John Bloom's picture
07.01.2008 | Comments(22)

My Breakfast with the Archbishop (and Lunch, and Dinner)

The Archbishop of Canterbury was not pleased when several Anglican bishops convened in Jerusalem without him, then announced that they would create a “church within a church” that will do their own training of ministers, because they don’t think that the wimpy leaders in Europe and America are theologically rigorous enough. This is just an extension of the simmering feud between the Gay Priest Faction–which hates it when you call them the Gay Priest Faction–and those who don’t trust any Church of England theologian born after the year 1832. One of the first people to condemn the conservative bishops was Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the United States, who called the statements out of Jerusalem an “emission” from an elite who consider themselves “the only true believers.” I really don’t think that can be the case, though, having recently met one of the ringleaders, Peter J. Akinola, who was seated next to me for three–count ‘em, three!–heavy Austrian meals during a conference in Vienna. And it takes a long time to eat an Austrian meal. Akinola Akinola is Archbishop of Nigeria and chairman of the Global South Anglican Communion, and he’s obviously a working-class guy, earthy and direct, really the opposite of elitist. (The formalistic pronouncements of Jefferts Schori, come to think of it, sound elitist in a prep school sort of way.) But anyway, I had several conversations with the archbishop during the Vienna Forum, which was held in a cool white tent on the manicured grounds of Castle Neuwaldegg. And this is gonna be hard to explain, but the conference was held under the protection of what are called “Chatham House rules,” meaning that no one is allowed to be quoted, in the hope that this will engender vigorous uncensored debate. So there was vigorous debate, and it was uncensored, and so I can’t quote anything Archbishop Akinola said to me. However, I do think I can quote what he repeated every time he would get excited. He would tell the story of something he didn’t like, and at the end of each story, his voice would rise and he would say, with exasperation, “Where was the church?” Sometimes he would say it twice: “Where was the church? WHERE WAS THE CHURCH?” These conservative bishops don’t think they’re taking over a denomination. They think the captains abandoned the ships long ago.

Adam to God: She Just Won’t Listen!

Domestic Violence

Okay, I’m gonna drop some bloody red meat into shark-infested waters here. I’ll just give you people the headline and you can take it from there: “Southern Baptist Scholar Links Spouse Abuse to Wives’ Refusal to Submit to Their Husbands.” The original comments are from Bruce Ware, Professor of Christian Theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, who gave this sermon at the notoriously fundamentalist Denton Bible Church in Denton, Texas, where pastor Tom Nelson has been relentlessly assembling a literalist rulebook for years. The above headline is on an article by Bob Allen, Managing Editor at But here’s the best part: Bruce, Bob and Tom are all basically in agreement that if the broads would just shut up and do as they’re told, they wouldn’t get beaten up so often. (Biblical citations are plentiful.) And, after all, who can argue with that?

What a Country!

Cross Flag

This Friday night, direct from the pentecostal heartland (Springfield, Missouri), comes the “I Love America Celebration,” which has been claiming upwards of 100,000 attendees in recent years after starting out as a small gathering of James River Assembly of God Church in Ozark, Missouri, in 1997. Something called GOD TV (we’re not making that up) will be broadcasting over the Internet this super-patriotic blending of America and Christ that will feature an orchestra outfitted with 76 trombones (uh, wasn’t that a lie told by Robert Preston in The Music Man?), then an air show, a salute to the military, and the Pledge of Allegiance led by Missouri Governor Matt Blunt, who’s always sniffing after that pentecostal voting bloc. We were planning to stop by, but how can you be that close to Branson, Missouri, and not stop in to see the newest sold-out act, The Twelve Irish Tenors, eclipsing the records set last year by Noah the Musical?--although those statistics are a little bit like apples and oranges, since our all-time favorite Branson performer, Yakov Smirnoff, is taking the week off.

Sanjay Gupta Is Too Damn Cheerful

Sanjay Gupta

Dr. Sanjay Gupta–and, by the way, is he on every television news show on every network, at least seven times a day?–Dr. Sanjay Gupta says that religious faith can cut down on heart disease and infections, but the verdict is still out on cancer. There’s a chicken-and-egg problem here, though. Are religious people healthier because they believe? Or are healthier people more likely to be religious? Dr. Gupta thinks that maybe religious people are healthier because they’re “more optimistic,” and optimistic people take better care of themselves. What about us Negative Christians, though? What if you’re religious, but really really grumpy, like everyone at the Door? What if you’re so grumpy that you get mad when people say you’re religious? What if you occasionally use the f-word in the middle of Bible study? Do you have more heart attacks? And what about the Christian Scientists? Shouldn’t they be living to at least 300 years old by now? Just wondering.


UNCLE KENNY | 08:10 am on 7/02/2008

Thanks Bloom!

After reading the first part of the Dr. Gupta bit I was getting worried. I wondered if I was an oultlier since I am a believer with cronic CHF. I have been known to drop the F-bomb and have had two heart attacks, so ::sigh of relief:: it is good to know that I am just not an optimist and that I am in good company here at The Door. Of course, it is tough being an optimist when your EF is around 23%, so call me grumpy. I just wish I could do it with the same grace as Peter J. Akinola. He is awesome!

Nathalie | 04:22 am on 3/29/2011

Yeah we're not perfect but we get to the same place. I get you

mountainguy | 06:54 pm on 7/02/2008

If it was "health and optimism: hand to hand", then not we all christians are to be so healthy. What about we christians who read Dostoyewsky rather than "prosperity gospel"? And what about those "freethinkers" who are plenty optimistic of the human race?

JoshH | 07:08 pm on 7/02/2008

Yeah, I frequently drop the F-bomb and use other words when explaining or paraphrasing biblical passages. You oughtta catch a look at my paraphrase of Ecclesiastes!

Interesting things you've got to say about the Ass. of God too, I might add.

Lilly | 07:45 pm on 7/02/2008

In reference to the article, "Adam to God, She Just Won't Listen".
Some SBC women just need a good tent stake and a mallet.

budda | 11:15 pm on 7/02/2008

I thought you might come out for this one lilly.

Totally aside, are you on facebook? There is a Door group there. "Wittenburg Dorks"

Amy Ernest | 08:25 am on 7/03/2008

Focus, SBC...don't stop and see Yakov.

"In Soviet Union, wife beats YOU!"

mountainguy | 06:45 pm on 7/03/2008

"I love America celebration"

That sounds like "G-d bless the Evil empire"... this is non-sense

BTW, America is a huge continent, from Alaska to Argentina. We latins are americans too, and the most americans are the native ones.

budda | 09:40 pm on 7/03/2008

Amen, Mountain guy. Thank you for reminding us of our northern and southern brothers and sisters.

Siarlys Jenkins | 08:01 pm on 7/04/2008

OK, about this SBC misconception (no pun intended), "He has primary responsibility for the work and the labor and the toil that will provide for the family, that will sustain their family." First, most human families for most of human history, women have done heavy brutal labor, day in and day out, because that's what it took to sustain a family. And most men didn't bring home any money, they just worked out in the fields or the shop, pretty much right where they lived, for subsistence. But Biblically speaking, Bruce Ware has not been reading the final chapter of Proverbs, or if he did he skipped over the meat of Shlomo's wisdom. That woman "more precious than rubies" has independent discretion to spend family finances, is expected to be knowledgeable at buying and selling real estate, and other long-term investments, and it seems her husband's role is to sit in the gate talking to the elders, reaping praise for what a good provider his wife is!!! Don't take the word of any English translation, not even the KJV, ask an Orthodox rabbi about the original Hebrew. For once, it all bears the same meaning, and Ware could not be more wrong. The problem with the SBC leadership is, when the Word of God doesn't suit them, they rewrite it in accordance with late 19th century popular culture.

Anonymous | 04:49 pm on 7/05/2008

One thing I've always thought about the microphones that Reuters uses is their resemblance to a certain kind of *clears throat* toy.

Scott Overpeck | 03:18 pm on 7/06/2008

In reference to the biblical basis for spousal abuse:

Its just nice to have someone sticking up for abusive men. I mean comeon, talk about a marginalized people group. Where's the church on that one? How about Obama? You think he is going to step up on this one? Nope. Only the Southern Baptists....

Cartoon Mohammed | 08:40 am on 7/07/2008

god has a TV station?!? If so, he needs to fire his program director. I believe the CW and PBS get more viewers.
As for Southern Baptists, they are their own worst enemies. No wonder they are losing members. What a punch of a**holes.

Anonymous | 05:40 pm on 7/07/2008

Fuckin' Amen to that.

Dubai Luxury Bus | 04:27 pm on 5/22/2010

Drive away from waste articles and drive into articles which possesses these sort of qualities; thanks for sharing.

Dubai Tour Packages | 03:09 pm on 6/21/2010

"I like America celebration",Its just nice

Dubai Tour Packages | 03:11 pm on 6/21/2010

"I like America celebration",Its just nice

Anonymous | 03:18 pm on 6/21/2010

In reference to the article, "Adam to God, She Just Won't Listen".
Some SBC women just need a good tent stake and a mallet.As for Southern Baptists, they are their own worst enemies. No wonder they are losing members. What a punch of a**holes

vegetarian dishes | 01:48 am on 1/22/2011

I would love to have breakfast with the Archbishop, you are so blessed to have such a experience.

Eviction Form | 04:35 pm on 2/08/2011

Eph 6:16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
An empty mind is devil's workshop. Those who don't have anything spiritual, have all the proposals and talks from their master devil. Thanks for the nice post.

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