Sunday, November 26, 2006

John Kirkley: Defending +Gene Robinson Again!

From John Kirkley's meditatio

Douglas Page’s editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle, A congregation divided,” is a toxic mix of ignorance and invective. Mr. Page misunderstands the role of the Lambeth Conference of Bishops, whose pronouncements are commendatory and occasionally edifying, serving to deepen conversation and communion among bishops of the Anglican Communion. It does not exercise a binding teaching authority nor does it define church doctrine.

The Episcopal Church, which is an autonomous member church of the Anglican Communion, has included sexual orientation in its non-discrimination canon governing access to church offices. It largely has left decision making regarding the qualifications of candidates for ordination as bishops, priests, and deacons to local dioceses. Most Episcopalians are quite convinced that gay and lesbian clergy make their vows with utter sincerity and in keeping with a faithful, though not always literal, interpretation of Holy Scripture.

Bishop Robinson was elected bishop of New Hampshire by the people of his diocese, who came to know, respect, and love him through his more than twenty years of service with them as a priest. I doubt the good people of New Hampshire, overwhelming heterosexual in their orientation, considered themselves the pawns of a “homosexual agenda.” They elected a good priest to be a good bishop. They chose well.

Bishop Robinson did not refuse his election because it wasn’t his decision to make. It was the decision of the people of New Hampshire and of more than two-thirds of the bishops, clergy, and laity gathered in General Convention in 2003 who voted to confirm his election. Imagine if Jackie Robinson had refused his “elevation” to major league baseball because “now was not the time” to address racism. Bishop Robinson would have been a coward if he had refused to face the heterosexism that infects our church and society.

Bishop Robinson has taken up his cross. The Episcopal Church has taken up its cross. Our Church is now enduring the consequences of bearing with discrimination, disdain, and demonization in solidarity with queer people. The way of the cross is painful, confusing, even frightening at times. But I am confident that new life, Resurrection life, is being offered through the faithfulness and courage of all-too-human disciples of Jesus like Bishop Gene Robinson. Bless you Gene!

And bless you, John, for this thoughtful, well-reasoned response to yet another wave of reactionary blather passing for editiorial comment. Bless you for stepping up, once again, and setting the record straight rather than letting shoddy journalism continue to perpetuate half-truths and wishful thinking as point-in-fact.


Pfalz prophet said...

Thank you for posting John Kirkley's response. The letter by Mr. Page saddens me deeply. For those unfamiliar with the Diocese of Chicago, the parishes in the western suburbs nearest to Wheaton College tend to be very conservative and were the most upset by +Gene's election. Wheaton College teaches a literalist exegesis. I believe they permitted dances on campus only this decade. We overwhelmingly voted down the resolutions of anger and condemnation from our Episcopal brothers and sisters living in Wheaton's shadow in our 2003 and 2004 conventions.

Mr. Page claims incorrectly that evangelicals' interpretation of the Bible is too rigorous. I would choose a different adjective, probably 'narrow', perhaps 'uninformed', to describe their exegesis. Whatever, the real trouble I have with those who are angry about TEC ordaining gays and lesbians is that they claim their interpretation to be superior to all others, every interpretation but their own false and heretical. IOW, it's their own hubris that blinds them to where the Holy Spirit is leading TEC.

Blinded by pride and fear, Page is unable to discern that it is the evangelicals' own behavior, not +Gene's, that is dividing the church. I don't know how to coax them out of this attitude, can someone suggest a way?

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Pfzlz Prophet says, " . . it is the evangelical's own behavior - not Gene's - that is dividing the church."

Then, asking, I don't know how to coax them out of this attitude, can someone suggest a way?

Potential solution: Prozac administered liberally in the Communion Wine.

Pfalz prophet said...

Thank you, Elizabeth, I was actually thinking along the lines of medical marijuana to make us all more mellow, to enjoy the widely divergent musical styles, perhaps to add Doritos to the Eucharistic meal, LOL! We are getting a bit self-absorbed, are we not?