Friday, February 18, 2005

Minister of Radical Welcoming

Originally uploaded by Peacebang.
First of all, is that the coolest job title you could ever ask for? Yes it is, and it belongs to the lovely and talented minister in the photo, Stephanie Spellers, who has just been named Cox Fellow and Minister of Radical Welcoming at Boston's St. Paul Episcopal Cathedral. Welcome back to town, you Fine Thang.
Some of you may remember Stephanie from her Unitarian Universalist days. She's one that got away, and a living, glowing example of what we stand to lose when we insinuate that a skosh of Christian curiosity is okay for UUs, but please don't get too "into" Jesus or anything: it just isn't done.

Ms. Spellers will be ordained a deacon in the Episcopal Church on June 4, 2005. I also believe, and I'm not above pimping for a good friend here, that she just might be single and available.


Blogger fausto said...

Is she a Jack Spong Socinian?

We like to see as many of those in as many denominations as will take them!

Blogger PeaceBang said...

Fausto is referring, of course, to the Episcopal priest and popular author, The Reverend John Shelby Spong. I once told "Jack" that I thought he was truly a Unitarian Universalist who just couldn't give up the big hats (this after he insulted us in a Philadelphia paper). I normally chastise people who do that ("Yah must be a closet UU!"), but I mean, he's thoroughly Unitarian and Universalist in his theology! SHEESH.

Jack Spong.
:::cackle, cackle..:::

As far as her theological orientation these days, I'll have to enquire of Ms. Spellers when I have dinner with her next week. We might talk about boys the whole time, though. I'll let you know.

Blogger fausto said...

What did he say about us?

Blogger PeaceBang said...

In a Philadelphia Inquirer article in either 1997 or 1998, Spong was asked why, with his very liberal theology, he was not a Unitarian [sic]. He replied that he was not because "The Unitarians just got rid of everything they didn't like in Christianity." Wasn't that an intelligent, informed and ecumenically-minded remark? Yours Truly wrote a scather of a letter to the editor in response, of course. I wonder if I can find it through Google. I wonder if I should get to my sermon already, for God's sake.

Blogger fausto said...

Isn't getting rid of everything he doesn't like in Christianity exactly what he's trying to show the Piskies how to do?

Maybe he wanted to toil in another vineyard because most of his work had already been done in ours.

Blogger PeaceBang said...

That was a kind and generous assessment of his religious goals, Fausto. And you're probably right.

Blogger fausto said...

Kind and generous? I thought I was being a bit snarky by noting that he criticized us for already having done exactly the same thing he's trying to do.

It must have been the "toiling in the vineyard" thing that confused you. Everything just sounds nicer when spoken in a language of reverence.

Blogger Chalicechick said...

His Christianity is not a Christianity I recognize. Too much salad dressing, not enough lettuce.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scott Wells here again --

One of my Great Failings is not doing as PB asked once.

See, I had the responsibility to deliver the Bish and Mrs. Spong to the airport after his appearance at the Nashville GA. (I lived in Georgia then, and drove up) PB asked that I give him a copy of her letter, but I lost the nerve. (Even so, I didn't bow or scrape or afford him any air of celebrity. I actually don't care for his witness.) They were very polite passengers, though.

Anonymous Philocrites said...

Back to Ms. Spellers for a sec. She was my tour guide at HDS during my first visit, and Mrs P and I have enjoyed knowing her ever since. She is nothing short of radically welcoming. Strangely, I had completely forgotten that she had ever been a UU — but that may be because Bishop Tom can't figure out why I'm a UU. (He asked me that at Easter dinner in the Society of St John the Evangelist monastery, where Mrs P and I had been invited to dinner. We were seated at the bishop's table, with Tom to my left and Mrs P directly across from him. Talk about pressure!)

Blogger fausto said...

To keep the Piskies sharp. That's why.

Blogger fausto said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Blogger fausto said...

Scott said: I actually don't care for his witness.

I agree, to some degree. He has a tendency to be nearly as literal as the Biblical literalists he likes to scorn, only on the other end of the spectrum from them. He seems to have a knack for expressing himself stridently, even when it is not strictly necessary, contrary to the counsel of Proverbs 15:1. And though I am both a lifelong UU and Episcopalian escapee, I think I may lean a bit closer to theism than he does. Among contemporary Episcopalian popular religion writers I prefer Marcus Borg and Bruce Bawer.

But at the core of it, I still have to admire his determination to wring useful contemporary meaning, in the light of objective contemporary knowledge, from a wizened, antiquated way of belief that in many ways would otherwise seem naive, credulous, fantastic and obsolete. Tradition may not mean the same thing to us that it meant to our ancestors, but neither is it a spent husk to be thrown away, and Spong sees that.

Blogger funknlatte said...


i so don't remember la steph's UU phase. was that between the buddhist chapter + the lutheran baptism?


oh, and BTW, she's not the only single straight chick friend you should be pimpin'-- hint, hint.

*jealousy lite*

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's the gorgeous liturgy that keeps us Anglicans, even though the ECUSA didn't want me as a priest--too radical, too po white trash--they'll never ordain you--you've no connections, your hair is too red & on & on. So I'm a priest-to-be in one of those liberal independent Anglican outfits--the only straight person in the crowd (albeit kinky I am, & Ken Stone in Chicago says that makes one "queer". Say Hallelujah!)...I should send a pix of our hottie bishop & his gorgeous partner for the collection! And besides, as Anglicans, we get to preach "homilies" of the perfect 7 minutes. To preach longer would require those fabulous and yummy lozenges for dry mouth made by those genius compounding pharmacists..but that's another blog, too.

I happen to really like the UU's. My goddess friend is UU & while movie-ing to 'What Dreams May Come", when the Cuba Gooding angel said, "Suicides go to hell" it was SHE, the UU, not I, the Xan, who yelled, "BAD THEOLOGY! What about the good news! What about the radical love of Jesus!"
As I sat open-mouthed, buttered popcorn falling from my mouth, she said, "Well, YOU the XAN DIDN'T SAY ANYTHING!!"

Pace e Bene

amma oonie

Blogger PeaceBang said...

Oh Amma, I'm so sorry you had to sit through "What Dreams May Come!" I though it sheer excrement! Possibly and probably because, as a good Christian UU, I found its theology as objectionable as did you and your very vocal friend. BTW, we especially welcome redheads to this blog. *wink*


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