Blog Template Theology of the Body: Bishop Gene: "the quick, obviously premeditated, and patently cruel acts of the Right"

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Bishop Gene: "the quick, obviously premeditated, and patently cruel acts of the Right"

... On "being kind to ourselves' in these days. On the one hand, bless his good heart. On the other, ugggh.

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

From V. Gene Robinson, Bishop in the Church of God
in a blessed
place called New Hampshire:

Many of you have been writing to me, in the
aftermath of General
Convention, to ask what I am thinking, now that the
Convention has
called upon the Church to deny consent to the
consecration of partnered
people as bishops. Frankly, like all of you, my
thinking is all over the
map. But here is where I am, only a few days later.

First, let's give ourselves some time to recover.
In the first
few moments of having the breath knocked out of us,
we struggle just to
breathe, unable to think about much of anything
other than getting some
oxygen back into our lungs.

We have been dealt a blow that has knocked the wind
out of us.
Let's be kind to ourselves, breathe a little, before
we try to move on.
Nothing has to be decided or done in the next few
hours or days. Let's
catch our breath, remembering that breath is a
powerful image of the
Holy Spirit in the Old and New Testaments.

Let's allow ourselves to be re-infused with that
Holy Spirit
which has never abandoned us, no matter what the
Church does or doesn't
do. Let's remember what DID happen at the General

Faithful gay and lesbian Episcopalians showed up
and witnessed
to the power of Almighty God working in and through
their lives. You
would have been SO PROUD of Integrity, Claiming the
Blessing, the
Episcopal Women's Caucus, The Witness, and countless
other groups
speaking on our behalf. Susan Russell, Michael
Hopkins, Carol Cole
Flanagan, Elizabeth Kaeton, Bonnie Perry and others
too numerous to
mention put their hearts, souls and every waking
moment into
representing ALL of us so very well and so

We owe them such a great debt. Faithful gay and
Episcopalians were EVERYWHERE, witnessing to God's
saving grace in their
lives - being so joyful and filled with God's
Spirit, there was no
denying God's love in their lives.

We gathered at Trinity Church to celebrate the
eucharist as the
people of God. Not only were the nave and balconies
filled, but the
basement and sacristy as well, with gay and straight
alike proclaiming
God's love for ALL of God's children. It was a
glimpse of heaven, and of
the Church as it ought to be. Let's not forget that
we have been given a
foretaste of the heavenly banquet where the
marginalized are given an
honored seat at the table.

The Episcopal Church declared its opposition to any
constitutional amendment - federal or state - which
would short circuit
gay and lesbian couples seeking the civil right of
having their
relationships legally acknowledged.

On Sunday, we elected a Presiding Bishop who is
committed to the
full inclusion of gay and lesbian people into the
life and work and
leadership of this Church. The Spirit was palpable,
once again in
Trinity Church, as the election balloting unfolded
before our very eyes,
pushing forward to the election of the first woman
as Primate and
Presiding Bishop.

If indeed, as I have often said, this fight is
really about the
end of patriarchy, then that patriarchy was dealt an
awesome blow in
+Katharine's election. When the primates next meet,
it will be a new
day, and at the table will be a representative of
the world's majority -
women - incarnate in our primate. Thanks be to God
for that! You go,

To our joy, the House of Deputies refused to give
in to threats
from within and without our Church, and decisively
rejected the call to
withhold consent from partnered people elected to
the Episcopate. We
thought that was the end of it. But alas, it was

+Frank Griswold - who, let us remember, has been a
reluctant, but ever faithful champion for us, and
who has paid a great
price for presiding at my consecration - brought
back the "moratorium"
resolution in a heavy-handed and inappropriate way
(in my humble
opinion). He seemed absolutely intent on getting
this resolution through
as a way of getting us all to the Lambeth table.

I don't know whether or not our Presiding
Bishop-elect was
coerced or merely persuaded to join in this appeal,
but it is clear to
me that her support for such an action provided the
push needed to
convince the Deputies to adopt a resolution more
prohibitive than the
one they had rejected the day before.

Gay and lesbian deputies, many in tears, not to
mention our
straight allies, rose to the microphones to pledge
their support of our
new primate as she goes off to represent us in
unfriendly places, to
"give her what she needs" to continue the

The scene of gay and lesbian deputies, willing to
fall on their
own swords for the presumed good of the Church,
voting for this
resolution against their own self-interest was an
act of self-sacrifice
that I won't soon forget. Keeping us in conversation
with the Anglican
Communion was the goal - for which the price was
declaring gay and
lesbian people unfit material for the episcopate.
Only time will tell
whether or not even that was accomplished.

Within minutes - yes, MINUTES - the conservatives
both within
our Church and in Africa declared our sacrificial
action woefully
inadequate. It felt like a kick in the teeth to the
ones who had gotten
down on their knees to submit to the will of the
whole, even though the
price of doing so was excruciating.

Such a quick, obviously premeditated and patently
cruel reaction
from the Right can be seen only as the violent and
unchristian act it
was. So what now? It is too soon to strategize, too
soon to know what it
all means. But here are a few things I DO know:

The Spirit IS working in the Church. We cannot
claim that the
Spirit is working in the Church only when we get our
way. We must
continue to believe that that Spirit is working even
when the Church
takes an action which hurts us, when it seems to
take us in the wrong

We are in this struggle for the long haul, and so
is the Spirit.
We cannot fathom at the moment how this turn of
events serves justice.
But God will not be mocked, and God will be our
salvation. Let's not
forget that. We are STILL loved beyond our wildest
imagining. That was
true the day before Convention; it is still true.

This vote does not change that. Just because the
Church lost its
courage, just because the Church was willing to
sacrifice US for access
to a conversation with Anglicans around the world
(which they hardly
seem ready to engage in themselves), it does NOT
mean that God has
changed. If you listen carefully, God is STILL
saying to God's lgbt
children, "You are my beloved. In you I am well

This vote may say a lot about the Episcopal Church,
but it says
NOTHING about you and me as gay and lesbian children
of God. Blessed
Martin Luther King once said, "Pontius Pilate's sin
was not that he
didn't KNOW what was right, but that he lacked the
courage to STAND UP
for right." Pray for the Church.

We are in this for the long haul. OF COURSE there
are going to
be bumps along the road, perhaps a few places where
the road has washed
out completely. The journey toward justice is
neither a straight line
nor easy.

Just ask our brothers and sisters who are people of
color, and
still experiencing the pain of racism. Just ask our
sisters who still
pay the price of sexism and misogyny, both inside
and outside the
Church. We follow a savior who dealt with plenty of
setbacks and
disappointments - not to mention being "done in" by
his friends. We are
in good company here. But we won't last for the long
haul without Jesus!
Let's keep saying our prayers and listening to the
One who knows and
shares our burden.

We'll be watching.

Now that the Anglican Communion and the majority of
have gotten what they asked for, let's see if
anything changes. Will the
rest of the Communion finally be willing to engage
in the listening
process promised for the last 30 years? Will
anything be done in the
domestic dioceses of this Church to move us along,
or will this only be
seen as a "blessed" respite from this debate?

Will the Network dioceses and parishes give up
their blatant
drive to split this church apart and join us in our
efforts to be
reconciled, or will they only cry "not enough" and
demand more? We'll be
watching - and we'll want the "middle" to give us an
accounting of what
this Convention vote got them. And we'll be asking,
"Was it worth
declaring us less than children of God, marked as
Christ's own forever?"

We are not defeated, for God is still with us.
Let's remember
that at its best, the Church has pushed the "pause"
button, not the
"stop" or "reverse"buttons.

If we continue to make our witness, and if those
for whom this
sacrifice was made continue to threaten and make
one-sided demands, the
Episcopal Church will see its mistake and find its
prophetic voice
again. Maybe it will even repent of the harm done to
us in this
faithless and fearful act. Time will tell.

In the meantime, we are not defeated, nor will we
be paralyzed
by this sad and woeful action. Dwelling on what
happened and why will
not serve us or the Church well. We need to turn
away from yesterday and
focus on tomorrow. We know how all this is going to

It is not arrogant to say that we believe we know
how all this
is going to turn out. It will end with the full
inclusion of lesbian,
gay, bisexual and transgendered people in the life
and ministry and
leadership of the Church. It will take a long time.

Some or all of us may not live to see it. But
happen it will! In
a strange way, I think the conservatives know it
too. All we're arguing
about now is timing. It will be enough for each of
us to play her/his
own part. Each of us can provide a pair of shoulders
for someone else to
stand on, just as surely as we stand on the
shoulders of those who have
gone before us.

This is a never-ending march toward justice for
is going to be left behind. In the end, the reign of
God will come. And
oh what a privilege it is for each of us to play a
small part.

We are worthy of God's love - NOT because of
anything we have
done, but because God has MADE us worthy to stand
before God through the
life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As I
said at Convention,
the Gay Agenda is JESUS! If we keep that ever before
us, in the end all
will be well.

I love, respect, appreciate and honor each of you
more than you
could ever know. Please keep me in your prayers, as
you will be in mine.
And to God be the glory!