Monday, October 3, 2011


...You know, I'm just an old dog, but it occurs to my canine brain to ask the question which was in Marcus Borg's latest book someplace... "What business is the church in?" My myopic contention is that we are, or at least should think of ourselves, in the communication business.

In an era in which our lives seem completely enveloped in communication, how can the church not take advantage of all the vehicles to do that? The only question is what content should be flowing out... bishop's blogs, youtube videos, audio and video of sermons, Facebook and G+? And I would think the right answer is that we should be trying to use all of them, or at least as many as are practical. And you Facebook users have a responsibility to re-preach the message of the church by "Sharing" good posts to all your friends, whether part of your church or not.

And yet... you can name the blogging bishops on one paw (1 or 2, not sure), you see diocese websites that are boring, boring, boring, that have no messages of the mission of the church, ways to engage in ministry, the excitement that SHOULD be part and parcel of being a Christian alive today...

Churches too often fail this as well, being fairly static and trading on the traditions and ancient ritual of the faith, rather than the here and now life and ministry... Father Moretz sort of got it right, but have you seen videos of his sermons? Where are the people?

Anyway, gotta go get my afternoon nap... you bipeds be good...
From the comments to this post. I thought the canine bishop's words were too good to remain hidden away.

And here's another excellent video from the Episcopal Café created by the Diocese of Texas.


UPDATE: So far as I can discover, the quote 'Evangelism is just one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.' is from D. T. Niles in his book That They May Have Life, rather than Robert Munger. As my correspondent on Facebook, Tim Chesterton, told me, 'Niles was a Sri Lankan evangelist and ecumenical leader who deserves to be much more widely known than he is.'


  1. I honestly think some of the obstacle is that "Communication" = "Evangelism" = "Have You Been Saved?"=Fundamentalism/Seventh Day Adventists/etc.

    It's a cultural reaction, IOW. "Evangelical" isn't the name of a Christian denomination, it's a word that means "bearer of good news." In my UCC heritage, the "German Evangelical" church was hardly a bunch of doorbell ringers bringing copies of pamphlets around or seeking to enforce their orthodoxy through politics.

    Yet that's what the word has become.

    Can we reclaim the ancient and honorable practice of evangelism, and use it to mean "seeking out the lost and helpless"? And can we be sure we dont' define "lost and helpless" as "those who don't believe as we do"? No, that's less of a risk than it might be, I suppose, but if we are going to shake up the traditions and ancient ritual of the faith, let's not just take up the traditions and rituals of another branch of the faith.


  2. There should be more canine bishops.

  3. Evangelism has gotten a bad name. First asking the question, 'Have you been saved?' indicates the Good News is given conditionally, only after 'you've been saved'. I don't recall that Jesus ever asked the question of one person in the crowds who followed him, of the people he healed, of those he blessed, of the unclean whom he touched, or the outcasts with whom he shared meals. The Good News was freely given to any and all.

    The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is the progressive branch of Lutheranism in this country, and I'm proud to say that the Episcopal Church is in full communion with them.

    Can we reclaim the ancient and honorable practice of evangelism, and use it to mean "seeking out the lost and helpless"?

    Oh, I hope so, Rmj.

    Cathy, I could not agree more.

  4. +Rowan, Bishop of PlayingOctober 3, 2011 at 9:45 PM

    I think all us canine bishop dogs would agree with Bishop Clumber.

  5. Bishop Rowan! How lovely of you to visit my humble blog. I knew you would agree with your brother, Bishop Clumber.

  6. The quote about one beggar telling another where to find bread is also in "Sleeping with Bread" by the Linn's (can't remember which one!) and when I find my copy I'll see if there's more info. Thanks for your blog - it's the first message I open every day!

  7. Noel, if you find out more, I'd appreciate further information. Many sources online attribute the quote to D. T. Niles, but no one gives the citation from his book. I like chapter and verse if I can find it. :-)

    Thank you for your kind words about my blog.


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