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Chi Rho Connection, Vol. VI, No. 4

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  • Adam DeBaugh
    ************************* CHI RHO CONNECTION The eNewsletter of Chi Rho Press, Your LGBT Christian Publishing House Vol. VI, No. 4 28 February 2005
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 28, 2005
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      *************************
      CHI RHO CONNECTION

      The eNewsletter of Chi Rho Press,
      Your LGBT Christian Publishing House
      Vol. VI, No. 4
      28 February 2005

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

      Contents:

      1. The Curmudgeon Chronicles
      2. Looking for Writers for "The Journey is Our
      Home:" Sharing Our Faith Journeys
      3. "The Journey is Our Home:" Sharing Our Faith
      Journeys: Reflections on Lent, by Raye-Anne Dorn
      4. Have you read "Called Out"?
      5. New Books on the Remaindered Table
      6. Suggestions for the Liturgical Calendar
      7. "Christian with a Twist"
      8. Sanctoral Cycle
      9. Adam's Last Word

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

      This issue's Quote:

      In a letter written near the end of his life, J. R. R.
      Tolkien wrote, "so it may be said that the chief purpose
      of life, for any one of us, is to increase according to
      our capacity our knowledge of God by all the means we
      have, and to be moved by it to praise and thanks."

      *****

      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
      mailto:ChiRhoPress-subscribe@yahoogroups.com.

      To remove yourself from this list send an e-mail to
      mailto:ChiRhoPress-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com.

      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)

      We hear a lot about spiritual gifts in some churches
      these days. The problem as I see it is that too many
      of us are exercising the wrong gifts, and not all
      those gifts we most utilize in our lives are spiritual!

      We are constantly tempted by the bad spiritual gifts
      that we still love from our past. You know those
      gifts: Paranoia, Cynicism, Criticism, Power-Tripping,
      Co-dependence, Conflict, Stubbornness, Gossip, Back-
      Biting, Lack of Trust, Dysfunction, Low Self Esteem,
      Abuse, and my personal favorite, Pouting.

      These are gifts from some source other than God, yet
      they are very familiar, aren't they? Sometimes I
      feel I have these gifts, and gifts like them, in
      more abundance than any others. And that's pretty
      scary. You may have seen them evidenced in your
      own church, or even in your own lives.

      Church folk love to fight. And when we are fighting,
      we often are not being the Church of Jesus Christ.
      That doesn't mean we can't disagree, but we disagree
      with love and tolerance, not the hatefulness and
      viciousness and unyielding insistence on having
      everything one's own way often seen in our churches.

      Just my opinion, of course. I could be wrong. But
      where are standards?

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

      2. Looking for Writers for "The Journey is Our
      Home:" Sharing Our Faith Journeys

      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. You do not have to tell
      everything about your faith journey, of course, just a
      piece of it!

      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
      submission.

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

      3. "The Journey is Our Home:" Sharing Our Faith
      Journeys: Reflections on Lent
      by Raye-Anne Dorn

      Here's a bit of the faith journey of Chi Rho Press
      Board member Raye-Anne Dorn.

      Lent is a reminder of our necessity to reunite
      ourselves by a penitential spirit with Christ's
      work of salvation. The fasting during Lent enables
      us to unite ourselves more closely and effectively
      with Christ. But Lent is a useless season unless
      we make a sincere and personal effort to change our
      lives and make them better, to lead these lives with
      greater reliance on Christ while making reparations
      for our past.

      I tend to think of Lent as a forty-day retreat into
      self-development. Lent presents Christ as the example
      to imitate. Through fasting, penance, and prayer, we
      are united to his sufferings so that we can partake of
      his redemption.

      The meaning of Lent then is for us a season of
      spiritual development. This development involves
      taking a long, hard look at where we are and where
      we should be. It involves the assessing of our
      values and seeing how they stack up against Jesus'
      example.

      So why do Lent? Lent is a time for making a necessary
      serious mind and heart change, and fasting, like all
      of the penitential exercises, is offered to God for
      God's use in molding us.

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

      4. Have you Read "Called OUT"?

      We believe that Presbyterians and indeed all people
      of faith need to read "Called OUT! The Voices and
      Gifts of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered
      Presbyterians" now more than ever.

      "Called OUT!" was compiled by the Rev. Jane Adams
      Spahr, Kathryn Poethig, Selisse Berry, and Melinda
      McLain. In it 39 LGBT Presbyterians tell their
      stories about their lives in, and out of the
      Presbyterian Church. People from both the old
      northern and southern churches, and the reunited
      Presbyterian Church (USA), from all over the United
      States, tell their stories here with candor, wit,
      and faith. An important book for all who either
      are Lesbian or Gay or would seek to understand
      Gay people of faith, regardless of their religion.
      Now in its second printing, "Called OUT!" has been
      called an incredibly valuable book. Former Stated
      Clerk William P. Thompson said "Presbyterians
      should read 'Called OUT' within the year."

      "Called OUT!" is available from Chi Rho Press for
      $17.95 each, six or more copies for $15.25 each.
      You may order on our web site at
      http://www.chirhopress.com/products/product_details/BookRevCalledOut.html

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

      5. New Books on the Remaindered Table

      As you will recall, from time to time, books are
      returned to us from bookstores or distribution houses,
      or damaged in storage. Often these books are not able
      to be sold as "new" because the bookstore has put a
      price sticker on the back cover or the covers have been
      damaged in transit, or the covers got slightly damp in
      a plumbing disaster! As a result, we sell these
      slightly damaged books on our Remainder Table at a
      significant saving to you.

      The insides of the books on our Remainder Table are
      not damaged, just the covers. Most of the damage is
      slight. The books on our Remainder Table are 40% off
      the list price.

      All sales from the Remainder Table are subject to
      availability. No returns or refunds are permitted.

      Please visit our Remainder Table and order one or
      all of the four books currently on sale there. The link is:
      http://www.chirhopress.com/products/remainders.html

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

      6. Suggestions for the Liturgical Calendar

      We would like to have your input if you are one of the
      many Chi Rho Press customers who use our annual Liturgical
      Calendar and Lectionary in worship planning. Even though
      we are not far into this church year, our authors have
      begun work on the 2005-2006 edition so that it will be
      published well before the beginning of the next church
      year in November.

      Now is your chance to make suggestions. If you use this
      publication, we would like to hear from you about what
      you like about it that we should continue and how we
      might improve it to better meet your needs. Please send
      your comments to adam@....

      If you don't already have a copy of this year's Liturgical
      Calendar and Lectionary, it is not too late to order your
      copy at this link:
      http://www.chirhopress.com/products/product_details/BookRevLiturgicalCa04_05.html

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

      7. "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 the
      late 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
      http://www.chirhopress.com/products/product_details/BookRevChristianWithATwist.htm

      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 "Snap Out of It!"
      from the Lent section of "Christian with a Twist."

      Please read Genesis 2:4b-9 and Romans 5:12

      One of the purposes of the book of Genesis must have
      been to give an explanation of how things came to be.
      All ancient cultures had such stories, and it is
      amazing how similar they are. Now of course, with
      our modern scientific approach to things we know much,
      much more. Of course, comparing what we know, even
      now, to all that there is to know probably leaves much
      room for future generations to impress the God that
      created them.

      By evolution, big bang, or whatever, God surely did
      create the earth and the heavens. It does not take
      any genius to look up and look down and know that
      they are there. It does not say Sony or Mitsubishi
      anywhere on them. God is by definition the source
      of all there is. You can call God something else,
      but you can not deny that a piece of creative work
      has been done. God did it. There was nobody else
      around to even put a bid on the contract.

      How, why, when, and how long it took are interesting
      details. I suppose that God might find some of our
      efforts to do so quite amusing, sort of like
      watching a child try to figure out a new toy.

      Of course we do grow up. God created us to do that,
      hard as that sometimes is to believe, and not only
      can we figure out a lot of things, we can pass
      knowledge on to others. That is a good thing.
      I do not know about you, but I am particularly
      fond of indoor plumbing and central heat. Modern
      medicine has benefited me, too. I am kind of glad
      that somebody found some knowledge, whether on a
      tree or elsewhere.

      It is wonderful how God created so much and still
      left us plenty to do to occupy our time. We have
      accomplished quite a lot since the time of Genesis.
      We could not have done any of it without the
      resources God provided but, hey, we get at least
      a C+ for our efforts.

      So why do we insist on bragging about how bad we
      can be? From way back in Genesis we have been
      claiming that we can sin so powerfully that we
      even created death itself. But no, we did not.
      God created life and living things that grow and
      change, reproduce and die. Life itself is eternal
      and anything about us that God considers worth
      saving will live on in eternity.

      Our sins cause a lot of heartache. They are
      distracting little blips in God's infinite plan,
      but they are not the be all and end all of creation.
      God created the earth and the heavens. Do you not
      think God could snap us out of it if we were too
      far out of hand? God just has an amazing amount
      of patience.

      http://www.chirhopress.com/products/product_details/BookRevChristianWithATwist.htm

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

      8. 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., Feb. 28, Bd. Angela of Foligno. God Is Our Father:
      "I said the Our Father with so much contrition and
      recollection, pronouncing every word carefully, that
      though I was in anguish at the thought of my sins, I
      yet received immense comfort and tasted something
      of the bliss God grants God's loved ones. I have never
      found a better way for realizing God's mercy than by
      saying that prayer which Jesus taught us," Bd. Angela
      of Foligno.

      Tues., Mar. 1, St. David (Patron saint: poets). Loving
      the faith: St. David believed that physical austerity is
      useless without charity and humbleness. We are blessed,
      not simply for drinking only water and eating only one
      meal per day, but for hungering and thirsting for holiness.

      Tues., Mar. 1, Diversity Date: Women's History Month

      Wed., Mar. 2, St. Chad. Desire of heaven: The desire
      to be in heaven is the soul's comfort food. St. Chad
      longed for the peace of his cloister and often would
      spend hours meditating on heaven. "I lift up my eyes
      to you, to you whose throne is in heaven" (Psalm 123:1).

      Diversity Date. The Jones Act: granted U.S. citizenship
      to Puerto Ricans.

      Thurs., Mar. 3, St. Aelred. True friendship: When we
      give ourselves to God, God gives us back friendship with
      all God's other gifts. Friends are no longer loved for
      themselves, but in and for God, and are loved with a love
      that is living and strong; for God can purify feeling.
      It is not feeling, but self-love and self-centeredness
      that corrupts friendship. "A friend loves at all times,
      and a brother or sister is born for adversity" (Proverbs
      17:17).

      Fri., Mar. 4, St. Casimir of Poland (Patron saint:
      bachelors). Praise of Mary: St. Casimir was the
      second son of Casimir IV, king of Poland. He grew
      up in an atmosphere of luxury, however the young
      prince turned his back on all of it to dedicate
      himself to the charity of the poor and afflicted.
      He had a special love and devotion to the Virgin
      Mary and his love for her was expressed as a hymn,
      "Daily, daily sing to Mary."

      Sat., Mar. 5, St. John Joseph of the Cross. Sympathy:
      Sympathy consists of realizing the suffering of others
      as our own. St. John Joseph teaches us that to do this
      we have to put aside our own feeling for the love of
      Christ. St. John Joseph was often not content to relive
      the sufferings of others but at times took them upon
      himself.

      Sun., Mar. 6, Sts. Perpetua and Felicity (Patron saints:
      barren women). Strength in weakness: God puts the
      example of women before us so that we can learn courage.
      God calls upon us to endure suffering of body and mind,
      if necessary, to prove our faithfulness to God. But
      God promises to uphold us by God's strength, light,
      and divine encouragement. "My grace is sufficient for
      you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" (2
      Corinthians 12:9).

      Mon., Mar. 7, St. Thomas Aquinas (Patron saint:
      publishers). Chastity: "I don't understand how a
      man can ever smile if he is in a state of mortal sin,"
      St. Thomas Aquinas. A story tells that when St. Thomas
      was confined at Rocca Secca, his brothers tried to
      entrap him by sending a woman to his cell. He picked
      up a burning brand from the hearth and chased her out.
      He dreamed that night that two angels had girded him
      with a cord, a token of the gift of perpetual chastity.
      The Confraternity of Angelic Warfare still wear the
      cords under their clothing for the preservation of
      their chastity.

      Tues., Mar. 8, St. John of God (Patron saint: book
      sellers, fire fighters, heart patients). The rewards
      of charity: God rewards us for works that are pleasing
      in God's sight by giving us grace and opportunity to do
      yet better. St. John of God attributed his conversion
      and the grace that enabled him to do so much to what he
      had done in his prior life helping Christian slaves in
      Africa. "I have never seen a compassionate and
      charitable [person] die a bad death," St. Augustine.

      Wed., Mar. 9, St. Gregory of Nyssa. Hope in the worst
      of times: Learn from St. Gregory to stand up earnestly
      and humbly for the truth, and to leave the rest to God,
      in whose hand the gift of faith resides. "I wash my
      hands in innocence, and go about your altar, O Lord,
      proclaiming aloud your praise and telling of all your
      wonderful deeds" (Psalm 26:6-7).

      Thurs., Mar. 10, The Forty Martyrs. Strength in numbers:
      All of us that live in the grace of Christ are one.
      Thank God for binding you to others by spiritual ties
      and pray that the bond that unites you here may last
      for eternity. "Friendship which is broken by death
      is no true friendship," St. Ambrose. "An offended
      brother is more unyielding than a fortified city and
      disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel"
      (Proverbs 18:19).

      Fri., Mar. 11, St. Andrew Corsini. Repentance: St.
      Andrew is a prime example of a true penitent: one who
      trusts firmly in God's forgiveness but never forgives
      himself. "Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads
      to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow
      brings death" (2 Corinthians 7:10).

      Sat., Mar. 12, St. Gregory I. Conversions: "Restore
      us to yourself, O Lord, that we may return; renew our
      days as of old unless you have utterly rejected us
      and are angry with us beyond measure" (Lamentations
      5:21-22).

      Sun., Mar. 13, St. Isidore of Skete. Mind yourself:
      St. Isidore teaches us to avoid opportunities to go
      astray; not only situations that may cause great
      danger, but also any that may give rise to anger,
      vanity, excessive pride and arrogance, or any other
      passions. "The enemy of our souls in his malice does
      all he can do to induce us to sin; let us on our part
      do all that we ought to do. Have recourse to prayer,
      and the enemy will be put to flight. It is by
      thinking of God that we gain the victory," St.
      Isidore.

      Mon., Mar. 14, St. Fructuosus. Perseverance in prayer:
      Often we lose the joy of the Holy Spirit when we need
      it the most: during our times of trial and hardship.
      We lose the Holy Spirit because we do not pray. Jesus
      teaches us to pray always if we are to get the strength
      we need against our spiritual enemies and that we
      should be ready to meet those enemies with a spirit
      of confidence in the victory.

      Tues., Mar. 15, St. Louise de Marillac (Patron saint:
      social workers). Our brother's keeper: "As for your
      conduct toward the poor, may you never take the
      attitude of merely getting the task done. You
      must show them affection; serving them from the
      heart inquiring of them what they need; speaking to
      them gently and compassionately; procuring necessary
      help for them without being too bothersome or too
      eager," St. Louise de Marillac.

      *****

      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

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

      9. Adam's Last Word

      Do check out the two new titles added to our Remainder Table.
      You can benefit from the plumbing disaster which befell me
      in my house!

      *****

      We invite you to 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
      http://www.chirhopress.com/products/product_details/BookRevStepsToRecovery.html

      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.

      *****

      Gracia y paz,

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

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

      We are glad you are partners in ministry with us here at
      Chi Rho Press. We are eager for your comments, your
      suggestions, your assistance with selling our books,
      and your own purchases! And of course, we covet your
      prayers for this ministry.

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      Chi Rho Press, Inc.
      P.O. Box 7864
      Gaithersburg, MD 20898

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      friends can order using credit cards on our Web page.
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      distributor, MAP Enterprises, Mary Ann Pearson, at her
      Web page, http://www.christiangays.com

      Copyright 2005, Chi Rho Press, Inc.
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