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Chi Rho Connection, Vol. IX, No. 5

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  • Adam DeBaugh
    CHI RHO CONNECTION The eNewsletter of Chi Rho Press, Your LGBT Christian Publishing House Vol. IX, No. 5 29 March 2008 ************************* Contents: 1.
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 29, 2008

      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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      Direct all other e-mail to Adam@....


      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
      Community Church.

      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
      LGBT library.

      "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
      human form.

      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.
      Happy Easter.



      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
      this ministry.

      Thank you!


      Gracia y paz,

      Brother R. Adam DeBaugh, OSL
      Director, Adam@....


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