I find it particularly maddening to watch the church that I love being torn apart over the personal agendas of people like Gene Robinson. I apologize in advance for giving in to the fact that I grow ever more tired of the Robinson circus and the sideshows that accompany his travels, but I have to get this off my chest so that I can, later, go back to more moderate, and positive, commentary. I find it particularly irritating that +Robinson repeatedly makes public comments that he does not want attention for himself, that his desire is to be a “simple country bishop” and to carry a message that God has spoken to him - a message of love, mercy and social justice (most notably the justice of social acceptance [translate as legitimization] and equality for gays, lesbians and transgender persons), while his actions demonstrate precisely the opposite.
Putting any possible merit to the idea of acceptance and equality for gays, lesbians and transgender persons aside, the shear hypocrisy of +Robinson’s claims that his public actions are not about himself is mind boggling to me. Take as an example the following:
Today we read a report that as the bishops at Lambeth prepare to begin the post-retreat phase of the conference, that each of the provincial delegations are going to have a separate meeting before breaking up into the much publicized small gatherings - - “Indaba” meetings. Mind you that these are meetings for delegates (which he is not!), yet from his special blog about his journey at Lambeth (“Canterbury Tales from the Fringe”), + Robinson is bemoaning the fact that he is being excluded from a meeting of “his own” House of Bishops (note “his” again). Bishop Robinson writes, in part [bracketed language is my editorial insertion]:
“The most infuriating blow [to me] came this morning with news that when the Episcopal Church's House of Bishops meets on Tuesday afternoon (each of the 38 "national" provinces of the Communion will have its own gathering), I will not be allowed to participate, because this would look like I had become a "participant," and the organizers seem intent on enforcing my status as a non-invitee. If nothing can be done to change this decision, it will be a particularly painful blow [to me]. At our House of Bishops meeting in March, I pleaded with the House not to let Lambeth separate us. For me to be excluded from my own House of Bishops seems especially cruel and unnecessary [to me].
So please, pray for me. Pray that God will reveal to me what I am to do and how I am to do it, best reflecting God's love and spirit of reconciliation. Pray that when given an opportunity to speak to one or to many, God might replace my words with His words, my heart with His heart. In the end, I keep reminding myself, I'm going to heaven”. [by "my" count, that's 17 references to himself]
Give me a break and enough of this dribble! Bishop Robinson it is time for you to be told and told again and again, and for you to have ears and hear: IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU!! The Anglican Communion is in serious trouble. The Episcopal Church is in worse trouble. And, both the Anglican Communion and The Episcopal Church have a much larger agenda and mission than to allow themselves to become paralyzed by an obsession with the fact that Gene Robinson, or for that matter gay, lesbian and transgender persons as a group feel marginalized. The mission of our church, of the entire universal church of God, is to go out into the world and make disciples and to bring people to God through the gospel of his son, our Lord and our Savior, Jesus, the Christ. The result of that mission will include ministry to all of God’s marginalized, and regardless of the reason for their being marginalized.
Make no mistake about it if, in the fullness of time (and of course I refer to God’s time and not our human agenda(s)), the universal church comes to the collective understanding that our collective interpretation of Scripture on human sexuality has been in error, God will bring us to that understanding. Suffice it to say that “we ain’t there yet” and, for this child of God at least, the antics of +Robinson and those who have made him their poster boy are not advancing the argument that the universal church should be engaged in a collective discernment as to the correctness of our understanding of Holy Scripture’s teachings concerning either human sexuality or Holy Matrimony.
Bishop Robinson, you have asked that we pray that God will reveal to you what you are to do and how you are to do it. You have those prayers, sir, but I also pray that you will have ears to hear and that perhaps, just perhaps, that you might listen as God softly tells you to practice what you preach, to be what you claim that you want to be - - not the bishop for gay and lesbian and transgender persons, but just the “simple country bishop” from New Hampshire. Your flock back home no doubt needs you.
To any who may be offended by the thoughts expressed in this post, I apologize in advance. As a conservative, Anglo-catholic Christian, Anglican and Episcopalian, and one that tries daily to practice tolerance, understanding, patience and forgiveness (and who often calls for moderation in my postings and personal conversations with the folks in my parish and diocese), I simply have to say that trying to live within what the Episcopal Church has become causes me to feel marginalized and, frankly, unwelcome. So, as one marginalized person to another, know that I feel that pain that comes from one’s perception of being marginalized, and I pray that God will through his grace, grant to each of us peace, and perhaps one day, a common understanding. Until then, sinners we are together on our continuing journey to the Cross.
God’s peace, love and grace to all.