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Chi Rho Connection, Vol. XI, No. 2

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  • Adam DeBaugh
    CHI RHO CONNECTION The eNewsletter of Chi Rho Press, Your LGBT Christian Publishing House Vol. XI, No. 2 13 February 2010 ************************* Contents:
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 13, 2010
      CHI RHO CONNECTION

      The eNewsletter of Chi Rho Press,
      Your LGBT Christian Publishing House
      Vol. XI, No. 2
      13 February 2010

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

      Contents:

      1. Lent is Coming! Two Lenten Devotionals
      2. New 2010 Wall Calendar from Open Door MCC
      3. New 2009-2010 Liturgical Calendar!
      4. Talking about God
      5. Sterling Silver MCC Crosses and Logos
      6. 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.

      To join our list, send an e-mail message to
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      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. Lent is Coming! Two Lenten Devotionals

      It seems amazing, but Lent begins in less than a
      week on Wednesday, February 17, and Chi Rho Press
      is very proud of our two books of Lenten devotions.
      You can still order them now and have them in time
      for use during Lent. Here is a 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:
      http://www.chirhopress.com/products/product_details/BookRevYouNeedOnlyToBeStill.htm

      In "You Need Only to be Still," each of the 40 days of
      Lent, starting with Ash Wednesday, features a Hebrew
      Testament passage, followed by two questions for your
      consideration to bring the passage into our own lives.
      Then Randy provides his own "Thoughts for Meditating,"
      a few paragraphs reflecting on the ancient Bible story
      in which he offers some background information where it
      is needed and his own thoughts on the two questions.
      On the right hand page for each day in Lent there is
      space for the reader to write his or her own "Personal
      Reflections," an opportunity for the reader to respond
      and record thoughts and feelings. Each day concludes
      with a prayer, a personal moment between the reader
      and God. For each Friday, Randy has chosen a passage
      from the Psalms.

      The six Sundays of Lent in "You Need Only to be Still"
      have a very different format with two blank pages for
      each Sunday, one for "Reflections from the Past Week"
      and one for "Opportunities to Seek in the New Week."
      Randy writes, "I have chosen the Sunday format for a
      couple of reasons. First of all, I have chosen not
      to have a Scripture passage for Sundays because I did
      not want to interfere with the scripture passages used
      in the regular lectionary for the day. Secondly, it is my
      practice to do just as I have suggested on Sundays. I
      spend my devotional time on Sundays to reflect on the
      events of my past week and contemplate on opportunities
      that may lie before me in the new week. I think it is
      important for us to remind ourselves of the lessons we
      have learned, the joys we have known, and the pains that
      have pierced our hearts. It is also good for us to make
      plans for the days that come before us. Reflecting is truly
      a time of quiet meditation and being still before God."

      The title, "You Need Only to be Still," comes from
      Exodus 14:13-14, "Moses answered the people, 'Do not
      be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance
      the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see
      today you will never see again. The Lord will fight
      for you; you need only to be still.'" Randy Jedele
      writes, in the Introduction, "Too often we Christians
      ignore the Hebrew Scriptures and build our relationships
      with God on the New Testament. However, as I have
      journeyed through the Hebrew Scriptures through the
      years, I have always marked passages that spoke to me.
      It has not surprised me to discover a wealth of
      spiritual wisdom throughout the Hebrew Scriptures.
      It is my hope and prayer that those who use this
      devotional as they journey through Lent will also
      discover the richness of the God of the Hebrew
      Scriptures. Truly, there is much to be learned as
      we discover the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,
      the God of Hannah, Ruth, and Esther, a God who was
      a powerful source in the lives of those who learned
      to seek the presence of the living God and to live
      in the stillness of God's grace."

      "Over and over, God calls us to be still, so that God
      can minister to our hearts and prepare us to journey
      each day as a new day. . . . I have envisioned that
      [this devotional] will mostly be a personally journey,
      a quiet time each day when the readers will, on their
      own, seek the stillness of God. . . . As you read,
      meditate, and pray through this devotional, may God
      bless and enrich your life. It is my prayer that
      each of you will find God in the stillness of your
      busy lives and that God will provide you with wisdom,
      fill you with peace, and shower you with love."

      We know you will be blessed by this book of devotions
      for Lent. You may order it on our Web site at this link:
      http://www.chirhopress.com/products/product_details/BookRevYouNeedOnlyToBeStill.htm
      $10.95 each, six or more copies for $8.95 each, plus
      shipping and handling.

      *****

      Our other 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:
      http://www.chirhopress.com/products/product_details/BookRevForAnotherFlock.htm

      Written out of the deep faith and learning of a
      gay practicing Roman Catholic and from a Catholic
      perspective, "For Another Flock" includes daily
      meditations for all the days of Lent and Holy Week,
      beginning with Ash Wednesday (which this year is Feb.
      9), and ending with Easter Sunday. Scripture readings
      are provided for every day in Lent and Holy Week followed
      by a reflection from a uniquely gay and Catholic point of
      view and a prayer.

      Following the daily meditations is a seven-week Lenten
      Bible Study Guide. Jeff Lea's introduction explores Lent
      as a penitential season, discussing penance and repentance.
      Each weekly Bible Study starts with a Gospel reading.
      There is a Lenten theme for each of the seven sessions.
      Week One is "An Ash Wednesday Ritual and Discussion of
      the Nature of Penance." Week Two is "The Nature of
      Temptation." Week Three is "The Meaning of Sin in our
      Lives." Week Four is "Faithfulness and Homosexuality."
      Week Five is "The Joy of Being Gay." Week Six is "The
      Meaning of Judgement." And the concluding session is
      "The Last Supper and the Mandatum" (New Commandment).

      Seven Appendices conclude the book: Solemnities and
      Feasts in Lent, Lectionary Cycle Calendar, The Books
      of the Old Testament of the Various Biblical Traditions,
      Small Group Study Guidelines, an Ash Wednesday Liturgy,
      a Maundy Thursday Liturgy, and a Bibliography.

      Jeff Lea writes, "Far too many gay women and men continue
      to view the primary Christian scripture, the Holy Bible,
      as a document hostile to people whose expression of
      intimate love is homosexual. Nothing can be further
      from the truth. While the Bible does condemn the
      ritualistic abuse of human sexuality it does not ever
      express a view of same-sex love as an abomination. In
      fact it affirms it in the love story of Jonathan and
      David.

      "The Bible's primary message is Love. To love God,
      ourselves, and each other as God has loved us. The
      Bible is not a handbook on how to hate sin. It is a
      transcript of the ongoing love story between God and
      the people of God.

      "Lent is the primary renewing and penitential season
      of the Church year. It is the time of personal
      examination and purification before we enter into the
      Paschal mystery on Easter Sunday. We are at the door
      to salvation during this time. Gay people are also at
      that door and we too have an experience of conversion
      and faith. These meditations present the point of view
      of a gay male Christian exploring the liminal experience
      of coming out gay, coming out Christian, and discovering
      affirmation in the Bible. The book provides both a
      daily meditation on the scriptural readings for Lent,
      and a seven-week group study that explores penance from
      a positive gay perspective."

      "For Another Flock: Rainbow Meditations and Study Guide
      for Lent" is spiral bound, 5 ½" x 8 ½", 104 pages, and
      sells for $10.95 each, $8.95 each for six or more copies,
      plus shipping and handling.
      http://www.chirhopress.com/products/product_details/BookRevForAnotherFlock.htm

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

      2. New 2010 Wall Calendar from Open Door MCC

      We still have a limited number of the new Open Door
      Metropolitan Community Church Garden Wall Calendar
      for 2010. Twelve beautiful pictures of Open Door
      MCC (Boyds, Maryland, USA), it's grounds and memorial
      garden are featured in this limited press run calendar.
      The photographs are by Scott Smiley, grounds keeper
      for Open Door's 12 acres of gently rolling land. Chi
      Rho Press has arranged for just a limited number of
      these special calendars. Order soon as supplies are
      limited. $20.00 each plus shipping and handling.

      View the Calendar and order at this link:
      http://www.chirhopress.com/products/ODMCC_Calendar.html

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

      3. New 2009-2010 Liturgical Calendar!

      It's not too late to get your Liturgical Calendar and
      Lectionary for Year C, which started with the first
      Sunday in Advent, November 29, 2009. Chi Rho Press'
      annual Liturgical Calendar and Lectionary for 2009-
      2010 is ready to ship. You may view it and order it
      at this link:
      http://www.chirhopress.com/products/product_details/BookRevLiturgicalCa09_10.html

      The 2009-2010 Liturgical Calendar and Lectionary
      sells for $12.95 each, $10.50 each for six or more
      copies, plus shipping and handling.

      The Lectionary in the Liturgical Calendar is from the
      Revised Common Lectionary, widely used as the
      ecumenical consensus on readings for each Sunday and
      holy day in the three-year cycle of the church year.
      Our Liturgical Calendar is packed with useful
      information for planning worship and preaching in
      the local church. It is intended for use by pastors,
      musicians, altar guilds, teachers, theological students,
      and anyone using the Church Year as a basis for worship
      or education. The Liturgical Calendar is spiral bound
      so it can lie flat for easy use, in the popular 8 ½" x
      11" format.

      Order the 2010 Calendar today at this new link:
      http://www.chirhopress.com/products/product_details/BookRevLiturgicalCa09_10.html

      The 2010 Liturgical Calendar and Lectionary sells for
      $12.95 each, $10.50 each for six or more copies, plus
      shipping and handling.

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

      4. Talking about God
      (An excerpt from "Why we Use Inclusive Language," by
      the Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Pulling, copyright MCC 1999.

      Anyone who has been around Metropolitan Community
      Churches (MCC) for any period of time will undoubtedly
      notice that MCC strives to be inclusive in its language,
      that is, not limiting God or human beings to one gender,
      one race, or any other human category. Those who have
      been around MCC for a while and have the occasion to
      visit a church of a different denomination, such as
      for a family visit, wedding, or funeral, often have
      the experience of feeling slapped in the face with all
      the male imagery still used in that church, with God
      always being referred to as "He" and "Father," and much
      use of "man, "mankind," "sons," "brothers," etc. Have
      you had that experience?

      A common testimony of MCC members is that when they
      first came to MCC they had a teeny-tiny God, and that
      God has grown and grown. It is not only our conceptions
      of God that expand, however, but also our understanding
      of ourselves, our understanding of other people, and
      our understanding of what the church is. To be
      spiritually growing and maturing, our image and
      understanding of God and ourselves should always be
      expanding. We need to leave behind our limited,
      inadequate "gods" and embrace the one true God, who
      is much more than we could ever imagine. To express
      our expanding understanding of God and ourselves, our
      words need to start catching up. This is where
      inclusive language comes in. . . .

      In 1982 Metropolitan Community Churches adopted
      guidelines for using inclusive language in church
      life and worship. . . .

      God's love is unconditional. How do we talk about
      such a God? How do we address such a God?

      Many of us, when we first come to MCC, are so
      accustomed to using male pronouns for God that
      even when we come to understand God as beyond
      gender and other human categories, even when we
      come to view God as Spirit who is neither male
      nor female, it is still difficult not to say "he,"
      "him," and "his" for God. This male terminology,
      however, limits God to our cultural view of the
      Divine, which is a male-dominant point of view. . . .

      YAHWEH of course is one of the primary Hebrew names
      for God. It is a strange name in that it is a verb
      form rather than a noun. It is a form of the verb
      "to be," and it means something like "I am who I am."
      YAHWEH, the God is Israel, could not be limited by
      any name or category or image. . . .

      YAHWEH is boundless, eternal, and universal. YAHWEH
      is beyond gender, beyond nationality, beyond race,
      beyond any time and place. . . .

      Ask yourself what your conception of God is. Is your
      God a male figure? Is your God restricted to certain
      functions and certain times in your life? Then your
      God is too small, and you need to meet YAWWEH, the
      boundless God, the God beyond categories.

      The Hebrew Scriptures provide a huge variety of names,
      images, and terms for God. That is why it is wrong to
      use one and only one image for God, like always saying,
      "Father." God is more than any one particular
      conception of God.

      The Scriptures give us a richer and fuller picture of
      God than we could ever imagine. Besides the name of
      YAHWEH ("I am who I am"), there are also the names
      Elohim (God the mighty one) and El Shaddai (God the
      Breasted One, that is the One who nurtures us and
      provides for our needs).

      The Song of Moses in the Book of Deuteronomy (Chapter
      32) depicts God as like a mother eagle, who stirs up
      her young ones to leave the nest and learn to fly.
      The song we sing in MCC called "Our God is Like an
      Eagle" is based on this passage. This same Song of
      Moses refers to "the God who gave you birth."

      Psalm 131 is a short psalm, which says that being
      calmed and quieted by God is like being a child at
      the mother's breast.

      The Hebrew prophets were very daring in their imagery
      of God, including feminine imagery, especially the
      prophets Hosea and (Second) Isaiah [scholars believe
      the book of Isaiah had at least three contributors].
      These and other feminine references to God have been
      overlooked and dismissed by those who can imagine God
      only as male, but they stand in the Scriptures to
      remind us that God is beyond our imaginings and
      projections. They clearly point out that God is
      beyond gender.

      There are all kinds of images and terms that are applied
      to God throughout the Bible. These include shepherd,
      fortress, rock, liberator, judge, spouse, suitor,
      friend, potter, ruler, father, mother, midwife, light,
      love, breath, wind, and so on. These are all human
      analogies and images that we human beings use to
      describe God or to say what God is like. God may be
      like these things, but God cannot be contained in any
      of these images, not even in all of them put together.
      God is much vaster than we can ever imagine, and God
      cannot and will not be restricted by any words that we
      attach to the Deity. It is idolatrous, theologically
      wrong, and Biblically unsound to use just one word or
      phrase to definitively portray God, because God
      transcends our human words.

      God is not limited by our understanding of God. God
      is not bound by any of our cultural or personal biases.
      God has reveals God to have both masculine and feminine
      attributes. This means of course that God is beyond
      gender, and it is wrong to present God in exclusively
      male terms.

      Jesus' whole life and ministry was an embodiment of
      God's boundless and all-inclusive love. Jesus changed
      the picture of God from an aloof, stern, cold, demanding,
      distant Father into a close, loving, forgiving Abba
      ["Our Father" in the traditional Lord's Prayer is the
      English translation for "Abba" which was a much more
      intimate and friendly word than the actual word for
      "father"]. To illustrate this, Jesus used both male
      and female images. He ascribed many "feminine" or
      "motherly" qualities to God, such as God feeding,
      clothing, nurturing, supporting, and comforting us.
      In Biblical times, these functions were definitely
      aspects of the "motherly" role, not the "fatherly"
      role.

      What Jesus was trying to communicate was that the
      love and ongoing concern of God for us is like that
      of our parents, both of our parents. God is our
      Father and Mother. God is our Provider and Nurturer,
      the One from whom we come and the One to whom we
      belong. Bu his use of Abba and by what he taught
      about God, Jesus did much to break the traditional
      stereotypes of a male, masculine, macho God.

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

      5. Sterling Silver MCC Crosses and Logos

      Chi Rho Press, your MCC LGBT Christian publishing
      house, again carries Solid Sterling Silver MCC
      crosses and logos!

      A Gay jewelry artist has cast the traditional MCC
      Chi Rho cross and the newer MCC logo in Solid
      Sterling Silver for Chi Rho Press.

      The traditional MCC Cross with the overlapped Greek
      letters Chi and Rho in the center (a traditional
      monogram for Christ, being the first letters in
      the Greek word Christos) and the Greek letters
      Alpha and Omega on the cross bar (the first and
      last letters in the Greek alphabet, signifying
      the Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, the
      beginning and the end). On the reverse of the
      cross is the dove of the Holy Spirit. The Solid
      Sterling Silver crosses are 13/16 inches wide and
      1 inch tall, and sell for $19.95 each, plus shipping
      and handling. Six or more are $14.95 each, plus
      shipping and handling.

      The new MCC logo on a round pendant with the flame
      of the Holy Spirit intersecting the stylized globe.
      The Solid Sterling Silver MCC logos are 7/8 inch in
      diameter, and sell for $24.95 each, plus shipping
      and handling. Six or more are $18.95 each, plus
      shipping and handling.

      Please see and order your MCC Crosses or MCC Logos
      at this link:
      http://www.chirhopress.com/products/silver_jewelry.html

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

      6. Adam's Last Word

      We hope you will but one of our Lenten studies as
      soon as possible, so we can ship your order to you
      quickly. They each will be a blessing to you in
      your Lenten spiritual discipline.

      *****

      I would love for you to send me articles about
      women or men you hold to be your Heroes of the
      Faith. Just write to Adam@... with
      your remembrance and let me know what you would
      like me to say about you as the author.

      *****

      We are excited about the publication of the
      2009-2010 Liturgical Calendar and Lectionary,
      Year C. We hope you will order your copies today!

      *****

      Please encourage members of your church to participate
      in the special fund raising offer from Chi Rho Press.
      We will make a donation of 10% of all sales from
      people who mention your congregation in the "Special
      Instructions and Comments" box on the check out page.
      Please let your people know as soon as possible about
      this opportunity to help both our ministries.

      *****

      Shipping and Handling Tip: This tip will be
      especially important if you are ordering one or
      two Liturgical Calendars!

      When you are ordering from the Chi Rho Press Web
      site, be sure to tell us your preferred shipping
      method. The way the shopping cart is set up, the
      shipping method defaults to United Parcel Service.
      This is NOT the most economical way to ship for
      orders under seven pounds. If you want the most
      inexpensive shipping (within the United States)
      it is usually best to pick USPS (United States
      Postal Service Domestic Parcel Post) for packages
      weighing under seven pounds. UPS (United Parcel
      Service) Ground is more economical for packages
      heavier than seven pounds. The shopping cart will
      tell you how much your order weighs in the box right
      next to your order amount and price. There is a link
      there to change your shipping method as well.

      When I order one copy of the Liturgical Calendar and
      allow the default UPS Ground shipping method, the
      shipping cost is almost as much as the book, $10.11!
      But if I change the shipping method to USPS Parcel
      Post shipping is only $6.28, and it is $6.46 for USPS
      Priority Mail.

      Be smart shoppers and choose your shipping options
      carefully to avoid paying too much!

      *****

      Gracia y paz,

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

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

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      For all e-mail correspondence, please write
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      Chi Rho Press, Inc.
      P.O. Box 7864
      Gaithersburg, MD 20898

      Our telephone and fax number is 301/926-1208.

      Copyright 2010, Chi Rho Press, Inc.
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