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Chi Rho Connection, Vol. IV, No. 12

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  • Adam DeBaugh
    ************************* CHI RHO CONNECTION The eNewsletter of Chi Rho Press, Your LGBT Christian Publishing House Vol. IV, No. 12 30 June 2003
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 30, 2003
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      The eNewsletter of Chi Rho Press,
      Your LGBT Christian Publishing House
      Vol. IV, No. 12
      30 June 2003


      1. "Your faith is thin, and your fear is thick,"
      Bishop John Chane, Episcopal Bishop of Washington, DC
      2. "The Journey is Our Home:" Sharing Our Faith
      Journeys, by a Gay Anglican priest from northern England
      3. Wedding Announcement and Reflection
      4. Sanctoral Cycle
      5. Be a part of this ministry!
      6. Adam's Last Word


      This Issue's Quote:

      Towards the end of his life, during an interview with
      Bill Moyers, Joseph Campbell was asked for his take on
      the BIG WHY. His reply, "We are here to participate
      joyfully in the sorrow of the world."
      (Thanks to Seth in Paris for this quote.)


      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

      To remove yourself from this list send an e-mail to

      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. "Your faith is thin, and your fear is thick,"
      Bishop John Chane, Episcopal Bishop of Washington, DC

      The Rev. John Chane, Episcopal Bishop of Washington, said
      he is sure that the House of Bishops will welcome Rev.
      Gene Robinson, newly elected bishop of New Hampshire,
      when they meet next month. Robinson will be the first
      openly Gay sitting bishop in United States branch of the
      Anglican Communion (the Episcopal Church).

      "We've been discussing the issue of same-sex blessings
      since 1972 in the Episcopal Church," Bishop John Chane
      told 60 Episcopalians at an evening prayer service at
      St. George's Episcopal Church in Glenn Dale. "I think
      we've spent enough time discussing. For those who say
      our theology is thin, I would respond to that and say,
      'Your faith is thin and your fear is thick.'"

      If conservatives protest, so be it, he said.

      "There may be some bishops who walk off the floor of the
      house," he said. "We're going to see some hissy fits.
      We'll see a lot of strange behavior."

      The Rev. Michael Hopkins, a Gay priest who presides over
      Integrity, a 2,500-member Episcopal LGBT caucus, pastors
      St. George's.

      (Excerpted from the Washington Times, 6/23/03. We
      wouldn't normally use this rabidly conservative newspaper,
      owned by the right wing Unification Church of Sun Myung
      Moon, but even the right wing press can't conceal the
      truth of God spoken by the Episcopal Bishop of Washington.)


      2. "The Journey is Our Home:" Sharing Our Faith
      Journeys, by a Gay Anglican priest from northern England

      To continue "The Journey is Our Home" series, in which
      people tell about their faith journeys, we are reprinting
      an article taken from The Guardian on June 24, 2003.
      (The Guardian, 119 Farringdon Rd., London EC1 3ER England,
      http://www.guardian.co.uk, used with their kind permission.)
      The Guardian prefaced the article with this, "The Church
      of England is tearing itself apart over the appointment of
      an openly gay, though celibate, bishop [in England]. Here,
      a gay vicar from northern England, writing anonymously,
      describes his experiences of working within a system which
      appears set on destroying its gay brethren, one by one."

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

      + + +

      'We know who we are. We know what it is to discover love.
      We know that love is costly'

      Holy week, 1995. After years of hard work with the council,
      community groups, commercial sponsors, developers, and hard
      working lay volunteers, we were about to unveil the plaque
      on our new half-million pound community building next to
      the church.

      The bishop and the archdeacon were coming. Councillors,
      sponsors and community groups were coming. The press was
      coming. Less than 24 hours to go.

      The phone rang. It was the local independent radio. I
      put on my cheerful young vicar voice (I was still in my
      20s then) and prepared to give my patter about the new
      building one more time. Then came their opening question:
      "A vicar here has recently called on all gay clergy to
      repent or resign. What's your response to that?"

      There was silence. And then the local radio people
      began to apologize. They had been put up to it. They
      had been told that I was some kind of gay rights
      spokesman. They were so sorry. They wouldn't bother
      me again. I apologized too, for some reason, and told
      them that I had been expecting them to call about the
      new community building. They sheepishly turned up with
      a tape recorder the next day.

      You forget. That's the thing. You forget that it's an
      issue. Like the time we went into a small hotel and I
      asked for a double room and I couldn't work out why they
      were looking at me strangely. You forget that it's an
      issue: it's just your ordinary life.

      What's it like, being a gay vicar? Well, I prepare a
      sermon and a Sunday service every week. People tell me
      their troubles and their joys. They comment on the music,
      complain about the lights, stay for coffee and introduce
      me to the people they have brought along. I visit my
      key lay folks, have various meetings with them through
      the week, and meet regularly with clergy colleagues,
      Protestant, Catholic and Anglican.

      There are usually at least a dozen people involved in
      making the Sunday service happen: musicians, readers,
      intercessors. We all work together as a team.

      And then every so often a rock comes hurtling through
      the air completely unexpectedly. Last year a minister
      from a local independent church turned up to rebuke me
      and call on me to repent. I tried to be polite but I
      shouldn't have bothered. He left shouting something
      that could easily be taken as blackmail, and a follow-up
      letter made much the same threat. I thought it wise to
      keep it, lest his threats get worse, but couldn't bear
      to have something so repulsive in the house, so I sent
      it to the archdeacon to file.

      Open secret

      You see - the archdeacon knows. My local area bishop
      knows. The rural dean knows, and so, apparently, do
      all my clergy colleagues. "It's the biggest open
      secret in the town," apparently. I wouldn't know:
      I never discuss it.

      The much maligned and misrepresented bishops' report,
      Issues in Human Sexuality, had a perfectly simple and
      reasonable policy: don't ask, don't tell.

      I have taken care, these dozen years, not to say
      anything that could be quoted against me, but from
      time to time, bishops and archdeacons and rural
      deans take the trouble discreetly to express their
      support and their happiness for me.

      Come on! It's 2003, and anyone who has done any
      half-decent theological thinking in the last 50 years
      knows that Leviticus is irrelevant and St Paul, for
      all his redemption, never quite escaped the expectations
      of his culture.

      Only the utterly sex-obsessed would show the slightest
      interest in what I do in bed. I have a great home life
      and a great supportive relationship, permanent, faithful
      and stable, and Christian people rejoice in that.

      Including our parishioners, apparently. Three years
      ago a move to a new post was cancelled at the last
      minute because the bishop in the new area insisted
      on asking questions that Issues forbids him to ask,
      and which in any case should never be asked of any
      Englishman, gentleman or priest. As I told them the
      news before the service, making something up about
      problems with the appointment, they cheered because
      I would be staying. And afterwards, to the surprise
      of both of us, they were hugging my partner and saying,
      "You must be so upset," because nobody had ever said,
      but they knew. It should be getting better - but it
      isn't, it's getting worse. A dozen years ago, as I
      was being ordained, the Movement for the Ordination
      of Women was enjoying its finest hour, and Issues was
      the most progressive report on sexuality ever to make
      it into print, rather than being suppressed. It felt
      as though the church was going somewhere, perhaps even
      leading the way. But [former archbishop of Canterbury]
      Carey the evangelical was just getting into his stride.

      A dozen years later, Carey's bishops (the Carey boys)
      claim to be standing by Issues as they persecute their
      gay clergy, ask them what they do in bed, and issue
      public statements openly condemning the views of their
      new archbishop.

      The thoroughly English, thoroughly Anglican policy of
      "don't ask, don't tell" has been torn up by the Carey
      bishops who seem bent on turning the national church
      into some weird puritanical sect: the only officially
      anti-homosexual organisation in the country, and the
      only organisation with an exemption, that's right, an
      exemption, from the new Human Rights Act, for the very
      special purpose of retaining their right to persecute
      and eliminate their gay staff, one by one.


      Carey's legacy? The church has shrunk by 25% in a
      decade. That was the decade of evangelism. With
      Carey's appointments still in place, with security
      of tenure, the worst may be yet to come.

      There are some good people in the system, but the
      system seems to destroy them, one by one, time after
      time. I would be surprised if half the young people
      I was ordained with are still on the payroll. Every
      year I seem to hear of another who has given up in
      despair, another victim of the system.

      In the meantime this week, here in the parish, I have
      part three of our Christian Basics course to organise,
      24 people expected on Wednesday night, and all kinds
      of people to see about all kinds of things, and the
      daily prayers, always the daily prayers. And like
      hundreds of other gay clergy, I remember why I'm here.

      We grow up with an outsider's perspective on mainstream
      society: it gives us a certain objectivity about the
      business of ordinary life, and a special sensitivity
      towards people who are struggling or feeling like
      outsiders themselves. We have generally done plenty
      of soul-searching, and been through some process of
      self-doubt and then redemption.

      We know who we are, we know what it is to be fully
      human, we know what it is to discover love, we know
      that love is costly, we know what it is to know our
      Saviour and to have our lives transformed; and we
      seek to share God's compassion in a needy world.
      And so to find some calm at the eye of the storm,
      and get on with the week ahead.

      + + +


      3. Wedding Announcement and Reflection,
      by Adam DeBaugh

      The following announcement came over the Internet on
      June 25: "The Rev. Troy D. Perry and Mr. Phillip Ray
      De Blieck are pleased to announce their wedding will
      take place on Wednesday, July 16, 2003 at Metropolitan
      Community Church of Toronto, Canada. The Reverend Dr.
      Brent Hawkes, Officiating. At the request of the
      couple, the service will be private. They welcome
      your prayers on this momentous occasion in their
      lives. 'Love never fails...There are three things
      that last forever: faith, hope, and love. But the
      greatest of these is love.'"

      June has been a remarkable month this year. Chi Rho
      Press has enjoyed excellent sales this month. Progress
      is being made on our next book, Dr. Sandy Bochonok's
      book of daily meditations, "Living as the Beloved: One
      Day at a Time." A few very promising new manuscripts
      have arrived for us to review.

      But the news in North America and Great Britain is
      even more momentous! Openly Gay Anglican bishops are
      appointed in New Hampshire (USA) and in England.
      Canada's national government has decided to follow
      the courageous lead of the Province of Ontario and
      will soon make same sex marriages legal all across
      that broad and happy land. The United Kingdom looks
      like it will follow suit soon, bringing to four the
      number of nations who acknowledge same sex relationships.
      The Supreme Court of the United States on Thursday (June
      26) struck down the Texas sodomy laws and all similar
      remaining laws throughout the US.

      And Troy Perry and Phillip De Blieck are traveling to
      Toronto from their home in Los Angeles to be legally
      wed! Certainly Troy and Phillip are just one couple
      among many who will make this trip and make this
      affirmation of their love. But Troy is the head of
      our home church, the Metropolitan Community Churches,
      and he has long been a civil rights activist for LGBT
      rights. His marriage to his long time companion
      Phillip will mean something to the thousands of MCCers
      all over the world, and to our friends and supporters
      in the many other LGBT-affirming religious ministries.

      Troy and Phillip are getting married! Then they could
      honeymoon anywhere in the United States, where the
      sexual expression of their love and long relationship
      will be legal, even though their marriage won't be
      acknowledged, recognized, and honored. At least not yet.

      The Religious Reich would have us believe that Troy
      and Phillip's wedding somehow threatens the institution
      of heterosexual marriage. That troubles me. Not
      because I worry about the institution of heterosexual
      marriage. But because these poor straight people (the
      "homosexually-challenged") think they have relationships
      so fragile that our loving relationships can threaten

      I have a number of non-Gay friends and have asked them
      if they think that acknowledging lesbian and gay
      relationships endangers their relationships and
      marriages. My friends can't figure that out either,
      which of course is one reason they are my friends!

      Of course it is possible that Gay relationships are a
      threat to traditional marriage and that this is not
      necessarily a bad thing. Do we REALLY want to emulate
      heterosexual marriage? Over 50% of straight marriages
      end in divorce. Spousal abuse is rampant. The
      dysfunctional family seems to be the norm rather than
      the exception. The children that issue from such unions
      are often abused, mistreated, neglected, and endangered.
      Is this the model we want to lift up for lesbian and gay

      The heterosexuals I know are most of them not in
      destructive relationships. Even the straight men I know
      are becoming more and more like the gay men I know.
      Hopefully gay male sensitivity, caring, kindness, and
      gentleness is not a myth too! And I know Troy and
      Phillip, and many other healthy, mutual, couples who
      are deeply in love.

      One commentator I read worried that gay relationships
      are by nature promiscuous and non-monogamous, so
      recognizing them would erode monogamy as the staple of
      straight married life. As if! Do we really think the
      male of the species is more monogamous simply if he is
      heterosexual? Puh-leeze!

      But I think this right wing fuzz-ball is on the right
      track. Perhaps lesbian and gay marriages can be role
      models for heterosexual marriages. Hopefully what we
      will model is not just fidelity, but mutual relationship
      between two equals, not exploitive dominance models so
      often found in male-female relationships. Hopefully we
      will model relationships based on equality and mutual
      respect, relationships in which both members of the
      couple are valued for the gifts and graces they bring
      to the relationship, where gender roles have been
      eliminated. Where sensitivity, kindness, gentleness,
      and love are the hallmarks.

      You want know the truth? Well, the truth is that
      perhaps the LGBT community IS a threat to Western
      society! Perhaps we are calling our culture to a
      higher standard of love, mutuality, and respect.
      Go figure!

      But why not? I would suggest that it is LGBT Christians
      who are teaching the church what it means to be Christian,
      what it means to be a community of faith, what it means
      to DO the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs.
      In an age when people are leaving the churches in droves,
      LGBT people are the only ones clamoring at the doors to
      be let in! And our bravery and faith inspires our non-gay
      sisters and brothers as well. We are bringing the church
      back to the spirit of God.

      The LGBT community taught the rest of our society what it
      means to respond in a Spirit-filled way to a health crisis
      in which people with HIV/AIDS were marginalized and
      rejected by the mainstream medical, religious, and
      political communities. We stepped up and took care of
      our own. From lesbian blood drives to AIDS Buddies to
      impressive health care organizations to safe sex
      education, WE were the pioneers in this health crisis.

      And of course the LGBT community teaches our
      homosexually-challenged sisters and brothers how to
      dance, how to dress, how to decorate, how to cook, how
      to move, and how to make fun of ourselves! Come on,
      gay people are Martha Stewart with a sense of humor and
      without the prison stripes!

      So why should we not also teach them how to love, how
      to respect our partners, how to parent, and how to be
      in relationship? If what we are a threat to is non-
      mutual, non-loving, exploitive, gender role relationships,
      then yes, damn right, we are a threat!

      Congratulations to Troy and Phillip, and to all the other
      couples who are being wed in Canada! Be our role models,
      be our guides, be our witnesses! And above all, show
      the world that being lesbian and gay is really all about
      love, whom we love, how we love, and most importantly,
      THAT we love.


      4. 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.


      Tue. July 1, Canada Day (Canada).

      Fri. July 4, Independence Day (U.S.A.). Federal holiday.

      Sun., July 6, Jan Hus (1372-1415). Czech reformer and
      martyr. Born to a poor peasant family, Hus was ordained
      a priest and eventually became rector of Prague
      University. Long before the Protestant Reformation,
      Hus was an enormously popular and fiery preacher who
      spoke against corruption in the medieval church and
      translated the Bible into Czech. When he refused to
      stop preaching he was excommunicated, jailed, and
      burned at the stake. He met his death with great
      courage and faith, forgiving his enemies. His
      spiritual descendants eventually became the Moravian

      Wed. July 9, Augustus Tolton (1854-1897). First
      African-American priest. Tolton was born to Catholic
      slave parents who escaped during the Civil War. From
      an early age he felt a call to the priesthood. He
      studied in Illinois, and later in Rome, before being
      returned to the U.S. to be ordained and work with
      struggling black Catholic congregations. His
      preaching attracted huge crowds of cheering blacks,
      and many whites, as well. There had been previous
      biracial priests, but he was the first fully black
      priest to truly identify with the black community
      and culture. Though frequently marginalized by the
      establishment, he exposed racism in the church and
      worked for integration and equality.

      Wed. July 9, Martyrdom of the Bab (Baha'i).
      Execution of Ali Mohammed by Persian political
      and religious powers in 1850. No work is done
      on this day.

      Fri. July 11, Asala (Buddhist). Also known as
      Dhamma Day, Turning the Wheel of Teaching. Marks
      the day when Buddha made his first public proclamation
      to five ascetics. He taught the middle way, the noble
      eight-fold path, and the four noble truths.

      Mon. July 14, Bastille Day (France).


      Order the full 2003 Liturgical Calendar and Lectionary,
      complete with the entire year's Sanctoral Cycle, at,


      5. Be a part of this ministry!

      Chi Rho Press is a growing, dynamic ministry and we
      invite you to be a part of this LGBT Christian
      publishing house. There are lots of ways for you
      to be a part of Chi Rho Press.

      First, buy a book, a tape, some handouts, or a piece
      of stained glass. Our customers are the most important
      part of this ministry, because YOU are the reason we
      do what we do! Please visit our Web site at
      http://www.ChiRhoPress.com and make a purchase.

      Second, write a book or article! We are always looking
      or the next best seller, the next Faith Story for this
      electronic newsletter, the next article to publish.
      While it is true that not every book can (or even should)
      be published, if you have something to say, write Adam
      DeBaugh at Adam@... for submission guidelines
      and ideas.

      Third, if you live in the Washington DC metropolitan area,
      we can always use volunteers evenings and on weekends to
      help with data entry, filling orders, filing, and many
      more office tasks.

      Fourth, we are looking for new, dynamic, and committed
      Board members as well, so if you feel moved to serve on
      the board of directors of Chi Rho Press, please contact

      Fifth, as a non-profit religious publishing house
      contributions to Chi Rho Press are fully tax-deductible.
      Become a Guardian Angel of the Press with a minimum
      contribution of $150 a year. And any contribution is
      welcome and appreciated. Visit our Web site to make
      your gifts at http://www.chirhopress.com/sponsor.html.

      Sixth, invest in the ministry with a $1,000 Promissory
      Note. Our Promissory Notes are repaid over a two year
      period at 6% simple interest. This is a way to
      capitalize our Press and reduce more expensive debt
      we have incurred to print new books. Write Adam for

      Seventh, remember the ministry of Chi Rho Press in
      your wills.

      Eighth, tell your friends, your pastor, your colleagues,
      your church members about Chi Rho Press. If you belong
      to any list-serves, write a note urging people on the
      list to visit the Web site, buy a book, and subscribe
      to this electronic newsletter. Post the word about Chi
      Rho Press on any bulletin boards you know about, both
      electronic and in real time. Send an e-mailing to all
      the people in your e-mail address book, telling them
      about Chi Rho Press.

      Come on! You send them all the jokes you get over the
      Internet, why not tell them about your Press? Ask your
      local LGBT-supportive bookstore to carry some of our
      titles. Be our ambassadors to the wider community,

      And ninth, please keep Chi Rho Press is your prayers.

      Thank you and God bless you.


      6. Adam's Last Word:

      A lot of news has been discussed in this issue of the
      Chi Rho Connection. I can't tell you how excited I am
      about the events of the last month or two!

      Belgium, the Netherlands, and soon all of Canada
      recognize legal marriage for same-sex couples. It
      is fitting as I prepare this Chi Rho Connection for
      publication on June 30 that tomorrow, July 1, is
      Canada Day. Oh Canada!


      And next Friday is the Fourth of July, Independence
      Day in the United States. Some Anglophile friends of
      mine, who are unreconstructed monarchists despite being
      Americans, call the 4th of July, The Day of the Great
      Disobedience. But this year, I will celebrate our
      Independence Day with pride and joy. The US Supreme
      Court has overturned the Texas sodomy law in a 6 to 3

      Despite Justice Antonin Scalia saying that the majority
      has bought into the homosexual agenda and thus revealing
      the true depths of his ignorance and silliness, the six
      vote majority of the High Court is a significant triumph
      in a country which has begun to think of Absolute Truth
      as being a 5 to 4 Supreme Court majority!

      So I will be spending July Fourth being proud to be a
      Gay American, and looking around for a copy of that
      Homosexual Agenda to see what I need to do next!


      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.


      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.


      As LGBT Pride Month draws to a close, so much has happened
      that is good and hopeful for our community. But please
      remember that there are still suicidal gay teens out
      there, people trapped in loveless or unsatisfying
      marriages, people living in closets of fear, degradation,
      and loneliness. Sexually transmitted diseases, including
      HIV/AIDS, are on the rise again among gay youth. Some
      churches remain a last bastion of homophobia and prejudice.
      The old men in dresses at the Vatican still seek to
      scapegoat Gay priests for the scandal of sexual abuse
      that rocks the Roman Catholic church. We have much to do.

      God bless you all!

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


      We are glad you are partners in ministry with us here at
      Chi Rho Press. We are eager for your comments, your
      suggestions, your assistance with selling our books,
      and your own purchases! And of course, we covet your
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      Ann Pearson, at her Web page, http://www.christiangays.com.

      Copyright 2003, Chi Rho Press, Inc.


      R. Adam DeBaugh
      Chi Rho Press, Your LGBT Christian Publishing House
      Subscribe to Chi Rho Connection, our free electronic newsletter

      Please visit the Chi Rho Press Website.

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