It's been a great media month at All Saints Church ... first the CBS News spot contrasting the open doors of All Saints with the closed minds of Falls Church and then the frontpage story of the Avalance of Outerwear precipated by the rectors' "Sin Coat" sermon on 3rd Advent. Then there was PULPIT POWER ...
... the cover story on this week's Pasadena Weekly -- offering All Saints a great opportunity to tell some good news the week BEFORE Christmas.
Inclusive love, prioritizing "the least of these" and preaching peace even when it pisses off the IRS -- we must be doing something right ... with standing-room only at four Christmas Eve services and a record breaking stewardship campaign still bringing pledges in for 2007. And all that tells me there IS a great longing in people still living in deep darkness yearning for the light we have been given to share in the Good News of God in Christ Jesus.
And that Good News we're offering -- the Good News the Episcopal Church is proclaiming -- stands in stark relief against the polarizing and dehumanizing polemic being proclaimed by +Peter Akinola ... Primate of Nigeria and Champion of Bigotry, Sexism and Homphobia as outlined in the much-blogged-about NYTimes Christmas Day frontpage article: At Axis of Episcopal Split, an Anti-Gay Nigerian.
Lots of good commentary on that to peruse ... I commend especially Mark Harris' The Archbishop of Nigeria Digs a Hole for Christmas and Father Jake's commentary (which includes the fun-fact-to-know-and-tell that the Queer Christian the Nigerian Bish was too horrified to shake hands with much less "seek and serve Christ in" was our own Dr. Louie Crew.)
Substitute "Archbishop" for "Emperor" and we've got a new twist on the old "No Clothes" story ... and the more he talks the more obvious the nakedness of his above referenced bigotry, sexism and homophobia becomes.
From Fr. Jake's conclusion: In his "heated" response, the Archbishop claims he was simply "...sending a bishop...where there is no church to provide one." In other words, since the Episcopal Church is no longer a Church in his eyes, he had to send a bishop. At least that response to the question is more honest than the shell game regarding exactly what CANA is that we have heard in the past. A church for Nigerians in America? Did anyone ever believe that was anything more than a subterfuge?
Let's hope more reporters will give the Archbishop opportunities to "respond heatedly" in the future. Honest answers are a refreshing change from what we usually hear from this man.
Onward and upward ... And may God give us grace to use the "pulpit power" we have to shine the light and tell the Good News ... and a Very Merry 3rd Day of Christmas to all! (No sign of any French hens here yet ... mine must be on back order! :)