Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Is the Press Ready? Are We Ready?

Diane Winston, Knight Chair in Media and Religion at the University of Southern California, writes in the blog The Revealer about the election of Katherine Jefferts Schori as Presiding Bishop and asks if the press is ready to tackle the challenges we face that the incessant culture wars mask.
She writes (emphasis is mine, though):
"In the words of the newly elected Presiding Bishop of the denomination, that language “leaves the door open” for changes that would lead to the “full inclusion” of gays and lesbians in the church....

"Schori’s remarks explain why secular pundits and church commentators have cast Katharine Jefferts Schori’s election as Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, USA as the latest installment in the culture wars. Not only is Schori a theological liberal, but since only three of the 38 Anglican communions worldwide have consecrated women bishops (the U.S., Canada and New Zealand), elevating a female to the top national spot must augur revelation or revolution.

"But the conflict narrative misses an equally significant story. Schori’s lasting impact may stem not from her sex but from the complex mix of personal qualities and life experience that equip her for leadership in a deeply divided society and the communion that reflects those conflicts. In the course of her odyssey to ecclesiastical leadership, Schori has taken on three of the nation’s most pressing issues: the growing gap between science and religion, the surge in the religiously unaffiliated Americans, and the swelling numbers of Hispanic immigrants. If she can convince her co-religionists to meet these challenges, Schori could move the church from debilitating internal debates over sexuality to reengagement with the larger society."
"While sexual politics has been the defining issue of late 20th century American Christianity, Schori’s ascension in the American branch of the Anglican Communion offers the possibility of a new agenda for a new century. Imagine a faith-based politics built around a different set of questions. Then imagine the reporters who could cover it. "

Now imagine again that church that was built around a different set of questions....

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