Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Who's who in the beliefnet UU debate Round Robin?

This whole post refers to the B-Net Round Robin.

Ever read a web comic like Sluggy? If so, the structure of the UU debate round robin story will be obvious enough. CC initially tried to give the RR a plot, but people kept killing them, so she has now resigned herself to a verbal web comic, where people write their own short stories and story arcs, but there isn't an all-encompassing story arc. And of course, like many unplanned things, it seems to work beautifully.

The story proceeds roughly in real time, though the inauguartion day episode was posted the day after the inauguration so we're not fundamentalists about it.

Though not that many people do write for it, everyone is welcome to. Please do try to keep everything in character and roughly realistic. Writing around people who have made the characters say and do strange things has thus far been possible, but it's kind of a bitch and I think I can safely speak for most of the regular writers when I say that I'd rather work on my own stories than mend someone else's plot holes.

Characters

This stuff is cannon. Please don't violate it unless you have a
reason for doing so, and if you do have a reason try to explain it
quickly.

In order of speaking

Craig: A new UU. He's from an unspecified place "down South" and is
attracted to both Laura and Rachel. He's young and was raised Christian. He's a good guy, happy to help with building projects and tolerant about being the butt of practical jokes. CC imagines him being a lot like Nick Stokes from CSI.

Peggy: A feisty old lady, Peggy is the first member of the church Craig meets. She's a humanist and is never shy about making her opinions known. She grows tomatoes and is not immune to the charms of handsome men.

Laura Blythewood: A beautiful, but troubled girl from another part of "Down South" She's a redhead and her accent makes Craig think of home. She's a skilled piano player and an all-around charming human being. He major flaw is that she has a hero-worship-type complex toward the Reverend Blythewood, who is her father. It's not straight-up Electral, it's just that her mother died when she was very young and as an adolescent, she watched a church fire her father nastily. Since then, she sees herself as her father's protector. She's not exactly mentally ill, but girlfriend has issues. Craig is attracted, but scared. So is Laura.

The Reverend Cornelius Blythewood: The church's senior minister is
ardent humanist and all around imposing human being. He's Laura's father and puts up with her protecting with as much dignity as he can. He is often buried in his books and has little patience for fools, so criticisms of his pastoral skills are probably to some degree justified, but he is at heart a deeply good human being. He's temperamental, but a lot of his anger comes from fear that the world is changing around him and he fears that soon there will be no place for him or the brave little congregation that he has nurtured. He remains as devoted to his dead wife as Laura is to him, but never speaks of it. He's committed to UUism as an institution and has been privately accused of being CC's alter-ego, which she took as a huge compliment.

Evans Cummington: Fresh out of Meadville-Lombard*, Evans is an impressionable, young Christian UU minister. He's a little wet behind-the-ears and given to big mistakes in the pulpit. (Like panicking that church is running over and not preaching a sermon.) He probably means well, but the other characters haven't been very nice to him and he's sort of bitter now. He's right that the The Rev doesn't treat him with the respect he deserves. His attempt to drive a wedge between Laura and Craig must have been simple mischeif-making as he reserves his affections for Rachel.

Pedro: A baseball player of some renown. His appearances are light
metafiction.

Wilhelmina Goshen: An old lady with a long memory, Wilhelmina remembers how UUism used to be and doesn't understand why it can't just go back. In her own church, she sees Evans as a vehicle for getting there. Peggy implies at one point that Wilhelmina knows everything about everyone. She is known for making long speeches about the Rev's insensitivity toward her in the face of her husband's infidelity. Church gossip debates whether Wilhelmina was wanting The Rev to comfort her in unpastoral ways, but it is just as likely that the Rev. told her she might better minimize infidelities by losing twenty pounds and making love to her husband more often, or something like that. The Rev does not take her at all seriously, which may be a mistake on his part. For awhile Evans was taking her seriously, but then one day he could see through her. So no one takes her seriously now, but I don't think there are enough people who respect her left for her to create real trouble. She does run the "focuys on spirituality group" that meets Wednesday nights to discuss flaky things.

Omar: A guy about Craig's age who is of Arab-American descent, Omar is a troublemaker given to practical joking. He runs a bakery near the church where the characters sometimes hang out. He sees himself as an American UU, but has had to put up so much crap about crazy Arabs and fundamentalist Muslims in his life that he makes fun of them in ways that would be really politically incorrect coming from anyone else and are only borderline coming from him. Although Allpoints introduced
him, CC writes for him thinking of a guy named Mohammed she went to high school with whom on the day of the Oklahoma City bombing watched the building go down on TV and declared "Fucking Arabs!"

Rachel Silverthorne: A lovely if somewhat wifty pagan woman who is in charge of RE at the church. She has strange views, but so far seems to be
universally liked. She has a son, Matthew, who has MS. Right now, at least, Craig doesn’t know what to make of her. Evans is in love with her, or at least in love with the woman he imagines her to be. She reminds the Reverend Blythewood of his dead wife so he finds her a little bit difficult to be around, but he never shows it.

Charles: Laura gave Craig a shock by throwing her arms around a handsome, young guy at one point, but it turns out he has a boyfriend.

Jorge: Charles' boyfriend.

Ed Worthington- Thus far the only member of the cast who is newer to the Church than Craig, Ed Worthington is a handsome older widower from
Arizona. Peggy seems interested, especially since he's revealed that he plans to join the church.

The Reverend Andrew "Drew" Thursday- A close friend of the Rev's from seminary and the only one allowed to call him "Neal," Drew is a committed UU himself but has become a fundamentalist minister of some sort as he felt the best way to help the people of his remote town in Appalachia was by giving them something to believe in. He now travels around the country with some of his congregants, picketing UU churches that perform gay marriages. The Rev disagrees with his position, but respects his friend for his intentions and what he has dome for these people. Drew is dying of cancer.

*Note on Meadville-Lombard. The RR story is a bit merciless toward Meadville-Lombard in places. This is purely irresponsible humor. The church in the story is somewhere in the northeast, so it makes sense that an intern there would likely have gone to Meadville-Lombard or Harvard. CC wrote this passage and her favorite UU minister went to Harvard. Out of respect for her, CC wrote Evans as coming from
Meadville-Lombard. As far as we know, nobody who writes for this story has ever been to Meadville-Lombard. Jokes on Meadville Lombard should probably be taken as jokes on clich├ęs of seminaries, seminarians and UUism in general.

** Note on Columbus. None of us have ever been to a UU fellowship in Columbus. We assume it is a nice place that would treat the Rev well if he were there. The guy who decided that was where the Rev used to be picked the location at random.

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