Tuesday, December 11, 2007

"...and we dodged that bullet."

As recently reported by the New York Times, Tracey Lind was passed over last month to become the Episcopal Church's (ECUSA) first female bishop of the Chicago diocese - as well as its second openly gay bishop.

The outgoing bishop, the Rev. William D. Persell, said the election "should not, in any way, be seen as a vote against a gay or lesbian person." He said women make up a third of the rectors and vicars in the diocese, and that gays and lesbians are "some of our most creative clergy."

"We're committed to full inclusion," Bishop Persell added.

While agreeing that the Chicago diocese has mostly muted the issue of sexual orientation, Joan Barr Smith, a non-voting parishioner from Evanston [IL], said she expected a Lind victory would have caused some turbulence. "And we dodged that bullet," Ms. Smith said.

In my youth, I would remark to friends, "a bullet dodged is a bullet lodged," meaning that a bullet that was escaped by one person would find its mark someplace (or in someone) else. The bullet that the Chicago diocese dodged continues to lodge itself deeper into the flesh of the larger church, and the ECUSA's lifeblood drains away as a result. Over the weekend, the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin voted to secede from the larger church, marking the first time that an entire diocese has split over the issue of ordination of gay clergy. (See video from KCRA.)

And the man at the center of this storm - or for his part, floating blissfully above it - is V. Gene Robinson, ECUSA's Bishop of New Hampshire.
During a recent talk at Nova Southeastern University, Robinson commented that "the greatest single hindrance to achievement of full rights for gays and lesbians can be laid at the doorstep of three three Abrahamic faiths - Judaism, Christianity and Islam," adding "it's going to take people of faith to end discrimination." And if a remark from his November 2003 ordination - "God is doing a new thing" - is to be taken at face value, we must conclude that people of (a non-Abrahamic) faith will be fortunate enough to be part of this "new thing."

One would be forgiven for wondering why God would fail to inform the vast majority of His church about the "new thing," trusting only Robinson and his ilk to bring to our attention this novel understanding of both scripture and church teaching vis-a-vis gay marriage and ordination of non-celibate gay clergy.
A formerly (and if his wish to be a "June bride" is fulfilled, a soon to be again) married man, Robinson privately acknowledged his homosexual feelings during his seminary studies prior to his marrying and starting a family in the 1970s. According to Wikipedia, Robinson came out during the 1980s and later divorced his wife, taking up with his current partner - Mark Andrews - in 1988.

I suppose that the final thing not to be overlooked in all of this is the fact that - if the party line of the gay community is to be believed - Gene Robinson knew from an early age that he was in fact homosexual. So why in the name of the Almighty did he (along with Jim McGreevy, Michael Huffington, Sen. Larry Craig, Rev. Ted Haggert, etc.) put a bullet through his wife's heart, knowing that she would suffer an unspeakable anguish? And just as important, why is his diocese untroubled by the whole situation? Perhaps God's next "new thing" will be to figure out how to forgive those who selfishly inflict pain upon others in pursuit of their own new thing.

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