Chi Rho Connection, Vol. VII, No. 4
CHI RHO CONNECTION
The eNewsletter of Chi Rho Press,
Your LGBT Christian Publishing House
Vol. VII, No. 4
5 March 2006
1. Will the Oscar go to...? And, more
importantly ... Lessons from "Brokeback Mountain"
for the Presbyterian Church (USA), by Michael Adee
2. Two Lenten Studies
3. May We Suggest "Come Home!"?
4. Modern Proverbs (Tongue in Cheek)
5. "Christian with a Twist"
6. Sanctoral Cycle
7. Adam's Last Word
This issue's Quote:
"Until we have faced the controversies of life,
explained our own position on them, and, at the
same time, been open to the opinions, information,
and attitudes of others, we have not really joined
the human race. We have only been observers of the
struggle rather than participants in the human quest
Sister Joan Chittister
(Joan D. Chittister, a Benedictine Sister of Erie,
PA, USA is a best-selling author and a well-known
national and international lecturer. She is founder
and executive director of Benetvision: A Resource and
Research Center for Contemporary Spirituality, and
past president of the Conference of American
Benedictine Prioresses and the Leadership Conference
of Women Religious. Sister Joan has been recognized
by universities and national organizations for her
work for justice, peace, and equality for women in
Church and society.
Thanks to James Michael Hayes, of MCC Boston,
Massachusetts, USA for this quote.)
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. Will the Oscar go to...? And, more
importantly ... Lessons from "Brokeback Mountain"
for the Presbyterian Church (USA)
(Editor's Note: We saw this excellent article on
the More Light Presbyterians list-serve and was
given permission to reprint it here by the author,
Michael J. Adee, M.Div., Ph.D., National Field
Organizer, More Light Presbyterians and openly
gay Elder, First Presbyterian Church, Santa Fe,
NM. michael@... www.mlp.org. Many thanks
to Michael for his gracious permission and his
wise insights. Not only are Michael's points
well taken for the Presbyterian Church, but for
all churches struggling with the issues of LGBT
people of faith in their midst.)
It is clearly becoming one of the most highly
acclaimed and talked about films in history based
upon the award-winning short story by the Pulitzer
Prize-winning author, Annie Proulx. Proulx's story
of Ennis del Mar and Jack Twist, two ranch hands
who meet in 1963 herding sheep on a mountain in
Wyoming, fall in love and have a twenty year
relationship against all odds appeared first in
the New Yorker in 1997. One film critic said that
it is "a film in which love feels almost as if it
were being invented."
Why is it in 2006 it has become "the love story"
with 8 Oscar nominations and winner of 4 Golden
Globes among other awards? Why is it that this
film set box-office records in its limited release
in major cities and opened under protest in small
towns all across the country? Why is it that film
reviewers and critics have hailed this film as the
"one movie connecting with the heart of America?"
Moreover, what are some lessons from "Brokeback
Mountain" for us as people of faith in the
Presbyterian Church (USA)? I would like to
suggest ten lessons. Unlike some of its most
outspoken and virulent religious critics who
comment on the film without seeing it, I read
the book three times, saw the film three times
So, what lessons does "Brokeback Mountain" offer
for the Presbyterian Church (USA) in particular
and Christianity in general? I will suggest ten
and I hope that you might add your own.
1. "Love is a Force of Nature." The intriguing
subtitle for the film reminds us that love is
natural, that we are created to be in loving
relationships with God, ourselves and others.
Jesus teaches this ethic of relationships and
love in Mark 12:28-31.
2. Same-sex love is perfectly natural, and normal,
for those persons who discover themselves falling
in love with someone of the same sex, like Ennis
and Jack. It is time for the Church to recognize
that same-sex love and same-sex sex exists, it is
natural and part of being created in the image of
God just like being created heterosexual for those
persons who fall in love with persons of the opposite
3. Homosexuality is about love, falling in love,
being in love and wanting to be together, not
different from heterosexuality. This is about
integration of one's body, soul and life and sharing
life deeply with another. Annie Proulx says of her
story, "This is a deep, permanent human condition,
this need to be loved and to love."
4. The closet is not a place that offers life or hope,
and the longer the Church insists that lesbian, gay,
bisexual and transgender persons stay in the closet,
not discover who they are and claim their creation in
the image of God, the Church will be complicit in taking
away life and hope. Jake Gyllenhaal who plays Jack
Twist said of the story and the film: "A friendship?
No, its not. It's a love story. They're two men
having sex. There's nothing hidden." And, the closet
truly never protects anyone, it only prolongs the
isolation and opportunity for liberation.
5. We do not need to fear same-sex love in ourselves,
or LGBT persons in our families or church. Heath Ledger
who plays Ennis del Mar has a theory about why the movie
makes some men uncomfortable: "I suspect it's a fear
that they are going to enjoy it. They don't understand
that you are not going to become sexually attracted to
men by recognizing the beauty of a love story between
two men." At the Australian premiere of "Brokeback,"
a reporter told Ledger that some religious groups were
protesting the film in America and he responded, "that's
immature." Persons who are secure in their sexuality
and comfortable in their own skin offer acceptance and
hospitality to others. Ledger is right, it is time for
us to grow up as a Church and a country.
6. Ex-gay ministry is bad theology and bad medicine.
It is unnecessary, it does not work and it sadly too
often leads to deadly results. After falling in love
with each other, both Ennis and Jack obey the social
and religious pressures of their day to be "heterosexual"
marry women and become fathers. Neither marriage works,
of course and everyone is hurt by Ennis and Jack not
being allowed to be themselves and together. How many
more lives, marriages and families will the PCUSA allow
to be hurt and destroyed before it recognizes and
embraces same-sex love and relationships?
7. Body and soul are connected, flesh and spirit are
inseparable. The story of Ennis and Jack painfully
remind us that it is not possible for one to separate
one's sexuality from one's behavior. For the Church
to say that "it is [sort of, but not really] OK to be
gay, but don't have sex" and to ask LGBT persons to
split ourselves off from who we are and who we fall
in love with to be part of the Church is not only
illogical, it is cruel and un-Christian. It goes
against everything we are taught by Jesus in the
Gospel and the Biblical teachings of becoming whole
8. Times have changed, people are changing. People
are much more open and ready to stretch, even embrace
same-sex love and relationships than most of us are
willing to accept, imagine, even dream of. Adam
Robinson in a USA Today article entitled, "It's a
date: 'Brokeback' romance draws couples," said, "Give
us straight men some credit. Not all of us are
homophobic and turned off by films that deal with
relationships. We're not all 13-year old boys anymore."
So, will the Church give people credit for being open-
minded and open-hearted, or insist on old prejudices
and discrmination against LGBT persons? We have a
9. Often called the "gay cowboy" movie, Director Ang
Lee suggested that it was much more and of course it is.
Upon receiving his Golden Globe award, Lee spoke of "the
power of movies to change the way we are thinking." Too
often we only see others through our prejudice. The old
stereotypes melt away in what one film critic said of
"Brokeback" by calling it a "groundbreaking, deeply felt,
emotional love story that deals with the uncharted,
mysterious ways of the human heart." As people of faith
and Christians, we often speak of the place of mystery
within our beliefs, creeds and faith traditions. The
uncharted story of Ennis and Jack seems profoundly
familiar and first-person to many of us, myself included.
I see myself in both Ennis and Jack, and pray for a
different ending to their story and the mystery of my
10. Brokeback Mountain was the only safe place for
Ennis and Jack to be themselves, to be together, to
express their love for one another, to be whole. It
was sanctuary for them in every sense of the word.
How often I wish that the Church would be sanctuary
for all of God's children, not just some. Here's to
the Presbyterian Church (USA) being sanctuary for all
of God's children, including God's lesbian, gay,
bisexual and transgender children sooner rather than
Brokeback Mountain is up for 8 Academy Awards [this]
evening at the 78th Academy Award Celebration in Los
Angeles. You can bet I will be watching the show with
a big box of popcorn and cheering on a film and a story
that, as Director Ang Lee has said, "has the power to
change the way we're thinking."
And, more than what we are thinking, it is my prayer
that it will be part of the change we seek in how we
treat each other in the Church and world by seeing
the sacred in one another, recognizing and blessing
love wherever it is found, and in being God's family
with no one excluded, where everyone is welcome and
with hope and grace,
2. Two Lenten Studies
Lent began on Wednesday, March 1, away, and Chi Rho
Press is very proud of our two books of Lenten devotions.
Here is a brief 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:
$10.95 each, six or more copies for $8.95 each, plus
shipping and handling.
Our first book of Lenten Meditations was "For
Another Flock," 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:
$10.95 each, $8.95 each for six or more copies,
plus shipping and handling.
3. May We Suggest "Come Home"?
"Come Home! Reclaiming Spirituality and Community as
Gay Men and Lesbians," second edition, by Chris Glaser.
First published in 1990 by HarperCollins, the second
edition was published in 1998 by Chi Rho Press with
the addition of five new chapters to the original 20.
"Come Home!" is perhaps Chris Glaser's best book. It
is divided into five sections, each with five chapters.
The five sections are entitled, "Welcoming God's
Acceptance," "Receiving Our Inheritance," "Discerning
Our Call," "Making Our Witness," and "Declaring Our
Bishop John Shelby Spong called "Come Home!" "powerful,
sensitive, and provocative. . . . Glaser stands inside
his own humanity as a gay male and hears the word of
God through the Bible. Christians, gay and straight,
need this book if we are to be the body of Christ."
This is a brilliant and important book by perhaps the
best-known Gay Christian writer in the U.S. today.
The Rev. Carter Heyward called "Come Home!" "an
enthusiastic compelling testimony to the power of
faith in the lives of many gay and lesbian Christians."
Virginia Ramey Mollenkott said, "If courage, honesty,
and insight are beautiful, then this is one beautiful
book. . . . I rejoice that in this book all the gay
men and lesbian women who have been robbed of their
spirituality are issued an urgent invitation: Come
"Come Home!" by Chris Glaser offers a vision of faith,
hope, and affirmation inviting gay men and lesbians to
come home to their spirituality through Christian faith
and community. Order your copy today!
"Come Home!" is available for $19.95 each, $14.95 each
for six or more copies, plus shipping and handling.
4. Modern Proverbs (Tongue in Cheek)
*** Never be afraid to try something new. Remember,
amateurs built the ark. Professionals built the Titanic.
*** Conscience is what hurts when everything else feels
*** Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run
over if you just sit there.
*** Politicians and diapers have two things in common.
They should both be changed regularly and for the same
*** An optimist thinks that this is the best possible
world. A pessimist fears that this is true.
*** Indecision is the key to flexibility.
*** It hurts to be on the cutting edge.
*** I am a nutritional overachiever
*** I am in shape. Round is a shape.
*** A day without sunshine is like night.
*** I have kleptomania, and when it gets bad, I take
something for it.
*** The real art of conversation is not only to say
the right thing at the right time, but also to leave
unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.
*** Age doesn't always bring wisdom. Sometimes age
*** You don't stop laughing because you grow old,
you grow old because you stopped laughing.
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 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
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 "Checking or Savings?"
from the Lenten section of "Christian with a Twist."
Please read Matthew 6:1, 3, 5, 19-21
Is Jesus trying to take all the fun out of doing good?
To my mind Jesus is not so much forbidding our pleasures
as he is just telling us like it is. He is saying you
can do things one way and get immediate pleasure, and
that is not necessarily bad. Or you can do it another
way without instant gratification and prepare yourself
for a better tomorrow.
We worship in a beautiful church building that costs a
pretty penny to operate. If we can afford to give our
share to cover the expenses there is nothing wrong with
feeling good about it. Giving more so that those who
cannot give very much can none-the-less feel welcome is
also good. Many of us give by check, keep an accounting,
and take a tax deduction in April. Jesus would not
But Saint Peter will not be looking over our tax returns
when he assigns us our cloud in heaven. What will be
felt for eternity is the private joy we had in giving,
maybe to our church, maybe to another church, maybe to
a need that nobody else noticed.
We do a lot of praying out loud here in church. Each
Sunday several step up to the microphone to do that and
several more open their arms in front of the church to
those in need after the sermon. God notices and God is
pleased, but it is the ways that these spoken prayers
touch hearts and inspire private prayer that lives in
There is also nothing wrong with enjoying the creature
comforts of life. I expect Jesus would not mind staying
in my apartment and riding in my Subaru if he were to
visit Washington in the flesh. It is very likely if he
came to do a revival weekend at MCC, someone would offer
him a private room and bath in their larger home so he
would not have to deal with my sofa bed.
It is good to live well and give well. But we must not
do either as if our lives depend on the details or amounts.
Spend generously for yourself and others. Just be sure
that the deductions in your checkbook bring memories and
not regrets. And do not put too much stake in the
deposits. You do not want God to have to pry your bank
statements out of your hands when it is time to go.
Actually God will not, but somebody else might. Be
sure they do not break your heart in the process.
6. Sanctoral Cycle
As a regular feature in the Chi Rho Connection, we
are offering up traditional saints listed in the 2006
Liturgical Calendar and Lectionary from today until
our next scheduled electronic newsletter.
Sat., March 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."
Sun., March 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
Mon., March 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).
Tues., March 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
Wed., March 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.
Thurs., March 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).
Fri., March 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).
Sat., March 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).
Sun., March 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).
Mon., March 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.
Tues., March 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.
Wed., March 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
Thurs., March 16, St. Julian of Antioch. The good
example: We are all blessings to someone else in
spite of ourselves! "The heavens declare God's glory,
not because their voice is heard, but because the very
sight of them leads us to praise their Creator," St.
Fri., March 17, St. Patrick (Patron saint: engineers).
Zeal: The United States owes much of the Christianity
found here to the faith and zeal of the sons and
daughters of St. Patrick, the Irish. St. Patrick's
life was one of prayer and penance, his humbleness
increasing as he grew older. "Your faith is confirmed,
not only in the hearts of people, but before their eyes.
Heaven bears witness to it and earth likewise, the
angels in glory and the lost in Hell," St. Augustine.
Sat., March 18, St. Cyril of Jerusalem. Trust in the
Word of God: "As a stout staff supports the trembling
limbs of a feeble old man, so faith sustains our
vacillating mind, lest it be tossed about by sinful
hesitation and perplexity," St. John Chrysostom.
"Long ago I learned from your statutes that you
established them to last forever" (Psalm 119:152).
Order the 2005-2006 Liturgical Calendar and Lectionary,
complete with the entire year's Sanctoral Cycle, at
7. Adam's Last Word
The 2005-2006 Liturgical Calendar and Lectionary, Year
B is available on the Chi Rho Press Web site. You may
view it and order it at this link:
The 2005-2006 Liturgical Calendar and Lectionary sells
for 11.95 each, $9.50 each for six or more copies, plus
shipping and handling.
I will be at Chris Steakhouse, in Old Town Gaithersburg,
Maryland this evening to watch the Oscars with openly
Gay owner Keith Gross and his partner Ben Cavanaugh.
We expect a bunch of other people as well. Check out
their Web site, by the way, at www.hotbeercoldfood.com.
And if you are in the area, let me know and maybe we can
have dinner there! Tell your server you qualify for the
10% family discount.
Please check out the Chi Rho Cards! Our line of
greeting cards, by the talented New York artist Timothy
Leetch, are now available. See the descriptions of the
cards on our Web site at:
Order some cards today!
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.
If you've received the Chi Rho Connection as a result of
someone passing it along to you and would like to receive
it directly from us, please follow these directions:
To SUBSCRIBE send blank e-mail to:
To UNSUBSCRIBE send blank e-mail to:
Please visit http://www.ChiRhoPress.com You may
pay by credit card on our web page or we will ship
your order after receiving your check or money
order. Please always include your e-mail address,
mailing address, and telephone number.
For all e-mail correspondence, please write
Our snail mail address is:
Chi Rho Press, Inc.
P.O. Box 7864
Gaithersburg, MD 20898
Our telephone and fax number is 301/926-1208.
Customers outside the U.S. and especially our Canadian
friends can order using credit cards on our Web page.
Some of our books are also available through our Canadian
distributor, MAP Enterprises, Mary Ann Pearson, at her
Web page, http://www.christiangays.com
Copyright 2006, Chi Rho Press, Inc.