Chi Rho Connection, Vol. VI, No. 2
CHI RHO CONNECTION
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.
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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:
Me: Hello. How are you?
I waited for an intelligent response. He responded
after a few seconds of silence from me with another
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
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
"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
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
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,"
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"
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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