SC injunction made permanent

The Episcopal Church in South Carolina and the Episcopal Church did not contest the restraining order that kept anyone but the separated diocese to use the name and logos "Diocese of South Carolina," so the temporary injunction is now permanent.

Bruce Smith reports for the AP and Chron.com:

Read more »

Church of England briefs parliament on their opposition to marriage eqaulity

The Church of England has briefed members of Parliament on the official opposition to proposals to make marriage equality legal in the UK.

Here is the summary of the document, prepared by the Parliamentary Unit, Mission and Public Affairs Division and Legal Office of the Church of England:

Read more »

Report says no US-style culture war in the UK

While conservative Christian groups in the UK are coordinating their political responses regarding human sexuality, marriage, family life, and religious freedom, there is no sign that they are becoming an American-style "Religious Right."

Read more »

Presiding Bishop: Please join Monday push for sensible gun laws

From the Episcopal Church's Office of Public Affairs:

[February 1, 2013] Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has issued the following statement. ______________________________________________

Read more »

The Rev. Kurt Dunkle to be Dean and President of GTS

General Theological Seminary announces:

Read more »

Five simple lessons

Five simple lessons in practical peacemaking from Shane L. Windmeyer, executive director of the LGBT group Campus Pride, growing out of his unexpected friendship with Chick-Fil-A founder Dan Cathy.

Read more »

Bishop of Mississippi to allow same sex blessings

According to CJ Meaders @cjmeadersiii, live blogging the Annual Council #diomscouncil of the Diocese of Mississippi, the Rt Rev Duncan Gray has announced that he will give permission for use of the same sex blessing rite in the diocese. He also called for the election of a co-adjutor:

Read more »

Praying for a teachable moment

Chaplain Norris Burkes writes about how God handed him and a visiting pastor a teachable moment.

Read more »

Bishops of California, Maryland make Super Bowl bet

From the Dioceses of Maryland:

The Rt. Revs. Marc Andrus and Eugene Taylor Sutton have each placed bets on their local National Football League team competing in the Super Bowl on February 3.

Read more »

Faith and abortion

MSNBC highlights the faith of those who work for abortion providers. The Rev. Matthew Westfox, a guest on Saturday’s Melissa Harris Perry Show, says:

Read more »

All Saints Pasadena against violence against women

All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena CA stands and dances with One Billion Rising against violence against women. On Billion Rising is calling for strikes and demonstrations around the globe to rise up to end violence against women. One of All Saints members, Tena Clark, wrote the song they're using.

Read more »

Diocese of Mississippi reports Gray's SSB decision

As we first reported Friday, the Rt Rev Duncan Gray announced in his Annual Council address that he will give permission for use of the same sex blessing rite in the Diocese of Mississippi. He also called for the election of a coadjutor. There is now more information on the diocesan website.

Read more »

Episcopal Church Washington Office on NRA enemies list

Think Progress reports that the NRA has published an enemies list. Among the names on the list are former Presiding Bishop Ed Browning and the Washington Office of the Episcopal Church Center.

See list below:

Read more »

Super Bowl Sunday is also Sex Trafficking Sunday

Sarah Dreier, legislative representative for international policy for the Episcopal Church's Office of Government Relations and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Washington Office, writes:

Read more »

Who is God rooting for tonight? Besides Beyonce

In which we invite you to make a theological case explaining why God is rooting for your team in the Super Bowl. Have at it.

Keeping in mind the following prayer offered this morning at the Unvirtuous Abbey (@UnvirtuousAbbey): "For those who think God alters the outcome of a football game while today 30,000 children die from preventable disease, we pray."

Don't forget to call your congressional representatives tomorrow

A reminder: Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and other leaders of the Episcopal Church have urged Episcopalians to contact their congressional representatives tomorrow on Interfaith Call in Day to prevent Gun Violence.

Read more »

Episcopalians Against Gun Violence

Episcopalians Against Gun Violence is "an ad-hoc group of bishops, clergy and lay people disseminating information about Episcopalians who are working, collectively and individually, to curb gun violence," and you can like them on Facebook.

To submit information to the group, send links and a brief description to admin@canticlecommunications.com. Links are a must.

And don't forget that today is Interfaith Call-in Day to Prevent Gun Violence

It's official. It's Archbishop Welby

It's official. Justin Welby is officially the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The BBC is on the story:

The appointment of Bishop Welby to the most senior post in the Church of England was announced in November.

Dr Williams stepped down in December.

Read more »

Ray Lewis, good linebacker, bad theologian

Updated: Tim Schenck's column has been picked up by the Huffington Post.

In the wake of the Baltimore Ravens' Super Bowl victory, Ray Lewis the great Ravens' linebacker who had just played his last game invoked the Letter to the Romans to explain why his team had won. "If God is for us, who can be against us," Lewis said in response to a question from Jim Nantz of CBS Sports.

Leaving aside the question of whether God cares who wins the Super Bowl, the notion that winners win because it is God's will that they win is dangerous in all kinds of ways, not least that it excuses all manner of structural injustice. Lewis' remarks created an opening for Christians who believe he is mistaken about the nature of God's favor to tell a different kind of story, and the Rev. Tim Schenck stepped up to it quickly, writing this column this morning:

Read more »

Should TEC be concerned about CoE's recognition of Free Church of England?

The Church of England has recognized the orders of the Free Church of England according to Thinking Anglicans. Is this cause for concern or not? From the Church of England press release:

Read more »

Should a dying church be repurposed?

The always thought-provoking Alan Rudnick asks what should become of the hundreds of churches that are closing all across the country. He writes:

Read more »

Dallas Mayor: violence is men's fault

KERA News reports a statement by Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings on violence against women and children:

Read more »

House of Commons passes 2nd reading of marriage equality bill

UPDATE: The entire 4 hour debate is here

Update: the House of Commons passed the legislation 400-175.

BBC is live streaming the marriage equality debate today.:

Read more »

Should dying churches be repurposed? Part 2

Note: Links corrected

The Rev. Lisa Fischbeck responds to The Lead item on re-purposing the church with a report on how one church re-invented and re-purposed itself:

Read more »

Virgin Mary crisps: storm in a lunchbox?

Are Virgin Mary crisps offensive or just in bad taste? Ekklesia reports on the Protect the Pope group who have taken offense. Did they make an "own goal?"

Read more »

#Firstworldproblems

Business Insider says First world problems read by third world people might be the most effective ad of the year:

DDB New York has created an ad for the Haitian charity "Water Is Life" that humiliates whiners on Twitter who use the "#Firstworldproblems" hashtag to complain about life's trivial challenges.

Read more »

A contraception compromise in good faith

The Washington Post Editorial Board praises the "good faith" compromise of the Obama administration on contraception and health-care, which was elaborated on this past Friday:

Read more »

PB to host online forum on human trafficking

Media release from The Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs:

Read more »

Beyoncé and the Super Bowl: significant conversation

Beyoncé's show during half-time of the Super Bowl has sparked numerous reactions and critiques that even today are still rolling out.

On the blog patheos, David R. Henson called the show "A defiant dance of power":

Read more »

Church politics rivals the State House

Andy Brack publishes The Statehouse Report in Columbia's Free Times, and focused in on the conflict in South Carolina in an article called "When Church politics sinks to the level of pure pettiness". From the article:

Read more »

Lent Madness pits saint against saint

Sharpen those pencils, folks, and get ready to fill out your brackets. Lent Madness begins next week.

The brainchild of the Revs. Tim Schenck and Scott Gunn, Lent Madness began in 2010, and makes for a pretty lively Lenten devotional. From lentmadness.org:

Read more »

Anglicans in Zimbabwe rejoice at return of property

Anglicans in Zimbabwe are rejoicing now that church property, including St. Mary's and All Saints Cathedral in the Diocese of Harare, has been returned to them. Anglican Communion News Service reports:

Read more »

Church of England bishops to include women at meetings

From Thinking Anglicans
The House of Bishops of the Church of England put out a statement on the progress towards women in the episcopacy:

Read more »

Obama reflects on the power of faith

President Obama called for humility Thursday at the National Prayer Breakfast, and spoke of faith, his own Christian faith and an abiding faith he says is shared by all Americans. An excerpt from his remarks:

Read more »

Annual Good Friday Offering

The Presiding Bishop announces the annual Good Friday Offering.

Read more »

Standing against corruption

A Zambian priest has challenged Christians across Africa to stand up and fight corrupt practices that are “soiling the fabric” of many countries on the continent.

Read more »

How to draw with dynamite

Editorial cartoonist Robert Ariail of the Camden (SC) Chronicle Independent penned a pointed and potentially explosive cartoon about the split between the former Episcopalians in SC and the Episcopal Church. He talks about why.

Read more »

Arkansas House waives gun-ban in churches

A law designed to draw churches into the gun-control debate has passed the Arkansas House of Representatives and is expected to be signed into law by Governor Mike Beebe (D). The legislation lifts a seldom-enforced ban on guns in churches.

The Deseret News reports:

Read more »

Ralph Reed's big gothic straw man

Ralph Reed and the Faith and Freedom Foundation is circulating an on-line petition seeking to stop alleged federal funding to the National Cathedral if they marry same-sex couples. Of course, the Cathedral receives no federal funding...and what about freedom of religion Mr. Reed?

Read more »

Growth versus depth

The Rev. Joey Reed says he is tired of "growing the church."

Read more »

The Cardinal Dolan two-step

Roman Catholic bishops rejected the Obama administration's latest compromise on birth control coverage for religious employers. But wait! Cardinal Dolan says it was critique not a rejection.

Read more »

Episcopalians in Fort Worth tell their story

On February 7, 2009, the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth reorganized after the departure of its bishop and other leaders from The Episcopal Church. On February 6, 2013, a video documenting some of the stories of lay people in the reorganized diocese called "Our Stories, Ourselves" was released on YouTube. These stories were taken from several that were recorded by the diocesan historiographer for the diocesan archives -- an ongoing project.

Read more »

Simplifying the process towards women bishops

An advisory group set up by the House of Bishops in the Church of England has proposed a streamlined process to move along legislation for women bishops.

The Church Times reports:

Read more »

Creating A New Zealand Prayer Book.

Bosco Peters reviews a memoir of the process leading to the approval and publication of A New Zealand Prayer Book.

Read more »

Worshiping on Facebook in the aftermath of Nemo

The Rev. Alex Dyer will hold Sunday worship on Facebook for the church he serves according to The New Haven Register:

Read more »

On being "for" instead of "against"

Giles Fraser is saying goodbye to being a columnist for the Church Times. After 9 years he says:

Read more »

Labyrinths

Celebrating the 150th anniversary of "the tube" - the London Underground with labyrinths. The Guardian reports:

Read more »

Online retreats gather seekers

The National Catholic Reporter (NCR) notes the growth of online retreats:

Read more »

Pope Benedict XVI, 85, cites advanced age in announcing intention to resign

Pope Benedict XVI, 85, released a statement this morning announcing his intention to resign at the end of the month. It reads, in part:

Read more »

Reactions to the pope's resignation, from social media & elsewhere

Pope Benedict XVI's announcement that he will resign at the end of this month has elicited a flood of reaction, some of it official, some of it not so much. Here is a sampling culled for official releases, media interviews and social media.

Read more »

The structure task force begins its work

The special task force of the structure of the Episcopal Church, created by the passage of Resolution C095 (which you can read below the fold) begins its work on Thursday at a conference center near Baltimore Washington International Airport.

What are your hopes and fears concerning the restructuring of the church? If you had two minutes to speak with the task force, what would you say?

Read more »

Under what circumstances does one cancel Sunday worship

The Rev. Scott Gunn touched off some lively conversation this weekend with an essay suggesting to his clergy colleagues to clergy colleagues in the snow-shrouded northeast and elsewhere that there were almost no circumstances in which a priest should cancel Sunday services:

Read more »

Super Bowl and the world

The US Global Leadership Coalition has put together a graphic on Super Bowl spending and how far that money might reach devoted to global issues:

Read more »

Presiding Bishop submits testimony on gun legislation

From The Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs:

Read more »

More reactions to Pope's retirement

Mary Hunt writing at Religion Dispatches discusses the "matter of conscience" and how that might affect the Roman Catholic Church and its memebers:

Read more »

Blizzard of challenges: church on Facebook

An essay by Alex Dyer on Daily Episcopalian. Due to the travel ban in Connecticut he gathered the community of St Pauls and St. James of New Haven on Facebook. Read the essay about the experience here.

Take a look at the liturgy on Facebook.

Lent changing in U.S.

The Deseret News notes changes in the celebration of Ash Wednesday and Lent in The Episcopal Church and other church that mark this season. Social activism, taking time for reflection and the influence of Latino/Latina cultures all contribute to the evolution of the church season:

Read more »

Choosing a Pope

How a Pope is chosen from Busted Halo:

Read more »

Fast, pray, give -- and you could win an iPad Mini

On this Ash Wednesday, are you not yet sure just how you will observe a holy Lent? As you sip the day's first cup of coffee (dang, I was going to give that up!) check out the Fast-Pray-Give Lenten calendar at bustedhalo.com to guide you through the season (and put you in the running to win an Apple iPad mini, honest to God.) From the Web site:

Read more »

Lenten meditation: The rewards of running uphill with God

Here is a beautiful Lenten meditation from the Rev. Callie Swanlund and the choir of the Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields in Philadelphia. This three-minute podcast is part of a series that the church will present each Wednesday during Lent. (I am inspired by the idea of running without letting the music from my iPod interfere with my time with God. Thanks, Callie.) Sign up to receive St. Martin's weekly meditations via e-mail here.

Ash Wednesday and Lent in Two Minutes

We posted this when it was created a couple of years ago, but it's worth revisiting and sharing with your friends on this Ash Wednesday:

Read more »

Church officials testify in support of immigration reform

Key representatives of the Episcopal Church testified today before the Senate Judiciary Committee at a hearing today on immigration reform. Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations Director Alexander Baumgarten and Katie Conway, Immigration and Refugee Policy Analyst, submitted testimony to the committee, chaired by Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont. An excerpt from their testimony:

Read more »

Episcopal evangelism: Ashes to Go gains momentum

Ashes To Go seems to be gaining momentum, doesn't it? I confess that I started this Ash Wednesday dubious about this increasingly popular Episcopalian phenomenon, thinking haughtily that it's important that people make a personal commitment to cross the threshold of a church, a sacred space, just like I do, to repent of their sins and begin this holy season.

Read more »

Tutu's letter to the editor on drones and kill lists

Archbishop Desmond Tutu sent a letter to the editor of the New York Times that was published Tuesday:

Read more »

Task force on "the study of marriage" announced

Presiding Bishop, President of House of Deputies announce 12-member Task Force on the Study of Marriage

Read more »

Garry Wills asks: "Why priests? A failed tradition"

Garry Wills new book "Why Priests? A Failed Tradition" is getting significant airtime from The Diane Rehm Show to The Colbert Report.

Read more »

Bishops and "Ashes to Go"

UPDATE: Bishop Rickel's comments at end of this item.

It's the bishop edition of Ashes to Go!

Read more »

Structure task force has first meeting

UPDATED: The Presiding Bishop's remarks are here.

Episcopal News Service reports on the first meeting of the Structure Task Force:

Read more »

Damsel, arise!

Megan Phelps-Roper goes to church for the first time since leaving Westboro Baptist Church and thinks about repentance, newness of life and the journey of faith.

Jeffrey Chu interviewed her for medium.com:

Read more »

Bishop Alan's marriage equality inbox

Since coming out firmly in favor of marriage equality in the UK, Bishop Alan Wilson of Buckingham has been getting a lot of mail. In his blog, he sorts through the pile.

Read more »

Bishop Susan Goff visits Diocese of Liverpool

The Rt. Rev. Susan Goff, Suffragan Bishop of Virginia and her husband visited the Diocese of Liverpool last week. She was interviewed at the diocesan offices to talk about her experience in the diocese including preaching at the Cathedral. She also talks about the the partner relationship between the two dioceses.

Read more »

Invited and welcomed

Mary Palmer told the 2011 Wardens & Vestry Conferences in the Diocese of Texas how she was invited to come to church, and as important, was welcomed by that community.

Read more »

On the Yeti theory of faith

Michael Robbins, the author of Alien vs. Predator, looks at popular theories of unbelief.

Read more »

Jesuit magazine urges repeal of Second Amendment

An editorial in the latest edition of America/The National Catholic Review urges repeal of the Second Amendment, asking,

Read more »

eHarmony and same sex relationships

According to Yahoo Finance News, the founder of eHarmony says that their stance against marriage equality has damaged the company:

Read more »

Who will be the next pope?

Cardinals are discussing who they think might be the new pope, strengths and challenges of various possible candidates, Laurie Goodstein writes in the New York Times

Read more »

Alligator is seafood in Louisiana

Grandmère Mimi shares this important news for those who are not eating meat during Lent:

Read more »

Giving up God to make room for God

Brandon Ambrosino, an Orthodox Christian, is giving up God for Lent. He writes at Huffington Post:

Read more »

Is Pope's future financially secure? SNL says yes

In case you missed this on Saturday Night Live:

Read more »

One billion rising

Ekklesia reports on a flash mob by One Billion Rising in the Geneva Ecumenical Centre:

A flash mob erupted in the cafeteria at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva, Switzerland, on 14 February 2013, as part of the One Billion Rising initiative.

At 12.30pm people scattered throughout the lunch crowd suddenly left their tables and broke into dance. Twenty dancers, wearing bright pink and purple, performed to a song condemning violence against women.

Read more »

Archbishop Welby appoints director of reconciliation

From the Archbishop of Canterbury's office:

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, is delighted to announce the appointment of Canon David Porter as Director for Reconciliation at Lambeth Palace.

Read more »

From repentance to hope in Virginia

Over 500 people gathered at St. George’s Episcopal Church in Fredericksburg, Va. on Saturday, February 16 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation with a special service of remembrance, celebration and witness. The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop, reminded attendees that “emancipation is another word for the ongoing resurrection we known in Jesus Christ, who continues to set us free.”

Read more »

An opening statement from the Task Force for Re-imagining the Episcopal Church

From the Episcopal Church's Office of Public Affairs:
(For Spanish and French Versions, click Read more)

Read more »

Why are Episcopalians so fond of Downton Abbey?

Anecdotal evidence, and my twitter stream, suggests that Episcopalians are disproportionately fond of Downton Abbey, which ended its third season last night. Why is that?

Does the show appeal to Episcopalians in a particular way? Or does it appeal not so much to Episcopalians, but to the social classes to which most Episcopalians belong?

Are nice people killing churches?

Todd Rhodes and Paul Alexander think "nice people" are killing churches. Here are the top three items from a longer list:

Read more »

A GOP dilemma: how to reach young people without alienating evangelicals

Mark Silk writes: “Can the Republicans Be Saved From Obsolescence?,”

Read more »

Deja vu all over again?

Thinking Anglicans reports on an ordination by the Anglican Church of Kenya for the Anglican Mission in England (AMiE), a group similar to the schismatic Anglican Mission in America (AMiA) in the US.:

Read more »

But will she wear her mitre?

The Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will attend the enthronement of the new Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. From Episcopal News Service:

Read more »

Huts for the homeless

Episcopal Church of the Resurrection in Eugene OR is developing Opportunity Village, a innovative solution to homelessness in their area:

Read more »

Protesting yoga in school

When is touching your toes just touching your toes and when is it teaching Hinduism, and what about Bible study? Katherine Stewart writes at Religion Dispatches:

Read more »

Call to UK government: combat global tax avoidance

Christian Aid is an agency of churches in Britain and Ireland that is focused on world poverty. The Church of England is one of its sponsoring churches.

Read more »

Episcopal priest Deon Johnson called "community leader and trailblazer"

In recognition of Black History Month, Brighton Patch (MI) is highlighting modern-day community leaders and trailblazers who live or work in the area. Aysha Jamali writes on The Rev. Deon K. Johnson and the work of St. Paul's Church, Brighton:

Read more »

Five hopeful signs for U.S. congregations

David Briggs writes in the Association of Religious Data Archives (ARDA) that times have been tough for the religious affiliated, but that there are five hopeful signs for U.S. congregations. He lists detailed descriptions for all of the five, but I've included only one:

More caring ministries

Read more »

Episcopal school seeks to memorialize slain trustee

Katherine "Kitty" Houghton, trustee and graduate of the White Mountain School in Bethlehem NH, was stabbed in a Littleton NH hotel in what appeared to be a random act of violence on January 29th. From Bob Hookway in the Union Leader:

Read more »

Will megachurches go the way of the shopping mall?

Thom S. Rainer suggests that unlike baby boomers, the millennial generation tends to prefer small to big. Witness the decline of the shopping mall in recent decades. What does this suggest for spacious, sprawling, traditional worship space? What does it mean for large congregations, which are usually most successful if they can encourage small-group development? He writes:

Read more »

R.I. governor, businesspeople, rabbis back marriage equality

Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee is participating is a panel discussion at New York University today to discuss the "economic harms" of not allowing gay couples to marry. See full story here. Business leaders in Rhode Island have announced the formation of a new coalition in favor of legalizing gay marriage, and the Board of Rabbis of Greater Rhode Island has announced its support for same-sex marriage in the state, the only state in New England which has not legalized gay unions. From the Providence Journal:

Read more »

‘Protect me, my sister, my mother, my aunties, my grandma'

Sarah Eagle Heart, staff officer for Indigenous Ministries of The Episcopal Church, offers a heartfelt plea for support of the Violence Against Women Act, and shares important perspective about how violence affects Native American families:

Read more »

Presiding Bishop to visit Central Florida

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will visit the Diocese of Central Florida March 3 through 5, at the invitation of Bishop Gregory Brewer, according to a release from the Episcopal Church's Office of Public Affairs. She will meet with clergy of the diocese on March 5 from 10 a.m. through lunchtime, a meeting the bishop wishes all clergy to attend. It's interesting to note that the bishop asks to be informed if any clergy wish to be excused "because of conscience."

Read more »

Hear the whispers of God then shout justice from the rooftops

Bishop Robert Wright of Atlanta opened the session of Georgia House of Representatives yesterday. In his remarks, he focused on gun laws and help for the "ignorant, the indigent and the immigrant." Some considered his remarks impolite.

Read more »

Ending violence against women is the first step towards equality

Bangladeshi diplomat Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury will be telling Anglican women from around the world that the end of violence against women is only one step in ensuring gender equality.

ACNS:

Read more »

A conservative cause

Jon Huntsman, former GOP governor of Utah and U.S. ambassador to China and Singapore and a lifelong Mormon, writes in the American Conservative that marriage equality is a conservative cause. .

Read more »

A journey of reconciliation

David Porter, Archbishop Welby's Director for Reconciliation at Lambeth Palace, reflects on his journey into the ministry of reconciliation.

Read more »

Why is the Anglican Communion so resilient?

In light of the news that the Lutherans in Ethiopia have completely severed relationships with the Church of Sweden and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the question arises "Why is the Anglican Communion so resilient?"

Read more »

Who is surprised to learn that there are gay priests in the Vatican?

A salacious story about gay priests in the Vatican has been making the media rounds.

Read more »

Cardboard cathedral

Episcopal News Service

Read more »

Intergenerational speed dating

The United Methodist Reporter offers an idea to help generations in the church get to know each other:

Read more »

Priest as friend: primary or forbidden?

Katherine Willis Pershey adds her voice to the debate over whether you can be both priest and friend:

Read more »

It's not all about me

Carol Howard Merritt writing in Christian Century discusses when clergy do not always need to take the blame for church decline:

Read more »

Serve Christ Maybe: acolytes

An invitation to the 2013 Episcopal Diocese of West Texas Acolyte Festival, hosted by the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, Corpus Christi, Texas, April 19-20, 2013. All youth acolytes, acolyte masters/directors are invited.

Read more »

What makes for a good good-bye?

Rectors come and rectors go. How do you make the going good? That is the question that Mary C. Lindberg asks in Separation Anxiety, an essay on the blog of the Alban Institute. She writes:

Read more »

The Oscars: what did you think?

The Atlantic

The best moment of Seth MacFarlane's Oscars hosting gig may have come late in the night when, in announcing Meryl Streep, he said "our next presenter needs no introduction" ... and then just walked away.

If only he'd kept his mouth shut more frequently.
....

But then William Shatner was beamed in for a Family Guy-esque experiment in the meta. Captain Kirk had come from the future to reveal that the headlines the next day would proclaim MacFarlane the worst Oscar host ever, unless he changed his routine. Cut to a clip—from the future, see—of MacFarlane performing "We Saw Your Boobs," during which he essentially read off a Mr. Skin database of shirtless-actress appearances over time. The bit could have been a hilarious acknowledgement of MacFarlane's past idiocies—if it had been, like, five seconds long. But no: We got a full minute-plus of breast chronicling, followed by MacFarlane's definition-of-homophobic insistence to Shatner that he wasn't a member of the gay men's chorus he'd just sang with.

From there, the jokes just got more and more... well, what's the word? Calling them offensive gives them too much power, which isn't to say that black people shouldn't have felt uncomfortable about MacFarlane pretending to mix up Denzel Washington and Eddie Murphy, or that half the population needn't have squirmed when MacFarlane called Zero Dark Thirty's plotline an example of "a woman's innate ability to never let anything go." What the jokes were, really, was stupid, boring, and empty: humor that relied less on its own patently sexist, racist, homophobic, etc. content than on admiration for or disgust with the host's willingness to deliver it. So much of comedy is about the shock of recognition, of seeing some previously unacknowledged truth suddenly acknowledged, but the only recognition MacFarlane offered was that some people say dumb things about other peoples' gender/racial/sexual identities. Which, of course, should not be shocking at all.
....
It shouldn't be hard to come up with a sensible position on this. Everything, including punchlines about the Jews cutting non-Jews out of Hollywood, snickers about women faking the flu to lose weight, and cracks that there's no need to try to understand what Salma Hayek's saying because she's so hot, is "OK." It's a free country, etc. But that doesn't mean those jokes aren't hurtful, obvious, or dumb. It doesn't mean they don't make the world a worse place. Humor, after all, can be an incredible weapon for social progress, but it can also be regressive: The more we pass off old stereotypes, rooted in hate, as normal—as MacFarlane did again and again last night—the longer those stereotypes, and their ability to harm people, will be in place. If only Captain Kirk had told us whether we'll have moved past this nonsense by the 23rd century.

Did you watch? What did you think? Should the church speak up?

Pope accelerates cardinal's resignation amid accusations about sexual behavior

Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the most senior Roman Catholic cleric in Britain stepped down today amid allegations of his “inappropriate behaviour” with three priests and one former priest. The decision to bring forward the 74-year-old cardinal’s resignation by three weeks was made personally by the pope. In a statement this morning he said: “The Holy Father has now decided that my resignation will take effect today.”

Read more »

Gun trafficking legislation on Executive Council agenda

The Executive Council of the Episcopal Church begins a three-day meeting today at the Maritime Institute near Baltimore-Washington International Airport. Among the items on its agenda is a proposed resolution on gun violence.

While the resolution that emerges may touch on many aspects of the debate over how to reduce the epidemic of gun violence in our country, a clause that supports making gun trafficking a federal crime would have the most immediate impact.

Read more »

New archbishop for Tanzania

Anglican Communion News Service reports that the Bishop of Mpwapwa Diocese in Tanzania, Jacob Chimeledya and graduate of Virginia Theological Seminary, has been elected its new Archbishop and Primate:

Read more »

Bishop of Sheffield blindsided by Kenyan ordination

A statement from the Bishop of Sheffield, the Rt. Rev. Steven Croft, on the ordination in Kenya of Pete Jackson to serve in Sheffield:

Read more »

Plagiarizing priests push out parishioners

Priests who have been plagiarizing sermons from the internet have caused 17 families to leave St. John's Anglican Cathedral in Hong Kong according to The South China Morning Post:

St John's Cathedral appears to be fighting a losing battle against plagiarising priests - a practise that has already led 17 families of believers to leave the Anglican church.

Read more »

Sweet Sistene: another March Madness

Forget about your NCAA basketball brackets, there is a new game in town: Sweet Sistene.

Read more »

Executive Council considers budget process and "Art of Hosting"

UPDATE: today's report below:

Episcopal News Service reports on the Executive Council meeting in Maryland. The current council is seeking to avoid the experiences of the last triennium when the council suffered from lack of timely information and data as well as unclear communications in formulating the current budget:

Read more »

Faith in Conflict program leads to public conversation

Chris Sugden, writing for Anglican Mainstream, wrote on the first day of the Faith in Conflict program at St. Michael's House at Coventry Cathedral. The three day conference is billed to be seeking better ways to handle conflict in the Church.

Read more »

How valuable is the "family dinner"

Allison Aubrey reports on "Family Dinner: Treasured Tradition Or Bygone Ideal?" on NPR's All Things Considered. Here's an excerpt:

Read more »

Executive Council passes resolution on gun violence

The Executive Council of the Episcopal Church has passed a resolution on gun violence, as reported on the House of Deputies page:

Read more »

Gary Hall and Cam Partridge among "Faith leaders to watch"

The Center for American Progress listed 13 Progressive Faith Leaders to Watch in 2013. Episcopalians Gary Hall and Cam Partridge were among them:

Read more »

Jesus and the Sequester

The Rev. Shelia McJilton writes on the very real fear of those whose lives stand to be aversely affected by the sequester. After reflection on hearing the painful stories of real people, McJilton relates it to Jesus asleep in the boat on the Sea of Galilee:

Read more »

Theological reflections on 'Djesus Uncrossed'

I was amused by Christoph Waltz's portrayal of Pope Benedict a couple weeks ago on Saturday Night Live, but I couldn't watch more than a few seconds of his "Djesus Uncrossed" sketch the same night. I thought it was jarring and gross. That said, the Tarantino spoof kicked off a storm of controversy, and no small measure of certifiably thoughtful theological reflection. Cafe newsblogger Kurt Wiesner summed it up on his blog:

Read more »

Jo Bailey Wells named chaplain to Archbishop of Canterbury

The Archbishop of Canterbury has appointed the Rev. Dr. Jo Bailey Wells, currently director of the Anglican Episcopal House of Studies at Duke Divinity School in North Carolina, as chaplain of Lambeth Palace. From Anglican Communion News Service:

Read more »

Welby on 'the crooked straight path of reconciliation'

The newly installed Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby spoke powerfully about reconciliation at the final Eucharist of the "Faith in Conflict" conference at Coventry Cathedral today. "If we can name and listen, be in conflict but not destruction, take the crooked straight path of reconciliation, we can establish a pattern and model of trust filled living drawing on the grace of God, a model that changes the world, " he said. Here is an excerpt from his address:

Read more »

Bishops file briefs in support of marriage equality

More than two dozen Episcopal bishops have filed two briefs in the United States Supreme Court supporting civil marriage equality for same-sex couples. The bishops are from dioceses in California, Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia. Pacific Church News from the Diocese of California reports:

Read more »

Bishop Marc Andrus: why we signed the dump DOMA briefs

In an essay for the On Faith section of The Washington Post's website, Bishop Marc Andrus of the Diocese of California explains why he and more than 25 other Episcopal bishops signed friend-of-the-court briefs to the U. S. Supreme Court urging it to overturn Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act. He writes:

Read more »

Advertising Space