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Chi Rho Connection, Vol. VI, No. 1

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  • Adam DeBaugh
    ************************* CHI RHO CONNECTION The eNewsletter of Chi Rho Press, Your LGBT Christian Publishing House Vol. VI, No. 1 22 Janary 2005
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 22, 2005

      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


      Welcome once again to the Chi Rho Connection, the
      electronic newsletter of Chi Rho Press. Thank you
      for passing this Chi Rho Connection on to others.

      To join our list, send an e-mail message to

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      Please visit our Web site at http://www.chirhopress.com
      to see our entire lines of books, handouts, videos,
      tapes, tchochkas, and stained glass.

      Direct all other e-mail to Adam@....


      1. 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
      the Right."


      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!

      If someone is rude,
      if someone is impatient,
      if someone is unkind....
      I will not respond in a like manner.

      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.

      I will carefully choose and guard my words being certain
      that I do not spread gossip.

      I will find ways to help share the burden of another

      I will forgive any hurts or injuries that come my way.

      I will reach out anonymously and bless the life of another.

      I will practice the golden rule (do unto others as you
      would have them do unto you) with everyone I encounter.

      My smile, my words, my expression of support, can make
      the difference to someone who is wrestling with life.

      I will eat less;
      I will eat only healthy foods;
      I will exercise.
      I will thank GOD for my body.

      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
      http://www.soulforce.org/pdf/dobsonflyer.pdf. (Please
      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@...
      Questions: Protest@...


      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
      William Gaston.

      "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"
      (John 16:33).

      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
      Timothy 4:13).

      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
      this link:


      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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      Copyright 2005, Chi Rho Press, Inc.
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