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Chi Rho Connection, Vol. VI, No. 2

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  • Adam DeBaugh
    ************************* CHI RHO CONNECTION The eNewsletter of Chi Rho Press, Your LGBT Christian Publishing House Vol. VI, No. 2 31 January 2005
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 31, 2005

      The eNewsletter of Chi Rho Press,
      Your LGBT Christian Publishing House
      Vol. VI, No. 2
      31 January 2005



      1. The Curmudgeon Chronicles
      2. Featured Books for Lent
      3. 'The Journey is Our Home:' Sharing Our Faith
      4. Have you gotten the Liturgical Calendar?
      5. "Christian with a Twist"
      6. Sanctoral Cycle
      7. Adam's Last Word


      This issue's Quotes:

      "Never continue in a job you don't enjoy. If you're
      happy in what you're doing, you'll like yourself,
      you'll have inner peace. And if you have that, along
      with physical health, you will have had more success
      than you could possibly have imagined."
      Johnny Carson, 1925-2005, Talk Show Host and


      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. The Curmudgeon Chronicles
      by Adam DeBaugh (Curmudgeon in Chief, Chi Rho Press)

      I seem to recall that at one point some people were
      hailing the Internet as a creation that would foster
      the return to writing or at the very least a return
      to civilized discourse. I fear they were delusional.
      Never underestimate the ability of people to misuse
      a new communication technology to further dumb down
      what passes for culture in our society.

      I have an on-line acquaintance who loves to send
      Instant Messages. (Yes, I am on AOhell, mostly to
      save on long distance telephone bills.) My last IM
      conversation with this acquaintance, however, went
      something like this:

      Him: Hi
      Me: Hello. How are you?
      Him: :-)

      I waited for an intelligent response. He responded
      after a few seconds of silence from me with another
      "smiley face."

      I hope our readers are not suffering under the delusion
      that those insipid smiley faces constitute conversation.
      If you want to chat, you should bloody well write
      something, instead of sending those moronic electronic
      grins. My acquaintance is not a stupid man; why would
      he go out of his way to seem so?

      AOhell and even Microsoft has given in to this nonsense,
      so that when you type a colon and a parathetical mark it
      automatically converts to one of those egregious "smiley
      faces." They have even come up with a pseudo-intellectual
      name for them. "Emoticons!" Oh please! I suppose it is
      better than "smiley faces," which I really hate to say or

      One acquaintance explained his excessive use of the
      noxious little symbols by saying they were "cute."
      "Cute!" Kittens are cute. Some (but not all) small
      children are cute. I have a friend who likes to say
      that I am cute (talk about delusional!). Cute is nice,
      but useless in conversation.

      Which brings me back to the notion of the Internet
      fostering more writing. People are writing more, but
      what they are writing is often just so much drivel.
      (Sort of like those cell phone conversations you
      overhear in the market, "Yeah, I am at the Giant.
      Now I am in the produce aisle." But that is for another
      rant.) These are not written communications that will
      be collected in weighty volumes. And the laziness of
      it all! Abbreviations abound. Does it really take
      that much more time to type out "you" instead of "u"?
      I actually have heard people say the letters LOL in
      conversation. And the odd thing was that they were
      not "Laughing Out Loud," they were SAYING they were
      laughing out loud.

      Conversation is truly a lost art, and the art of
      conversation has not been improved by Instant Messaging.
      It has only become more vapid and inane. Civilized
      discourse has become an ephemera, lost in the welter
      of moronic IMs and emoticons.

      Where are standards? I'll C U l8r. ;-)


      2. Featured Books: Two Lenten Studies

      Lent begins on Wednesday, Feb. 9, just a few days 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:
      You Need Only to be Still

      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. 'The Journey is Our Home:' Sharing Our Faith

      Back in September 2002 we started soliciting our
      readers and authors to contribute essays for a series
      in the Chi Rho Connection in which people tell the
      story of their faith journeys. The title of this
      column, 'The Journey is Our Home,' comes from a
      wonderful contemporary hymn by Ruth Duck, called
      'Lead on, O Cloud of Yahweh.' The whole second
      verse reads,

      Lead on, O fiery pillar,
      We follow yet with fears,
      But we shall come rejoicing
      Though joy be born of tears.
      We are not lost, though wandering,
      For by your light we come,
      And we are still God's people,
      The journey is our home.

      We would like to resume this series, publishing a
      new faith story in each issue of the Chi Rho
      Connection. Our writers will be well known and
      not famous at all, clergy and lay people, LGBT
      people and non-gay people, people from all walks
      of life, and even Christians and non-Christians.

      If you would like to contribute the story of your
      faith journey for inclusion in 'The Journey is Our
      Home,' please try to limit your story to 500 words.
      Write us at Connection@... with your


      4. Have you gotten the Liturgical Calendar?

      Have you gotten your copy of this year's Liturgical
      Calendar and Lectionary, Year A, November 2004
      through November 2005, compiled by Raye-Anne
      Dorn and the Rev. Clay Witt. $11.95 each, six or
      more copies, $9.50 each, plus shipping and handling.

      The Liturgical Calendar is spiral bound so it can lie
      flat for easy use, in the popular 8 ½" x 11" format.

      The 2004-2005 Liturgical Calendar will be a helpful
      aid for anyone involved in planning worship, as well
      as a useful resource for all who want to know more
      about the Church year and the rich liturgical life
      of the Church Universal.

      You may now order the 2004-2005 Liturgical Calendar
      and Lectionary on the Chi Rho Press Web site at this

      The Liturgical Calendar is $11.95 each, six or more
      copies are $9.50 each, plus shipping and handling.


      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 Self Presentation,
      from the Epiphany section of "Christian with a Twist."

      Please read Mark 1:4, 9-11

      I once heard a preacher begin a sermon on this passage
      by suggesting that we would wonder why Jesus would have
      to be baptized since he was without sin. This made me
      think so much about having never wondered such a thing
      that I pretty much missed the rest of the sermon.

      If I had been there with John at the Jordan River in
      those days I may have been surprised at seeing Jesus
      arrive. I may have been awestruck at his presence,
      but I do not think I would have been surprised to see
      him get in line for baptism. Likewise, if Jesus were
      to worship with us, I would fully expect to see him
      go up and take communion.

      Our own experience has a lot to do with how we relate
      Jesus to our own lives. All of us have heard that
      baptism is to wash away our sins, but how much washing
      we think we need depends on how we view ourselves.
      That, in turn, depends on the signals we have gotten
      from others.

      To me it seems that the word sin is far overused. I
      am sure I have sinned, but I do not think of myself
      as a sinner. Others do, I suppose, but not the people
      who loved me in my formative years. I cannot believe
      that God thinks of us as sinners either. I just cannot
      think that God says, "Well, I had better check on how
      the sinners are doing."

      I know I am neglecting the concept of original sin from
      which some think even a newborn baby must be cleansed.
      I remember hearing older women in church and family
      asking in hushed tones when someone died, "Was he
      saved?" and seeing the sigh of relief when the answer
      was yes.

      For me baptism was presenting myself to God in front
      of a faith community who shared the commitment I was
      making. It was not a turning away from a sinful past
      life, but rather a milestone in a life that I had come
      to appreciate more fully as God-given and God-guided.
      Sin was simply not on my mind. I was looking toward
      the future and I think God was, too.

      That Jesus presented himself before God as he began a
      ministry that would change the world seems the most
      natural of acts to me. Jesus had nothing to turn
      away from, but certainly much to move toward. That
      God's voice was heard proclaiming, "You are my Son,
      the Beloved; with you I am well pleased," may have
      been miraculous, but it was as naturally motivated
      as our applause after one of our own comes up and is



      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.


      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.

      Tues., Feb. 1, St. Ignatius of Antioch. Being one with
      Christ: St. Ignatius exhorted others and now us to
      develop a union with Christ. "I write to you while I
      am still alive, but longing for death. My Love has
      been crucified, and there is no desire of earthly things
      in me," St. Ignatius.

      Diversity Date: February is African-American History

      Wed., Feb. 2, St. Francis Solano. Making peace: The
      first degree of virtue is to keep at peace with God; the
      second to keep peace with our neighbors; the third and
      most perfect is to make peace between those who are
      enemies and to do this for the sake of Christ, who is
      our peace. "When one's ways are pleasing to the Lord,
      one makes even enemies live at peace with one" (Proverbs

      Thurs., Feb. 3, St. Blaise (Patron saint: throat
      ailments). Healing: St. Blaise was a physician in
      Armenia before receiving his vocation. During his
      lifetime in the fourth century, the persecution of
      Christians was again undertaken. Blaise received a
      vision from God to escape into the hills. He was
      later found in a cave surrounded by sick animals
      he was tending. While awaiting his execution, he
      miraculously healed a young boy who was choking on
      a fish bone. St. Blaise is one of the Catholic
      Church's 14 "auxiliary saints" or holy helpers, who
      provide cures for various illnesses.

      Fri., Feb. 4, St. Joan of Valois. Praying three times
      daily: The sound of the bell calling St. Joan to prayer
      three times a day gave her hope amidst her sorrows and
      unhappiness. "As nothing was made without the Word, so
      nothing was remade without Mary, the mother of the Word,"
      St. Damasus.

      Sat., Feb. 5, St. Paul Miki. Be thankful for grace:
      If you are to keep the grace of God, you must be
      grateful when it is given and patient when it is taken
      away. You must pray that it may be given back to you
      and be careful and humble so that it is not lost again.

      Sun., Feb. 6, St. Titus. Sympathy for all: Christians
      bring others to the faith by their willingness to be
      sympathetic to all and by sharing their love of Christ
      with them. Titus was firm, respectful of others, and
      a patient man. He was also quick to detect and bring
      out in others all that was good in them. "Rejoice with
      those who persecute you; mourn with those who mourn.
      Live in harmony with one another" (Romans 12:15-16).

      Mon., Feb. 7, St. Romuald. Making good out of bad:
      Romuald's life teaches us that if we follow the
      impulses of the Holy Spirit, we will only find good,
      even in the most unpleasant of circumstances. Our
      own sins, the sins of others, their ill will against
      us, or our own mistakes and misfortunes, are equally
      capable of leading us to God's mercy, love, and

      Tues., Feb. 8, St. Jerome Emiliani (Patron saint:
      orphans). Love of Christ's little ones: St. Jerome's
      special love was for deserted and orphaned children.
      Let us learn from him to exert ourselves on their behalf.
      "The fatherless child is snatched from the breast, the
      infant of the poor is seized for a debt, lacking clothes
      they go naked, they carry sheaves, but still go hungry"
      (Job 24:9-10).

      Diversity Date: Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras

      Wed., Feb. 9. Ash Wednesday

      Thurs., Feb. 10, St. Scholastica (Patron saint: bad
      weather). Family: Very little is known about
      Scholastica apart from the fact that she was the sister
      of the great patriarch of monks, St. Benedict. She
      loved her brother dearly and would travel great
      distances every year to spend time with him and talk
      about God's graces and mercy. Our relations with our
      families must be of love for and in God.

      Fri., Feb. 11, St. Benedict of Aniane. Lukewarm fervor:
      Monastic discipline decayed because of undue severity,
      indulgence by superiors, and greed. St. Benedict's
      restoration of monastic life proved that none is safe
      from loss of fervor but that it can be regained by being
      faithful to grace. "Let us cast off this fatal
      lukewarmness which provokes God to reject us," St. Bernard.

      Sat., Feb. 12. St. Alexis Falconieri. Devotion to the
      Blessed Virgin: St. Alexis devoted his life to the
      founding of the Servants of Mary. The Servites work to
      spread the devotion to Mary's sorrows, the great grief
      she suffered at the sight of her son's crucifixion.
      "Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, 'this child
      is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in
      Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so
      that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And
      a sword will pierce your own soul too'" (Luke 2:34).

      Sun., Feb. 13, St. Catherine dei Ricci. Pray for the
      dead: St. Catherine offered many prayers, fasts, and
      penances for a certain man whom she believed was in
      purgatory. Because of her love for all humanity she
      prayed to be allowed to suffer for all punishment that
      he had incurred. Her prayer was granted and for forty
      days she underwent great suffering. "Help the souls in
      purgatory by your prayers, deliver them by your good
      works," St. Albert the Great.

      Mon., Feb. 14, Bd. John Baptist of Almodovar. Stability:
      We need to beware of change for the sake of change as an
      illusion of a more perfect service to God. When we make
      capricious changes, we distrust God's providence and
      gratify our self-needs. "Therefore, my dear brothers
      and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always
      give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because
      you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain"
      (1 Corinthians 15:58).

      Tues., Feb. 15, St. Raymond of Penyfort. Captives:
      Pray for protection from fearful servitude, which is
      worse than slavery that even one sinful habit tends
      to form. "An uncurbed will led to lust, and lust
      served became habit, and habit not resisted became
      necessity. By which links joined together (whence I
      called it a chain) a hard bondage held me enthralled,"
      St. Augustine. "They promise them freedom, while they
      themselves are slaves of depravity for one is a slave
      to whatever has mastered one" (2 Peter 2:19).


      Order the 2004-2005 Liturgical Calendar and Lectionary,
      complete with the entire year's Sanctoral Cycle, at
      this link: http://www.chirhopress.com/products/product_details/BookRevLiturgicalCa04_05.html


      7. Adam's Last Word

      A special reminder to those using the Shopping Cart
      on our Web site: Webminister Clay Witt has created
      a new shipping and handling schedule which gives
      you choices of shipping methods for your order.
      The default is to United Parcel Service ground
      rate, but there are other choices as well. Please
      look at the drop down and select the most appropriate
      shipping method, some of which will be less expensive
      for you. UPS themselves will tell you that United
      States Postal Service (USPS) parcel post will be more
      economical for orders weighing less than seven pounds.

      Please take the time to check all your options when


      Please join Chi Rho Press as a partner in ministry
      with Dr. Rembert Truluck. You may buy his wonderful
      and inspiring book, "Steps to Recovery from Bible
      Abuse," on line at
      Or make a fully tax-deductible contribution by making
      your gift check out to Chi Rho Press, designate that
      it is "For Dr. Truluck" in the memo line, and send it
      to Chi Rho Press, P.O. Box 7864, Gaithersburg, MD 20898,
      USA. If you prefer, you may make your contribution on
      line at this link: http://www.chirhopress.com/sponsor.html.
      Just note in the "Special Instructions and Comments" that
      your contribution is designated "For Dr. Truluck" and we
      will make sure he receives your generous gift.


      On a budget? There are two books on our Remainder Table
      at reduced prices. You can find "Called OUT! The
      Voices and Gifts of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and
      Transgendered Presbyterians" by the Rev. Jane Adams
      Spahr, et al, and "Come Home: Reclaiming Spirituality
      and Community as Gay Men and Lesbians," by Chris
      Glaser. Both books are at significantly reduced

      Visit the Remainder Table at this link:


      A plumbing disaster has caused some significant water
      damage on the first floor of my house, including some
      books that were stored there (which may find their
      way to the Remainder Table!) and I am dealing with all
      that. I hope your month is closing out a bit better
      than mine did.

      Have a grand couple of weeks. And please, get your
      faith stories to us for 'The Journey is Our Home'
      series. We would love to hear from you and publish
      your faith journey.


      Gracia y paz,

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


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      Copyright 2005, Chi Rho Press, Inc.
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