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Chi Rho Connection, Vol. IV, No. 15

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  • Adam DeBaugh
    ************************* CHI RHO CONNECTION The eNewsletter of Chi Rho Press, Your LGBT Christian Publishing House Vol. IV, No. 15 22 August 2003
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 22, 2003
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      *************************
      CHI RHO CONNECTION

      The eNewsletter of Chi Rho Press,
      Your LGBT Christian Publishing House
      Vol. IV, No. 15
      22 August 2003

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

      1. WOW! A Report from WOW 2003
      2. Bishop Gene Robinson!
      3. Did You Know?
      4. Sanctoral Cycle
      5. Adam's Last Word

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

      This Issue's Quote:

      If homosexuality is a disease, let's all call
      in queer to work: "Hello. Can't work today,
      still queer." Robin Tyler

      *****

      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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      to see our entire lines of books, handouts, videos, tapes,
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      Direct all other e-mail to Adam@....

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

      1. WOW! A Report from WOW 2003
      by Adam DeBaugh

      As if I wasn't giddy enough from all the emotional
      events of this year, last weekend I journeyed to
      Philadelphia for the WOW 2003 conference! WOW!
      Witness Our Welcome. Over 1,000 LGBTQ people and
      our straight allies were there, including some of
      the most amazing queer religious leaders in our
      history, all gathered in one place.

      Witness Our Welcome is an ecumenical gathering of
      LGBTQ Christians and their straight supporters,
      friends, and family who are part of the Reconciling
      Church movement, those brave congregations in the
      mainline denominations which have courageously made
      a public welcome to the LGBTQ community. Sometimes
      those affirmations endanger the standing of the
      congregation with their denominations. The
      Reconciling movement includes the United Church of
      Canada, United Methodists, Baptists, Brethren,
      Mennonites, MCC, Presbyterians, Disciples of Christ,
      United Church of Christ, and Lutherans. Other
      denominational LGBTQ caucuses and organizations are
      joining as well.

      Some highlights for me:

      Virginia Mollenkott preached Thursday night. I spent
      an evening with Jean Audrey Powers a now-retired
      Methodist powerhouse who used to be on the staff of
      the National Council of Churches when MCC first applied
      for membership. Presbyterian Jane Adams Spahr was
      there, who organized our book "Called OUT!"

      Troy Perry preached at the closing worship Sunday
      morning. Marsha Stevens, Delores Berry, Jeannie
      Broderick, and David North all performed. Elder Marco
      Grimaldo an openly Gay Presbyterian and the Rev. Wanda
      Floyd of Imani MCC in Durham, North Carolina, were the
      cochairs of WOW.

      Mark Bowman, the prime mover of the Reconciling Church
      movement was there. Father Bill Countryman, openly Gay
      Episcopal priest and brilliant author told me he admired
      the ministry of Chi Rho Press!

      Chris Glaser led breakfast Bible studies all three
      mornings, an old friend and one of our authors, he even
      plugged his Chi Rho Press book, "Come Home!" one morning,
      the only book of his he mentioned! Bishop Yvette Flunder
      of City of Refuge Community Church in San Francisco
      preached Friday night. Steve Sato Rohr spoke Saturday
      morning at the Episcopal Cathedral of Philadelphia.
      Seeing Roberta and Harold Krieder and the new edition
      of "From Wounded Hearts," which Chi Rho Press originally
      published. Peterson Toscano presented his one-man show,
      "Doin' Time at the Homo No Mo Halfway House."

      Dr. Mari Castellanos, a Latina United Church of Christ
      justice activist, preached Friday morning. And there
      were workshops! Steve Baines of People for the American
      Way on holy unions, and Kevin Bourassa and Joe Varnell,
      the MCC couple whose lawsuit forced the Province of
      Ontario to grant full marriage rights for same-sex
      couples, spoke about their experience. Candace Chellew
      of the on-line LGBTQ Christian magazine whosoever.org.
      Rev. Ken South on Lesbian and Gay seniors.

      It was brilliant.

      And throughout my entire experience at WOW last weekend,
      I couldn't help but think that all these people, Gay,
      Lesbian, Straight, Transgendered, Bisexual, Queer,
      Intersexed, and Undecided; from a couple dozen different
      church traditions and liturgical habits; from all over
      the US and Canada; from different ethnic and racial
      backgrounds; from the very young to the very old, and
      from all kinds of economic and educational strata. All
      these people were here saying, "As for me and my house,
      we will serve God."

      Because you see, this was my house, broader even than
      MCC, here was my Tribe, gloriously and radiantly arrayed,
      and we were affirming in the face of extreme prejudice
      and hate, that "As for me and my house, we will serve God."

      Hate did appear. The very first worship service was
      across town in the magnificent Episcopal Church of the
      Holy Trinity on Rittenhouse Square. Big white buses
      lined up at the University of Pennsylvania where most
      of the conference was, to drive us over to Rittenhouse
      Square. The service was glorious with Virginia Ramey
      Mollenkott, the pioneering lesbian author of "Is the
      Homosexual My Neighbor" preaching and Presbyterian
      Lesbian activist Jane Adams Spahr leading community
      prayers. The conference choir was already organized
      and in full voice under the inspired leadership of
      Patrick Evans and Mark Andrew Miller. And unbeknownst
      to us, hate-filled protesters had gathered outside the
      church during our opening worship, carrying the usual
      huge signs, "Homosexuality is a Sin," "Sodomy is a
      Sin," "God Hates Homosexuals."

      As our worship ended Janie Spahr told us that the choir
      would leave the church first and make a cordon for us
      to pass safely through the protestors to our buses. So
      we left the church, with joyless, sad, hateful people
      lugging these big huge signs all behind our wonderful
      choir, signing at the top of their voices!

      One tiny little woman with a sign about half as big as
      she was declaring "Sodomy is a Sin," somehow wandered
      in amongst our people as we were heading towards our
      busses. People were very kind to her, and she looked
      rather confused. She stopped right in front of me as
      Jean Audrey Powers and I were heading toward our shining
      white bus. I looked at her and her sign and I said, "I
      couldn't agree with you more! Sodomy is a sin. A
      grievous sin." She looked up at me. I continued, "And
      of course I know from reading the Sodom story in Genesis
      that the true sin of Sodom was inhospitality. Not being
      hospitable to strangers in our midst is a very bad thing."

      "By the way, do you live here in Philadelphia? Thanks
      ever so much for your kind welcome to your beautiful city!"

      I couldn't resist. The contrast between the joyous,
      loving crowd at WOW and the pitiful, sad, angry,
      mean-spirited, and hateful protesters was profound.
      Whose God would YOU serve, I kept thinking. WOW showed
      how wonderful and glorious God's diverse and rainbow-
      colored creation can be.

      There is so much more to tell, but I promised to be
      brief. I can't wait until WOW 2006!

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

      2. Bishop Gene Robinson!

      As you have no doubt heard by now, on Aug. 5, the
      Episcopal Church elected it's first openly gay Bishop.
      The Episcopal Church is the American province of the
      worldwide Anglican Communion. Bishop V. Gene Robinson
      was confirmed by 60 percent of the House of Bishops.
      He has gone through a process familiar to many LGBT
      people of faith, having to prove himself ten times
      as good as an avowed heterosexual in order to receive
      equal treatment.

      His diocese of New Hampshire voted overwhelmingly to
      call this gifted, gentle, pastoral man as their bishop.
      But the American church's General Convention had to
      confirm the new Bishop. There were threats from the
      right-wing to leave the church (threats that were very
      familiar to Anglican watchers, many of the same people
      threatened to leave over women's ordination some years
      ago). The rabidly conservative Bishop of Nigeria called
      the Episcopal Church "unchristian." Conservative
      parishes and bishops met together to plan strategy,
      including leaving the Episcopal Church and aligning
      themselves with more right-wing Anglican Provinces.

      But God's grace is sufficient and as frequently happens
      with Episcopalians in the US, politeness and sweet
      reason prevailed. The 800 member House of Deputies
      (clergy and lay delegates) approved Bishop Robinson
      by a 2 to 1 margin. Then spurious and very suspect
      charges came from two quarters, which were quickly
      and efficiently investigated and found to be without
      merit. And finally the members of the House of Bishops
      voted 62 to 43 to confirm the call.

      Of course Gene Robinson is not the first Gay Bishop in
      the Episcopal Church or even in the worldwide Anglican
      Communion. We daresay there are gay bishops even in
      the Anglican Church of Nigeria. What is different
      about Gene Robinson is that he is honest about his
      sexual orientation. Hmmmmm. It kind of makes you
      think about hypocrisy in the church, doesn't it?
      Had Gene Robinson NOT been honest and had lied about
      his sexuality, there would have been no controversy,
      no media coverage, and no desperate last minute search
      for ways to smear his name. Had he been a liar and a
      hypocrite, his consecration as Bishop would have been
      a no-brainer. What ever happened to "the truth shall
      set you free"?

      Our friend Lawrence Reh's wonderful list serve, First
      Light, has often been quoted in the Chi Rho Connection
      (FirstLight@yahoogroups.com). Lawrence from time to
      time has quoted the Connection as well. His wonderful,
      brief analysis of the exciting news on Aug. 5 of the
      election of the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal
      Church is quoted here, with Lawrence's gracious
      permission:

      "Is the American decision to consecrate an Episcopal
      bishop who is openly and unapologetically gay a
      prophetic advance in the church's embrace of equality
      and justice for all people? Or is it a perverse self-
      indulgence that violates thousands of years of religious
      teaching? Will it serve as a pivotal landmark in the
      history of the church, or will it mark the end of the
      voluntary togetherness of the Anglican Communion?

      "Will it energize churches that many see as increasingly
      irrelevant to their lives, not just Episcopal, but
      across a plethora of other denominations? Or will it
      produce destructive conflict and conflagration, and
      ultimately a weaker place for the church in society?

      "Advance threats aside, now the church is in the Garden
      with Christ. Will the disciples flee, deny, betray ...
      or simply fall asleep? Or will they find new life in
      the modeling of Jesus himself? No doubt many were
      already thinking, 'God, if it is your will, let this
      cup pass from us.' But the cup has not passed, and
      the church must now decide whether it will continue
      to drink together at a table where Jesus invited,
      'All of you, drink of it, and remember me.'"

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

      3. Did You Know?

      Did You Know there was Holy Communion on the Moon?

      According to Beliefnet.com, the following tidbit:

      In all the hubbub surrounding the confirmation of an
      openly gay bishop, another item on the Episcopal
      Church convention's agenda has been overlooked.
      The church's bishops called for a special liturgy
      to commemorate the first Holy Communion on the moon,
      celebrated on July 20, 1969, by U.S. astronaut Edwin
      "Buzz" Aldrin.

      The lunar communion was kept under wraps by NASA for
      two decades until Aldrin wrote about it in a memoir.
      Aldrin, an Episcopalian, brought blessed bread and
      wine in his "personal kit" and consumed them after
      Apollo XI landed near the Sea of Tranquility.

      The Episcopal Convention resolution notes that the
      lunar communion "was significant in other ways: The
      first liquid ever poured in the Moon's 1/6th gravity
      was the Blood of Christ; the first food and drink
      consumed by humans on another celestial body was
      the Lord's Supper; the most remote act of worship
      (235,000 miles from Earth) ever undertaken was this
      lay-led Episcopal office."

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

      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.

      *****

      Thursday, Aug. 21, Georgia Harkness (1891-1974).
      Theologian and social critic. Harkness was the
      first woman to teach in a mainline Protestant
      seminary in the U.S.A. She came out of the Social
      Gospel movement of the 20's and 30's as an influential
      theologian, pacifist, and Christian socialist. She
      demanded economic justice for all people, opposed
      racism, and supported ordination for women.

      Sunday, Aug. 24, Simone Weil (1909-1943) Philosopher
      and mystic. Born in France to a well-educated,
      nonreligious Jewish family, Weil had a brilliant mind
      and was drawn to philosophy. She dabbled in the labor
      movement and extremist politics, always identifying
      with the suffering masses of humanity. As her
      personal spiritual journey evolved she was drawn
      to Jesus' death on the cross, and to Christianity
      as "the religion of slaves." Even so, she chose not
      to be baptized, not wanting to be separated from the
      "immense and unfortunate multitude of unbelievers."
      She forged in intensely personal mysticism, like Joan
      of Arc, following her own internal voices.

      Thursday, Aug. 28, St. Augustine (354-430). Bishop
      of Hippo and Doctor of the Church. Born in North
      Africa to a Christian mother and pagan father, Augustine
      was deeply interested in philosophy. Under the
      influence of his mother, Monica, and the preaching of
      Ambrose of Milan he was converted. He became an
      influential preacher and teacher, addressing many of
      the great heresies of his time, against which he
      affirmed God as the sole creator, the holiness of the
      church, and that "original sin" was hereditary. His
      legacy has not been entirely positive. Due to his
      own inner struggles as a young man, he developed a
      very negative perspective on the body and sexuality,
      yet ultimately affirmed that creation was good. One
      of the greatest minds of Western thought, his most
      influential works were "The City of God" and his
      very personal "Confessions," in which he prays,
      "You have made us for yourself, and our heart is
      restless until they rest in you."

      Sunday, Aug. 31, John Bunyan (1628-1688) Puritan
      preacher and writer. Born to an Anglican family,
      Bunyan experienced a powerful conversion as a Puritan
      when he married. His work as a lay preacher after
      the English Civil War led to his imprisonment, where
      he did most of his writing. As a Calvinist he saw
      the world as a grand conflict between good and evil.
      He is best known for "The Pilgrim's Progress," an
      allegory about the Christian life as a journey and
      adventure of faith.

      Monday, Sept. 1, Labor Day (USA, Canada). Federal
      Holiday

      *****

      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.

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

      5. Adam's Last Word:

      This edition of the Chi Rho Connection is going out
      quite a bit late because I was attending the WOW
      Conference in Philadelphia in August 14 17, 2003.
      Chi Rho Press had a significant presence there in the
      Resource Center (and we sold a lot of books!). I
      hope you read the first article in this issue of the
      Connection, about the WOW 2003 conference. I am
      already planning on attending the next WOW in 2006!

      *****

      I will be preaching at MCC of Northern Virginia at
      10383 Democracy Lane, Fairfax, Virginia on this Sunday,
      August 24. Their pastor is the Rev. Kharma Amos, an
      incredibly gifted and talented woman. We will be
      setting up our Chi Rho Press Traveling Bookstore at
      MCC NoVa as well. Please join us if you are in the
      area. Directions to the church are on their excellent
      Web site at www.mccnova.com.

      *****

      I have never had so many viruses invading my computer
      space! Luckily my ISP has an excellent virus and spam
      catcher called Postini, which had caught all the viruses
      (and which routinely catches about 95% of the spam. I
      hope all your computer systems are safe and protected!

      In the midst of all this however, my printer seems to
      have dropped out of useful society. <sigh> I need to
      head out to see if it can be fixed or if it needs to be
      replaced.

      *****

      God bless you all!

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

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

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