Chi Rho Connection, Vol. VI, No. 1
CHI RHO CONNECTION
The eNewsletter of Chi Rho Press,
Your LGBT Christian Publishing House
Vol. VI, No. 1
22 Janary 2005
1. A Little Perspective
2. Featured Books
3. Ten New Years Resolutions
4. Soulforce to Confront James Dobson
5. "Christian with a Twist"
6. Sanctoral Cycle
7. Adam's Last Word
This issue's Quotes:
"We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not
enough to make us love one another." -- Jonathan Swift
"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God
who endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect, had
intended for us to forgo their use." -- Galileo
"Why has a religious turn of mind always a tendency to
narrow and harden the heart?" -- Robert Burns
"It's interesting to speculate how it developed that in
two of the most anti-feminist institutions, the church
and the law court, the men are wearing the dresses."
-- Flo Kennedy
"I distrust those people who know so well what God
wants them to do because I notice it always coincides
with their own desires." -- Susan B. Anthony
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1. A Little Perspective
January 7, 2005, from a UFMCC Press Release.
Metropolitan Community Church's relief efforts on behalf
of victims of the tsunami were saluted on Al Franken's
national (US) radio talk show, The Al Franken Show.
Franken pointed out that, as of earlier this week, none
of the "religious self-righteous websites" (his words)
even mentioned the tsunami disaster (Christian Coalition,
Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, etc.) -- "while the United
Church of Christ, Metropolitan Community Churches, and
some reformed Jewish groups all had the disaster and
disaster relief prominently displayed on their websites."
The Al Franken Show is carried live on Air America Network
on both Sirius and XM satellite radio, and on more than 50
radio stations across the U.S. Franken, a former star of
Saturday Night Live, is the author of several books,
including the New York Times #1 bestseller "Lies and the
Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at
2. Featured Books: Two Lenten Studies
Lent begins on Wednesday, Feb. 9, just a couple weeks away,
and Chi Rho Press is very proud of our two books of Lenten
devotions. Here is a description of each one.
"'You Need Only To Be Still:' Using the Hebrew Scriptures
to Journey Through Lent," by Randy Jedele. Spiral bound,
5½" x 8½", 100 pages. A book of daily devotions for Lent,
in which author Randy Jedele takes us on a journey through
the Old Testament. A lay Christian Education minister in
the United Church of Christ in Iowa, Randy Jedele has drawn
on his strong Protestant and Congregationalist background
to enliven the Hebrew Testament for us in new ways in these
Lenten devotions. View it on our Web site at this link:
In "You Need Only to be Still," each of the 40 days of
Lent, starting with Ash Wednesday, features a Hebrew
Testament passage, followed by two questions for your
consideration to bring the passage into our own lives.
Then Randy provides his own "Thoughts for Meditating,"
a few paragraphs reflecting on the ancient Bible story
in which he offers some background information where it
is needed and his own thoughts on the two questions.
On the right hand page for each day in Lent there is
space for the reader to write his or her own "Personal
Reflections," an opportunity for the reader to respond
and record thoughts and feelings. Each day concludes
with a prayer, a personal moment between the reader
and God. For each Friday, Randy has chosen a passage
from the Psalms.
The six Sundays of Lent in "You Need Only to be Still"
have a very different format with two blank pages for
each Sunday, one for "Reflections from the Past Week"
and one for "Opportunities to Seek in the New Week."
Randy writes, "I have chosen the Sunday format for a
couple of reasons. First of all, I have chosen not
to have a Scripture passage for Sundays because I did
not want to interfere with the scripture passages
used in the regular lectionary for the day. Secondly,
it is my practice to do just as I have suggested on
Sundays. I spend my devotional time on Sundays to
reflect on the events of my past week and contemplate
on opportunities that may lie before me in the new week.
I think it is important for us to remind ourselves of
the lessons we have learned, the joys we have known,
and the pains that have pierced our hearts. It is
also good for us to make plans for the days that come
before us. Reflecting is truly a time of quiet
meditation and being still before God."
The title, "You Need Only to be Still," comes from
Exodus 14:13-14, "Moses answered the people, 'Do not
be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance
the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see
today you will never see again. The Lord will fight
for you; you need only to be still.'" Randy Jedele
writes, in the Introduction, "Too often we Christians
ignore the Hebrew Scriptures and build our relationships
with God on the New Testament. However, as I have
journeyed through the Hebrew Scriptures through the
years, I have always marked passages that spoke to me.
It has not surprised me to discover a wealth of
spiritual wisdom throughout the Hebrew Scriptures.
It is my hope and prayer that those who use this
devotional as they journey through Lent will also
discover the richness of the God of the Hebrew
Scriptures. Truly, there is much to be learned as
we discover the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,
the God of Hannah, Ruth, and Esther, a God who was
a powerful source in the lives of those who learned
to seek the presence of the living God and to live
in the stillness of God's grace."
"Over and over, God calls us to be still, so that God
can minister to our hearts and prepare us to journey
each day as a new day. . . . I have envisioned that
[this devotional] will mostly be a personally journey,
a quiet time each day when the readers will, on their
own, seek the stillness of God. . . . As you read,
meditate, and pray through this devotional, may God
bless and enrich your life. It is my prayer that
each of you will find God in the stillness of your
busy lives and that God will provide you with wisdom,
fill you with peace, and shower you with love."
We know you will be blessed by this book of devotions
for Lent. You may order it on our Web site at this link:
$10.95 each, six or more copies for $8.95 each, plus
shipping and handling.
Our first book of Lenten Meditations, "For
Another Flock." Chi Rho Press also continues to have
a book of Lenten Meditations written from a Gay Roman
Catholic point of view. "For Another Flock: Rainbow
Meditations and Study Guide for Lent," by Jeffrey Lea.
($10.95 each, $8.95 each for six or more copies, plus
shipping and handling.) View it on our Web site at:
Written out of the deep faith and learning of a
gay practicing Roman Catholic and from a Catholic
perspective, "For Another Flock" includes daily
meditations for all the days of Lent and Holy Week,
beginning with Ash Wednesday (which this year is Feb.
9), and ending with Easter Sunday. Scripture readings
are provided for every day in Lent and Holy Week followed
by a reflection from a uniquely gay and Catholic point of
view and a prayer.
Following the daily meditations is a seven-week Lenten
Bible Study Guide. Jeff Lea's introduction explores Lent
as a penitential season, discussing penance and repentance.
Each weekly Bible Study starts with a Gospel reading.
There is a Lenten theme for each of the seven sessions.
Week One is "An Ash Wednesday Ritual and Discussion of
the Nature of Penance." Week Two is "The Nature of
Temptation." Week Three is "The Meaning of Sin in our
Lives." Week Four is "Faithfulness and Homosexuality."
Week Five is "The Joy of Being Gay." Week Six is "The
Meaning of Judgement." And the concluding session is
"The Last Supper and the Mandatum" (New Commandment).
Seven Appendices conclude the book: Solemnities and
Feasts in Lent, Lectionary Cycle Calendar, The Books
of the Old Testament of the Various Biblical Traditions,
Small Group Study Guidelines, an Ash Wednesday Liturgy,
a Maundy Thursday Liturgy, and a Bibliography.
Jeff Lea writes, "Far too many gay women and men continue
to view the primary Christian scripture, the Holy Bible,
as a document hostile to people whose expression of
intimate love is homosexual. Nothing can be further
from the truth. While the Bible does condemn the
ritualistic abuse of human sexuality it does not ever
express a view of same-sex love as an abomination. In
fact it affirms it in the love story of Jonathan and
"The Bible's primary message is Love. To love God,
ourselves, and each other as God has loved us. The
Bible is not a handbook on how to hate sin. It is a
transcript of the ongoing love story between God and
the people of God.
"Lent is the primary renewing and penitential season
of the Church year. It is the time of personal
examination and purification before we enter into the
Paschal mystery on Easter Sunday. We are at the door
to salvation during this time. Gay people are also at
that door and we too have an experience of conversion
and faith. These meditations present the point of view
of a gay male Christian exploring the liminal experience
of coming out gay, coming out Christian, and discovering
affirmation in the Bible. The book provides both a
daily meditation on the scriptural readings for Lent,
and a seven-week group study that explores penance from
a positive gay perspective."
"For Another Flock: Rainbow Meditations and Study Guide
for Lent" is spiral bound, 5 ½" x 8 ½", 104 pages, and
sells for $10.95 each, $8.95 each for six or more copies,
plus shipping and handling.
3. Ten New Years Resolutions
We saw this on the Internet as Ten Ways to Have a Great
Day, but it seems to us that these would make wonderful
New Years Resolutions, to reflect on and try to implement
all year round. May we suggest these are ways to have a
great day every day and to have a great year!
1. TODAY I WILL NOT STRIKE BACK:
If someone is rude,
if someone is impatient,
if someone is unkind....
I will not respond in a like manner.
2. TODAY I WILL ASK GOD TO BLESS MY "ENEMY":
If I come across someone who treats me harshly or unfairly,
I will quietly ask GOD to bless that individual.
I understand the "enemy" could be a family member,
neighbor, coworker, or stranger.
3. TODAY I WILL BE CAREFUL ABOUT WHAT I SAY:
I will carefully choose and guard my words being certain
that I do not spread gossip.
4. TODAY I WILL GO THE EXTRA MILE:
I will find ways to help share the burden of another
5. TODAY I WILL FORGIVE:
I will forgive any hurts or injuries that come my way.
6. TODAY I WILL DO SOMETHING NICE FOR SOMEONE, BUT I
WILL DO IT SECRETLY:
I will reach out anonymously and bless the life of another.
7. TODAY I WILL TREAT OTHERS THE WAY I WISH TO BE
I will practice the golden rule (do unto others as you
would have them do unto you) with everyone I encounter.
8. TODAY I WILL RAISE THE SPIRITS OF SOMEONE WHO IS
My smile, my words, my expression of support, can make
the difference to someone who is wrestling with life.
9. TODAY I WILL NURTURE MY BODY:
I will eat less;
I will eat only healthy foods;
I will exercise.
I will thank GOD for my body.
10. TODAY I WILL GROW SPIRITUALLY:
I will spend a little more time in prayer today:
I will read something spiritual or inspirational today;
I will find a quiet place (at some point during this day)
and listen to GOD's voice!
4. Soulforce to Confront James Dobson
Soulforce plans to confront James Dobson and Focus on
the Family on May 1, 2005. Here's their press release
about this event:
Come for the day Sunday, May 1, or come for the weekend!
(Optional events planned for April 30 and May 2).
Promotional Flyer with schedule is available at
be patient when downloading, it is a large file with color).
We hope to have 1000 people there to show Dobson and the
world that ALL FAMILIES MATTER!
We will be declaring Focus on the Family a "Toxic
Religion Zone" that hurts gay, lesbian, bisexual, and
transgender individuals, couples and families.
We will be confronting James Dobson for his continued
attempts to make America a fundamentalist "Christian"
nation through his strong arm tactics in Congress and
the White House.
We will be holding James Dobson accountable for the
misinformation about GLTB people he perpetuates through
his radio programs and books.
If you tell just 5 people, who tell 5 people, we can
have the biggest march around Focus on the Family that
James Dobson and the media have ever seen!
Please circulate this e-mail, or print out the flyer.
The flyer is blank on the back if you want to include
your own note when passing it along.
Please tell your friends and family! And join us in
Colorado Springs on May 1!
Sign up today at www.soulforce.org , and encourage others
to do the same.
If you can not attend, but are interested in supporting
the event, you can donate online at
We hope to see you there!
Soulforce is a national interfaith movement committed
to ending spiritual violence perpetuated by religious
policies and teachings against gay, lesbian, bisexual,
and transgender people. We teach and employ the
nonviolent principles of Gandhi and King to the
liberation of sexual and gender minorities.
Media contact: Laura@...
5. "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
"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 Timidly We Seek Him,
from the Epiphany section of "Christian with a Twist."
Please read Matthew 2:1-4, 7-12
Are we like the wise men? Do we boldly and without
wavering seek to encounter Jesus in our lives? Or
are we a bit timid in our faith journey? Do we waste
a lot of valuable time either trying to avoid Herod or
getting into fights with him? Maybe we get overly
involved in theological points with the priests and
scribes. I catch myself in that last little trick
every so often!
Sometimes we actually blame God for our not finding
Jesus. Why does God not give us a star like the wise
men, or at least a heavenly host to lead us away from
the flock and into the light?
Jesus does not seem to be sleeping under a bright light
these days. Sometimes he is not even in church.
Wonderful as church can be, it is a place to prepare
for the journey, not the final destination. Men and
women wiser than we keep mentioning that we will find
Jesus in the faces of strangers, or maybe friends and
family. Maybe sometimes we do see him there, but we
do not want to tell anyone. You never know where that
boogey man Herod might be lurking. He might hurt Jesus,
or make fun of our childlike vision.
It is a tough world we live in. We need a messiah with
a sword, a mighty king! God keeps just sending us Love,
childlike love. If Jesus would just appear all grown up
and strong instead of vulnerable and human, then we could
seek him boldly and tell the whole world when we found
him. We would give him our treasure too, if we were sure
he could take care of it.
6. 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.
Sat., Jan. 22, St. Vincent of Saragossa; Trust in Christ:
If you want to be at peace amidst temptations and
suffering, then make it your personal goal to grow in
your prayer life and your closeness to Christ. Have
confidence in Him. "I have told you these things, so
that in me you may have peace. In this world you will
have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world"
Sun., Jan. 23, St. Ildephonsus; Love of the Blessed Virgin:
None of us could stand to hear lies about our mother. We
should likewise not hear with indifference those about
Mary, Jesus' mother. "Virgin Mother of God, may I cleave
to God and to you, wait on your Lord and on you, serve
your son and you; Christ as my maker, you as the mother
of my maker, Him as the Lord of Hosts, you as the handmaid
of the Lord, Him as God, you as the mother of my God," St.
Diversity Date Commemoration: Thomas A. Dorsey, father
of contemporary gospel music.
Mon., Jan. 24, St. Francis de Sales (Patron saint: authors
and editors, hearing impaired); Gentleness: You can catch
more flies with a teaspoon of honey than a hundred barrels
of vinegar. "Were there anything better on earth than
gentleness, Jesus Christ would have taught it to us; and
yet He has given us only two lessons to learn of Him to
be meek and humble of heart," St. Francis de Sales.
"Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and
healing to the bones" (Proverbs 16:24).
Tues., Jan. 25, St. Polycarp (Patron saint: ear and ear
problems); Zealousness: "But every spirit that does not
acknowledge Jesus is not from God" (1 John 4:3). When the
false teacher Marcion met St. Polycarp in Rome, he asked
the aged bishop if he knew him. "Yes," Polycarp answered,
"I know you for the firstborn of Satan." These were
strange and harsh words from a gentle man. He hated
false teaching. "Be firm and immovable in the faith.
Love the brethren. Be affectionate to one another, being
bound together in the truth," St. Polycarp.
Wed., Jan. 26, St. Paula; Love of Jesus: Paula's love for
Jesus was stronger than the love of her own son, whose
tears were unable to weaken her resolve to live and die
in Bethlehem, where Jesus was born. When she first saw
the grotto where He was born, she exclaimed, "I salute
you, Bethlehem, the 'house of bread' wherein was born that
living bread who came down from heaven."
Thurs., Jan. 27, St. John Chrysostom (Patron saint:
orators, preachers); Attending church: To those who
objected that they could pray at home, Chrysostom replied
that of course they could. But, he went on, not so well
as in church in the company of fellow Christians; there
the worshippers' voices goes up with one accord. "In
every place incense and pure offerings will be brought
to my name, because my name will be great among the
nations, says the Lord Almighty" (Malachi 1:11).
Fri., Jan. 28, St. Peter Nolasco; Salvation of others:
St. Peter and his soldier-knights of the Mercedarian Order
for the redemption of captives were laymen who believed
that the salvation of others was entrusted to them. We
can all help each other with advise, prayer, but above
all, by good example and assist the salvation of our
friends and neighbors and thereby help with our own.
Sat., Jan. 29, St. Timothy (Patron saint: people with
stomach disorders); Bible reading: Timothy was a great
reader and lover of sacred scripture! To his very dying
hour, he remembered St. Paul's warning to him to "attend
to his reading." "Those who live in the world should
persevere in coming to church to hear sermons, and
should remember to read spiritual books," St. Philip
Neri. "Until I come, devote yourself to the public
reading of scripture, to preaching and to teaching" (1
Sun., Jan. 30, Bd. Sebastian Valfre; Serving faithfully:
"Do you know what it means by our being servants of God?
It means that we are bound to be concerned for God's
interests more than our own; extending God's supreme
dominion over us to all our actions, inward and outward;
to our health, our life, our death; to our reputation
and credit, to talents, riches and goods," Bd. Sebastian
Diversity Date: Commemoration: Mohandas K. Gandhi
Mon., Jan. 31, St. John Bosco (Patron saint: boys,
editors). Love the children: We are called by Christ
to love and care for children, not just our own, but
others' as well. Love may call for strictness towards
them, but that strictness must always be kind and never
rough. "Anything that a child regards as a punishment
may be used as such. A word of praise to one who
deserves it, a word of rebuke to one who has forgotten
himself, may often be a real reward or a real punishment,"
St. John Bosco.
Order the 2004-2005 Liturgical Calendar and Lectionary,
complete with the entire year's Sanctoral Cycle, at
7. Adam's Last Word
Well, the new year has begun. It snowed in Maryland on
Wednesday, our first snow of the season. It was only
about two inches, but of course the evening rush hour
was a nightmare and Washington area folks heedlessly
went too fast, skidded a lot, and bumped into each other
as if they had never seen a little bit of snow. And of
course it has been snowing most of the day today,
Saturday, and I am not leaving the house! Luckily I
can communicate with you all in this way.
I am seriously considering publishing a personal rant
in each issue of the Chi Rho Connection. Something
called The Curmudgeon Chronicles, perhaps. At 57
(and a half) I am claiming the right to be a Curmudgeon!
And I swear to the Merciful and Almighty God that while
I love humanity, people drive me just about crazy!
Idiots who can not drive on a little bit of snow; people
who chatter away on their cell phones while driving;
people who are reading the paper while driving, or
putting on their makeup; the US Government. Some good
friends, dog owners they are, say the more then know of
people the more they love their dogs.
But then it takes a certain kind of very special person
to have pets. And then there is the amazing difference
between dog and cat owners. You know, dogs have owners,
cats have staff.
With the new year comes new opportunities and new
challenges. In the face of profligate spending on the
President's Coronation, oops, I mean Inauguration, we
have the challenge to go the extra mile for the still-
growing number of victims of the tsunami in the Indian
Ocean. The death toll now stands at over 220,000. Pick
your relief agency carefully, but for the love of God,
pick one and give something!
The third article in this issue of the Chi Rho Connection
presents ten resolutions for the new year, which I
recommend to all of us. As I read them over, two things
occur to me: first, that these are not as easy as they
look at first glance. And second, that many of these
resolutions are just a matter of common courtesy. Yet
that sense of courtesy, kindness and thoughtfulness, and
civility has become sadly lacking in American culture
today, don't you think? It seems to me that we have
become a society of hateful, selfish, mean-spirited
people. Just sit back and watch drivers on the roads,
at least around the Capitol Beltway and Rt. 270! People
are in such a rush to cut each other off, jump to the
head of a line of traffic, speed past each other, and
get in front of the next guy, that driving around
Washington DC has become more of a contact sport than
an exercise in mere transportation.
Of course that is coupled with an appalling Me First
attitude, that puts the individual ahead of all others.
And what's with this culture of instant gratification?
Why do we need to always be connected? Cell phones now
have our e-mail on them, and instant messages, and voice
mail, and God only knows what else. What's THAT about?
What are all these people talking about? And what is
so urgent that it can't wait a bit? Remember busy
signals? Remember having to think, well, he's talking
on the phone now, I'll just call back later.
I think this is all part of the disappearance of civility
in our daily lives. We need to shut off the damned cell
phones and look around. Pay attention to the person you
are with instead of checking your e-mail on your cell
phone. Focus a bit more on what you are doing and stop
multi-tasking, which ends up meaning that you are doing
a lot of things poorly all at the same time.
And bring back a little common courtesy to our lives,
bring civility back to the culture.
I guess I have started The Curmudgeon Chronicles here!
I do hope that all of our Chi Rho Press Community has a
wonderful, productive, civil, and joyous 2005. May God's
blessings be on you all.
And please buy some books today!
Gracia y paz,
R. Adam DeBaugh, Director, Adam@....
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