XXXX et al., No big deal that I disagree with you; it's just a tv show, regardless of whether it bombs or takes hold. I found it entertaining. I laughed uproariously at several points, such as the dinner table scene when all are trying to protect Daniel's father, the bishop, from learning that his grandson is gay. I nearly wept at others, such as when the bishop's wife with Alzheimer's smacks her husband and tells him that she used to be married to a bishop and this stranger should not lay a hand on her. I was touched when Daniel tells the dying parishioner that it's okay to let go. I empathized with him as he tried to counsel the couple planning to marry and they misread his counsel, or rather, made it their own in ways that he would not have encouraged. I liked Daniel immensely because of his success as a person, not because he is some kind of model saint. He genuinely relates to everyone around him. He has his own problems. He doesn't please his father or his bishop -- and for reasons that I respect. He does hear his daughter's real need. He loves his Asian son and does his best to nudge him past his current adolescent compulsions without becoming a super moralist. He empathized with his daughter who has sold drugs illegally when he learned that she did so to support her talent as a cartoonist. Together she and he are able to confirm that this was a stupid move on her part. Small wonder that in her cartoons she later portrays him Superpriest. It is only in cartoons that he is that he is Superpriest. I find him much better as an imagined and flawed human being. He seems quite special. He and his wife make love joyously, for heaven's sake! Most lay people think clergy do it with their eyes closed and only when they need to make a baby. I remember being terribly uncomfortable the first time that I saw the "Les Cage aux Faux," at a special viewing after midnight in Minneapolis. At any funny line I squirmed wondering what on earth the straight folks seeing it would think about lesbians and gays based on this movie. An hour into it I gave up squirming as a lost cause, and let myself thoroughly enjoy the movie. I remember a Gay Pride Parade in Chicago about 1975 or so. Integrity/Chicago decided that it would not be party to licentious display and would counterstate it by showing a dignified way of being gay. In the bed of someone's ancient pickup truck, four young men dressed in choir robes with Elizabethan collars sang Anglican plainsong, while an accompanist worked the bellows of an instrument much older than the truck. The truck's radiator leaked, and about every two blocks we had to refill it with water. On one such stop, we were scandalized when a transvestite in a lewd dress jumped on the truck with the singers and pulled out one of her silicone wonders. A few blocks later, "a good time was had by all." Most of the priests I know are real people with complex relations to those around them and to their own sin. The Book of Daniel treats one such priest with respect. It clearly does not set out to be propaganda for the Episcopal Church. As one person pointed out, it does not even get our vestments right. T. S. Eliot said, "Humankind can't stand too much reality." Most are even less disposed to take reality about priests. The Book of Daniel shows us Daniel, if not his bishop or his father, as more able to deal with reality than much of our competition. I think that is a good point to make that such priests can survive in the Episcopal Church -- at least I hope they can. L. Louie Crew Chair of the Newark Deputation. Member of Executive Council.
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