Wednesday, February 28, 2007

PB Blogfest: With God On Our Side only Nixon Can Go to China

So it starts like a late night interview on PBS. Where is Charlie Rose?

One of the things that the PB keeps wanting to tell us is that there is a whole bunch of primates who are going to retire someday, as though if everyone just puts up their chin and go with the flow the Blue Meanies will be pushing up daisies soon.

She is very skilled at talking in the same monotone and then sneaks in the jabs here and there - saying that the current crisis facing the worldwide Anglican Communion "is represented in some quarters as dire." Now that's an interesting phrase. What she is saying again here - by using the word "represented" - is that you can't trust anyone but her - or the TEC institution. There really should be a wink here. And of course, it's just a laugh that anything is dire - and besides all those Blue Meanies will be dead eventually.

What does she mean by the words "salvation" and "the gospel" we wonder. She doesn't define them and so we are left to use our own imaginations. But leaving it ambiguous is a bit incredulous for (in many ways) these are indeed the paramount issues facing the Anglican Communion and why our situation may not be just represented as dire - but actually is dire (make no mistake about it, though it does, of course, depend on what the definition of the word is is or is was ...). Whatever it does mean, she seems to be implying (which of course, is the crux of her entire talk here - everything is "implied") that the majority of The Episcopal Church holds a different definition of the words "salvation" and "gospel" than the Anglican Communion's orthodox Christian understanding. She hasn't gone far before she tells us that TEC and the AC are divergent on the very heart-issues of the church - salvation and the gospel. Alas.

"While a primate may be a leader of his province, that province also has a diversity of opinion and that diversity is becoming increasingly evident especially in this age of the internet." Again, she is carefully casting doubt over the authority of the primates to truly represent the mind of the Communion since she is maintaining that there is no such thing as truth or authority - just these primates own truth and these primates own authority - but what does that have to do with The Episcopal Church, we have our own truth, our own authority. The Episcopal Church's truth is of the "diversity of opinion" and that is what matters - what matters is for us to do our own thing. But even this is not so - because it does matter, it does matter. It matters to The Episcopal Church - "diversity" is a political word and one would be cautious to go outside the politically-accepted version of "diversity" or risk extreme name-calling. She is very clear in saying who is the "minority" view and who is "the majority" view - and then later turns that upside down by playing the victim card on the oppressed minority, which is not the minority in TEC but in the Anglican Communion. It's these type of theological gymnastics that are at once both frustrating and remarkable. She reminds me of Gumby, that you could pose in any way you want - it didn't matter, he was still Gumby.

"Exceeding exercised" is how she describes our friends in the Global South "who seek to evangelize in their own contexts." And of course, here are more verbal "winks" because "their own contexts" really means "they are not like us." Time to put the kettle on.

"Crossing into the church" she says of the Global South archbishops and that TEC should act in good faith "until we are confronted with evidence to the contrary." This is both untrue and disingenuous. She is not acting in good faith if she's suing hundreds of lay people and their clergy in Virginia and elsewhere. The is not acting in good faith when she ignores the primates urging her to stand down from taking such hostile actions as suing other Christians who are acting in good faith. Either they are acting in good faith or they are not. Schori's actions indicate that she's speaking out of both sides of her mouth (do the progressives realize this too? I wonder, since this "speech chat" is designed to keep them obediently in the fold).

Vehemently. Wow, she makes a bee line from the current crisis to the ordination of women and the prayer book. But there are thousands and thousands of evangelical Episcopalians who came into the Episcopal Church after those events - those events happened over thirty years ago - ordination of women in the 1970s and the prayer book in 1979. By saying this (in that even monotone of course) she ignores everyone under the age of 50 (which again, might tell us something about The Episcopal Church demographics). That's weird. We here at the BabyBlueCafe support women's ordination (because its biblical) and the 1979 Prayer Book (because it's the only one we've ever known). The 1928 Prayer Book might as well be the 16something Prayer Book. It sounds like it's from another century - which of course, it is.

Ah, now we spin the message. This is not about women and not about the prayer book - this is about biblical authority and revelation. Schori seems unable or unwilling to admit this, casting such views as being "vehemently opposed" to something. That's a tactic to regain control of the message in an attempt to hold on to the progressive base. She's got to keep them in the fold or it will be TEC that implodes all on its own.

This is a little weird - she's reading a speech from a teleprompter while sitting in a setting that's supposed to informal. This is like inviting Great Aunt Marge into the living room and asking her about her recent trip to the Antibes and she instead she reads a speech to everyone. The setting is at odds with the medium. She's giving a speech - but perhaps could not find a convinient and assured place where there would be smiles and nodding heads and so "reimagined" the setting as being an informal PBS chat show (without Charlie Rose, who would be helpful at this point) but still gives her formal speech. We don't actually see the audience while she gives her speech - just an occassional glance at Jan.

If she is doing the informal chat show thingy, she should be standing up, moving around, looking at the audience, talking off the cuff and seeming warm and kind, confident and at ease (the Oprah-style). Instead, she's stiff and formal, as though she is like Great Aunt Marge who was actually heading over to the VFW Hall to give a speech, but got lost along the way and wandered into our family's livingroom and gave her speech anyway.

This is so telling about where TEC is right now. TEC wants to be our friend. TEC wants to be loved, admired, respected. TEC wants obidence and acceptance. But TEC is formal and sticks to the script, yes sticks to the script which is off camera "over there" - no, "over there," wait "over there." The hostess, Jan Nunley, just sits there as though wondering when is the tea arriving and will there be crumpets as well?

Notice her convictions pop out when she gets to the part about TEC's innovations that the Anglican Communion has requested be stopped by September 30 (music to the ears of the progressives who have been quite clear about being issued an ultimatum). It's again very clear who this little chat show is aimed at - the progressive base, whom she needs to support her in order to deliver to the Archbishop of Canterbury. She convincd them to them come over to her side at General Convention (leaving Louie Crew speechless at the podium) when she burst onto the floor of the House of Deputies. Now she's at it again - this is an most expressedly an appeal to the rank and file.

Again, she challenges the authority of the primates by questioning whether they have authority (remember, she's the one deciding which questions to raise, she's not sticking to what the Communique said, merely her spin on it to keep the base firmly in tow).

She reminds me of some of the profs I had in college, who would stand up and explain philosophies of writers they could not stand. The point of their pontificating was to get the students to agree with them, by acting as though they were all-knowing, but carefully crafting their language to raise our doubts. When someone works on a BFA (or MFA) in creative writing, the hostility toward classical literature is astonishing. Creative Writing as an area of study concentrates on the modern novel and the contemporary poem, including the themes and subjects that are deemed important now (not the themes and subjects that were important in early eras of literature). From the beginning you are taught to not place your faith in those old works but to discover the new work, the new reality in fiction by casting off those old ideas that hinder one's imagination - or is that reimagination? I could totally see Katharine Jefferts Schori teaching one of those classes in poetry that use to infuriate me because I couldn't for the life of me understand why they were so angry about Jane Austin or Charlotte Bronte or Milton or even Shakespeare - never mind TS Eliot (who inconviniently got the Faith, much like Dylan - traitor!). They had to create a new reality and a new form of fiction and poetry to go along with it. Now we'll have a new theology and a new church - only it turns out that those are quite old indeed.

And she talks in the same tone as they did too. Oh dear, I think I'm having a flashback. Please, someone pass me a butterbeer and a notebook. Where is TS Eliot when we need him?

In this decayed hole
among the mountains
In the faint moonlight,
the grass is singing
Over the tumbled graves,
about the chapel
There is the empty chapel,
only the wind's home.
It has no windows,
and the door swings,
Dry bones can harm no one.

"The system we call the Anglican Communion is seemingly unable or unwilling to live with diversity," Schori says, or what she calls "a broader understanding on all sides." It's a system now, easily disgarded or reinvented into a new system. Leave your convictions at home. Didn't CS Lewis call that "men without chests?"

"We are being pushed toward a decision by impatient forces within and outside this church who hunger for clarity. This hunger for clarity at all costs is an anxious response to discomfort in the face of change which characterizes all of life."

Goodness, what a sweeping statement. What are these secret "impatient forces" - is this the same force that Griswold talked about at the primates meeting in Ireland? This is conspiracy type thinking - it's not personal and it's not responsible. Where did we put our tinfoil hat? It's as though there are these Mindless Stupid People who have Messed It All Up just when we Had It Where We Wanted. Then comes Schori's habit of quoting scripture and then stopping before the passage is finished. "This is my beloved," she says and forgets (or does she?) the most important point - Son.

She's talking to the camera rather than to the people who are in the room. Again, this is a mixed message - let's chat but I'm going to read a speech. And now she's calling her nameless "impatient forces" as going after idols. Her inability to say, hey, the Episcopal Church really blew it - this is our mess and we've dragged the entire communion into it, is telling - as telling as it is that she cannot seem to admit that her "fasting" does not extend to taking those "impatient forces" to court.

You know, the fact that she ends on "beloved" and not "beloved Son" is - quite frankly - odd. It substitutes the imagery of God as Father and Son and reimagines their relationship to something more akin to "partners" - by using that word "beloved" without the integral relationship. She's subtly reinventing the biblical imagery to fit the New Imagery of The Episcopal Church. Golly.

"The impatience we are now experiencing is an idol," she says, "a false hope that is unwilling to wait on God for clarity." What she seems to be saying is that the September 30th date is an idol, a false hope and those who hold TEC accountable are "unwilling to wait on God for clarity." Schori wants to wait on God just long enough for all the primates to be pushing up daisies.

So she thinks it all about anxiety - that TEC has boldly gone into the New World and people are anxious about all this new stuff. Patronizing, isn't it?

Then comes the Humdinger of the Day: "God is with us and God will continue to be with us whatever this church decides." And that of course, reminds me of a song:

Her assumption that TEC will not be held accountable for its actions and basically it can justify whatever it does because God is on our side, for why wouldn't He be? We're Episcopalians.

And then she calls again some unknown people "neuralgic" about listening - of course, she's not one of them! Any minute now, BabyBlue is expecting a knock on her door from the sheriff's deputy (or service) any moment now, stopping by to serve papers for a lawsuit by someone who is not neuralgic at all, no not at all.

The so-called "Listening Process" might actually mean mere "political pursuasion" - one way or the other. Listening "in this context" is political, not theological - and again, in light of the changed imagery - the relationship shifts as well. Or does it?

She calls on the progressives to listen to the Neuralgic Blue Meanies. It's the least we can do, she seems to say, with these impatient idol worshippers who don't have God on their side.

Executive Council and the House of Bishops will be having "initiatives" and stuff will be coming from the Deputies and Bishops. What deputies are those - the ones elected for 2006?

Oh good heavens - now she says God is saying to us "Fear not - you are my beloved." Heaven's to Betsy!

So we go from the LORD GOD booming out of heaven that Jesus is "My Beloved Son with whom I am well pleased," except the Schori edition is just "My Beloved" - jump to what God is really saying and that is The Episcopal Church is "My Beloved." This is similar to the reimagining of the word "Christ" to the "Church." First it's Christ, the Body of Christ, the Church - and then Christ = The Church. Here she does it again - she goes from My Beloved (Son), leaves out the word "Son," so it's "My Beloved" and the it become My Beloved - The Church. No wonder God is on their side - TEC has taken the place of Christ, it is the New Christ.

Love this part about fasting from ascribing motives to others - isn't there a word for that?

What does "for in Christ we are all a minority" mean? Aren't we in the majority - we are all sinners and Christ is the minority - He was blameless and was crucified for our sake? He is unique - the only beloved Son of God - or is He?


What was it that was once said - that only Nixon could go to China, Nixon, the fierce anti-communist with impecable credentials could be the only one to negotiate with Red China? It seems that Schori is attempting the same campaign - to remind her listeners, the angry progressives, that she's one of them and if she can wait until the primates are pushing up daisies, well - so can they. Pass the tea and crumpets.


LATER: You can now read the transcript here.

"This is my beloved - what?"

Okay, click on the headline above for a video of the TEC PB. And please, please - don't say the "Son" Word. And while you're at it - please don't say the "F" word either - Father. More to come - we'll attempt a PB-Blogathon on this video tonight. For now, we're ordering another chai. Wondering just what her "humorous response" will be, but we have John Cleese on standby.

By the way, she wants to fast but not from lawsuits.


Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Alice in Wonderland - or is that The Episcopal Church?

Excellent analysis by Kendall Harmon at early indications that TEC will attemp the Old "it depends on what the meaning of is is" trick and insist that same sex blessings does not mean same sex blessings. Read it all here.

Also, check out this discussion over at Stand Firm on 815's announcement that they will not suspend their lawsuits against the Virginia Churches, despite what the Anglican Primates Communique requests TEC to do to show faith.

Between the Diocese of Virginia's Protocol for Departing Churches and now the Anglican Primates Communique, how do we know when TEC makes an agreement it really is an agreement? When do we say "when?"

Monday, February 26, 2007

London Times' Ruth Gledhill interviews Archbishop Venables on the future of TEC and the Anglican Communion

BB NOTE: Read more of Ruth interview here. Archbishop Venables final comment in the video seems rather timely following the press release from Schori & Beers at 815 (see posting below).

Schori's Chancellor refuses to put litigation on hold; says there is "no basis" to suspend actions as directed by the Anglican Communique

BB NOTE: Let's see - this is what the Primates Communique said: "The primates urge the representatives of The Episcopal Church and of those congregations in property disputes with it to suspend all actions in law arising in this situation. We also urge both parties to give assurances that no steps will be taken to alienate property from The Episcopal Church without its consent or to deny the use of that property to those congregations." The Episcopal Church is urged to "suspend ALL actions in law arising in this situation." The Virginia Churches have not taken steps to alienate anything (merely record the votes of the congregations and following the Diocese of Virginia's Protocol for Departing Churches).

But we learn today that 815 will continue its lawsuit against the 200 laity and clergy in Virginia who followed the Diocese of Virginia Protocol. Schori never mentioned in her "report" to her staff anything about the Primates urging the lawsuits be suspended (and she signed it!). Diocese of Virginia continues to main that the churches have been abandoned (I didn't see the Diocese anywhere clearing the snow at any of the churches this weekend, but never mind).

In this case, it seems safe to say, that actions speaker louder than words.

Here's the latest press release from 815:

Virginia property litigation to continue, church's attorneys say

By Mary Frances Schjonberg
Monday, February 26, 2007

[Episcopal News Service] Lawyers for the Episcopal Church have told two attorneys representing some of the 11 Diocese of Virginia congregations involved in a legal dispute over possession of church property that "there is no basis at this time" to put that litigation on hold.

Washington, D.C. attorneys Mary A. McReynolds and Steffen N. Johnson asked by letter on February 22 that the litigation be put on hold after the communiqué issued at the end of the recent Primates' Meeting "urge[d] the representatives of The Episcopal Church and of those congregations in property disputes with it to suspend all actions in law arising in this situation."

The Primates' recommendation concerning litigation was one of a number of interrelated recommendations which they made concerning the way the Episcopal Church should deal with disagreements among its members.

In their February 26 reply, David Booth Beers, chancellor to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, and his colleague Heather H. Anderson, first reminded the two attorneys that the Anglican Communion is a federation and not a "juridical or legislative body."

Thus, they wrote, it "has no legal authority over the affairs of its members."

"Rather, through a series of meetings of its members, the bishops and other representatives of the member churches from time to time adopt teachings and policies as recommendations to those churches," Beers and Anderson wrote.

In the case of the Communiqué, Beers and Anderson said that the Primates' recommendations are "interrelated," and they noted that the Primates recognized that the Episcopal Church must generate ways to handle differences among its members "within its own life."

The recommendations, Booth and Anderson wrote, "taken together, call for a number of steps to be considered over time by the bishops and other leaders of the Episcopal Church" with one of the possible results being a withdrawal from civil litigation over property.

"In these circumstances it would be premature, to say the least, for the Church at this time to withdraw from or agree to suspend the litigation, thereby ceasing its efforts to protect its interests and that of its past, current, and future members in seeing that parish property be used for the Church's ministry and mission," the Church's attorneys wrote. "Any proposal for such a step should be considered by the Church in connection with all the other recommendations of the Primates' communiqué that are under consideration by the leaders and other interested persons with the Church, and in the context of developments that may protect the Church's interests in other ways. As noted, this involves a process that will be undertaken over time, in accordance with the rules and procedures of the Church."

"Thus, suspension of this litigation at this time would not be appropriate," the letter concluded.

Their statements reiterate comments Jefferts Schori made February 23 during a briefing for Episcopal Church Center staff in New York.

Earlier this month, the Episcopal Church supported the Diocese of Virginia when a majority of its members and clergy of 11 congregations voted in 2006 and early 2007 to leave the denomination and affiliate with African Anglican bishops.

The Episcopal Church filed a complaint in the County of Fairfax, Virginia, court contending that the defendants it named are using the real and personal property of the parishes "for their own use in association with a different church," are "continuing to divert the parishes' funds from the mission of the Episcopal Church," and have refused to comply with a January 18 resolution by the Executive Board calling for the surrender of the real and personal property to Virginia Bishop Peter Lee. (The defendants are the former clergy and vestry members of 11 parishes and missions, as well as trustees who technically hold title to the real property of some of the parishes.)

"The leadership of the Diocese of Virginia remains focused on the needs of our churches including those where a majority of members have left the Episcopal Church," Patrick Getlein, secretary of the Diocese of Virginia, told ENS. "When majorities in those congregations voted in December to leave the Church and affiliate with Nigerian Anglicans they set in motion a spiritual and legal conflict that remains unresolved. The fact is Episcopal Church property has been abandoned, efforts have been made by the separated churches to alienate or transfer it, and loyal Episcopalians have been and continue to be excluded from their churches. Bishop Lee and the diocesan leadership remain committed to preserving the sacred legacy entrusted to us by previous generations for the future of the Church here in Virginia."

-- The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is national correspondent for the Episcopal News Service.

BB LATER NOTE: Even though this is truly sad and bewildering, we still pray that TEC and the Diocese of Virginia will listen to the wisdom of the Anglican Communion primates, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, and suspend their lawsuits and return to the negotiating table. "Come, let us reason together .." (Isaiah 1:18)

Archbishop of Canterbury clarifies the Anglican Communion's stance on ordination and unions

BB NOTE: This is from an interview conducted by Guardian (Tanzania) newspaper with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, following the conclusion of the Anglican Primates meeting in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. In the interview, the Archbishop clarifies the official stance of the Anglican Communion on all ordinations and same sex unions. This is true.

Will The Episcopal Church finally stand down from its unilateral position to remain in the Communion? Come September we will know.

Q: We go back to the primates meeting in Dar es Salaam. The meeting has failed to come out with a clear decision on the raging controversy regarding same sex marriages….

A: That`s not true actually…

Q: It seems that the leaders are more concerned with preserving their cohesion rather than communicating the truth to the faithful. So, given the circumstances, what does the Anglican Church stand for and why are you dilly-dallying to give a stance in this very crucial moral issue?

A: The stance of the Anglican Communion is clear: It has never said anything other than that. The ordination of active homosexuals is not acceptable.

It has never said anything other than that the marriage of same sex-couples is not to be admitted.

That`s what the Lambeth Conference said in 1998, and every meeting has said so since then.

Q: This could be a turning point for the Anglican Church. The Anglican Church in Africa is up in arms against this situation. It has severed relations with the Episcopal Church in the US. Is schism not inevitable in the near future?

A: I don`t know. We have worked very hard to avoid it this week by saying to the American church what the condition might be…that we can mend the broken relations; and between them and other churches; and I think that the Primates Meeting has come out with a very clear statement that if that relationship is to be restored, there are certain things that we need to hear from them (the American Church).

Read the entire interview here.

BB UPDATE: Listen to the Archbishop of Canterbury's "Presidential Address" at the Church of England's General Synod today.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Oscarfest Blogorama: And the Oscar goes to ...."The Departed"

8:30 p.m. The telecast now begins, live from the Kodac Theatre - the 79th Annual Academy Awards.

Oh what a cool beginning. Peter O'Toole, Stephen Spielberg, Penelope Cruz, Clint Eastwood, things like that. Peter O'Toole. Zilch. PIxels. Alfonso - Martin Scorsese, here for the Queen, restrained, polite, off with your head, leap of faith, rhyme inconvinient truth, and Eddie Murhpy staring at the camera. It's been fabulous, ups and downs, I'm going to think, thanks, mom. Wow.

Spread hope, joy, and humor around - not so bad.

All the nominees stand for the opening. Very dramatic. Very classy. It's the Oscars. That's a well-done opening. Not over the top, very good.


8:36 p.m. Ellen's opening monolgue: A dream come true. The most international Oscars ever, Ellen says. Mexico has a record nominations (there's Alfonso again!). British have a pretty good shot, she says. Not too funny yet. I miss Billy Crystal. He was funny. A Billion People Watching. Little Miss Sunshine. Peter O'Toole. Nominated eight times, including tonight. Jennifer Hudson (lots of name checking, Ellen). Al Gore - "America did vote for him," Ellen says and yes, there he is and lots and lots of cheering. Ooookay ...

This is really boring. Let's get to the good part. Why spend all this time doing nothing? I don't get it. It started off really well and now we have to listen to all this stuff - hmmm ... not everyone clapped that time. Maybe there is a little hope out there, but it's not on the stage yet. This is not really working - where's Billy Crystal. Come back, Billy, come back.

The first Oscar is going to Art Direction.

The Oscar goes to: Pan's Labrinth (never heard of it, but oh well). What's interesting here is that Dreamgirls didn't get the Oscar for this.

Now the review of all the scientific Academy Awards that were presented earlier.

Twenty Minutes and One Award.

8:53 p.m. Will Farrell singing. The Comedian at the Oscars is The Saddest Man of All. Jack Black - he's funny. Maybe he should host next year's Oscars. Now that would be a scream. Maybe both of these guys should host next year. Or - maybe not. Who writes this? Well, at least Helen Mirren is still classy. Oh ait, this is rather humorous. It's been said that drama always wins over comedy at the Oscars and they are satirizing that maxium. I still like the idea of Jack Black, though, hosting the Oscars. Just the thought of it is funny.

Achievement in Makeup: The Oscar goes to Pan's Labyrinth - again.

The next award is presented by the kids. One is Will Smith's son - he's adorable.

Best Animated Short Film: The Oscar goes to The Danish Poet.

Best Live Action Short Film: The Oscar goes to The West Bank Story - Excellent acceptance speech.

Now we are hearing Clint Eastwood talking about this Best Picture-nominated film, "Letters From Iwo Jima." "It's not about winning or losing but about the great sacrifices they made," Eastwood says.

Apple Pie is in the oven. Time Out to check the Pie.


A hand to the orchestra. Ellen is still not very funny. Alas.

Oh this is wild! A Sound Effects Choir - this really cool!!!!

9:14 p.m.

Best Sound Editing: And the Oscar goes to Letters From Iwo Jima The winner's father was a survivor of Iwo Jima, the announcer just said. Another excellent acceptance speech.

Best Sound Mixing: And the Oscar goes to Dreamgirls. The first Oscar of the night to Dreamgirls, which was nominated for the most awards tonight. Oddly, the film was not nominated for Best Picture.

Here we go - Oscar for the Best Supporting Actor.

And the Oscar goes to: ALAN ARKIN A surprise. I really like him - I'll never forget him in "The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming." Well this is a surprise. This is a good win, though - he's been working a long time. This is also a win for Little Miss Sunshine (which is my choice for Best Picture, even though I haven't seen it!). Another very good acceptance speech. Elegant.

Not sure what that penguin-dance thingy was - was trying to find a photo of Alan Arkin.

9:30 p.m. I don't know - I'm just not a fan of Schorse, except when he does a documentary of Bob Dylan. It's just not my cup of tea. Yeah, I'm going with Little Miss Sunshine.

Oh cool - James Taylor. Now how cool is that. Wow, there he is. He looks partner in a Wall Street firm. "It's our town."

Melissa Etheridge singing now. An Inconvenient Truth. Not sure I get all the slogans up on the screen behind her. Sort of 1984ish for me. Spooky.

Oh here we go. Al Gore everyone. Anything you might want to announce, said Leonardo. He's thanking all the little people, I mean all the talented people. Great look from Jerry Sienfeld. That was funny. Oh that was funny. People seem rather lukewarm as they clap, polite but well, whatever. Here's Al the funny guy - and he can be funny sometimes. He's getting out a piece of paper from his pocket and oh well, the music starts and off he goes. No, he's not running for anything. He's Leo's pal now.

9:42 p.m. What about that Giligan's Island?

Best Animated Feature: And the Oscar goes to Happy Feet! Yeah for the Penguins!

Now they are celebrating the writers. Hooray! It's very well done - these clips are the best thing of this Oscar telecast. "It must be wonderful to be a writer." "Thrilling," says Humphrey Bogart. This is quite good. Done!

There's Jack Nicholson - and he's bald!

Now here's Helen Miren and Tom Hanks. This is done very well - the read right from the screenplays and then break for a clip from the film. Very well done.

Best Adapted Screenplay: And the Oscar goes to The Departed. That's a first indication toward Best Picture. If Little Miss Sunshine does not win Best Original Screenplay than it's a good chance that The Departed will win Best Picture - stay tuned.

I love Tom Hanks. Just do.

Meryl Streep - too much. Always in character. Get that woman a cappuccino. Another innovative way of announcing the nominations with people wearing the costumes in character on stage. That was great.

Best Costume Design: And the Oscar goes to Marie Antoinette. A delightful acceptance speech.

Tom Cruise - is this why Nicole is dressed like a Red Flag?

Tribute to Sherry Lansing. An extraordinary pioneer for women in business. Great dress too. And perfect hair. And she knows that when you wear earings, you don't wear a necklace.

Oh here's Ellen again. Interviewing Clint Eastwood. Clint is funny. Stephen Spielberg is being handed a camera to take a picture of Ellen and Clint Eastwood. Now that was funny. Now she's giving Stephen photo direction. Okay, this part was funny.

Now we have Gwyneth Paltrow - haven't seen her around in a while. She's married to the lead singer of Coldplay and lives in London, at least I think she does. But she's sounding American now.

Best Cinematography: And the Oscar goes to Pan's Labyrinth. Wow, that's another win for this film I've never heard of, not even in passing. Wonder what that film is about. It will have to win best Foreign Film - how could it not? It says here it's a box office hit. Oh, that's not good. I don't even know what is a box office hit this year. That should tell us all something.

Oh here are those dancers in silouette again - I think that was supposed to be for Little Miss Sunshine, but not sure. So, what is this Pan's Labyrinth - I'm intrigued. Will have to learn more about it. But it sure looks fixed to win the Best Foreign Film.

10:20 p.m.

Fashion Alert: The dresses seem to harken to the 1930s tonight. The hair and the dresses - there is a common theme between the dresses I've seen so far.

Best Visual Effects: And the Oscar goes to Pirates of the Caribeean: Dead Men's Chest The film has received a lot of nominations, but this is the first win here tonight.

The first film to win Best Foreign Film was La Strada, a truly great film. I have it on DVD. I even wrote a poem about it - really quite extraordinary. Here's another one of those montages they've done tonight and those are really really good. This is what makes you love the movies! And there are some extraordinary movies in this montage of foreign film winners. Fine!

Oh here's Clive Owen with Cate Blanchet. Clive Owen should have been the new James Bond, that's all we'll say here.

Best Foreign Film: And the Oscar goes to The Lives of Others Another surprise! Now in something I just read here it said that it was really between Pan's Labyrinth and The Lives of Others. It's a film from Germany. He is sincerely surprised - and even thanks the governor of California.

Here comes George Clooney to give out Best Supporting Actress.

Best Supporting Actress: And the Oscar goes to Jennifer Hudson. Hooray! "Look at what God can do," she says. "I didn't think I was going to win. If my grandmother was here to see me now, she was my biggest inspiration." This is really a Cinderella moment. "Thank you for helping me to keep the faith when I didn't believe. God bless you," she says.

10:41 p.m.

Best Documentary Short Subject: And the Oscar goes to The Blood of Yingzhou District

Here's Jerry Sienfield - who is funny. "You might be the best, we won't know definately until you are all dressed up and if you are not the best we all want to see your face when you get the news." His routine is so far funnier then Ellen. Has he hosted the Oscars before? I can't remember - but he's funny.

Oh, there's George Lucas - wonder why he's here. And Stephen Spielberg - they just showed him.

Best Documentary Feature (or as Jerry said, the Five Most Depressing Movies): And the Oscar goes to An Inconvinient Truth Ooookay - here's Al Gore again. So, what would you rather have, the Presidentcy or an Oscar? Why can't I be more reverent right now. "My fellow Americans," says Al Gore. Okay. This was really the most political moment so far and frankly, it was pretty tame. It's been surprising tonight how little politics is showing - no ribbons, no buttons, no funny little speeches.

Here's Clint Eastwood - with a red hankie in his pocket. And a bowtie. Said he sure have worn his glasses.

What's left to handout in the next few minutes?

Original Screenplay
Film Editing
Original Score
Original Song

Eight more Oscars - and the ones that make the headlines. Every year they do this - spend two and half hours doing this and that and then, kaboom. Zoom. Let's see if we'll be able to keep up.

There's Quincy Jones. He's up in the balcony.

Bob Dylan got an Oscar for Best Original Song (Things Have Changed) and he taped it to his amp. So when you see him live on stage, check the amp right behind him and you'll see his Oscar still taped there.

Now here's a first, Clint Eastwood translating Italian. Only at the Oscars.

Best Original Score: The Oscar goes to: Babel

There's Jack Nicholson again - wow, what's the bald thing about I wonder.

Here's the moment when the President of the Academy. And he's talking very very fast. He's telling us everything about the Academy in one minute. It's about restoring old films. This is funny. Sixteen seconds left. Again, these film clip bits are really well done.

Ah, the Spiderman duo. That's coming out this year. Is it the third one? Think so.

Best Original Screenplay (this is an indication of what might win - or not win - Best Picture. Since The Departed won for best Adapted Screenplay, this will indicate what may be also be a frontrunner for Best Picture. I've been betting on Little Miss Sunshine (though the only film I've seen this year is The Queen which I thought was terrific, and they are showing the best scene in the film - the scene with the stag). And the Oscar goes to Little Miss Sunshine!

So, it appears that the Best Picture will either be "The Departed" or "Little Miss Sunshine." If it's not one of them then it will be a shocker.

Fashion Update: We've seen several empire-waisted (almost typed wasted, getting a bit punchy) dresses - the sort of Romanesque/Jane Austinesque hint in the dresses. Fashion designers use the Oscars to push certain styles and it's almost like a Paris fashion show. In fact, as I recall, that was all that the London chat shows talked about the day after the Oscar telecast when I was there one year. It was a while before I found out who had actually won.

11:26 p.m. Six more Oscars to go. In 30 Minutes. As always!

Okay, here we go:

Best Original Song: And the Oscar goes to An Inconvenient Truth: "I Need To Wake Up," by Melissa Ethridge. "We're all green," she says. But made it a point not to say it is a Republican or Democrat issue - but a green thing. Thanked her wife (not her partner). Not sure I've seen that before on the Oscars.

I think Little Miss Sunshine has a shot. Guess we'll see soon.

11:35 p.m. Will Smith comes on stage. Another montage of looking at America through its movies. Not sure what I think about this one. It seems to be somewhat a slam on America - lots of violence and fundies shouting. What's that all about? This seems to show that Americans are racist and show no respect to others. I don't know, maybe I'm feeling more like Oscar The Grouch at this hour, but it just comes across as crass. Nope, didn't like that one.

Here comes Kate Winslet. "Cut to the chase," she says. It was said to the film editor.

Best Film Editing: And the Oscar goes to The Departed One more for The Departed.

Martin Scorsese is now crying. Tears are streaming down his face.

Here comes Jody Foster. Wonder where she's been.

She's wearing Blue Drapes. She's honoring Randy Stone and others who passed away this year. This always gets me every year. Be back in a moment.

Glenn Ford, Bruno Kirby, Jane Wyatt, Don Knotts, Red Buttons, Darren McGavin, Joe Barbara, June Allyson, Maureen Stapleton, Jack Wild, James Doohan, Carol Ponti, Peter Boyle, Sidney Sheldon, Jack Palance, Mako, Jack Warden, Robert Altman, and others.

It wasn't quite as moving as it has been in the past. I think the music wasn't quite right. Always the critic!

Best Actress And the Oscar goes to Helen Miren. Yipeeee! A brilliant gold star! And she pays tribute to "Elizabeth Windsor." "Ladies and Gentlemen," she says, "The Queen!" And she holds up her newly presented Oscar.

Commericals: There've been some rather good ones, but that was probably my favorite - the iPhone commercial, "Hello," using clips from films.

So waht do we have left?

Best Actor
Best Director
Best Picture

Why is Ellen vacuuming at this hour?

Best Actor: And the Oscar goes to Forest Whitaker - he plays Idi Amin in "The Last King of Scotland." He says he's overwhelmed. Thanks the people of Uganda. And God too.

Oh cool, Copolla, Spielberg, Lucas - these three great friends (and only two have won Oscars).

Best Director: And the Oscar goes to Martin Scorsese. Finally! "Someone check the envelope," Scorsese says as he faces a standing roar of an ovation. "So many people over the years have been wishing this for me," he says, "thank you, this one is for you." Four great directors of all time walk off the stage together and are met by Jack Nicolson.

Best Picture - presented by Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson

And the Oscar goes to:

The Departed - what Scorsese says is "the first film he's ever done with a plot."

So there we are - another year at the Oscars. This was "Marty's Year' and what also stood out was the lack of political posturing or speeches and not a ribbon in sight. The glamour was up and the tears were flowing. Another year and so concludes the first annual Oscarfest Blogorama! See you at the movies - I really hope so this year!

bb 12:17 a.m.

Tonight at the BabyBlueCafe: The Oscarfest Blogorama

8:01 p.m. Penguins head for the Oscars in a VW Bus.

Red Carpet Interviews are now underway. I remember watching the Red Carpet interviews one year when I was in London during the Oscars. No one really mentioned who won that year (I don't really remember), but three hours were spent the next morning on the London "chat shows" about what people are wearing. Really, it seems that it's more important what the women wear then who wins what.

Nicole Kidman is wearing a giant red flag. Can we read anything into that?

8:05 p.m. Jennifer Hudson is wearing something from Deep Space Nine.

Lots of bowties It's all about bowties.

The "Fashion Designer" for the Devil Wears Prada - that hair, that hair, oh my gosh, that hair. What color is that anyway?

Penelope Cruz is wearing an Ostrich.

Cameron Diaz, great dress, very classy - all white. Be interesting to put her next to Nicole Kidman in the Red Flag.

Cate Blanchet - major style. She gets the prize. The guy talking says that she always makes the right choices and it's true. Oh now, their talking about her playing Bob Dylan - which is true. She's playing Bob Dylan in his 'hipster" period in an upcoming film.

I guess the Oscars don't really start - well, when do they start?

There is Alfonso - the guy who directed Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and has indicated he'd like to direct another HP film.

Kate Winslet - now that is a cool dress. And the color is very pretty - a mint great. But there's that flog thing again - we get a sense that after tonight the dresses could be used for flags or drapes. Winslet looks like she stepped out of the Roman Empire.

Here's Helen MIrren, who is the favorite (and my choice) for Best Actress. She looks quite regal tonight.

Well, it looks like the Red Carpet is now over. Whew.


Let the Oscars Begin!

BB NOTE: Perhaps the funniest moment of the night may have been the "outtakes" of Eddie Murphy just broadcast on the Barbara Walter's Special.

First Annual "Blogging the Oscarsfest"

Thought we'd try something new this year. For the past umpteen years, BabyBlue watches the Oscars and picks her choices and then sees how she does. This year she has only seen one of the films! Guess she was otherwise occupied by "other things."

But hey, we're still going to watch the Oscars and while we are not as certain who will win (Little Miss Sunshine or The Departed, comedy or drama?), will this finally be Martin Scorsese's year, are we going to hear an acceptance speech from Eddie Murphy, will Al Gore get an Oscar, or will Helen Miren finish the year off with a final triumph (the answer we think is yes to all those questions) - we'll give you our best view, front and center from somewhere in the middle of Narnia. Turkish Delight anyone?


Click here or on the headline above for your ballot!

An Unexpected Snow

BB NOTE: I am at The Farm this weekend and was expecting a slushy ice-thingy, but woke up to this instead. Surprise!

Video Report on the Primates Meeting from the ACN Moderator, Bishop Bob Duncan

Bishop Duncan's Report on Dar Es Salaam
RECORDED at St Matins Monroeville, PA, FEB 24 9:00 AM

BB NOTE: Bishop Duncan was invited by the Archbishop of Canterbury to make a special report to the Primates Meeting in Dar Es Salaam.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Read this excellent point-by-point response to the TEC House of Deputies president's recent statement on the Primates' Communique

BB NOTE: Read the Rev. Dan Martin's response to House of Deputies president, Bonnie Anderson's recent statement on the Primates' Communique. It's excellent and helps clarify points that perhaps some in the TEC will wish to blur. Here's an excerpt:

BA: The polity of the Episcopal Church is one of shared decision making among the laity, priest and deacons and bishops. The House of Bishops does not make binding, final decisions about the governance of the Church. Decisions like those requested by the Primates must be carefully considered and ultimately decided by the whole Church, all orders of ministry, together.

DM: I would gently suggest that Bonnie needs to read the request of the Primates more carefully. It is addressed to the House of Bishops, through the Presiding Bishop. They haven't made a request of the Episcopal Church; they have made a request of the House of Bishops. Individual Episcopalians, including the PHOD, might question the wisdom of their decision, but they're the Primates and we're not. So they get to decide who they want to talk to.

BA: Some are asking ... Is it a good idea for our House of Bishops to do what they have asked? Is the House of Bishops the right body within the Episcopal Church to respond to the Primates’ requests?

DM: See above. If the request has been made of the HOB, then the HOB is clearly "the right body" to provide an answer. Anything else would be...well...impolite.

BA: Our baptismal promise to seek and serve Christ in all people must be very carefully considered when we are being asked as Episcopalians to exclude some of our members from answering the Holy Spirit’s call to use their God-given gifts to lead faithful lives of ministry.

DM: This statement makes all sorts of suppositions that are neither self-evident nor universally shared. They are, in fact, contested, and they are contested in good faith. The attempt to exploit our baptismal vows to shame Episcopalians who share theological and moral convictions with not only a majority of the world's Anglicans but the vast majority of the world's Christians is itself shameful. We (numbering myself with the majorities I just identified) would answer that we are not endorsing the exclusion of any who are called by God to the episcopate, but that we operate from a premise that God does not call to leadership positions in the church those who are involved in relationships that by their nature inherently fall short of God's own moral vision--a vision of which we have no proprietary knowledge, but which is revealed by God for all to see. Rather than subverting our promise to "seek and serve Christ in all people," then, we are being true to our promise to remain faithful to "the apostles' teaching and fellowship."

BA: Our promise to strive for justice and peace and respect the dignity of all people binds us together.

DM: I would respectfully disagree. It is our being "in Christ" (per St Paul) that binds us together.

BA: The Episcopal Church has declared repeatedly that our understanding of the Baptismal Covenant requires that we treat all persons equally regardless of their race, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, disabilities, age, color, ethnic origin, or national origin.

DM: This begs the question. To comply with the Primates' request would not cause the violation of any of the non-discrimination canons. The Primates are not asking the HOB with withhold consecration of episcopal candidates who are merely of a homosexual orient. They are speaking of anyone who is living in an intimate relationship outside of marriage as the Communion understands marriage (cf. Lambeth I.10).

BA: To honor all of the Primates’ requests would change the way the Episcopal Church understands its role in the Communion and the way Episcopalians make decisions about our common life. Our church makes policy and interprets its resolutions and Canons through the General Convention and, to a lesser extent, the Executive Council.

DM: Bonnie is mostly correct here. But, as I have said, I think the changes she fears are good and necessary. For the sake of the long-term wholeness of the Episcopal Church, we need to submit to this discipline.

BA: As president of the 800-plus member House of Deputies, it is my duty to ensure that the voice of the clergy and the laity of our Church will be heard as the Church discusses and debates the Primates’ requests and that that process will not be pre-empted by the House of Bishops or any other group. I have already begun to work toward that end.

DM: Well, to borrow a phrase from Ronald Reagan, "there you go again." The Primates are talking to the Bishops. If other parties get involved, they are horning in uninvited. If the Bishops desire the counsel of the House of Deputies, it is their prerogative to ask for it, either by calling a special General Convention or allowing the Executive Council to act as proxy, which is not completely outside its scope of responsibility. But the Bishops are under no moral or canonical obligation to do so. Something has been asked of them, and it is up to them to respond.

Read the whole thing here.

Bishop Minns Reports on the Primates Meeting in Dar Es Salaam

BB NOTE: The following is from the Bishop of CANA following the Primates Meeting in Dar Es Salaam.

One of the most positive outcomes from the meeting was a clear and unambiguous declaration of what we, as Christians and as Anglicans, believe. This was expressed both in terms of core creedal statements through the Covenant and also in a powerful recapitulation of our convictions regarding marriage and human sexuality: “in view of the teaching of Scripture, [the Conference] upholds faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman in lifelong union, and believes that abstinence is right for those who are not called to marriage.” Someone commented that this was almost un-Anglican in its clarity!

The Primates also recognized that while mission initiatives such as the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) and the Anglican Mission in America (AMiA) do create some “difficulties,” they have a valid and important place in the Anglican Communion as TEC decides whether to abandon its innovations and seek to reclaim its place in mainstream Anglicanism. I was especially gratified by the recognition given to the important role that Archbishop Akinola and the Church of Nigeria have played in providing a safe harbor for those who simply want to get on with the work of the Gospel without compromise of our core beliefs.

While rejecting any attempt to draw a moral equivalence between our so-called “interventions” and the “innovations” now embraced by TEC, the Primates concluded that The Episcopal Church had NOT responded adequately to the requests of The
Windsor Report and gave them one last chance with a date certain set for September 30, 2007. The Primates were clear that after that there will be serious, though not yet specified, consequences. It is clear that The Episcopal Church must decide if it will uphold the biblical teachings of the Anglican Communion or choose to walk apart.

The Primates urged the suspension of all property litigation since they — and we — do not believe that this is the way that our disputes should be handled. We already have communicated with both diocesan and national church leadership, urging them to follow through on this important request and we pray that there will be a positive response.

The Primates also recognized that many dioceses and congregations within TEC do want to embrace the principles set out in The Windsor Report and proposed a complex and unprecedented restructuring of TEC to accommodate them. At the heart of that proposal is the establishment of “Primatial Vicar” who will provide oversight in conjunction with the Presiding Bishop and a Pastoral Council jointly appointed by member dioceses, the Presiding Bishop and the Archbishop of Canterbury. If it sounds terribly complicated . . . it is. “It is an experiment,” said Archbishop Rowan Williams at the final news conference. “Please pray!”

Read the entire letter here.

Friday, February 23, 2007

It takes a lot to laugh, it takes a train to cry

While riding on the train tonight out of DC, listened to the TEC Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori brief the 815 staff on the Primates Meeting in Dar Es Salaam. One would like so much to be charitable, to try to think of positive things to say, to encourage you to listen to it and be encouraged - but it was all one could do but to sit there, quietly, reflectively, actively engaging in a listening process in this forty-year conversation while we sit at the table la di da. One wanted to be calm, dignified, winsome, the epitome of serenity, to be able to say sweetly, ah, let us continue the conversation at the table in our listening process. And don't smash the plates.

She never once mentioned the fact that she's suing two hundred clergy and lay people in Virginia. No, not once. In her measured overtly-calm review of what transpired in Dar Es Salaam, she somehow overlooked the part about instigating lawsuits in her quest for conversation in the listening process so we can all be at the table - one way or the other. She just continued on in that ethereal, dream-like tone - but do catch the barbs, they are quite sharp.

Note carefully the difference she is making between the word "authorization" and the words "pastoral care." It is stuff like that that makes one want to jump out of their seat and start screaming down the aisle until one is thrown from the train.

Listen for yourself.

The best we could do when we got home tonight is put on this song below. It takes a lot to laugh, it takes a train to cry when everything is broken. If, as you listen to tonight's pesentation, try clicking on the song below and listen to both - at the same time. It's a rather interesting listening experience.

Time Out: Update on The Cousin

For those who have been following this other BabyBlue family drama, click here to hear NPR's recent interview with The Cousin. There've been a few developments. You can also read NPR's article on The Cousin here or listen here.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Episcopal Church faces major crucial turning-point in Anglican history

From First Things
The Anglicans: What Happened in Tanzania
By Jordan Hylden

The primates at Tanzania asked the bishops of the Episcopal Church to do two specific things: first, unequivocally promise not to authorize Rites of Blessing for same-sex unions; second, unequivocally promise not to consecrate any more actively homosexual bishops. It has been described as an ultimatum, and it comes with a deadline (September 30) and consequences: If not followed, the Episcopal Church will not be invited to next year’s Lambeth Conference and so in effect will be judged to have walked apart from the Anglican Communion.

Furthermore, the primates’ statement provides for the creation of an American “church-within-a-church,” fulfilling a long-standing request of conservative Episcopalians. All Episcopalian bishops will be given the opportunity to come under the direct authority of a separate five-member Pastoral Council (two members of which will be chosen by the current presiding bishop and the remainder by the archbishop of Canterbury and the primates). Conservative Episcopalian bishops will be allowed to nominate one of their own number as a “Primatial Vicar,” who will act in effect as presiding bishop for the church-within-a-church under the supervision of the primates’ Pastoral Council.

This new council could act as a significant check on the Episcopal Church’s internal authority, and it has been given great leeway to negotiate its own terms. In an especially telling line, it is given authorization under paragraph 157 of the Windsor Report to consider whether the Episcopal Church’s future actions merit further steps toward the withdrawal of the Episcopal Church from membership in the Anglican Communion. In essence, the new church-within-a-church stands ready to become a new American Anglican province in its own right if the Episcopal Church should decide finally to revoke its own current status in the communion.

In addition, the primates have encouraged but not required those who have already left the Episcopal Church to return under the new pastoral scheme, and they have left the door open for their inclusion in more-or-less their present form. The primates have also requested that all legal action currently pending against breakaway parishes come to an end, a significant repudiation of the Episcopal Church’s well-publicized strategy of filing as many lawsuits as possible. It remains to be seen whether the national church office will comply, but one certainly hopes that it will.

The next move belongs to the Episcopal Church, and Anglicans can only wait to see how it will respond to the primates’ requests. For many liberals within the Episcopal Church, for whom the gay-rights agenda is a nonnegotiable justice issue, complying with the primates’ requests would be seen as acquiescing to bigotry. The liberal argument in favor of delaying full homosexual inclusion has long been to wait “for a season” so as to “continue the conversation,” thus tactically awaiting the best opportunity to win the greatest gain. But this argument lost much of its luster at Tanzania, since the logic of subscription to an Anglican Covenant (a new and excellent version of which was also unveiled in Tanzania) means that the Episcopal Church would need to bind itself to the decisions of a largely conservative global Anglican body. The civil-rights-era argument that “justice delayed is justice denied” will thus appeal strongly to many liberals, some of whom are already tiring of an endless conversation that seems every time to end with conservatives having the last word. Still, there remains an outside chance that Episcopalians will join together to accept the primates’ requests, thus preserving the church’s Anglican status.

It has been a long road, and much uncertainty lies ahead. But what uncertainty remains is principally related to the decisions now facing the Episcopal Church. As for the Anglican Communion, its choice has been made. Years from now, it may well be that we will look upon this week as a crucial turning-point in Anglican history, crucial as anything since the English Reformation.

Read the whole thing here.

Last Press Conference from Primates Meeting in Dar Es Salaam and the Release of the Communique


Primate Meeting Press Conference Final

FEB 20 11:00 PM


Awesome job, Kevin. Thank you!

BB NOTE: What strkes you about this last press conference? Now that I see the Archbishop of Tanzania up close I realize I have met him before. He is impressive. I remember too the Archbishop of the West Indies from the Hope and a Future Conference in Pittsburgh. The Archbishop of Canterbury is quite clear that it is no longer "business as usual" with The Episcopal Church. He talks of the two factors that are serious: how to work with The Episcopal Church if they are interested in remaining in the Anglican Communion as well as at least a quarter of the House of Bishops who are not "content with the decisions of General Convention." While the covenant is being discussed, the communique offers an interim solution. But it's clear that the focus is on whether The Episcopal Church wants to remain in the Anglican Communion. There needs to be a settlement to the situation now faced by the orthodox in the United States. The Episcopal Church is challenged. There is also a call to a "cease fire" of litiation by the Episcopal Church against the orthodox. Reconciliation is not possible while lawsuits are a threat, the Archbishop of Canterbury says.

Homosexual activity is not compatible with scripture, the Archbishop of Canterbury says in answer to the question. He makes it clear this is the teaching of the Anglican Communion (he doesn't tell us what he personally believes, but states that this is the teaching of the Anglican Communion).

It is interesting to note that during the entire Primates meeting, the TEC Presiding Bishop was never available to speak to the press, was not at this press conference, nor did it seem anyone interviewed her while she was at the Primates Meeting.

The Archbishop of Canterbury says that the the bishops who do not recognize the current Presiding Bishop will appoint their own "Primatial Vicar" that will be under the authority of the Primates Council.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

At the Heart of the Conflict: Who is Jesus?

BB NOTE: Looks like Poetry is back in.

Where is this stupendous stranger,
Swains of Solyma, advise?
Lead me to my Master’s manger,
Show me where my Saviour lies.

O Most Mighty! O MOST HOLY!
Far beyond the seraph’s thought,
Art thou then so mean and lowly
As unheeded prophets taught?

O the magnitude of meekness!
Worth from worth immortal sprung;
O the strength of infant weakness,
If eternal is so young!

If so young and thus eternal,
Michael tune the shepherd’s reed,
Where the scenes are ever vernal,
And the loves be Love indeed!

See the God blasphem’d and doubted
In the schools of Greece and Rome;
See the pow’rs of darkness routed,
Taken at their utmost gloom.

Nature’s decorations glisten
Far above their usual trim;
Birds on box and laurels listen,
As so near the cherubs hymn.

Boreas now no longer winters
On the desolated coast;
Oaks no more are riv’n in splinters
By the whirlwind and his host.

Spinks and ouzels sing sublimely,
“We too have a Saviour born”;
Whiter blossoms burst untimely
On the blest Mosaic thorn.

God all-bounteous, all-creative,
Whom no ills from good dissuade,
Is incarnate, and a native
Of the very world He made

Christopher Smart

Washington Post: Episcopal Leaders Defiant

Also check out this statement from the Archbishop of Uganda, who was eletected to the Primates Standing Committee, the Most Rev. Henry Orombi here.

Leading Liberal Episcopalians would rather accept schism
By Alan Cooperman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 21, 2007; A03

Several leading liberal Episcopalians said yesterday that they would rather accept a schism than accede to a demand from leaders of the worldwide Anglican Communion for what they view as an unconscionable rollback of the U.S. church's position on gay rights.

The defiant reaction to the communique issued by the primates, or heads, of the Anglican Communion's 38 national churches on Monday at the conclusion of a weeklong meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, reflected a growing feeling on both sides of the dispute that time for compromise is running out.

"Yes, I would accept schism," said Bishop Steven Charleston, president of the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass. "I would be willing to accept being told I'm not in communion with places like Nigeria if it meant I could continue to be in a position of justice and morality. If the price I pay is that I'm not considered to be part of a flawed communion, then so be it."

Conservative primates, many from developing countries, insisted in Dar es Salaam that the 2.3-million-member U.S. church must comply with the 77-million-member communion's position that "homosexual practice" is "incompatible with Scripture." They sought and won a Sept. 30 deadline for U.S. bishops to pledge to stop authorizing rites of blessing for same-sex couples and to promise not to consecrate any more gay bishops since the election of V. Gene Robinson in New Hampshire in 2003.

U.S. conservatives hailed the communique. Martyn Minns, of Truro Church in Fairfax, one of 15 Northern Virginia congregations that have voted since 2005 to separate from the Episcopal Church, said it gives the U.S. church just "one last chance."

"It says that the American church is invited to be part of the Anglican Communion, but if it chooses not to, it can walk its own way," Minns said by telephone from London during a stopover on his return from the Tanzania meeting.

The communique also recommends against litigation to settle property disputes between Episcopal dioceses and departing congregations. Minns, now a bishop in a missionary branch of the Anglican Church of Nigeria, said he hoped that the Episcopal bishop of Virginia, Peter Lee, would agree to mediation.

But Patrick Getlein, spokesman for the Virginia diocese, said it has no plan to drop its legal claims. The departures "set in motion a spiritual and legal conflict that at this point remains unresolved," he said.

Some Episcopalians who support gay rights in the church said they are waiting to hear from the U.S. church's presiding bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori, who signed the communique.

"My assumption is she's coming home to tell us how it can work," said Jim Naughton, a spokesman for the Washington diocese. "And since she's amassed a lot of goodwill in a short time, maybe she can persuade us -- though it will be a hard sell."

Other liberals said it is time to admit that they have been outmaneuvered.

"The American church has been very skillfully and strategically painted into a corner where we really need to face a "Sophie's Choice" of staying true to our understanding of the inclusive gospel or staying true to our commitment to being a constituent member of the Anglican Communion," said the Rev. Susan Russell, president of Integrity, a 33-year-old gay rights advocacy group within the church.

Russell said the U.S. church has done all it can to avoid that choice. "The idea that the criteria for being in communion with each other is you must agree down the line on doctrinal points -- that has never been how Anglicans have operated," she said. Nevertheless, Russell said, her group will urge U.S. bishops, who are scheduled to meet next month at an Episcopal retreat center near Houston, to "utterly reject" the Anglican demands.

The Rev. Mark Harris, a retired priest and liberal blogger who sits on the Episcopal Church's 40-member Executive Council, said that U.S. bishops may have to tell the Anglican Communion that they cannot speak for the entire U.S. church, which has a democratic structure that includes lay people and priests in decision-making.

"Part of the courage needed for the future is to stand by what we believe is right, and stand by the consequences," he said.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Welcome to the First Annual CafeAnonsBall!

Here we are - it's Shrove Tuesday. We have the beads and the tinfoil hats (haven't donned any masks - we'll leave that to Mr. Dylan) and the kettle's on the boil while the pancakes are flying high!

What we need is a little bit of music! You can click here or here (the earlier preview) to get started (two hours of music all together!). You can also subscribe to BabyBlueOnline's podcast at iTunes and download to your iPod.

PS - As a sign of goodwill, the first song of the evening here is dedicated to Jim Naughton - we discovered that, whatever else may happen, we will always have Harry Potter in common (not sure which "houses" we belong to though!).

The second song is dedicated to, well - who do you think after this weekend? Who knew BabyBlue had this song in the repertoire? In fact, Jenny up at the ACN office and I used to sing it at church coffeehouses years ago - but we were so much younger then, we're older than that now.

More dedications coming! Sorry about Song #3 - but it ends with the audience booing Dylan - kind of know what that feels like these days. See how he handles all the booing - and take note!

First up, we have an excellent recipe for pancakes - from Bill (thanks, Bill)!

Here it is:

English Pancakes

1 3/4 cups of flour, sifted with good pinch of salt and 2 tsp. sugar. ---> all into a bowl.

Beat a mix of 2 eggs plus 1 egg yoke and add slowly to flour in bowl (obviously), stirring strenuously.

Rest a little to prepare for next step, then beat with fork while you slowly add a mixture of 1 cup milk & 1 cup water. Beat until batter is bubbly on top. Stir in the grated rind of 1/2 lemon. Take a nap or have a drink while the batter stands in a cool place for at least an hour. (A little good quality brandy can replace an equal volume of water (strongly recommended).

When ready to make pancakes, stir 3 teaspoons of melted butter into the mix.

Heat a little oil in a medium sized pan. Swish oil around (half-way up sides), then pour excess hot oil into heat-proof bowl. Roll up sleeves, add small amount of batter and tilt pan around to spread the batter thin, VERY thin .... BUT no holes in sspread batter!

Cook and shake pan to loosen as batter solidifies.

Flip once (twice if you are trying to impress .... more and varied flips for the experienced such as the famous 'over the shoulder flip' or the 'between the legs flip' or 'the forward hurl, then run and make a diving catch' (this one always impresses!

As soon as the pancake is cooked, removed and you can either:
1. Sprinkle with fresh lemon juice and
sugar then roll.
2. Spread with strawberry jam (NOT JELLY)
and roll

Serves 6, double or triple recipe for more.

N.B. Stove at about medium, start a little higher, then reduce to medium if it's too high. Pancake quality improves with experience. Add some of the reserved oil as needed to relubricate and then always pour off excess.

Batter improves with time (at least overnight in the fridge)


We also have a suprise coming (which, when it's ready, should appear below). It should please all on both sides of the aisle, as it were.

We hear then folks (again, on both sides of the aisle) might be feeling rather cranky and so we just ask that tonight, on Shrove Tuesday, we just pull up chair, grab a mug of Butterbeer or BabyBlue's Chai Latte's, stack a pile of pancakes on the plate, sing along with the tunes, get up and dance (the wonders of the BabyBlueCafe is no one will see you - so go for it!), or chat about what ever is on your mind by clicking on the "post a comment" on this posting.

But whether you'd like to just find a little corner to yourself or be the life of the party - you are all welcome here tonight!

Let the festivites begin!

LATER: See below this posting for the on-air interview of Kendall Harmon, Canon Theologian of the Diocese of South Carolina, and Susan Russell, President of Integrity. It's an excellent interview all around - both Kendall and Susan articulate the division very well. We apologize that BabyBlue forgot she was recording and offers an unplanned verbal editorial at one point - sorry about that.

We suggest that you huddle over your tables, order another round of Butterbeers and discuss - but please keep the furniture tossing to a minimum. ;-)

MORE: Ever wonder how Shrove Tuesday got started? Here's a short history:

For centuries, the English have celebratd Shrove Tuesday, the day before Lent, with merriment and antics and, especially, great quantities of pancakes. In fact, the fried flat cakes became so important to the holiday that is has also been called Pancake Day, or Pancake Tuesday.

Long ago, strict Christian Lenten rules prohibited the eating of all dairy products, so keen housewives made pancakes to use up their supplies of eggs, milk, butter and other fats. They could be easily made and cooked in a skillet or on a griddle. Families ate stacks of them, and pancakes were popular with all classes.

The rich Shrovetide pancakes were eaten as a ritual or symbol of self-indulgence before the fast. Early English recipes called for wheaten flour, eggs, butter or lard, a liquid (water, milk, ale or wine) and flavorings such as white or brown sugar, spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, or ginger), orange flower water, scented sugars or liqueurs.

The pancakes were fried in butter or fat and served flat or rolled and sprinkled with powdered sugar, topped with preserves or doused with alcohol. A special pancake, called a quire or pancake of paper, was made very thin and usually stacked. It was likened to a quire of "wafers" or writing paper.

Even the church bells that rang early on Shrove Tuesday morning summoning everyone to confession and to be "shriven" became known as Pancake Bells. They also reminded all to use up the "forbidden foods" before Lent. An old London rhyme went "Pancakes and fritters, say the bells on St. Peter's."

EVEN MORE: Wonder what's happening right now in New Orleans? Click here and see (this version is using Real Player).

Oops Looks like we cut off a bit of U2's "With or Without You" (ironic) from the CafeAnonBall music selections. Not sure if it's the "with" or the "without." Alas. We'd say, "so, sue me," but we'd really rather you didn't.

FINAL HOUR Want to really clear a room - and not because you're talking about the Anglican Communion Crisis. Well, here you go - the REAL DEBATE of the YEAR:

LONG DISTANCE DEDICATION This is about the time of evening when we all start singing, the pancakes are all tossed and consumed and the butterbeer and tea are getting low. We lift up our mugs in final toasts when an old song from high school starts playing and we forget just how tired we were of this song. In fact, we here at the cafe can remember a stationwagon full of fifteen-year-olds in the Pearl Ridge Shopping Center singing along with the radio so loud it could be heard all way to Waipahu. So crank up the speakers and thanks for the memories - to all who dropped in tonight, well, this one's for you:

THE LAST SONG FOR THE NIGHT: Here it is - just a few minutes to go before Ash Wednesday and so we offer one final song, a final dance, for the night. Of course, this being the "BabyBlue" Cafe, it just had to be a song from You Know Who.

This is off his most recent album, the first one to go to #1 on the Billboard Charts in over 25 years, Modern Times. Rolling Stone Magazine named it the Album of the Year and it received the Grammy last week for the Best Americana/Folk Album (though it's really the blues). What's it about? Only Dylan knows for sure. But when we heard it here we could think of only one person who is with us at that moment "when the deal goes down." There really is only person with us at that moment and the truth that He is with us, even at that moment, is extraordinary.

Notice how Dylan doesn't say "you'll be with me when the deal goes down" ( which is what I think we often actually say) like in the 23rd Psalm - "Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, thou art with me." Dylan - being Dylan - turns it around and says "I'll be with You when the deal goes down." And that is true.

Here are the lyrics:

In the still of the night, in the world's ancient light
Where wisdom grows up in strife
My bewildered brain, toils in vain
Through the darkness on the pathways of life
Each invisible prayer is like a cloud in the air
Tomorrow keeps turning around
We live and we die, we know not why
But I'll be with you when the deal goes down

We eat and we drink, we feel and we think
Far down the street we stray
I laugh and I cry and I'm haunted by
Things I never meant nor wished to say
The midnight rain follows the train
We all wear the same thorny crown
Soul to soul, our shadows roll
And I'll be with you when the deal goes down

Well, the moon gives light and it shines by night
When I scarcely feel the glow
We learn to live and then we forgive
O'r the road we're bound to go
More frailer than the flowers, these precious hours
That keep us so tightly bound
You come to my eyes like a vision from the skies
And I'll be with you when the deal goes down

Well, I picked up a rose and it poked through my clothes
I followed the winding stream
I heard the deafening noise, I felt transient joys
I know they're not what they seem
In this earthly domain, full of disappointment and pain
You'll never see me frown
I owe my heart to you, and that's sayin' it true
And I'll be with you when the deal goes down

Words and music by Bob Dylan 2006

So here you are - last dance, last song, and we call it night. Thanks again from dropping in. We know that the coming months may be tough, they are uncertain and known only to God. But the prayer here tonight is that we will know for certain that He will be with us when the deal goes down. God bless you all - Happy Shrove Tuesday. Good night.

Kendall Harmon and Susan Russell Interview on NewsHour

Archbishop Orombi Interviewed

Catch this excellent interview of Archbishop Orombi at Anglican Mainstream here. He offers analysis and insight into the Primates Communique regarding The Episcopal Church and its standing in the Anglican Communion.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Tuesday, Feb. 20 is the First Annual CafeAnonsBall at the BabyBlueCafe!

Okay, it's been a serious day, a very serious day. And there are more serious days ahead. But tomorrow is Shrove Tuesday and we will be celebrating all of our many cafe guests who drop in and pass through. Whether we know your name or not, you are all welcome here! Tomorrow we'll have some special music, pancake recipes, and whatever else may come to mind. The kettle will be on the boil and the pancakes will be flying high. Right here at the BabyBlueCafe!

The Ball begins (if the train gets in) at 8:00 p.m. EST. Pull up a chair, put on your tinfoil hat and beads, and enjoy the evening. See you there!


The Guardian: Canterbury gets tough on liberals to save the church

No Schism for Now: Williams gets tough on liberals to save the church

· Episcopalians ordered to give up on gay blessings
· Anglicans must wait on decision of US bishops

Stephen Bates in Dar es Salaam

The archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, kept the worldwide Anglican communion together, at least in the short term, but at the cost of imposing unprecedented sanctions on the US Episcopal church to force it to abandon its liberal policies towards gay people.
A communique issued late last night after a fraught five-day meeting in Tanzania of the primates - archbishops and presiding bishops of Anglicanism's 38 provinces - laid new ground rules for the US church and gave it until September 30 to comply. The plan allows, effectively, for the setting up of a church within a church in the US with the appointment of a senior cleric to oversee dioceses which feel unable to accept the Episcopal church's liberal leadership.

The church's bishops will also have to give an unequivocal undertaking not to authorise any rites of blessing for same-sex couples and to confirm that no more gay bishops, living in same-sex relationships, would be confirmed in office. The crisis in the Anglican communion was sparked by the Episcopal church's election, in 2003, of Gene Robinson, a gay bishop.
The communique said: "If the reassurances requested of the House of Bishops cannot in good conscience be given, the relationship between the Episcopal church and the Anglican communion as a whole remains damaged at best and this has consequences for the full participation of the church in the life of the communion." The primates have accepted the right of the leaders of other provinces to trespass on the US to minister to conservative parishes. This has particularly applied to Archbishop Peter Akinola, the primate of Nigeria, who consecrated Martyn Minns, a conservative evangelical vicar in Virginia, as a Nigerian bishop to oversee parishes that wish to opt out of the Episcopal church.

Archbishop Williams, looking discomfited, admitted that the cost of getting Archbishop Akinola to join the other primates in signing the unanimous communique was allowing him to continue to trespass on Episcopal church territory, at least for the present.

Dr Williams, who nominally heads the 78-million strong Anglican communion, also admitted that he did not know what would happen if the US bishops only voted narrowly in favour of the demands, or how the idea of a primatial vicar overseeing US dioceses would work. "It's an experiment," he said. "Pray for it."

Bishop Minns, who has lobbied the primates' meeting and advised Archbishop Akinola on tactics, said: "I think this statement is a real recognition of the serious divisions in the church. This is unprecedented. It is not business as usual."

More here. Please note that Stephen Bates is on the liberal end and he's not spinning.