Monday, August 30, 2010

Mailbag Monday!

Sara wrote, “In anticipation of Mailbag Monday I have to say that I am very excited about Bishop Hanson's town hall mtg. on 9/19 but it seems like a long way off yet. Do you have any suggestions on how to pass the time?”
Dearest Sara,
What an exciting and intriguing questions!  Naturally we here at the home office of the Brave New Church are concerned with the Whole Person, especially now as you wait for such a momentous event on September 19!  Truly, we here at Higgins can hardly contain ourselves, either!  We have placed His Holiness, Bishop Hanson on a strict vegan diet and exercise program so that his skin properly radiates for the cameras.  We are also seeking the most faithful, youthful, and colorful among us for cameo appearances! 
Goodness – that was nothing short of a commercial!  As for your question:
We here at the office have spent millions of dollars investing in our cutting-edge Wellness Wheel.  Remember, the Divine says in Isaiah 45:7, “I make weal and create woe” and while in our ELCA devotions we found initial concern that the original text read, “I make WEALTH,” we realized quickly God’s call to make a WHEEL so that we may not face woe.  Our wheel reflects the holy will of the Divine to encourage you toward the following:
1.   Social Well-Being
2.   Emotional Well-Being
3.   Physical Well-Being
4.   Vocational Well-Being
5.   Intellectual Well-Being
6.   Financial Well-Being
Naturally if you follow all these steps you shall yield the miraculous benefits of SPIRITUAL Well-Being, which we here at the Brave New Church have achieved! 
As you wait for the words of true love, joy, and tolerance from our beknighted Bishop Hanson, I urge you to center yourself on one goal in each section of our wheel.  For example, the third of my four personal secretaries has submitted the following goals for my approval:
1.   Social Well-Being: Plan an ELCA Social for Bishop Barbie and Friends
2.   Emotional Well-Being: Knit a new stole for Bishop Hanson.
3.   Physical Well-Being: Schedule Mani-Pedi at downtown spa
4.   Vocational Well-Being: Finish calendar of events for October
5.   Intellectual Well-Being: Purchase new Anne Lamott book. Read it.
6.   Financial Well-Being: Increase ELCA tithe to 20% (at 18% and counting!)
I signed off on her goals just this morning and am so proud of her abilities!  Please plan to submit your own 6-step plan toward a Spiritual Wheel of Wholeness in the next few days.  Sit in prayer and consider the Divine at work in your life.  This is the best way for you to bide your time over the next few weeks as you await Bishop Hanson’s scintillating words! 
Butterfly Kisses from Heaven,
Bishop Barbie


James writes, “Reverend Barbie, Duchess of Des Plaines and Stewardess of Eton Field (and United flight 2324 to Scranton). The Lord has reveled to me your sure and certain elevation to Holy Mother, Bishop of the Lutheran World Federation. Please, remember me when you come into your kingdom. I remain your most humble servant. Kissing the Sacred Ring.

Dearest James,
I am humbled and honored you would take the time to refer to me by my entire title and given name!  So few bother to look up the official forms, much to my dismay.  Please know such dedication on your part has been noted and added to your files here at Higgins.  We are anxious to elevate not just the Host, but also our dedicated masses to positions of authority and influence as loyalty is clearly identified. 
Butterfly Kisses from Heaven,
Bishop Barbie


April writes, “Bishop Barbie, I grew up on a farm in Nebraska, and am a part of an "ecumenical denomination", at least that's what I was listed as when I went to the Land of Lutherans for seminary. Please pardon my ignorance, I did not realize there was such deep disagreements among us Lutherans over this hot topic until I went to Minnesota. Maybe you can help clear up some confusion for me. Which is proper and correct: Hot-Dish, or Casserole? Can you point me to a helpful reference in the Bible or the Book of Concord? Potlucks are very dear to my Lutheran Heritage and I believe are a sign of unity. Thank you for continuing the conversation with me, despite our theological differences.”

Dearest April,
What an incisive theological mind!  You bring much to our holy table and I am so thankful for your ability to question these deep issues that so often separate us in our faithful community!   After mentioning your ecumenical denomination, I feel so moved to ask: are you Calvinist? Papist? Mohammaden? Alternative?  Surely you must be a denomination of use to us here at the ELCA headquarters! 
As for questions regarding the age-old question of Hot Dish versus Casserole, we here at Higgins are working around the clock to put forward an ecumenical outreach statement that will draw all people together in these matters.  Those who speak of Hot Dish are more of the midwestern strain and preternaturally unable to move beyond the tribal lingo of the region.  Those from other regions tend to be less concerned about the sanctity of the hot dish, and so you have more ability to work with those individuals. 
The following is a helpful chart for you to follow according to region and type (from the Augsburg Confession, Article XXIX on Hot Dish):
Imported Italian Pasta prepared Al Dente
Sausage or other prize game meats
Organic gluten-free Flakes
Egg and creamy she-crab soup
Rice, Potatoes, Overcooked Noodles
Ground Beef or SPAM®
Corn Flakes®
Cream of X soup
Grits, Cream of Wheat
Seafood, especially catfish sticks
Corn Flakes®
Cream, Eggs
Black, Red, Pinto, Refried Beans
Pulled Carnitas, shredded chicken
Corn Flakes®
Creamed Corn
West Coast
Tofu, Chickpeas, Portabello Mushrooms
Tofu Flakes or Granola
Creamed Tofu
Naturally, we here at Higgins are less concerned about the language offered so long as these potlucks and other community gatherings produce the free tolerance and unity we prize so highly! 
I’d like to draw your attention to the story of Jacob and Esau from Genesis 25, which is a tale clearly centered on the trouble you identify with casseroles, hot dish, and potlucks:
 27 The boys grew up, and Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the open country, while Jacob was a quiet man, staying among the tents. 28 Isaac, who had a taste for wild game, loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob. 29 Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. 30 He said to Jacob, "Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I'm famished!" (That is why he was also called Edom.) 31Jacob replied, "First sell me your birthright." 32 "Look, I am about to die," Esau said. "What good is the birthright to me?" 33 But Jacob said, "Swear to me first." So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob.  34 Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left. So Esau despised his birthright.
As you can see in this text, potlucks meals are more prized than even a birthright!  The point of this story, clearly, is that regardless of what you call the respective hot dish, you should share it and not use it to lord over your brothers and sisters in Christ.  Unity is what is most important in our Brave New Church and when fights over potluck meals ensue we find ourselves embroiled in the same troubles as Jacob and Esau. 
So go forth and share your potluck meals!  Do it in the name of unity!
Butterfly Kisses from Heaven,
Bishop Barbie


R Don writes, “I see from your facebook pic that you have a nice pectoral cross, and it looks like you're carrying an altar bible. Do you have a mitre and crozier for special occasions? …Your fondness for pink is well established. You are so resourceful and imaginative, what solutions have you devised to brighten up formal clerical attire--especially episcopal purple?”

Dearest Mr. Wright,
Thank you for pointing out my holy commitment to churchly fashion!  It is a sign of Divine Reverence, naturally, and I am committed to leading our Brave New Church in fine style!  Recently Ken put together a walk-in closet specifically for my vestment collection and I must say, he did a fine job of installing the special holders and cupboard for the miter and crozier collection.  Feel free to come and observe my glorious fashion sense, dedicated to the Divine, of course!
Indeed, I delight in pinks and purples, especially the power of the purple as we know it in society, and I am now using my abilities of resourcefulness and imagination to develop ecumenical solidarity with our partners.  For example, the more I wear purple, the less our brave members will identify me as an ELCA member and more in solidarity with our Episcopal leadership!  When I choose to decorate my figure with gold and other accoutrements, I am nearly always mistaken for an Orthodox priest! 
That is our goal here at the Brave New Church: Fashion in service to ecumenical confusion! 
Butterfly Kisses from Heaven,
Bishop Barbie

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