Chi Rho Press eNewsletter, Vol. II, No. 15
Chi Rho Press eNewsletter
Vol. II, No. 15
6 July 2001
Welcome once again to the Chi Rho Press eNewsletter.
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1. The Bible and Homosexuality
2. Kids and the Bible
3. Chi Rho Press Combined Travel Schedule
4. Adam's Last Word Summer, the 4th of July, UFMCC
Restructuring, New Possibilities for the Press!
1. The Bible and Homosexuality
The Bible and Homosexuality, Fifth Edition, by the Rev.
Michael E. England, is a basic primer on the issue that
confronts so many churches these days. Many thousands of
this book are in circulation and it is Chi Rho Press
Now in its fifth edition, this standard text is even more
valuable and timely. This is an essential book for the
library of every person of faith. Now in perfect binding
with a color cover featuring a photograph by Colin
Winterbottom of the Washington National Cathedral, the
Fifth Edition updates this excellent study.
Included are chapters on our understanding of inspiration;
critical interpretation; textual, historical, source, and
form criticism; detailed discussions about scripture
verses used to condemn homosexuality; the contra
naturam (against nature) argument; heterosexual marriages
as the only Biblical model; adultery and fornication; and
ISBN: 1-888493-13-5, The Bible and Homosexuality costs
$10.95 each, six or more copies for $8.95 each, plus
shipping and handling.
The following is from Michael Englands introduction to
The Bible and Homosexuality:
The words The Bible come first in the title [of this book]
because this study emphasizes studying and understanding
Scripture as a whole. The passages commonly cited in
opposition to homosexual activity are examined in some
depth here. However, this particular focus is preceded
and contextualized by a survey of Bible study methods.
The goal is to stress the fact that the Bible is a whole
through which God speaks. It is neither a cookbook for
life nor an encyclopedia of answers to lifes questions.
The tendency to view the Bible as an answer book can
produce the abuse of asking What does the Bible say
about ? When that question is completed with the word
homosexuality, the small group of prooftexts which we
shall study later is often produced. We may more
usefully approach the nature of Gods revelation through
the Bible by asked questions such as, How is the
lesbian/gay Christian guided by the Bibles record of
Gods interaction with humanity? or, What evidences
are exhibited by lesbian/gay Christians which indicate
our commitment to life in Jesus Christ?
Compelling concerns draw us to study this issue.
Lesbian/gay Christians are confronted on one hand with our
belief in Gods revelation and in our own experience of
God. On the other hand, however, we see the condemnation
and despair presented to us in traditional interpretation
of certain Bible verses. These seem inconsistent. We
know that God is consistent; so we search Gods Word to
understand that greater consistency. It is this need
which drew the scholars who form the resources for this
study to enter upon their research. The majority of
scholars publishing in this area find themselves
supporting the evidence that there is no condemnation of
homosexual behavior in Scripture. Traditionalists and
fundamentalists often rehash old, inaccurate opinions
and misinformation, following the school of My-mind-is-
made-up-dont-confuse-me-with-facts. The author has
heard such attitudes directly expressed by those who say
things as absurd as, I dont know about the Greek and
Hebrew. All I know is what my Bible tells me! (Its
important to remember that some scholars sympathetic to
lesbian and gay persons, and many people within the UFMCC
[the authors home church], are fundamentalist Christians.
The fact that many antigay Christians call themselves
fundamentalists should not give that identification a
Three major goals arise consistently in presenting this
study of the Bible and homosexuality. The first is to
help to provide you with a sound understanding of what
the Bible says and does not say. We also study the ways
in which the Bible, and God through it, speaks to us.
Thus, we can come to understand more fully that there is
Good News for the lesbian/gay Christian. There is no
condemnation in Scripture for us.
The second goal grows from the first. It is to learn to
witness to the accepting love of God with persons who may
feel alienated from faith and from themselves because of
their lesbianness/gayness. There is also an important
witness and ministry to those who are struggling in
themselves with the homosexuality of a loved one.
Third, this course may lead, occasionally, to productive
discussion with those who misuse Scripture to indict or
condemn lesbians and gay men. This study is not
particularly intended as a matching set of weapons to
equip one for street corner arguments with evangelists
who hurl isolated Bible verses at us as if they were
stones. Such arguments are rarely productive in changing
the opinions of either party. They also tend to lend
too much apparent importance to the spurious
interpretations of anti-gay or ex-gay Christians.
The basic issue in this study is one of interpretation
of Scripture based on sound study. Every person comes
to Scripture as an interpreter, even those who claim
to be most literal. There is no one, however literalist,
who does not select from among the laws found in Scripture
those which will be observed, whether s/he admits it or
Walter Wink identified a number of taboos common among
Christians intercourse with animals, incest, rape,
adultery, prostitution, polygamy, levirate marriage, and
concubinage the last four of which the Hebrew Testament
permits and on most of which the New Testament is
entirely silent. He pointed out that some portions of
the Christian Church go even further in making celibacy,
for instance, compulsory among the clergy (and for gay
persons) when the writer of I Timothy 4:1-3 calls this
Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some
will depart from the faith by giving heed to deceitful
spirits and doctrines of demons, through the pretensions
of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage
and enjoin abstinence from foods which God created to be
received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know
the truth. (RSV)
We in UFMCC . . . affirm the Bibles authority without
reservation. We also affirm the individuals competence
to seek Gods guidance in coming to a personal
interpretation of Scripture. With this freedom of
individual interpretation, however, comes responsibility.
We seek to learn through rigorous means of interpretation
what Scripture says to us today. This certainly does not
mean to the author invalidating or disproving any part of
Scripture. It does mean avoiding the cookbook method
of approaching it. It does mean learning about the nature
and message of Scripture. We usually spend far more
effort in education or training for our careers than in
study and examination of the faith on which we base our
Some people are satisfied to prove that the traditional
condemnation of homosexual activity is unbiblical. They
assert that these Bible verses do not condemn, and they
often leave the matter there. In this study, though, we
shall go on to seek the lessons which such passages do
hold for us, beyond those which they do not hold. It is
one of the authors operating assumptions that God has
placed each passage in Scripture for a purpose. Our task
is to discover what the Holy Spirit may say to us at a
particular time through the passage we are studying.
As the writer of the letters to Timothy said:
Every inspired Scripture has its use for teaching the
truth and refuting error, or for reformation of manners
and discipline in right living. (II Timothy 3:16, NEB)
From the Introduction to The Bible and Homosexuality, by
Michael England. Available from Chi Rho Press for $10.95
each, $8.95 each for six or more copies, plus shipping and
handling, at http://www.ChiRhoPress.com
2. Kids and the Bible
Kevins mother sent this to us. Her source said it comes
from a Catholic elementary school. Kids were asked
questions about the Old and New Testaments and the
following statements about the Bible were written by
the children. They have not been retouched or corrected
(i.e., incorrect spelling has been left in much to Press
Editor Kevins fury!).
1. In the first book of the bible, Guinness's, God got
tired of creating the world, so he took the Sabbath off.
2. Adam and Eve were created from an apple tree. Noah's
wife was called Joan of Ark. Noah built an ark, which the
animals come on to in pears.
3. Lot's wife was a pillar of salt by day, but a ball of
fire by night.
4. Christians have only one spouse. This is called
5. Samson was a strongman who let himself be led astray
by a Jezebel like Delilah.
6. Samson slayed the Philistines with the axe of the
7. Moses led the hebrews to the Red Sea, where they made
unleavened bread which is bread without any ingredients.
8. The Egyptians were all drowned in the dessert.
Afterwards, Moses went up on Mount Cyanide to get the
9. The first commandment was when Eve told adam to eat
10. The seventh commandment is thou shalt not admit
11. Moses died before he ever reached Canada. Then
Joshua led the hebrews in the battle of Geritol.
12. The greatest miracle in the Bible is when Joshua
told his son to stand still and he obeyed him.
13. David was a hebrew king skilled at playing the liar.
He fought with the Finklesteins, a race of people who
lived in Biblical times.
14. Solomon, one of David's sons, had 300 wives and
15. When Mary heard that she was the mother of Jesus,
she sang the Magna Carta.
16. When the three wise guys from the east side
arrived, they found Jesus in the manager.
17. Jesus was born because Mary had an immaculate
18. St. John the blacksmith dumped water on his head.
19. Jesus enunciated the Golden Rule, which says to do
one to others before they do one to you. He also
explained, "a man doth not live by sweat alone."
20. It was a miracle when Jesus rose from the dead and
managed to get the tombstone off the entrance.
21. The people who followed the Lord were called the 12
22. The epistles were the wives of the apostles.
23. One of the oppossums was St. Matthew who was also a
24. St. Paul cavorted to Christianity. He preached holy
acrimony, which is another name for marriage.
3. Chi Rho Press Travel Schedule
July 21 and 22 we are going to New Life MCC in Norfolk,
VA with our traveling bookstore. The Rev. Marty Luna and
the Rev. Maria Wolfe are our hosts. The church meets at
10:30 am at 4035 East Ocean View Ave., Norfolk, VA.
Sept. 23, MCC Richmond, VA tentatively planned.
Nov. 25, Imago Dei MCC, Media, PA tentatively planned.
More information about up-coming visits will be in
future editions of the eNewsletter.
4. Adam's Last Word
A short eNewsletter this week. We were closed Wednesday
of this week for the 4th of July I actually did some
work (overdue invoice reminders sent out, some e-mail,
some writing, in addition to laundry!). And I had a
very pleasant dinner with Kevin, his mother and a friend.
Steak on the grill and salmon and lots of salads! Yum!
Independence Day being on a Wednesday this year has made
for an odd week. But I could get used to a week with two
Mondays, so long as there were also two Fridays at least
that is what this week felt like!
Summer seems to be upon us with its attendant hot weather,
or at least warm weather (depending on the day), and often
thunder showers in the afternoon. The Capitol Fourth,
Washington DCs celebration, was held under a drenching
rain with performers lining up, sometimes under umbrellas
or a flimsy canopy, other times standing right out in the
middle of it all getting wetter and wetter. But the
fireworks were fun, despite the rain. We watched it all
from the best seats available, on television in Kevins
The UFMCC is winding up its General Conference in Toronto
this week, and has passed a major restructuring for the
world-wide denomination. This will involve some
significant changes for Chi Rho Press in terms of our
authorizing body, now the Mid-Atlantic District, which
will be eliminated in favor of a much larger,
international Region. The Regions will apparently not
have authority over Special Works like Chi Rho Press.
I am looking at the possibility of being under the
authority of a local church, and then inviting many
other local churches (both MCC and other welcoming and
affirming congregations) as sponsors. Would your church
pay $250 a year to be a sponsor of Chi Rho Press in
return for discounts on what you purchase from us,
annual reports, special sales, and other perks? Please
let me know what you think!
And have a grand summer!
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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Copyright 2001, Chi Rho Press, Inc.
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Kevin Stone Fries, Editor/Office Manager,