Friday, July 3, 2009

Hollywood Goes Episcopal: Over to You, Greg!

OK, I am handing this one on to Greg Griffith: only his media savvy is up to commenting in depth about this event planned for Wednesday, July 15 at General Convention. It's brought to you by Bishop Jon J. Bruno and the Diocese of Los Angeles, and it will feature the likes of Jimmy Bartz (I invite Alice Linsley to comment on his exegeses of Genesis, which you can find here as podcasts), Barry Taylor, and Brian McLaren (on whom see also the links at this site). In what is styled "a liturgy for transformational living", the program, called "Genesis: From Breath to Wonder", will be an "evening of music, spoken word, light-painting and other visual effects [which] will create an environment focusing on God's creation and creativity." This You-Tube video, with its Hollywood-style effects and rap soundtrack, was created to give you a little foretaste of the event. It had received only 41 views as of this morning when I found it, and it obviously needs to be more widely seen.

Here's more background, from Bishop Bruno himself, in the latest issue of the diocesan publication "Episcopal News":
Whether you are here from afar, or from one of the 150 church sites within this Diocese, thank you for your participation in the community that unites us as God's people, as the General Convention, as the Episcopal Church Women, as volunteers and other groups represented in this place.

Bishops Chet Talton and Sergio Carranza join with Mary and me and our entire diocesan community in wishing you enjoyable and productive days here. Together we seek to bring you the best our Diocese has to offer, including insights into our current mission focus on "Faith & Our Future."

Great Emergence author Phyllis Tickle helped engage this topic when she spoke to our Diocesan Convention about the cycle of unprecedented global change that is reaching across the Church, financial markets, and digital communication, among other areas.

Emergent Church leader Brian McLaren will continue the conversation here in Anaheim, and also when our Diocesan Convention meets again this December. He and the Diocese's new Center for Creative Ministries will bring us L.A. Night on July 15 as an experience of "Genesis: From Breath to Wonder." The music will rock the Anaheim Arena while visual effects feature the artistry of light painting. Everyone is invited. Tickets are free and may be requested during General Convention at the Diocesan Hospitality Center or by email to lanight@ladiocese,org.

The Emergent Church brings us an authenticity that is refreshing in these times of pervasive change and transition. We hope you will see similar creativity and freshness in the ways in which this Diocese is welcoming all as Christ, renewing God's creation, serving with generosity, and building new community.

Facets of these priorities are reflected in these pages, in the video reports streaming at the Diocesan Hospitality Center, and in the stained glass featured here from All Saints' Church in L.A.'s Highland Park. The window offers a view of the fullness in Christ's outstretched arms and open-handed hospitality at the center of our faith and our future together.

Welcome to Southern California, and may God bless you . . .
que Dios lo bendiga . . .
[Chinese translation]
[Japanese translation]

Pagpalain nawa kayo ng Poong Maykapal.
". . . this Diocese is welcoming all as Christ"?? Wait --- I thought, Bishop Bruno, you voted against Kevin Thew Forrester for saying the exact same thing!

Hollywood goes Episcopal --- or is it Episcopal goes Hollywood? Take it from here, Greg!


  1. The hilarity of the legalistic, bureaucratic, titles/property/bank account craving, ideological and otherwise "religious"-in-the-worst-sense TEC trying to pass as "emergent" is majestic!

    I know emergent Christians. Emergent Christians are my friends. And Bishop, you're no emergent Christian.

  2. To give Bishop Bruno the benefit of the doubt, I think he means that the diocese is welcoming everyone as Christ would welcome them.

  3. Tim Hoskins, I would like to do that, but Bishop Bruno was simply repeating language which he and the Diocese used to describe their fourfold mission entitled "Faith and our Future", which was the theme of the 113th diocesan convention held last December. Bishop Bruno there gave a sermon in which he elaborated on the four themes: building new community, serving with generosity, renewing God's creation, and "welcoming all as Christ". He drew a parallel with General Convention's theme of ubuntu, in which he said:

    "Ubuntu is a Zulu word, and it is the theme that our Presiding Bishop has chosen for the General Convention coming to Anaheim this next July. Ubuntu expresses the thought that 'I am because you are.' This concept echoes our
    Baptismal Covenant as Episcopalians 'to respect the dignity of every human being.' This ubuntu way of living compels us to serve Christ in one another both locally and globally . . .

    "As the people of this Diocese, We are committed to building new community. We are committed to serving with generosity. We are committed to renewing God’s creation. We are committed to welcoming all as Christ. Let’s turn our attention now to opportunities for shared ministry in each of these areas. . . .

    "Welcoming all as Christ is a fourth priority for our new plan of strategic mission in this Diocese. In order to welcome all as Christ, we need to know who we are and to Whom we belong. We need to bring this confidence more deeply into our identity and mission as Christians. A clear and renewed commitment to evangelism and neighborhood outreach is needed in every one of our congregations, chaplaincies, schools, institutions and other church sites. We need to extend that welcome in languages other than English. . . "

    In the context of an hour-long sermon, Bishop Bruno had plenty of opportunity in which to spell out the meaning you suggest, and he did not do so once. Every time he used the phrase, it was just that: "welcome all as Christ". I did not pick up on the sermon earlier, because it came before the Forrester flap. But after all the attention paid to Forrester's heterodoxy, for him to repeat those same words now without elaboration or clarification that he really meant to say "welcome all as Christ welcomed ---" whom, by the way? repentant sinners? tax collectors and prostitutes? Jews? (Gentiles?) I really don't know what object he meant to imply, if he meant to imply one at all, because he has never used the phrase in any other way than as quoted.

    (You can find the sermon, and all the other uses of the phrase, by using the "Search" feature on the Diocese's Web site and entering the phrase "welcoming all as Christ".)

  4. I use Ubuntu every day. Somehow I see the GC 2009 as similar to OS X. Shiny shell with little to no substance, pricey, limited appeal and a certain level of snobbery.

  5. A.S. Haley,
    Thank you for the background. I'm certainly not surprised that a bishop of The Episcopal Church would have an unorthodox theology or be inconsistent in his application of it. The principle of charity often requires one to give another's arguments more credit than they deserve.

    P.S. Piling "ubuntu" on top of "indaba," I wonder what the African bishops think about having their native words used for these gatherings.