Bullhead City, AZ - Emotions were high again on Tuesday amongst members of the Anglican Church at large. The reactions from both conservatives and liberals within the troubled fellowship were prompted by the suggestion by Katharine Jefferts Schori, the current presiding Bishop of the United Episcopal Church in America, that the church merge with Buddhism. The statement comes in the midst of controversy among Anglicans worldwide as to whether fellowship with the American branch of Anglicanism should be severed due to pervading liberal trends.
"The similarities between our two religions are striking" said Schori to a congregation during a special service in Bullhead City held in honor of her visit. "I have heard the Dali Lama preach a number of times. I read the words of Confucius, and they strike my soul. Buddhism teaches peace with all life, as does the Episcopal Church. Buddhism teaches respect for all things, as do we. Buddhism teaches love, tolerance and patience, and so do we. In all, I believe it would befit us to explore an avenue of bringing our two religions together into one."
Reactions were strong from both sides of the church.
"This is exactly where Christianity needs to be heading, to Buddhism" stated former Bishop of Newark John Shelby Spong. "In order for Christianity to survive we have to do away with it completely and become Buddhists. All of this Jesus stuff has got to stop."
"Now we understand why more and more faithful believers are seeking to break with the the UEC in America" stated Rev. Roy Lainer, the rector of Trinity Church in Birmingham, Alabama. "There's nothing remotely Christian about the denomination anymore."
While the suggestion caused division amongst an already divided denomination, reactions were heightened with the suggestion to merge was criticized by the Dali Lama himself.
TBNN was able to reach the Dali Lama for an exclusive phone interview concerning the matter. TBNN's own Brother Slawson personally conducted the interview due to his fluency in the Lama's particular Mongolian dialect.
Brother Slawson: "Mr. Lama, or do you prefer to be called Dali or Dali Lama?"
Dali Lama: "My friends call me Georgie, but Mr. Lama will be fine."
Brother Slawson: "Fine, Mr. Lama, what is your response to Bishop Schori's suggestion that the United Episcopal Church merge with Buddhism?"
Mr. Lama: "Spices are fine things. One puts salt on rice and it will not be bland. One may put curry and it will become more flavorful. But too many spices will make the rice inedible."
Brother Slawson: "Um, I see, so let me ask that another way. How do you feel about Bishop Schori's suggestion that Episcopals in America and Buddhists become one."
Mr. Lama: "The flavor of the apple is good. It's sweetness makes one smile. The flavor of the onion is good. But it's sweetness makes one cry. Man must both smile and cry over sweet things, but he cannot do so at the same time."
Brother Slawson: "Ummm...okay. Whose your pick to win the world series?"
Mr. Lama: "Cubs baby. Woo hoo!"
Brother Slawson: "Thank you Mr. Lama."
TBNN attempted to reach Schori for an interview but she was "unavailable" for questions. TBNN will continue to monitor the situation.