Friday, February 29, 2008

The View: If you were a tree, what tree would you be?

Hello and welcome to The View. I'd like to introduce my first guest, a pioneer in her field, the first among equals, the woman of the times, the extraordinary, the unique, the amazing, the fabulous---

Honey, you are not talking about yourself again.

As I was saying, this woman needs no introduction ---

You got that right. It's great to be here, even though the Academy Awards Show just completely forgot that one person who hosted the Oscars for years, for YEARS - and did my picture show up on the recap of Oscar Memories, like, uh, NO. Memories, light the corner of my mind ...

You are not singing, not again, you've been singing that in the dressing room for six hours while I got my hair done. And where the hell is my lipstick?

I got it, hon. Catch.

...misty water colored memories---but no, my picture did not get displayed to the multi-million Oscar viewers around the world and I just got an issue with that. It's where I'm at. Ya dig?

Dig? Was I supposed to bring a shovel? I think Barbara's trying to say something.

I dig, I know what it's like to be dissed. It's about REJECTION, it's about SELF-ESTEEM, it's about finding one's INNER beauty and you know, stuff like that.

I mean, I've been doing this since I was a homeless single mother who happened to be damn funny, damn funny.

You got that right, hon.

... the gender-ceiling breaking woman who caught global attention when she---

Barbara, we know it's all about you, you know it's all about you, honey, the show is all about you, everything is about you, we piss you off we go into oblivion with Rosie.

You got that right, hon.

I think Barbara is trying to say something.

Now that I 'm thinking about it, I don't recall any of you making a statement about my dissing by the Oscars. Now what's up with that?

... was recently elected---

Oh my God, is SHE here? Is SHE here? Where is she? I love all that "it takes a village" stuff and the health care stuff and I just got to know who's doing her hair.

We are not talking about that woman. Obama rocks, wake up sister, you know it, I know it. And I'm damn sure he knows it - he sure as you know what wasn't watching those Oscars.

Have you ever actually noticed how much he resembles the Oscar Statue?

Who are you talking about?

Who are you talking about?

... to the Office of Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Kat---

You know, I don't like your tone of voice.

Well I don't like your tinted granny glasses, you're trying to make yourself serious, is that it? What did you do, inherit them from John Denver?

I think Barbara is trying to say something.

You got that right, hon.

I beg your pardon? You got a problem with my glasses too?

I think Barbara is trying to say something?

You got that right, hon.





...Katharine Jefferts Schori! Welcome!





Welcome Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church.

Thank you, Barbara. It is good to be here. Where's Ted?


Yes, Ted.

Ted Koppel? He doesn't do this show, he doesn't do any show. He's old.

Honey, where have you been?

I think she means me.

Now, Bishop? Mrs.? Ms.?

You can call me Bishop Katharine. Bishop Katharine with an A.





Good, that's good. Now Bishop Katharine, if you were a tree what tree would you be?

Good one, Barbara. Now that's an original question.

What tree?

Would you be?

What tree would I be?

Yes, that is the question. If you were a tree, what tree would you be?

Episcopalians acknowledge several sources of authority on questions of identity, including identifying oneself as a tree: scripture, tradition and reason. When the various sources of authority seem to be in tension, we must use all our rational and spiritual faculties to discern the direction in which a preponderance of the evidence points. To do otherwise is to repudiate the very gifts God has given us.

And so what tree would you be?

The current vogue in atheism, if real, has a lot to do with the diminished understandings of God promulgated by some believers. There is a wonderful scene in The Color Purple where Celie talks about beginning to wake up when she realized she didn’t believe in that old white guy in the sky.

Oh no, here it comes.

I got nominated for an Oscar for that film, did you know that, I didn't just host the damn show, I WON the damn show.

Didn't you win for Ghost, or was I imagining things?


Stop looking at me like that, Hasselback.

I'm not looking at you.

Oh yes you are, you are crinkling up that McCain-loving nose, I bet you never even saw The Color Purple.

I certainly have.

You have not.

I most certainly have. In fact, my kids and I play the Elmo Color Guessing Game all the time. The Color Purple is my son Taylor's favorite.

Oh God, give me strength.

Our mother Jesus gives birth to a new creation and we are his children. We are going to have to give up fear. Do not be afraid. God is with you. You are God’s beloved and God is well pleased with you. When we know ourselves as beloved, we can recognize another beloved in a homeless man, a rhetorical opponent. We can reach beyond the defenses of others. Our invitation is to lay down our fear and love the world. Lay down our shield and sword, lay down our narrow self interest. Lay down our need for power and control, and bow to God’s image in the weakest, poorest and most excluded.







Bishop Kate, you still haven't answered my question.

Haven't I?


Are you sure?


We who practice the Christian tradition understand him as our vehicle to the divine. But for us to assume that God could not act in other ways is, I think, to put God in an awfully small box.

A tree?

Everyone was predicting a Katrina-like storm from this meeting, and what emerged was an enormous piece of common ground to stand on. That's a remarkable thing given the breadth of theology and faith and practice in that room.

What room?

What ground?

What storm?

Stand where?

What tree?

Would you be?

If you were ...

... a tree?

I'm very fond of a farming metaphor; it can be applied to aquaculture as well. In situations where the same crop is grown year after year after year after year in a field, the only way to sustain that is with massive inputs of manure and insecticides.

Did she say manure?

Can you say that on television?

Rosie would have used that other word.

And Rosie's not here any more. Now we've got you.

And my Oscar.

Oscar who? Who are these men in here anyway?

They look like The Three Wise Men to me.

Put a sock in it. There were no three wise men.






Beauty comes in many forms. Squids and octopuses, at least in the part of the Pacific Ocean that I studied, came in 80 or 90 different species, from an inch to more than 80 feet long, though I never collected one. … They live in all places, in all environments. They're all squids, as we might compare squids to, uh, women. They're all created by God, wondrous in their own way. Some of them can't survive in environments where others live, and that's the way they were created. There's blessing in that.

Did she just call me an octopus?

Or a squid.

Who's a squid?

I'm lost.

You're not the only one.

So, there's no tree--

If some people need to go and find a home somewhere else, bless their journey, keep the door open and the light on.

Any last words?

Shalom and salaam, Islam - the word "Islam" comes from the very same root as does shalom - they all talk about peace, the kind of peace that's only obtained when a society of justice is created, and a society in submission to God, which is what Islam means. So I think there're some real opportunities for cross-fertilization that we haven't entirely lived into yet.

Uh oh.

We'll be back after this commercial break.

Or perhaps not.

You got that right.

Thank you Christopher Johnson for your inspiration. The idea for this came following reading one of your posts. May we stand in awe of your greatness. But not under a tree in a thunderstorm.