impossible!

      That's when I embarked on a search of the scriptures.
      Coming from a Baptist background where the motto is,
      "The Bible said it, I believe it, that settles it,"
      it was a struggle to believe some of the interpretations
      of pro-gay scholars. But as I searched the scriptures
      for myself, and prayed for God to guide me in that
      search, I came to realize that the Bible does not
      condemn homosexuality, and instead has some wonderful
      blessings and lessons for gay and lesbian Christians.

      Years later, my studies paid off and led me to found
      Whosoever, an online magazine for gay, lesbian,
      bisexual, and transgender Christians
      (http://www.whosoever.org) that seeks to assure other
      lost and hurting GLBT people that God loves them and
      made them just as they are.

      Accepting myself as a lesbian was the most honest
      decision I ever made. It felt good to feel so bad.
      It set me free, even though I felt betrayed and
      trapped by the dogma of my former beliefs. In the
      end, it was the only choice: to be honest to my nature.

      Thinking back to the three years I had spent not talking
      or thinking about God, I could suddenly see all the
      wonderful things God had done for me over the years.
      God saw me through job changes, relationship troubles,
      moves from home to home. Whenever I needed help, God
      had been there.

      I now realized that God had heard the prayers of that
      pained teenager. He had answered my prayer to be made
      straight. God said "no." I realized God had created
      me as a lesbian, and there was nothing that could
      change that!

      God saw fit to make me different, and different I am.
      I no longer want to be "normal." Different is good,
      different is a blessing.

      Along the way to my difference I believed I had lost
      God.

      But, when I look back now, I see God was always there.
      Things worked out, miracles were performed, and life
      went on.

      Indeed, it is hard to lose God.

      + + +

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

      2. A New Printing of "My Memory Book"

      We are very pleased to announce to the young and the
      young-at-heart a third printing of "My Memory Book: A
      Journal for Grieving Children, Second Edition" by
      Gretchen Gaines-Lane, LCSW-C. Please visit
      http://www.chirhopress.com/products/socialaction.html#SocialMemory
      to read about the book and to order your copy.

      Though created for children by a children's grief and
      bereavement specialist, many adults are using "My Memory
      Book" to create memorials for loved ones who have died.
      Like a panel in the AIDS quilt, a copy of "My Memory Book"
      can become an important part of the grief process after
      losing a beloved friend or relative.

      "I love this workbook for children of all ages," says
      Patricia Kelly, co-author of "Final Gifts" and a
      consultant in the Washington, D.C. area. "This is a
      book to treasure."

      Space is available throughout the book for the grieving
      person to write or draw. Directions for over 20
      exercises are given on the left-hand side page, and
      the right-hand side page is devoted to the grieving
      person's creative use. The reader uses "My Memory
      Book" to create a book of memories about the loved
      one who died that is uniquely his or her own. "My
      Memory Book" encourages written exercises, collage,
      journaling, and drawings in any medium the user cares
      to employ.

      Dr. Phyllis Silverman, one of the most renowned experts
      in the bereavement field, writes, "This is one of the
      best workbooks I have seen to help . . .understand the
      nature of grief. It legitimates . . . ties to the
      deceased and helps find ways to talk about these
      connections."

      The unique genius of this book is that it is wonderful
      for anyone to use, regardless of age. "My Memory Book"
      provides enough exercises for readers of any age to
      return to it again and again to celebrate the life of
      one recently lost and of their life together. The book
      also includes a special section in the back for readers
      to design their own exercises.

      Though many buy this book for family members, many
      counselors in the professional community have also
      recognized the therapeutic benefits of "My Memory
      Book" and use the book with their clients. "This
      workbook is a wonderful tool to assist therapists
      and counselors in their work with bereaved children,"
      says Nancy Boyd Webb, DSW, BCD, Professor, Fordham
      University Graduate School of Social Service.

      An Illinois hospice and hospital ordered another 100
      copies of "My Memory Book" for their on-going use. We
      are proud of their recommendation of this important
      book as a bereavement tool for people of all ages.

      "My Memory Book" is available from Chi Rho Press for
      $10.95 each, $8.95 each for six or more copies, plus
      shipping and handling. Order it at
      http://www.chirhopress.com/products/socialaction.html#SocialMemory.

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

      3. Dear Abby on Gays in the Military

      Washington Post
      Monday, May 19, 2003; Page C12
      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A1426-2003May16.html

      Dear Abby:

      Whenever I read in one of your columns a reminder about
      sending messages of encouragement to personnel in the
      military, I become frustrated. I would like to send a
      message, but I'm not sure where to send it.

      I want to send encouragement, love and heartfelt thanks
      to all the gay men and women who serve our country
      whenever and wherever they are needed. In an already
      stressful situation, they have the added stress of
      staying in the closet. They not only have to fear the
      enemies of our country, but also that a homophobic
      colleague will betray them.

      As it was in the Gulf War, their sexual orientation
      will be ignored because they are needed, but as soon
      as the action and/or threat is over, they will be
      tossed aside as many before them have been.

      Please, Abby, let them know that we admire, care and
      think about them and the sacrifices they are making.

      Martin in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

      Dear Martin:

      Thank you for pointing out the unfairness of "situational
      discrimination." A person's sexual orientation has
      nothing to do with his or her degree of patriotism or
      ability to successfully defend our country.

      (Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known
      as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother,
      Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com
      or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, Calif. 90069.
      Copyright 2003, Universal Press Syndicate)

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

      4. Proudly Mutants

      As a Gay man, I never really thought of myself as being
      a mutant, but like many other LGBT viewers, I am finding
      an odd resonance with the mutants of the X-Men movies.
      The second one, X-2 (recognizing that there are X-Women
      who are just as powerful, significant, and special as
      the X-Boys, who often never seem to evolve beyond their
      adolescent behavior) has even more pronounced Gay themes.

      I don't mean that Wolverine is sleeping with Iceman,
      though that is fodder for some interesting daydreams.
      But the Gay resonance with the two X-People movies is
      more than the presence of young hunks, gorgeous women,
      and the two rival elder-statesmen of the series, Patrick
      Stewart (whom I want to be when I grow up!), and the
      brilliant and openly Gay Sir Ian McKellan.

      The notion of being different through no fault of your
      own, being ostracized and even endangered for your
      difference, and gathering together in a community of
      the different for self-protection and support, all
      resonate with the queer community.

      I ran this idea past my favorite movie reviewer, Teddy
      Durgin and he wrote, "I completely agree with this
      assessment of the films. There is definitely that
      subtext running through both films, and it's even
      stronger in X2, in theaters now.

      "There is indeed a coming out scene where one of the
      mutants (Iceman) comes home to his parents and tells
      them the school he is in is not for gifted scholars,
      but for gifted mutants. The mother even mirrors our
      ignorance by asking questions like, 'How long have
      you been one of them?' and 'Can't you just stop being
      a mutant?'" It is a classic coming out to the parents
      moment. PFLAG, did you see that?

      Teddy continues, "There is also a thread of persecution
      running throughout both films, and how that kind of
      ostracizing can both pull a community together and
      fracture it. At one point, one mutant says to a
      shape-shifting mutant, 'You can take their form,
      blend in. Why do you choose not to?' To which she
      replies something to the effect, 'I shouldn't have
      to.'"

      That is the very best argument against the military's
      incredibly dangerous and hurtful Don't Ask, Don't Tell
      policy!

      Teddy goes on to say, "The X-Men films are layered and
      very well done, Adam. Not just for kids, they have a
      surprisingly broad audience. Hope you check one or both
      of them out."

      I can only echo Teddy's assessment. Watch Wolverine,
      Cyclops, Iceman, and all the others with Queer eyes!
      They present a modern parable for our community.

      Now if I could just keep MY mutant powers under
      control . . .

      (Teddy Durgin's on-line movie review service,
      FlickVille.com's Hollywood Reviews has over a million
      subscribers. To subscribe, send a message to (hollywoodreviews-subscribe@....)

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

      5. Link of the Month: Whosoever.org

      The author of this issue's Faith Story, Candace Chellew,
      is the founder and editor of Whosoever an on-line
      magazine for LGBT Christians. We strongly urge you
      to subscribe to Whosoever and visit their Web site at
      http://www.whosoever.org.

      Candace has been a pioneer in on-line journalism for
      the LGBT Christian community and Whosoever is a light
      amidst the gloom of religious intolerance and homophobia.

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

      6. Sanctoral Cycle

      As a regular feature in the Chi Rho Connection, we
      are offering up traditional and modern saints and various
      holy days and holidays listed in the 2003 Liturgical
      Calendar and Lectionary from today until our next
      scheduled electronic newsletter.

      *****

      Friday, May 30. St. Joan of Arc (1412?-1431). Maid of
      Orleans and martyr. A young peasant girl, Joan was led
      by angelic voices to restore the French throne. Dressed
      as a soldier, she led the French army in several
      victories, until finally being captured by the English.
      In a church trial she was accused of heresy and witchcraft,
      and burned at the stake at the age of 19. Refusing to
      give up her male clothing or deny her voices, she
      represents the confrontation between purity and the
      corruption of power. She inspires us to listen to our
      own inner voices and respond with equal faith.

      Saturday, May 31. Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
      This day celebrates the visit of Mary with her cousin,
      Elizabeth, who was pregnant herself with John the Baptist
      (Luke 1:39-56). The baby in Elizabeth's womb leaps and
      she proclaims, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed
      is the fruit of your womb," women's experience validating
      the experience of women. Mary breaks into the Magnificat,
      "My soul proclaims the greatness of God." In this
      subversive song of praise the patriarchal system is
      turned upside down as God lifts up the oppressed.

      Sunday, June 1. St. Justin of Rome (c. 167). Philosopher
      and Martyr. Justin came from a gentile family in Samaria.
      He studied all the major religious and philosophical
      movements of his day, eventually deciding to become a
      Christian. He saw Christian faith as the fulfillment
      of Greek philosophy. He later settled in Rome and, upon
      refusing to sacrifice to the gods, was scourged and
      beheaded.

      Tuesday, June 3. Pope John XXIII (1881 1963). Reformer
      of the Church. When John was elected Pope he was expected
      to be no more than a transitional figure. In a brief
      pontificate of less than five years, John was able to
      bring about sweeping changes by opening the church up
      to positive dialogue with the modern world. John
      convened Vatican II (only the second council since the
      16th century) as a pastoral council to address Christian
      unity, world peace, and the needs of the poor. Its
      sweeping reforms have dramatically affected not only
      the Catholic Church, but all of Christianity.

      Thursday, June 5. World Environment Day. Established
      by the United Nations in 1972.

      Thursday, June 5 (sunset) Sat. June 7. Shavuot
      (Jewish). Celebration of Moses' descent from Mt.
      Sinai with the Ten Commandments. Plants and flowers
      are used in decoration.

      Saturday, June 7. Seattle (1786?-1866). Chief of
      the Suquamish. As a child growing up on Puget Sound,
      Seattle witnessed the arrival of the first whites.
      When he became chief he tried to use peaceful dialogue,
      rather than violence, to coexist with the increasing
      demands of the new settlers. He and his people
      converted to Christianity, but he came to see that
      there were fundamental spiritual differences between
      his people and the whites, especially in our
      relationship with the earth. He understood that
      "to harm the earth is to heap contempt on its Creator."

      Thursday, June 12. Anne Frank (1929-1945). Witness of
      the Holocaust. During the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam,
      Anne Frank's family remained in hiding for two years.
      At the age of 13 she took her schoolbooks and a diary
      into captivity with her. There she recorded not only
      their day to day struggle for survival, but her personal
      growth as a young woman who could find hope in the face
      of hopelessness. Shortly after Anne turned fifteen they
      were discovered and she was sent to her death in the
      concentration camps.

      Saturday, June 14. Flag Day (U.S.A.).

      Sunday, June 15. Father's Day (U.S.A., United Kingdom).

      *****

      Order the full 2003 Liturgical Calendar and Lectionary,
      complete with the entire year's Sanctoral Cycle, at,
      http://www.chirhopress.com/products/devotionals.html#Park.

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

      7. Adam's Last Word:

      This has been a busy and eventful month, as spring
      struggles to take hold in Maryland. We have had a lot
      of rain, which means the drought is pretty much over,
      but it has made for some soggy weekends and gloomy
      workdays.

      On May 21st we took delivery on the third printing of
      the second edition of "My Memory Book," which is very
      exciting. The book remains very popular and not only
      for the children for which it was originally written,
      but adults are using it as well. It is a great way to
      create a living memorial for someone whom you love who
      has passed away. I encourage you to check it out at
      http://www.chirhopress.com/products/socialaction.html#SocialMemory.

      *****

      Our Remainder Table continues to be a very popular way
      for our customers to obtain copies of five of our most
      popular books are greatly reduced savings.

      Find it at http://www.chirhopress.com/products/remainders.html.

      *****

      WRITERS! I know you are out there! I need your
      500-word faith stories. Please contribute to our
      series of faith stories, 'The Journey is Our Home:'
      Sharing Our Faith Journeys. Our readers would like
      to read about your experiences of faith. Won't you
      please write up even a small part of your journey
      of faith and submit it to us? Just send your faith
      story to Adam@.... You will be blessed
      by the exercise, just as you are a blessing to others.
      Thank you!

      *****

      I was privileged to attend the Lavender Graduation at
      the University of Maryland on May 22. This is a special
      ceremony honoring the LGBT students who are graduating
      from the University, sponsored by the LGBT organizations
      on campus and the LGBT alumni group. Students received
      scholarship funds and certificates in LGBT studies.

      It was an inspirational event, not for what went on so
      much, as for what this means for our community. Here
      were LGBT alumna, faculty, staff, and students of the
      University of Maryland coming together to celebrate,
      encourage, and inspire the LGBT students at UM. I wish
      such a thing had happened at Macalester College when I
      was there about a hundred years ago.

      I pray that the blessings of God be upon these bright,
      energetic, and courageous young people, and upon the
      LGBT faculty, staff, alumna, and students who encourage
      and enable them at the University of Maryland.

      *****

      I will be attending the WOW Conference in Philadelphia
      in August 2003 and Chi Rho Press will have a significant
      presence there in the Resource Center. You really need
      to be there at this amazing event. More about Witness
      Our Welcome will be in future editions of the Chi Rho
      Connection.

      *****

      Blessings on you all over the coming weeks. Thanks for
      being a part of this community!

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

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

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      Copyright 2003, Chi Rho Press, Inc.

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


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