Sunday, November 07, 2010

Responses to +Gene Robinson's retirement announcement

Love this comment on yesterday's post about +Gene's retirement announcement:
+Gene is an amazing man. If aliens landed their spaceship in my yard and demanded that I show them a Christian, I would without hesitation take them to New Hampshire and introduce them to him.

Yep. Yep. Yep!!!

Here's some of the press follow up:

Riazat Butt in The Guardian:Gene Robinson goes but rift remains
The Reverend Susan Russell, former president of Integrity USA, which works for inclusion of gays and lesbians in the life of the church, called his retirement "the beginning of the end of an era".

She told the Guardian: "We're moving towards a time when electing a gay bishop will be increasingly normative. We have just elected a lesbian dean at San Francisco's Grace Cathedral. While much of the rest of the communion struggles with issues around women, gay clergy and the covenant, we are moving forward.

"Jesus said to 'take up the cross and follow me'. He never said it would be easy. We are paying the price for being prophetic."
The Boston Globe: Episcopalians react with sadness
The last seven years "have been a great gift for all of us," said the Rev. Robin Thomas Soller, rector at Trinity Episcopal Church in Meredith, N.H., and a member of the search committee that selected Robinson. "In some ways I think it's been more of a challenge for the rest of the world, because they haven't had the opportunity to meet Gene Robinson . . . to see how genuine he is, to see his love for God and the people here."
Giles Fraser, also in The Guardian: Churchgoers are inspired by Gene Robinson
There is no doubt in my mind that Robinson has been a prophet in the Anglican communion, recalling the church to its best instincts of inclusion and commitment to those who are excluded and marginalised. In Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, rich nor poor, black nor white, gay nor straight. Some day this will be as obvious to the church as the fact that slavery is evil. But the forces of reaction remain strong and are getting stronger.
Fraser goes on to offer quite a stunning indictment of the ill-conceived Anglican Covenant proposal, ending on this great note:
The Church of England – and by that I mean the ordinary man and woman in the pew – is considerably more progressive, on women bishops and gay marriage, than its conservative and often overly fearful leadership. Churchgoers know that the time for change is overdue. And many have come to see this because of the inspiring and compassionate faith of people like Robinson.

For too long Christianity has lent the bigotry of homophobia a cloak of respectability. Robinson is, of course, quite right to shout loudly about those "tragic stories of teenagers who have taken their own lives because religion tells them they are an abomination before God, and who believe their lives are doomed to despair and unhappiness". These days the alibi for this sort of prejudice is called unity – that we mustn't do anything that might upset our conservative brothers and sisters. Indeed, had the covenant existed in the era of the prophets of the Hebrew scriptures, it would have provided a perfect way of muzzling them too
Not much to add to that other than Amen. Amen. AMEN!


LGMarshall said...

I wish GR & his husband well in their retirement and while his ordination was the reason we left TEC, [because it became uncertain what other Bible teachings TEC was going to throw out and we couldn't wait around to find out] we as 'literal'-Bible believing Christians hold nothing against him.

But a prophet? No. God said there will be no more prophets until Christ comes again.

G. Fraser of The Guardian says... "Church goers know that the time for change is overdue..."

Well, I see the 'changes', but I don't see the church goers. In fact members have fled, and churches have closed, and there is scarcely a trickle of new members coming in.

It brings to mind the recent elections.... you push, & push, & force, against the will of the people, and then even with the proverbial hammer to the head,remain oblivious.

I think GR may even be asking himself, ...'Why such a strident march to oblivion?'


You are, of course, entitled to your experience and opinion.

Not entitled to attribute your experience and opinions to others ... including the Bishop of New Hampshire -- who, I can assure you, is as clear about the power of his call to the epsicopate and his commitment to the good people of New Hampshire as he was the day he was elected.

uffda51 said...

MLK, Jr. wasn't a prophet? Desmond Tutu wasn't a prophet?

Martin T. said...

uffda51, you dare compare MLK Jr to Robinson? Someone who should have never even been consecrated a bishop? Are you guys just THAT oblivious to the damage this man has done? Tell me, was it worth it? Can't say I'm sad to see him go. His consecration brought our beloved Communion to its knees, and not in thanksgiving either. He should have had enough integrity to bow out a long time ago. You want to turn this church into something like the RCC is turning into, a "smaller and purer church". As the months go on, more and more members and their funds that make parishes run are leaving with them. Pretty soon we'll be begging to be in communion with the Unitarians and the MCC just to stay afloat. Fade away Robinson, please fade away.

uffda51 said...

Actually, Martin T., I was questioning LGMarshall's statement that there would be no more prophets until Christ comes again.

But now that you mention it, yes, I would compare Bishop Robinson to MLK, for the reasons mentioned in the original post.

I don't understand the anger at the loss of communion, while at the same time wishing for the perpetuation of the historic injustice against LGBT clergy.

Martin T. said...

An I don't understand how you can compare apples and train wreaks but maybe it's just me. Historic injustice my foot, the only injustice was him receiving threats on his life, however he had to have known that he would not be well received and that he would tear us apart. I never seen someone with such an ego. He had no business even being a priest, let alone a bishop.

Jim said...

I absolutely think he is a prophet. And I do not think there is any doubt MLKjr was, and that there have been others. God is not done with us -- in fact that well be the ultimate reason to affirm that God loves us.

I am glad you liked my comment. ;-)



TIME OUT! Everybody take a deep breath ... revisit the "Comment about Comments" on the right nav of this blog ... and then let's have a civilized conversation.

(And Martin T, the only reason I'm letting your last comment stand is as an example of what is NOT acceptable.)

LGMarshall said...

Bishop Robinson has expressed many times, his personal doubts about his choices, his role in the church, his faith, his position as a gay leader in the church, every step of the way... go back and read his statements over the years.

Even recently he says....'not really sure about the position 'you who elected me' put me in...

And yes, I bet if you ask him today, he'd express the same...sentiments.."I'm not really sure if what I did was the right thing..."

Prophet means someone who God speaks through, and 100% of their prophesies come TRUE.


Rabbi Abraham Heschel "The prophet is called to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable." (from his book, The Prophets)

It's a mistake to confuse prophet and fortune teller.

MarkBrunson said...

Why engage - at any level - with people like Martin T. and LGMarshall who seek only to harm, destroy, and control?

They aren't worth your time!

Trust me. Priest or layperson, no one owes people like them anything.

IT said...

Bishop Robinson is the founding reason that my wife a left the RCC to be received into the Episcopal church.

Bishop Robinson is THE reason that at least two young (straight) families we met in the congregation that I can think of just in this instant, joined the Episcopal church and plan to raise their children there.

Bishop Robinson and what he stands for is why the church we attend is growing (not shrinking) and vibrant in its life.

The sad tired complaints from LGM and MT are probably not much different from past complaints about minority people, or women priests or bishops.


Mark ... I totally hear you and ...

I think we do owe each other the willingness to hear across differences and I try to make this a place where alternative perspectives are respected.

AND ...

There are limits. There are folks who drop by just to throw some kerosene around in hopes of fueling the fires.

Sometimes I think it's helpful for us to be reminded of the "arguments" being advanced by those with whom we disagree if only so we can practice honing our responses to stay in alignment with those pesky baptismal promises we made.

And sometimes it's helpful to have the "delete" button to push! :)

Jim said...

This discussion may well be going nowhere, but with our host's permission a few words of prophets and prophecy.

The word prophet means to "speak for" not to "fore tell." It is a category error to say that a "prophecy must come true" As there is no particular reason a prophet must predict anything at all. Many did not.

To prophecy is not to for tell but to speak God's word. To be a prophet is to be one who seeks to let God use her or him and to cooperate with God's will. When the church has fallen into error (cf. slavery, misogyny or avarice) it can be argued that growing the church's membership may be contra-indicated.

Prophets are often confrontational, seldom comfort the establishment and often are adjudged heretics. Prophets may explain history, but they do not generally predict it.


Martin T. said...

You can delete words of men but you can't delete the Word of God, however. Try as you might.

MarkBrunson said...

Really, Martin!

What do you have to do with the Word of God?!

Hi - larious.

MarkBrunson said...

But, Susan, surely you realize that not all viewpoints deserve respect? Indeed, by giving some anything other than contempt, you give the illusion that they have anything other than harm to promote, thus allowing them to harm even more!

Tolerance and love were laid upon us as duties by the Word, but so was discernment. These are not good people with a different view - they seek to willfully do harm.

Martin T. said...

Mark, anything that someone says against your agenda would be "harmful". Anyone that isn't towing the line is "harmful". Why don't you just be honest for a moment and admit it.

MarkBrunson said...

I did. And it is harmful.

You are talking nonsense: it's like objecting because the Surgeon General's "agenda" says smoking is harmful.

Why can't you people take responsibility for the violence, hate and death you cause, rather than this nonsensical, infantile whining, whining, whining about being oppressed by some imagined "agenda," which is only the agenda of Christ? Why must you constantly try to lie to us, and successfully lie to yourselves that you are doing God's work?

Martin T. said...

And Mark, if you and others want to keep wearing blinders on to pretend that everything is ok and this is what the "Holy Spirit" is revealing right now, that's fine too. We're the enemy, scripture is the enemy, etc. Pretty soon there won't be much of a Church left because of all that's happened. But I'm pretty sure Robinson knows deep down that he pretty much stuck a serious blow in our church and the whole communion as well. Of course he'll say otherwise, but we all know the truth.