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Chi Rho Press eNewsletter, Vol. II, No. 15

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  • Adam DeBaugh
    ************************* Chi Rho Press eNewsletter Vol. II, No. 15 6 July 2001 ************************* Welcome once again to the Chi Rho Press eNewsletter.
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 5, 2001
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      *************************
      Chi Rho Press eNewsletter
      Vol. II, No. 15
      6 July 2001

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

      Welcome once again to the Chi Rho Press eNewsletter.
      Thank you for passing this eNewsletter on to others.

      To join our list, send an e-mail message to
      mailto:ChiRhoPress-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please
      visit our Web site at http://www.chirhopress.com to see
      our entire lines of books, handouts, tchochkas, and
      stained glass.

      Direct all other e-mail to Adam@.... See
      the end of this eNewsletter for a complete list of
      e-mail addresses at ChiRhoPress.com.

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

      Contents:

      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’
      all-time bestseller!

      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
      a Bibliography.

      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 England’s 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 life’s 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 God’s revelation through
      the Bible by asked questions such as, ‘How is the
      lesbian/gay Christian guided by the Bible’s record of
      God’s 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 God’s 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 God’s 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-don’t-confuse-me-with-facts.’ The author has
      heard such attitudes directly expressed by those who say
      things as absurd as, ‘I don’t know about the Greek and
      Hebrew. All I know is what my Bible tells me!’ (It’s
      important to remember that some scholars sympathetic to
      lesbian and gay persons, and many people within the UFMCC
      [the author’s home church], are fundamentalist Christians.
      The fact that many antigay Christians call themselves
      fundamentalists should not give that identification a
      negative connotation.)

      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
      not.

      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
      heresy:

      ‘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 Bible’s authority without
      reservation. We also affirm the individual’s competence
      to seek God’s 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
      lives.

      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 author’s 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

      Kevin’s 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 Kevin’s 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
      monotony.

      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
      Apostles.

      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
      ten ammendments.

      9. The first commandment was when Eve told adam to eat
      the apple.

      10. The seventh commandment is thou shalt not admit
      adultery.

      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
      700 porcupines.

      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
      contraption.

      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
      decibels.

      22. The epistles were the wives of the apostles.

      23. One of the oppossums was St. Matthew who was also a
      taximan.

      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.
      http://www.newlifemcc.org/

      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 DC’s 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 Kevin’s
      family room!

      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!

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

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      Copyright 2001, Chi Rho Press, Inc.

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