Saturday, July 5, 2008

Things that happened while we weren't looking

For someone who presumably is interested in keeping union within the Anglican Communion, Bishop V. Gene Robinson has an curious way of trying to help. Months after he expressed his desire to be a "June bride," Robinson and his longtime partner Mark Andrew held a private civil union ceremony in Concord, N.H. on June 7, 2008.

On the eve of the Archbishop of Canterbury's Lambeth Conference, Robinson's 2003 ordination - and his behavior since - will doubtless be the root of much conversation. His ordination continues to roil the U.S.-based Episcopal Church, with church bodies in Virginia splitting off from the main church to seek more conservative leadership from elsewhere within the Communion.

For their part, conservative Anglican leaders meeting at the recent Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) say they will not quit the Communion, but have said that Anglicanism is not "determined necessarily through recognition of the Archbishop of Canterbury," signaling their continued dissatisfaction with the liberal cant of the Anglican Church, and a willingness to challenge what they described as a "false gospel."

As frequent readers will attest, far from begrudging Bishop Robinson his position on based upon his orientation, I am troubled by the fact that he is gratuitously antagonistic, needlessly confrontational, wholly graceless and totally tacky. Rather than yielding to any sort of Christian conciliatory reflex, Robinson goes out of his way to create controversy and draw attention to himself; indeed, he appears most gratified when doing so.

According to the Telegraph, some Anglicans accuse Robinson of conducting his ceremony prior to GAFCON and Lambeth
"in a bid to embarrass church leaders."
And despite the fact that he was not invited to Lambeth, he plans to attend "fringe events" at the conference - with bodyguards no less, noting, "I don't want to be a martyr - I just want to be a bishop."

Martyr, no - cynosure of attention, most certainly. To Robinson's reckoning, his own open homosexuality is by no means sufficient. He attempts to universalize homosexuality within the Church by claiming "[e]veryone knows we have gay clergy, gay bishops," adding, "I've probably met 300 gay clergy in the Church of England."
Of course Robinson's averments miss the point. The issue is not whether the Anglican Communion has gay clergy, but whether they - along with their heterosexual co-religionists - will abide by the practices of the church and the dictates of the Gospel, the promulgation of which seems to be of little concern to Robinson at present.

By way of his setting aside the Gospel in favor of a gospel of equalism and post-modern moral relativism, Gene Robinson has signed the death warrant for the Episcopal Church. Even as individual congregations struggle with indebtedness, scandal and schism, the larger church appears unable to provide its membership with anything resembling authoritative moral leadership. The question begged by all of this is
if the Bishop and his confederates wish to set themselves above their church and its laws, along with those of the worldwide Communion, why aren't they the ones who seek to leave and start a "Cult of Robinson" where parishioners can be governed by whatever he decides is correct on any given day.

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