The Episcopal Café appears in a ranking of "nearly 100 of the most
influential blogs that contribute to an online discussion about
religion in the public sphere and the academy." (The proprietor of
Spiritual Politics, Mark Silk, wryly notes, "OK, you're asking, how
many non-influential such blogs are there? Now now, the number, no
doubt, is legion." )
The report by the Social Science Research Council
is intended to "spark discussion among religion bloggers that will take
their work further, while also inviting new voices from outside
existing networks to join in and take part."
What is the significance of blogs like the Cafe? The report says:
In old-guard organizations like the Catholic Church and mainline
Protestant denominations, blogging has created space for discourse that
leans against prevailing trends. At sites like Progressive Revival,
Episcopal Cafe, and the Christian Century’s Theolog, mainliners
maintain a rich public conversation about the present and future of
their communities. They do so, meanwhile, often outside the auspices of
traditional ecclesial bodies (whose populations are in a state of
decline), possibly pointing toward a shift in the locus of intellectual
The Diocese of Bethlehem has two connections with The Episcopal Cafe. The first is that one of the
people who cooked up the idea of an internet magazine for and about the
Episcopal Church was Fr. Nick Knisely, who was rector of Trinity in
Bethlehem and is now dean of Trinity Cathedral in Phoenix. It was Nick
who came to me and asked to me a contributor and part of the news team when my own blog is one of the "legion" of less influential religion blogs out there. Come to think of it, we should count a third connection: Jim Naughton, until recently the Canon for Communications in the Diocese of Washington and circus master and lion tamer of this diverse group grew up in Scranton.
The Rev. Emily Bloemker thought she was going to Christ Church Cathedral in St. Louis to talk about their dioceses partnership with the diocese of Lui in the Episcopal Church of the Sudan. Surprise! Instead of leading an adult forum, she ended up being the subject of her favorite television show, TLC's "What Not to Wear."
Emily is a smart, passionate, joyful, no-B$ priest. As I hear it, she is a fan of theWhat Not To Wearshow and expressed a wish they could do a wardrobe make-over for her. Apparently, some of her friends contacted the show. And the show decided to take her on.
Then Mike Kinman invited Emily to deliver a presentation on Sudan early this year atChrist Church Cathedral. Except it wasn’t really a Sudan session. It was a set-up … into which the What Not to Wear Duo sprang. My St. Louis friends tell me it was a very pleasant evening. Apparently, Mike had warned the crew that they were filming in a church, and a certain decorum must be obeyed. From all I have heard, it was a delightful evening with much good-natured banter between the show’s crew and the gathered Episcopalians.
The promo reads: "Emily is your typical single girl with one divine difference... she's an Episcopal priest. She may have been called by a higher power but her friends and family called Stacy and Clinton. Can Emily find a feminine style that balances her youthful energy?"
The episode will be broadcast on TLC at Friday, February 5th at 9 pm.