Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Divine Spearhead Installation

Service of Installation for the Spearhead of Social Services, 
Reverend Daniel Ostercamp

You are invited to come forward to the candle table before the service begins in honor of Bishop Barbie, the Brave New Church, and all who will soon be our Friends.

CALL TO WORSHIP:        A Call to Silence in honor of our Brave New Leaders


Free Love is the doctrine of this Church
The Quest for truth is its Sacrament
and Service is its Prayer.
To dwell together in Peace,
to seek knowledge in Freedom,
to serve humanity in Fellowship,
thus do we covenant Together.
We respect ALL* bound consciences

Come Join the Dance of Divinity             
ELW 412


The Adventures of Little Red Riding Hood and the Divine Scripture

AFFIRMATION – Led by our Brave New Youth

We are the Brave New Church:
A people of open minds,
and committed to radical tolerance,
boundless unity,
and free Love for all.

(young people may now go to prepare food, drinks, and service for our reception)

OFFERTORY (include your tax return in the envelope)

This is a time of sharing.
Tell us all of things that make you
happy and sad as we seek to
hear the divine within you.


From you I receive, to you I give,
Together we share, and from this we live.

RESPONSIVE READING                        (the congregation reads the bold parts)
I am a woman -
        I have no voice.
                The male-dominated world I live in has left me powerless.
                        You are a male in this culture.
                                  Will you speak up for me?

I am a child –
        I have no voice.
                The business-oriented world I live in has left me powerless.
                        You are an entrepreneur in this culture.
                                Will you speak up for me?

I am a person of color –
        I have no voice.
                The white–dominated world I live in has left me powerless.
                        You are a white person in this culture.
                                Will you speak up for me?

I am a person with physical limitations –
        I have no voice.
                The mobility-oriented world I live in has left me powerless.
                        You are a mobile person in this culture.
                                Will you speak up for me?

I am “one of the least of these.”
        I have no voice.
                The success-oriented world I live in has left me powerless.
                        You are able walk the ways of this culture.
                                Will you speak up for me?

I am all of these people.
        You have a voice.
                The Divine has called you to speak up for me -
                        The BNC has called you to walk with me.
                                Will you live into this calling for my sake?


What if God was One us Us?      
By Joan Osborne  
By Her Holy Pinkness Bishop Barbie

STATEMENT OF FAITH (we read together)
We who profess the beliefs of the Brave New Church:

We declare that there are many interpretation and sources of sacred scripture and but one source from which our religious convictions are reflected and that Jesus of Nazareth is our spiritual guide, leader, and head of our church as he teaches us about the Divine within and practices of free Love.

We declare that God (the Divine) is within each of us and that Jesus the Christ is God's anointed and best Child.

We declare that Divine revelations to humanity are revealed in a holy myriad of ways; therefore, we should search for Divine truth, wisdom, and Love within the pages of our holy books, the world's many sacred scriptures, and our everyday spiritual and scientific explorations to know and commune with the Divine and one Another.

We declare that apart from our rituals and rites, our brothers and sisters of the Divine are free to interpret their Divine notions according to their own personal conscience, understanding, and religious schools of thought in which they belong,

Do you, Name of Spearhead, take this job, to love honor and cherish the Brave New Church now and forevermore?  To bring all peoples to the BNC that they might come to see true Divinity within and without?

I will, with the help of Bishop Barbie
I, Name of Spearhead  take you, the BNC, to be my Spirit Friends.  To have and to hold from this day forward, for demographic fortitude and rainbow ribbons, in health and prosperity, and to seek one nation, in free Love, under Divine watchfulness, indivisible, with unity and tolerance for all.


A special stole is brought forward
 Bishop Barbie places the stole upon the Holy Reverend Spearhead

BB: As a token of mutual fidelity, radical tolerance, unity and free Love, receive this token as an outward sign that the BNC owns you, your talents and abilities.”


Please receive the Holy Spearhead with tithes and applause

CLOSING HYMN           
Stairway to Heaven                       
By Led Zeppelin


O dear God, thank you.  You are such a good God to us, a kind and gentle and accommodating God and we thank You, O sweet, sweet Lord of hosts for the smorgasbord you have so aptly lain at our table this day and each day by day.

Day by day by day.

O dear Lord, three things we pray: To love Thee more dearly, to see 
Thee more clearly, to follow Thee more nearly… day by day... by day.

Amen. Amen.

SOCIAL HOUR on the upper patio; all* are welcome.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pray Away the Gray!

We here at the BNC Headquarters have noticed all of the colored clothing items designated for wear by the masses.  There are purple days, red days, pink ribbon days, and due to the fall season upon us everyone seems to don brown in honor of colon health!  Furthermore, ladies on the internet have been announcing the color of their underwear for the world to enjoy (although, Auntie Evelyn, no one really wanted to know any details).  Obviously, attempts at fashion are at the forefront this late fall season!    

We here at the Brave New Church home offices have no idea what the purposes of these single color campaigns are (mostly because we ignore any and all things related to our own interests, campaigns, and marketing) but we are very interested in creating a celebration of our own!  

Pray Away the Gray!

As the fall leaves fade in glory and the winter doldrums set in, we find ourselves living in darkness.  But as we all know, the BNC chooses life – and what better way to celebrate than to ensure every member of the BNC receives an Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat!  We here at the BNC choose radical tolerance, unity, and free Love and today we add one more item to our list of goals for the winter: Fashionable Color!  No more shall our BNC congregants exist in dull palates and tones!  No longer shall our BNC members languish under the iron fist of single color fashion days!  

We here at Higgins choose to dust away the days of only purple, red, pink, brown, etc., and enhance our wardrobes in celebration of the entire color spectrum!

Notice the following pitifully bland fashion samples and the sad faces that accompany their dismal fashion choices:

Really, friends, what are we dressing to support?  International Fog Awareness?  All of these sad and rather dismal looking specimens exists on the Gray Spectrum.  Once we Prayed over their choices they came out of the closet wearing only the most beautiful array of brightly colored, joy inducing BNC sponsored clothing lines!  

So join us as we Pray Away the Gray and introduce fashion that not only looks terrific, but chases away the Winter Blah’s while promoting radical tolerance, unity, and free Love!  What a joy!  What freedom!  What bright shiney, happy people holding hands and hopes together!

Join us now as we Pray Away the Gray

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mailbag Monday!

Russ writes, "My Pinkness, I must confess to -er- certain urges of an alphabetical sort. I feel this compulsion, almost overwhelming, to trade one set of churchly initials for another. Now I know my ABCs but NALC keeps slipping in, entirely unbidden, I assure Your Pinkness. How should I handle these unwelcome and disturbing thoughts?"

Oh my darling Salt Man!

It is natural for all people to have “urges!”

Usually those special feelings begin in your mid-teen years as you try to locate the Divine within and many are so lucky to have a parent or guardian to help talk through all those thrilling new spiritual feelings!  Salt Man, perhaps you have entered your first period of Spiritual Development; a special time when you will develop a spiritual growth and begin ascent on the Fowler Scale of Spiritual Development!

Now, you may be wondering how you fit into all of this, my darling.  But the Lutheran church of the past has made Divine Development all so confusing!  Everyone knows American Lutheranism has been an alphabet soup since its inception!  Many of us remember the AALC, ALCA, AFLC, CALC, CLA, CLBA, CLC, ELCIC, ELS, FLC, ILF, LLC, LLC, LCCF, LCMS, LMS-USA, LCR, LCS, WELS, UALC, ULC, AELC, LCA, ALC, USA, CIA, NSA, YMCA, ROFL, LOL, and much, much more!  Many today remember when these bodies were represented by the Norwegians, Swedes, Finns, Germans, Happy Danes, Sad Danes, Austrians and Swiss, leaving the heathens to their own denominational insults to true Divinity.

But those days are over!  Until of January 1, 1988, most Lutherans were faced with only the bicameral Lutheran option: ALC or LCA.  Once upon a time you found yourself attracted to the blond purity and radical passive-aggression ALC Lutheranism or committed to the hearty incense smoked bratwurst of the LCA and their swarthy Teutonic membership.  But lo, the BNC was inaugurated!   
Now we have extended ourselves to enjoy the many Divine urges we all face to explore our spirituality and find the appropriate spiritual dwelling place with those of like interests!  Gone are the days of unity in the name of “Jesus Christ!” 

We here at the BNC have replaced such outdated partisan nonsense with the joys of spiritual options!  A little of Column A, a little from Column B and voila! Your spiritual urges and alphabetical desires have all been fulfilled!

My dearest, darling Salt Man, always remember that we here at the Brave New Church are deeply concerned with helping you fulfill your most private spiritual compulsions!  All are welcome!  All desires known should be brought out into the open – it is the BNC from whom you should hide no secrets!*

Butterfly Kisses from Heaven,
Bishop Barbie

*NALC not included.  Must be over 17 to discuss NALC.  NALC available in all states. Void where prohibited. BNC subject to change without notice. Restrictions apply.

Cathy “Braaschenputtel” Braasch writes, “I have a question before I goes on retreat next week: What is the BNC's position on spiritual direction? Is it to be Oratatio, Meditatio, Tentatio; or Lectio, Meditatio, Contemplatio, and Oratio; or something entirely new? Does Her Pinkness have a spiritual director? What approach to Lectio do Her Pinkness and her spiritual director follow?

Gracious my dear Braaschenputtel!

Such an alphabet soup!  Perhaps you and the Salt Man should join forces to serve our Acrimonious Acronym Association of the BNC (especially when considering “alternative” to the BNC). 

Naturally there is a grand tradition in “other” “church” bodies and their use of Oratatio, Meditatio and Tentatio (Prayer, Meditation, Trials/Anfechtung).  While these are lovely notions of spirituality, it is the BNC that lights the way toward true spiritual contemplation and fulfillment because we aim to combine the best of all worldly meditations into one beautiful, unified institution!  

My darling Cathy, let me introduce you to the BNC’s Threefold Pink Rose of Contemplation:

Rosatio Contemplatio, Amoratio, Unificatio.

Rosatio Contemplatio: Find a quiet and happy place.  Breathe in and realize the unity you have between yourself and those throughout all of time and space.  You are connected.  You are one.  Focus on the color Pink and the Love that emanates from your Brave New Church and Leader.  Consider the lilies and how fabulous Bishop Barbie would look in florals.  Be of one mind with Bishop Barbie.  Envision a world of radical tolerance, unity, and free Love.  Ask the Divine to bless your work… bring the Divine into your works and desires.  Mold the Divine to yourself from the outside as you reach within to find the Divine on the inside.

Amoratio: Surround yourself with images of Love.  The Divine Community has for far too long committed itself to the shackles of traditional, heterosexual and familial love.  Free your mind and the rest will follow!  Be colorblind, don’t be so shallow!  Experiment with different configurations of Love and draw up a daily progress report for yourself.  Once you have thrown off the shackles of tradition and see all Love opportunities with equal respect and joy, then you have achieved the heights of Amoratio!

Unificatio: This is the most difficult of the BNC spiritual practices.  Only the most spiritually fit and committed to the BNC manage this practice.  Please see me when you have completed your spiritual journey of reeducation and I shall unlock the secrets of Unificatio for you.  Until then, I cannot share all our Spiritual Secrets or you would feel lacking in motivation, would you not? 

You see, darling, Spiritual Direction ought always to point you back to your Holy Mother BNC, never elsewhere.  Who else has your best interest at heart but your Bishop Barbie and Friends?  I hope and pray that your current SD is full of free Love and teaching you in the ways of the Threefold Pink Rose of Contemplation!

Now my own Spiritual Directors include such impressive titles as Oprah Winfrey, Thich Nhat Hanh, Eckhart Tolle, Joel Osteen and Rahm Emanuel.  Bishop Hanson did his very best to procure Winfrey, but his schedule only permitted weekly counsel calls with Woody Allen who truly portrays the human spiritual experience through his films and following his heart in any number of social and vocational decisions.  Each of my Directors offers their own unique perspective on radical tolerance, unity and free Love, yet it is my duty and delight that I may take their nuggets of wisdom and apply it to Divine Scripture and our three-fold Rose of Contemplation!    

So, Braaschenputtel, Spiritual Directors are standing by to aid you in your spiritual journey.  We want to hold your hand as you experience our loving reeducation and redirection of your preexisting spiritual notions!  Direct your whole heart to the BNC and experience unfettered tolerance and free Love for all!

Butterfly Kisses from Heaven,
Bishop Barbie

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

An Exchange

An Open Letter to “Bishop Barbie”

by Barbara Bruneau on Monday, October 11, 2010 at 5:25pm
To whomever is posing as “Bishop Barbie” on Facebook:

You’ve made quite a splash on Facebook in the past ten weeks – that’s how long it’s been since your first blog post and your first appearance on Facebook.  In less than ten weeks, you’ve accumulated over 500 “friends” along with probably an equally large number who follow your comments without benefit of friendship.

At first your posts were witty and clever.  While I didn’t agree with everything you said, I enjoyed following your daily comments.  As time rolled on, however, your comments took on more of a biting edge.  Even so, I continued to read your posts and occasionally found a nugget of truth under the sarcasm.

Today, however, the slippery slope has led you to cross the line into the territory of malicious, hurtful statements.  I posted a status update indicating my prayers for those employees of ELCA headquarters who might learn today that their jobs are in jeopardy.  You were quick to enter into the resulting conversation, not with any expression of care or concern for those whose future may look very bleak indeed, but instead with a snide comment about ignoring denominational difficulties as you celebrate National Coming Out Day.

You joke about this being National Coming Out Day – perhaps it is you who should “come out” from behind the “Bishop Barbie” mask and make your real identity known.  If you have comments, criticisms, even sarcasm, that’s fine.  But it seems to me that only a coward would take such cheap shots at others without owning their own statements.

You showed no awareness at all that these ELCA employees are real people experiencing real pain, unlike the artificial identity you have created.  The price they are paying is high, unlike the cheap shots that flow so easily from your keyboard.  The Gospel that you say the ELCA has left behind… doesn’t it call you to care for your neighbor in need?  The catechism you hold in such high esteem… doesn’t it call you to put the best possible construction on the words and actions of your neighbor?  Excuse me, Pesudo-Bishop Barbie, is that a log I see sticking out of your eye?  Perhaps your plastic persona has blinded you to what it means to be real; you might check with a nearby Velveteen Rabbit for some coaching.

You have stopped being entertaining or thought-provoking.  I’m sad to say, Pseudo-Bishop Barbie, that you are no longer my friend.

An Open Response to Ms. Barbara Bruneau

by Bishop Barbie on Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 11:10am
Dear Friends and Acquaintances of Bishop Barbie,

Mrs. Barbara Bruneau wrote an open letter to my Pinkness and I’d like to offer a brief response.

First, I’d like to respond to the charge of identity.  I don’t “expose” myself for two reasons (and neither reason is in the interest in cowardice).  First, the character frankly doesn’t work when you know the writer behind it.  Second, far too many have realized that dissent in the ELCA is greeted with vocational and social difficulties including firings, shunnings, etc. of too many pastors, leaders, and church members.  You do not know this author’s place of employment and the fact that this author’s ability to speak freely is limited.  Those who disagree with the ELCA’s decisions are brazenly put down and shunned while the content of grievances continue to go ignored amidst the clarion cry of “all are welcome!” and “we respect all bound consciences!”

It is a terribly sad sign of sin in the world and in our church body when there are objectively bad decisions made on all levels, only to see the results of those terrible decisions result in the job losses at ELCA Headquarters and in other places around the U.S. and the world.  Even while Bishop Barbie and friends see a clear correlation between the reasons behind this layoff and church-wide decisions, we shouldn’t view the layoffs with joy as if it were the justice of “an eye for an eye” (“a job for a job”).  In the end, it just means everyone is jobless and barely scraping by, which does nothing in service for the Gospel because all outsiders then see is our flagrant harm and further abuse of one another.  Bishop Barbie realizes that the people who this affects on Higgins Road and elsewhere are real people with real families, real needs, and a real future to manage.  Job loss is a type of death and these are real people experiencing the death of security, community, and more.  You and I are called to pray for and objectively support those who suffered these losses.  Along with prayer, where you find opportunities to support the life and livelihood of those who have lost their jobs, you are called to do it immediately, resourcefully, respectfully, and cheerfully.

All of this being said, Ms. Bruneau has called the author of Bishop Barbie to repentance. The author of Bishop Barbie confesses to the sin of misplaced and overly sharp words on this occasion – and even on other occasions.  Bishop Barbie’s intent is to lampoon the circumstances of many in and surrounding the ELCA and is rarely at a loss for material.  The intent of the comment on Bruneau’s page was intended to critique the cause behind the job losses, not the job losses themselves.  Nevertheless, the author realizes he caused unnecessary pain and chose to comment unwisely about terrible circumstances - circumstances in which even the author finds reprehensible regardless of reasons behind them.  I repent of this sin against you and those who lost their jobs.  I apologize to those I hurt by my misplaced comment so wisely exposed by Ms. Bruneau.

Not a Moment for Butterfly Kisses,
The Author of Bishop Barbie

An Open Response to Bishop Barbie

Dear BB Author,

Thank you for your candid and thoughtful response to my open letter.

I have read and re-read your description of the sense of vulnerability that you and others feel, which results in your choice to remain anonymous. While I’m not convinced that anonymity elevates the level of any discussion, I am so very sad that you experience a spirit of intolerance that makes you feel that you must remain hidden. I suspect that all of us, on all sides of this conversation, need to examine our own words and actions that may serve to polarize rather than to foster dialogue.

I believe that the layoff decisions by the ELCA are the result of a complex set of causes. While you have identified some of the threads in that matrix, I would argue that the economic recession (predating the 2009 CWA by at least a year) also plays a role. And what seems to me to be an increasing sense of distrust for any hierarchy (in church, in government, in all sorts of social institutions) has also served to erode support for the institutional church (in the ELCA as well as other denominations). Whatever the cause, I completely agree with your description of the tragedy of job loss, and I join in your call for all of us to help in any way that we can.

One of the persons who commented on my open letter said that my words “have fulfilled the function of the law, and brought repentance and a confession.” If God has used our conversation in that way, I am honored to have been part of this dialogue. And even though I don’t know who you are, the Office of the Keys allows me to assure you of forgiveness. Go in peace. Amen.

Pastor Barbara Bruneau

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Ignorance: It's Your Problem

I write to you today about a very serious matter:


Ignorance is a disease plaguing many congregations in the Brave New Church and affiliates and we here at the home offices have finally done something about this problem.  We are working our way down the age bracket to reach every member of the BNC in a grassroots program we now title, “No Child Left Behind.” 

This year we have begun the program at the Bachelors level: at BNC Colleges and Universities nationwide.

So many forget the true meaning of a “Liberal Arts Education.”  Unlike most colleges, universities, and institutes, a liberal arts designation means freedom to explore and have opportunities thrust upon you like beacons in the night!  Cast off the rigors of Reading, ‘Riting, and ‘Rithmetic for the greater good found in Sexuality Studies!  Angry about patriarchy?  Try a major in Women’s Studies!  There is no need for hard science or history – only a great imagination to interpret the troubles of today!

Back in 2007 The Los Angeles Times reported a smorgasbord of fine educational options for your budding young Einstein and there has yet to be much change in the academic rigmarole:

1. 'The Phallus'
Occidental College. A seminar in critical theory and social justice, this class examines Sigmund Freud, phallologocentrism and the lesbian phallus.

2. 'Queer Musicology'
UCLA. This course welcomes students from all disciplines to study what it calls an "unruly discourse" on the subject, understood through the works of Cole Porter, Pussy Tourette and John Cage.

3. 'Taking Marx Seriously'
Amherst College. This advanced seminar for 15 students examines whether Karl Marx still matters despite the countless interpretations and applications of his ideas, or whether the world has entered a post-Marxist era.

4. 'Adultery Novel'
University of Pennsylvania. Falling in the newly named "gender, culture and society" major, this course examines novels and films of adultery such as "Madame Bovary" and "The Graduate" through Marxist, Freudian and feminist lenses.

5. 'Blackness'
Occidental College. Critical race theory and the idea of "post-blackness" are among the topics covered in this seminar course examining racial identity. A course on whiteness is a prerequisite.

6. 'Border Crossings, Borderlands: Transnational Feminist Perspectives on Immigration'
University of Washington. This women studies department offering takes a new look at recent immigration debates in the U.S., integrating questions of race and gender while also looking at the role of the war on terror.

7. 'Whiteness: The Other Side of Racism'
Mount Holyoke College. The educational studies department offers this first-year, writing-intensive seminar asking whether whiteness is "an identity, an ideology, a racialized social system," and how it relates to racism.

8. 'Native American Feminisms'
University of Michigan. The women's studies and American culture departments offer this course on contemporary Native American feminism, including its development and its relation to struggles for land.

9. '"Mail Order Brides?" Understanding the Philippines in Southeast Asian Context'
Johns Hopkins University. This history course — cross-listed with anthropology, political science and studies of women, gender and sexuality — is limited to 35 students and asks for an anthropology course as a prerequisite.

10. 'Cyberfeminism'
Cornell University. Cornell's art history department offers this seminar looking at art produced under the influence of feminism, post-feminism and the Internet.

11. 'American Dreams/American Realities'
Duke University. Part of Duke's Hart Leadership Program that prepares students for public service, this history course looks at American myths, from "city on the hill" to "foreign devil," in shaping American history.

12. 'Nonviolent Responses to Terrorism'
Swarthmore College. Swarthmore's "peace and conflict studies" program offers this course that "will deconstruct 'terrorism' " and "study the dynamics of cultural marginalization" while seeking alternatives to violence.

Now, I realize many my darling non-BNC privileged elite will offer a hearty tsk’ tsk’ in an effort to show unenlightened disagreement with such marvelous thought-provoking courses of study!  So, without further ado I introduce to you the next step in progressive liberal arts education:

If you do not come to the BNC banner of radical tolerance, unity, and free Love, we will come to you!  Behold Gustavus Adolphus College!  This is a fine BNC-affiliated institution founded in 1862 by Swedish Lutherans.  Home to the annual Nobel Conference, this school of progressive thought boasts 75 different majors, a fine roster of athletic opportunities, and a rainbow colored tapestry of student organizations!  Each year approximately 2,500 fresh faced blondes join to ranks of exceptional BNC education and we see to it that each young adult is exposed to as many options as possible for personal and academic exploration. 
Because so many students at many institutions around the world are committed to only traditional academic and lifestyle expectations, Gustavus Adolphus College has ever so Bravely offered a beautiful introduction for incoming freshman as to the breadth and depth of opportunities previously unheard of while growing up in a limited home environment:

Poetry!  Pageantry!  New Pals and Partners!  Could there possibly be a better way to introduce the many options available to little Johnny and his former high school girlfriend, Susie?

The Brave New Church and educational affiliates recognize that we can no longer idle by and beg students into our coursework and extra-curricular offerings.  No, we will now come directly to the student!

Because if the BNC supported “Queers and Allies” student group at GA can’t effectively Love your child into tolerance, acceptance, and unfettered sexual experimentation, who will?

Mailbag, er, Wednesday

Bethany writes, “Ecumenical relationships. How are we to go about such relationships and conversations -- being proud of our shared heritage? Blending in and becoming more like our new friends to make them feel welcome in our worship?”

Dearest Bethany,

Ecumenical relationships have been terribly strained recently due to lack of unified vision and celebratory receptions held in honor of our great institutional decisions! 

You see, Bethany, I find the age-old trouble of ecumenism within the old hymn titled, “God’s Word is our Great Heritage.” It is terribly disheartening to see this hymn included even in the new Evangelical Lutheran Worship (BNC-ELW #509)!  The Divine Words are so often misinterpreted in thought, word, and deed that we must separate ourselves from such divisive nonsense!  There are so many unfortunate souls who rest on this antiquated notion we can come together on “God’s Word.”  How could we possibly find a means of ecumenism based on a book that was only ever agreed upon among dead church patriarchs like Origen and Athanasius and at committees like the 393 Synod of Hippo.  Even those committees were not carefully made up of a diversity of representatives including women, those of alternative sexualities, Hispanics, and liberals!  Completely untrustworthy! 
Their decisions have caused nothing but division and heartache for us. Therefore, in order to turn over a new leaf, we here at the BNC are dropping all hints of our former Lutheranism, so-called “Biblical” and “Confessional” commitments, etc.  With such things behind us we are on the cutting edge of “Reformed and ever Reforming!”  Semper Reformanda: A New Age!  Now we seek up those things of commonality among us all:

Liturgical Dance!
The Unity of Holy Eucharist!
Non-Gender Specific Pronouns!
Potluck Dinners and Coffee!

So now let it be said that Divine Tolerance, Unity, and free Love is our Great Heritage!  So it is now written, so it must be done.

We are a tapestry of bright colors of the rainbow – a people of no commitments and loads of spirituality!  We are a church committed to ecumenism based on those things we can agree on!  And, at the end of the day, if you won’t accept the views of the BNC, then it’s pretty clear who the divisive one is. 

Peter writes, “I know in the church we have all these festivals for long dead saints we don't really know, like St Lawrence or Santa Lucia, and we give the Reformers a Sunday in October, but even they have been dead for 500 years. Is there any way we could start celebrating on a denominational level some of the more recently dead saints whose contributions to proclaiming the Gospel we're more familiar with? People like Bonhoeffer, Elert and Forde and the others?”

Oh my Dear Peter!

What a fascinating question!  You are such an inquisitive member of our Brave New Church and I give thanks for your presence!
Now, there are two issues at stake here that I find of tremendous importance.
First, we do have a lovely slew of old Saints like St. Lawrence, St. Lucia, St. Olaf, St. Anselm, and the like.  But we must remember these saints of old are dead and gone.  The beauty of their absence is that we no longer have to listen to the things they said that we don’t like!  Death of the saints is a Holy Mute Button given to us by the Hand of the Divine so that we can focus most acutely on the sayings of these people that we desire to hear.  A saint is a dead person revised and properly edited so we have the appropriate role model!

The trouble with modern saints is that we have not yet achieved critical distance to the do the cleanup work necessary for use in our church liturgy.  There are still people living who actually knew Bonhoeffer, Elert, Forde, and others and the BNC is keeping a close watch on them.  We must be vigilant to note patterns of influence rendered by their body of work, life, and death!  For example, in the case of Gerhard Forde, he is a recently published author but also recently deceased.  Many of his students still speak out in support of his male-pronoun, non-inclusive, confessionally minded blather.  While we are aware that there are many in Missouri and Wisconsin Synod Lutheranism that find Forde far too liberal for their taste (which is at least a few point in the positive column), we are still concerned that he is idolized by such groups as the LCMC, NALC, and other breakaway rogue church bodies.  Obviously Forde among others have not achieved critical Mute Button distance.  So we wait. 
Until then, those modern day saints we choose to lift up include the following for their incisive work and quotable soundbites of great theological insight:

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." Marcel Proust

“To be conscious of Being, you need to reclaim consciousness from the mind. This is one of the most essential tasks on your spiritual journey.” Eckhart Tolle

“At any moment, you have a choice, that either leads you closer to your spirit or further away from it”. Thich Nhat Hanh

“I say quite deliberately that the Christian religion, as organized in its churches, has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world.” Bertrand Russell

“For nearly a hundred years, we have known that the material world is an illusion. Everything that seems solid - a rock, a tree, your body - is actually 99.999% empty space.” Deepak Chopra

“God wants us to prosper financially, to have plenty of money, to fulfill the destiny He has laid out for us.” Joel Osteen

“We’re going to Australia!” Oprah Winfrey

If you can think of any way to include these modern figures into our daily liturgy or lectionary, your input is most welcomed!

Eileen writes, “Dear Bishop Barbie, I hope I'm not too late for the Monday Mailbag. The Brave New Church is exciting and I really would like to be active in this BNC.  There may be one problem (well, I hope it won't be a problem).  I've been reading your postings and know of your leadership in being completely accepting of all persons, especially, LGBTQAP3.  You also write that you are looking at ways to include the Narcissamory/Self-Love, Two-Spirit, and Objectum Sexuality. I happen to be a woman -  married for quite some time to, dare I say it, a man.  Yes, Bishop Barbie, I am involved in a heterosexual relationship .  Is there a place in that acronym for me?  

Also - do you do supply?  Keep expanding our horizons, Bishop Barbie”

My Darling Eileen!

I am so pleased to know of your commitment to full inclusion!  Naturally this means you, yourself, strive for acceptance in our Brave New Church and we seek to welcome you in many and wonderful ways.  There are a variety of ways you can serve us and you may take the time to print, check off, and mail the following to the BNC Headquarters for review and assignment.


Time and Talent BNC Pledge and Appropriations Worksheet
“Since, then, we have such a hope, we act with great boldness.” 2 Cor 3:12
Instructions: Listed on both sides of this form are a variety of opportunities to give of your spiritual gifts through the pledging of time and talent. If you have a question about any of the opportunities to serve please contact the BNC Home Office.  Please complete one Time and Talent Pledge sheet for each family member.  If you need extra sheets, they are available in the Church office or may be downloaded off our website (www.bishopbarbie00.blogspot.com). Thank you in advance for the generous giving of your time and talent. Please join us in praying that we will all be strengthened to serve and give and appropriate your time, talents, and resources to their greater use in our Brave New Church.

Blood Type:
Donor (circle one):   Yes    No

Personal Hobbies:

Social Justice Organizations I am involved with:

I self identify as:

􀀀 Bisexual
􀀀 Gay
􀀀 Lesbian
􀀀 Transgendered
􀀀 Androgynous
􀀀 Genderqueer
􀀀 Transitioning
􀀀 Exploring
􀀀 Uncertain
􀀀 Pansexual
􀀀 Narcissamorous
􀀀 Objectum Sexual
􀀀 Other

I self-identify as:

􀀀 African-American
􀀀 Asian
􀀀 Native American
􀀀 Hispanic
􀀀 Alternative Non-European
􀀀 Combination of the above
􀀀 None of the Above

I self-identify in the following liquid economic bracket:

􀀀 $0- $2500
􀀀 $2501- $5000
􀀀 $5001- $10,000
􀀀 $10,001- $50,000
􀀀 $50,001- $75,000
􀀀 $75,001- $100,000
􀀀 $100,001- $250,000
􀀀 $250,001- $500,000
􀀀 $500,001- $1,000,000
􀀀 $1,000,000+

I self-identify as the following:
􀀀 Democrat
􀀀 Green
􀀀 Socialist
􀀀 Communist
􀀀 Peace and Freedom Party
􀀀 Pirate Party of the United States
􀀀 Prohibition Party
􀀀 Socialist Equality Party
􀀀 United States Marijuana Party
􀀀 Workers Party
􀀀 Independent
􀀀 Working Families Party
􀀀 Libertarian
􀀀 Republican
􀀀 Tea Party

Please answer the following questions
I struggle with:

I find the following verses or stories in Scripture to be of relative importance and/or I am currently wrestling with the following:

I feel the following when I see this photograph:

􀀀 Confident
􀀀 Amazed
􀀀 Accepting
􀀀 Great
􀀀 Overjoyed
􀀀 Thankful
􀀀 Peaceful
􀀀 Important
􀀀 Festive
􀀀 Playful
􀀀 Liberated
􀀀 Optimistic
􀀀 Full of Spirit
􀀀 Clever
􀀀 Jubilant
􀀀 Free and Easy
􀀀 Reassured
􀀀 Dynamic

􀀀 Helpless
􀀀 Incapable
􀀀 Paralyzed
􀀀 Pained
􀀀 Fatigued
􀀀 Desperate
􀀀 Vulnerable
􀀀 Hesitant
􀀀 Despair
􀀀 Frustrated
􀀀 Tragic
􀀀 Pessimistic
􀀀 Dominated
􀀀 Dismayed
􀀀 In a Stew
􀀀 Lonely
􀀀 Grieved

􀀀 Secure

􀀀 Attend BNC New Member Welcome Dinner
􀀀 Provide Food for BNC New Member Dinner
􀀀 Canvas Neighborhood for BNC Members
􀀀 Pie Ministry (Prepare and/or Deliver)

􀀀 BNC Glee Club
􀀀 Barbershop Quartet
􀀀 Proficient in modern instrument 
    (Electric Guitar, Bass, Drums, Accordion, or Saxophone)
􀀀 Cow Bell Choir

􀀀 Banner making
􀀀 Sanctuary Decorating
􀀀 Fellowship Hall Decorating
􀀀 Handicrafts

I am willing to participate in or lead the following groups:

􀀀 ELCA: Counting the Losses
􀀀 Friday Night Date Night
􀀀 Young Activists Group
􀀀 BNC Youth
􀀀 Liturgical Dance Team/Ministry of Embodiment
􀀀 BNC Workers Union
􀀀 Powerful Women of the BNC
􀀀 BNC Intelligence Agency (some field  work required)
􀀀 Coffee Hour Preparation


**At this time we are not accepting any new traditionally married heterosexual couples in significant leadership roles.  I do hope you understand that we strive to ensure equality at all levels of the BNC which means we must place you and your male counterpart on the Holy Sidelines for a few seasons.  As a consequence, we also find no reason to add ‘H’ to our acronym, as it promotes a medieval sense of oppression upon the masses who have alternative yet equally valid orientations – those who we find existing in the promised land of acceptance within our BNC acronym: LGBTQAP3

P.S. I do supply on occasion.  But I require a very specialized pulpit and liturgical accoutrement for the occasion.