Chi Rho Connection, Vol. IX, No. 5
- CHI RHO CONNECTION
The eNewsletter of Chi Rho Press,
Your LGBT Christian Publishing House
Vol. IX, No. 5
29 March 2008
1. New John McNeill Book
2. Have You Read "Positively Gay"?
3. Meditation on Grace by Jason Turner,
MCC Melbourne, Australia
4. "Christian with a Twist"
5. Adam's Last Word
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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1. New John McNeill Book
Progress is accelerating on the new book by the
Reverend John J. McNeill, to be published this
year by Chi Rho Press.
"Sex as God Intended it to Be" is a meditation on
sex and sexuality by one of the premier pioneers of
the theology of sexuality. Under the leadership of
the Rev. Elder Jim Mitulski, the book will also be
a "festschrift," or a compilation of tributes to the
ministry of this remarkable man of faith.
In addition to Father McNeill's new manuscript, "Sex
as God Intended it to Be," there will be essays on his
life and ministry by Mark Jordan, Ken Paige, Bob Goss,
Sr. Jeannine Gramick, James Donahue, Mary Elizabeth
Hunt, Jim Mitulski, and others.
John McNeill is a former Jesuit priest who has been
involved in LGBT ministry for over 40 years. Fr.
McNeill has a doctorate in philosophy from Louvain
University in Belgium. In 1972 McNeill decided to
dedicate himself to ministry to LGBT people through
writing and direct ministry. He helped found Dignity
NYC, a ministry to gay and lesbian Catholics in New
York City. He published his first work "The Church
and the Homosexual" in 1976. This was the first work
by a competent, qualified theologian to question Church
teaching on homosexuality. McNeill argued that all
the traditional arguments against homosexuality were
invalid. Consequently, the churches should seriously
reexamine their teaching on homosexuality.
One year later, the Vatican ordered McNeill to silence
on issues concerning homosexuality. He observed that
order for nine years. In 1988 he decided he could no
longer obey that order in conscience. As a result,
McNeill was expelled from the Jesuit order after forty
years of membership. He continued to publish. His next
two books, "Taking a Chance on God: Liberating Theology
for Gays, Lesbians and Their Lovers, Families and Friends,"
(1988), and "Freedom, Glorious Freedom: The Spiritual
Journey to the Fullness of Life for Gays, Lesbians and
Everbody Else" (1995) were published by Beacon Press.
His autobiography, "Both Feet Firmly Planted in Midair:
My Spiritual Journey," was published by Westminster/John
Knox press in 1998.
In 1972, John was invited to give a retreat to LGBT
people at Kirkridge, an ecumenical retreat center in
the Poconos, He gave two retreats every year for the
next twenty-five years.
At present, John has retired to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
While retaining his identity as a Roman Catholic priest
and theologian, John is an active associate in the
pastoral ministry of Sunshine Cathedral, a Metropolitan
In March, 2007 the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
gave its lifetime achievement award to John McNeill,
"for leading the way in understanding that being gay
is a gift from God."
For further biographical information visit John McNeill's
Web site: www.johnjmcneill.com
There are ways you can partner with us in the publication
of this landmark book. First, pray with us as we finalize
the gathering of the festschrift essays, the final editing,
and layout and design of the book.
Second, help us financially as we gather the funds needed
to print and bind the book. You can make a tax-deductible
contribution for the McNeill book by either sending a check
to Chi Rho Press, P.O. Box 7864, Gaithersburg, MD 20898,
USA, or pay with your Visa, MasterCard, or Discover card
on our secure Web site at http://www.chirhopress.com/sponsor.html.
We are also soliciting loans to be repaid out of the
sale of the book. Write Adam@... for more
information about this opportunity.
And third, watch for new of pre-publication sales of the
book and order your copy!
Lastly, celebrate with us as we publish an important book
by an important, openly Gay theologian, who has inspired
many over the past 30 years with his writing, his teaching,
and his inspirational leadership.
2. Have you read "Positively Gay"?
Chi Rho Press has copies of the third edition of
"Positively Gay: New Approaches to Gay and Lesbian
Life" (Celestial Arts).
Chi Rho Press carries this book in part because our
founder and Director, Adam DeBaugh, wrote the chapter
entitled, "Using Your Gay and Lesbian Voting Power."
This is an important book and the new edition, in the
bright red cover, is an important addition to every
"I wish we had published that!" says Adam DeBaugh.
"But I am proud to have been a part of Positively Gay
since the publication of the first edition in 1979.
This book has been a basic primer for LGBT life for
almost 30 years!"
"Positively Gay has been widely and consistently
praised for its practical treatment of the variety
of topics affecting the lives of gays and lesbians.
In this revised, third edition, Dr. Betty Berzon has
brought together an impressive list of contributors
from diverse backgrounds, disciplines, and approaches
to spotlight significant but frequently overlooked
issues that often take center stage in a gay or
lesbian person's life.
"From lawyers, writers, psychologists, social workers,
rabbis, and priests, you'll read about building successful
same-sex partnerships, reconciling religious dilemmas,
coming out to your family, creating gay families, using
your voting power, dealing with legal and financial
issues, and living as a gay person of color. Although
much has changed since 1979, this fully updated edition
of Positively Gay holds true to the original mission of
focusing on those aspects of gay and lesbian life that
can most directly enhance one's positive identity"
(from the book jacket.)
Author Michelangelo Signorile says, "Positively Gay was
the first gay book I ever read. It scared me. It
challenged me. It excited me. And it eventually made
me feel good about myself."
Sections of the book include, Being Gay: Personal Issues,
Social Options; Partnering: The Special Issues of Same-
Sex Coupling; Family Relations: Fresh Perspectives;
Aging: A Season of Grace; Religion: Reconciling the
Spiritual Dilemma; The Practical Aspects: Taking Control
of Your Life; People of Color: The Special Experiences
of Minorities Within a Minority; Young People: The
Future of Our Community; and Telling Our Stories.
There is also a helpful discussion guide.
Authors include the compiler and editor, Betty Berzon,
Mark Thompson, Betty Fairchild, Del Martin and Phyllis
Lyon, Rabbi Denise Eger, Rev. William Johnson, Father
Robert Nugent, Brian McNaught, R. Adam DeBaugh, Teresa
DeCrescenzo, and John Preston. U.S. Rep. Barney Frank
wrote the Foreword.
"Positively Gay" sells for $14.95 plus shipping and
handling. Six or more copies are $11.25 each. Order
on our Web site at
3. Meditation on Grace by Jason Turner,
MCC Melbourne, Australia
"Dear Mr Turner,
I'm writing in response to this morning's request for
forgiveness. I'm sorry to inform you that you have
reached your quota of sins. Our records show that,
since employing our services, you have erred seven
times in the area of greed, and your prayer life is
substandard when compared to others of like age and
Further review reveals that your understanding of
doctrine is in lower 20 % and you have excessive
tendencies to gossip. Because of your sins you are
a high-risk candidate for Heaven. You understand
that grace has it's limits.
Jesus sends his regrets and kindest regards and hopes
that you will find some other sort of coverage.
Sincerely, CEO of Heaven. Underwriting division.
777 Pearly Gates
What a scary thought to receive a letter such as this.
It's a good thing none of us will ever receive such a
letter because we are saved by grace, not by deeds.
"All are made right in the eyes of God" (Romans 4:5).
Humans have no way of saving themselves from their sins
and so God designed forgiveness for all who ask for it
so that at the time of their death they will be welcomed
into heaven without the blemish on their lives. We can
not work towards salvation. Salvation is God-given,
God-empowered, and God-originated. It's not a gift
from humans to God, but from God to creation.
"It is not our love for God; it is God's love for us in
sending Jesus to be the way to take away sins" (1 John
Now in the Easter season it is imperative that we e
mbrace this truth. That no matter what we try to do
we can't work our way to salvation and grace, as other
religions would have you believe. Isaiah referred to
working for grace as filthy pieces of cloth. Obviously
useless, and Paul referred to working for grace as
likened to dung. No, we don't need to work for grace
from God. That battle has already been won. We just
have to accept God's forgiveness by the sacrifice of
the Son, and just strive to do our best, and be a
witness for Christ.
"God's highest dream is not to make us rich, not to
make us successful, popular, or famous. God's dream
is to make us right" (Max Lucado)
"Sky above, make victory fall like rain; clouds pour
down victory. Let the Earth receive it, and let
salvation grow, and let victory grow with it. I
the Lord have created it" (Isaiah 45:8)
Your brother in Christ
Jason Turner (Melbourne MCC)
4. "Christian with a Twist"
Here is a selection from our 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 "Joy at the Tomb"
from the Easter section of "Christian with a Twist."
Please read John 20:1-2, 11-13a and Psalm 30:5b
During this holy season when we "celebrate" the death
of Jesus on the cross if celebrate is a word we can
use I cannot help but compare it to the death of my
own companion from AIDS a year ago. Over the past year
I have come to appreciate being a Christian much more
fully. It is ironic that my companion would bring that
out of me, his being Jewish, but then so was Jesus.
This appreciation has to do with Easter Morning, for I
know that in some very real way my personal loved one,
like Jesus, has risen to be with the God of Creation.
Life does not end with a tomb.
Mary Magdalene, like most of us, went to the tomb to
grieve and to honor the one she loved. Randy's
parents and I often go to his tomb, and it is a
good and respectful thing that we do that. But
recently his parents did something that has added
much to that experience, something that I think
would make Jesus smile and give Randy a hug.
Across from the grave marker, a very proper bronze
plaque with Randy's full name and dates, they placed
a beautiful granite bench with not his formal name
but rather the name that those who loved him best
called him, "The Randy Bear."
So I go not just to Randy's tomb but to his bench,
and I sit there and feel his presence and his love
that comes not from the tomb, but rather from the
sunshine of God's living creation. Jesus is there
too, as he is present whenever God's love takes
Jesus left the tomb. He did not want to leave us
with a place to go and weep as respectful as that
may be. Rather, he wanted to teach us that it is
the joy of life that is eternal that God and those
of God's children who have gone before us smile upon
us and wish us long, full, and happy lives. Weeping
may linger for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
5. Adam's Last Word
We are very excited about Father John McNeill's book
and hope you will join us in this venture. As we
explain in the first article, there are three ways
you can help. First, keep Chi Rho Press in your
prayers as we continue final work on this manuscript.
Second, help us financially to assist in paying for
the printing of this important book, either by making
a loan to be repaid out of sales of the book or by
making a generous, tax-deductible contribution to
Chi Rho Press.
Third, watch for the announcement of the pre-publication
sale and buy advance copies of the book.
I believe "Sex as God Intended it to Be" will be an
important contribution to the theology of sexuality
that John McNeill pioneered in 1976. Won't you help?
Spring is finally in the air in Maryland and the
grounds at my home church, Open Door MCC in Boyds,
Maryland, are full of new life as crocuses, daffodils,
and tulips emerge, the grass gets greener, and the
flowering trees start to bloom. If you have a
favorite place where you can enjoy the beauty of
nature, take an hour to take a walk, breathe the
fresh air, and make a prayer for peace and love to
prevail in this Easter season throughout the world.
The new Liturgical Calendar and Lectionary is still
available. Chi Rho Press' annual Liturgical Calendar
and Lectionary for 2007-2008, Year A is now on the
Chi Rho Press Web site and ready to ship. You may
view and order it at this link:
I really encourage you all to become Guardian Angels
of Chi Rho Press. This will help us a lot as we
prepare our next books for publication. Just $150
for a year will make you an important participant in
Gracia y paz,
Brother R. Adam DeBaugh, OSL
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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