Sunday, August 03, 2008

What Hope is There?

In the Aftermath of the Lambeth Conference

You all know that Bishop Gene Robinson was in Canterbury through most of the Lambeth Conference.

By the bye, you all know this, but I can't help reiterating it. Conservative bloggers keep saying that +Gene "forced himself" on the Lambeth Conference. You will recall that Archbishop Rowan Williams, while refusing to invite him to participate in the Lambeth Conference, did invite +Gene to be in the "Marketplace" where he could talk with people and even have one interview with the BBC. Bishop Robinson declined to be a freak in the circus sideshow, but did make himself available to talk with anyone who wanted to talk – unlike most of the cocooned bishops in Canterbury. From all I can tell, Gene comported himself with dignity and charm. If you haven't already done so, read his blog, Canterbury Tales from the Fringe. I hear he may delete the blog soon after Lambeth. So read it now.

Several videos of and with Bishop Robinson were posted at The Gene Pool. Today, I am most touched by the interview titled, A Word of Hope for LGBT Episcopalians, posted on Wednesday, July 30. He makes the distinction that he is not optimistic, because optimism relies on human agency, but that he is hopeful in the theological sense (as hope is God's gift to us). Watch it, and draw some solace in these difficult days.

Bishop Gene continued to amaze me with his calm, sweet spirit. Me, I'm spitting nails at the outcome of the Lambeth Conference and at the shabby way he was excluded from the conference and even from meeting with the rest of TEC's bishops. But Gene "keeps the faith." I don't know how he does it. I am in awe.

While you're over at The Gene Pool, go ahead and watch several of the other videos. I especially commend this one, in which clergy and laypeople from New Hampshire talk about their bishop. Even an African priest in New Hampshire, who disagrees theologically, speaks of Gene's positive role as chief pastor of the diocese. Finally, if you have thirty minutes, watch the "Be Not Afraid" sermon Gene preached on July 13 at St. Mary's, Putney. (Yes, it's the infamous one in which the heckler tried to derail the service.) If this one doesn't make you want to rise up and speak for the Gospel of Christ, then you're an ice cube.

Even in my anger and frustration, I keep hearing Bishop Robinson's passionate and gentle voice saying: Be not afraid. Be hopeful. For our hope is in God.


Blogger Nathan Empsall said...

I certainly hope he doesn't delete it. I e-mailed him to ask that he continue it. At the very least, he should let it stand for the historical record. It was the best writing I saw during the Conference, and one of my all-time favorite blogs.

8/06/2008 7:47 PM  

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