Saturday, November 04, 2006

Leftover turkey

I watched the coronation of the new head of ECUSA via the online feed. It would have been nice to read some liveblogging, but this isn't the Academy Awards, after all. I took notes for about half of it, then gave up. Just a few impressions:

The congregation looks really OLD! Boy, did everyone in the Episcopal Church under the age of 30 get a performing role in this play?

Music was all over the place - piano lounge music at the beginning, Indian drums and wailing, gospel swing, organ music, you name it. The congregation could only participate when the organ played, though; apart from the traditional hymns, they did nothing at all.

Lots of dancing in this show - semaphore dancing with coloured flags, maidens in white gowns curvetting around the altar and the font. Another thing nobody else could participate in, though considering the age of the spectators, maybe it's kinder that way. Those long streamers on poles - I kept catching glimpses of them lashing out from behind pillars, and they reminded me of the way you'd just momentarily see the creature in 'Alien' as it flashed from one hiding place to another.

Vestments. Textiles are a particular interest of mine, and I have to say, the use of cloth in this performance was terrible. The guys assisting Schori throughout were wearing balloony outfits with wide diagonal stripes of yellow, blue and white - couldn't tell the material by watching it onscreen, so maybe it was silk, but it looked like nylon. Cheap and vulgar, like clown costumes - was it some sort of cathedral livery? As for Schori's outfit, I don't know what to say. I guess it's supposed to be a "landscape" - green "earth", blue river, mountains, red sun, purple sky. Her mitre looked like it had a moon on it, so the whole ensemble gives the impression of a sunset, which is appropriate. But the red apron midway down her thighs looked like a nasty bloodstain - didn't the designer notice that the eye is going to be drawn straight to the one and only bright spot on the costume? Geez.

Frank kinda shoved the crozier at her when it came time to hand it over, and she looked pretty contemptuous when they brushed cheeks, but she didn't show much enthusiasm at any point, so it's hard to say if that indicated anything at all. I'll read her sermon at some point - I just remembered that there were a number of cliched expressions in it. And the MDG again - she really does seem to believe that these "goals" are achievable. The fact that Jesus said they weren't convinces me, but I guess other people disagree.

Was there ANYTHING I liked? Not really. Even the organ music annoyed me, because they insisted on adding a big drumroll to build excitement - it did sound like the moment of opening the envelope at the Academy Awards.


Blogger Ann McCarthy said...

She did actually use the terms "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" instead of the new agey language I expected. I hated the girl being carried down the aisle and the maidens with the water jars. That looked weird, at best, and pagan.

5:51 pm  
Blogger Nasty, Brutish & Short said...

Well, you're braver than I, if you actually watched that unfold. I think I have Episcopal Church fatigue. But I did pop over to ENS, because I heard they had pictures. You're right. The vestments DO look cheap. The new PB's vestments look like one of those 70s felt banner creations that are still hanging around in so many parishes.

Surely we can get even the liberals to admit that the young folks weren't fooled by the felt? Can't we at least agree on no more felt?

But anyway, I thought I'd let you know about the pictures, in case you wanted to swipe them for use as demonstrative exhibits. I might do so myself, though my readers aren't exactly up to speed on the Anglican crack-up, so I don't really know where to begin. What do you suggest? It'd be a mighty long post if I have to start to start with the Tudors.

7:28 pm  
Blogger Ellie M said...

"The new PB's vestments look like one of those 70s felt banner creations that are still hanging around in so many parishes."

This, in a nutshell, is the problem: the Anglican Church is still stuck in the 1970's. Virtually nothing about it has changed since then. Clowns, guitars, Kumbayas, happy-clappy hymns, bongo drums, liturgical dancers, banners with doves on them, banners with Peace on them, tacky homespun-looking vestments, feel-good theology, political activism, priests and theologians who never left their hippie days behind. The Anglican Church in North America is totally groovy, man!

Sitting through a "modern" Anglican service is like visiting the Land That Time Forgot. That would be OK, if it were a time of historic significance for the church, like Rome or the high Middle Ages. But the era that it's stuck in is the goofiest ever to grip the Earth. No wonder there are so many greying heads, and so few young ones. Who wants to relive a previous generation's nostalgia?

5:26 pm  
Blogger Hiram said...

I read the comments on Father Jake's blog -- positively drippy with sentiment for how lovely and exciting everything was. In their view, everything was utterly perfect, and they raved over Bp Schori's vestments.

I have looked at the pictures and read the sermon. No surprises -- perfectly up-to-date heresies. I am no fan of chausubles, but I do wish those who used them did not try to make them BIG artistic statements -- the focus of worship is, after all, someone else than the celebrant.

10:27 am  

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