Saturday, July 26, 2008

"The Issue" Himself

This is Gene Robinson, the Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire, and the first openly (and honestly) gay man to be elected and consecrated a bishop (there have been legions of gay men in miters for centuries, including scores who've sat on the Throne of St. Peter; none of them were open or honest about it). He is the one at the heart of all the ruckus in the Anglican Communion. The Lambeth Conference, the gathering of all the Anglican bishops that takes place every 10 years at Canterbury and London is going on now, and Bishop Robinson was the only legitimately elected bishop to be pointedly told not to come. He is there as a kind of shadow presence. He is scrupulously obeying the prohibitions against preaching and celebrating the Eucharist placed on him by the Archbishop of Canterbury. He has made no attempt to crash the bishops' conference and has no plans to do so.

He is keeping a blog of his experiences on the edges of the Lambeth Conference, and it's very much worth reading. While he continues to be treated very shabbily by Lambeth officialdom (sometimes astonishingly so), he is enjoying a very warm welcome and great hospitality by others on the periphery of the Conference such as a small Franciscan monastery at Canterbury whose monks have treated him with great kindness, by young "stewards" and interns employed at the Conference, and in London by groups involved with the care of AIDS sufferers. Bishop Robinson is a man of great patience and generosity, far more than I would have if I were in his situation. He is also a fine writer.

Most of my readers (all 5 of you out there) are Episcopalian/Anglican Christians like myself.  But just in case there may be others who read this who are neither Episcopalian nor Christian, welcome; I'm delighted you're here and hope there is enough of interest to you to keep you coming back. I don't intend this to be a religious blog site or another blog fighting the Anglican Civil War.  There are many others like Fr. Mark Harris and Madpriest who are far more qualified and ready for that struggle than I am.  However, as an Episcopalian, and a gay Christian, I have a lot at stake in this fight, and I do follow it with interest. 
You might be interested to know that not all Christians are right-wingers; either fat jowelly guys who look like lawyers/salesmen goading megachurch mobs into frenzies with apocalyptic hysteria, or scary-looking old priests concealing criminal rapsheets under their Extremely Clear and Strict catechisms. There is (and always was) a Christian Left fighting hard and suffering a lot to reclaim the Gospel from right-wing supremacist agendas.
Gene Robinson is our advance guard and our canary in the coal mine, almost against his will.

This blog will continue to be about what's going through my muddled mind these days, and not necessarily  about church politics. But inevitably, I will have the occasional thing to say about these struggles.


it's margaret said...

me thinks there are more than 5 visitors here!

I thank God for the witness of +Gene.

I thank God for your witness in your art and presentations on this blog.

me thinks the witness in the church is going to get alot uglier before it gets better. But some of us are here for the long haul....

many blessings.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Margaret.

Counterlight said...

Thanks Guys.

June Butler said...

I see that we all agree that your readers number more than five. I write about whatever pops into my head, too - well, not quite everything that pops into my head.

Gene Robinson has more love in his heart and patience than I do.