Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The House of Bishops Responds to +Robinson's Shunning

The House of Bishops has responded to the exclusion of +Robinson to the Lambeth Conference. Here's an excerpt:

We, the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church, approaching the forthcoming Lambeth Conference, are mindful of the hurt that is being experienced by so many in our own Episcopal Church, in other Provinces of our global communion, and in the world around us. While the focus of this hurt seems centered on issues of human sexuality, beneath it we believe there is a feeling of marginalization by people of differing points of view. Entering into Holy Week, our response is to name this hurt and to claim our hope that is in Christ.

As the Lambeth Conference approaches, we believe we have an enormous opportunity, in the midst of struggle, to be proud of our heritage, and to use this particular time in a holy way by affirming our rich diversity. The health of such diversity is that we are dealing openly with issues that affect the entire global community. Thus, even as we acknowledge the pain felt by many, we also affirm its holiness as we seek to be faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ.

Even though we did not all support the consecration of the Bishop of New Hampshire, we acknowledge that he is a canonically elected and consecrated bishop in this church. We regret that he alone among bishops ministering within the territorial boundaries of their dioceses and provinces, did not receive an invitation to attend the Lambeth Conference.

Well, I'm not exactly comfortable with +Robinson's election, either-- he seems to have manipulated his situation in a completely self-serving way (inventing liturgy to "release" your spouse from the vows you have taken when you know that you shouldn't have taken them in the first place and leaving two children to be without their father is my personal favorite). But he is a canonically elected bishop, and the refusal of an invitation to Lambeth just encourages those who refuse communion with our Presiding Bishop and other sorts of unChristian behavior. Not to mention that it shows a lack of courage to deal with the controversy and makes +Robinson a martyr besides.

I mean-- really-- inviting him to the exhibition hall? Very droll. Perhaps some of our ultra-conservative friends could be on exhibit as well, once they get finished hijacking the Holy Land.

Thanks to Thinking for the link.


JCF said...

inventing liturgy to "release" your spouse from the vows you have taken when you know that you shouldn't have taken them in the first place and leaving two children to be without their father is my personal favorite

This is a SMEAR.

First and foremost, +Gene Robinson NEVER "left his children". He remained an active and involved parent, and they are close to this day (he's a beaming grandfather!).

Secondly, the liturgy you refer to is something he AND his former wife Isabelle came up with---or would you prefer only the cold formality of the divorce court? (As w/ his children, +Gene remains close w/ his former wife---she spoke at his consecration as bishop, for heaven's sake!)

And again, for the record (because you're 0 for 2 on the facts, Ms. Cornelius, I suspect you're in danger of a strikeout): +Gene's ex Isabelle met AND married her current husband, BEFORE +Gene *ever* met his partner, Mark Andrew!

+Gene Robinson has "manipulated" nothing. He has been a man---and a bishop---of consummate "grace under fire."

He wasn't elected/consecrated to be a martyr, or even a "gay bishop". He was uplifted BY the people of the Diocese of New Hampshire---the people who KNEW him best---to be their pastor. It's TEC's responsibility, to ensure that NH's bishop is AMONG them, as they participate at Lambeth.

I'm very disappointed w/ the HofB's commitment, thus far (perhaps you and I, Ms. Cornelius, can agree on that?)

"Ms. Cornelius" said...

Hmmm. We'll have to disagree. And I am not trying to smear +Robinson. I am expressing an opinion, and I welcome you expressing yours!

But people shouldn't enter into marriage AT ALL if they have a preponderance of evidence that they will not make a go of it. I call that hypocritical. If you don't go into marriage willing to be able to completely commit to your spouse, then you shouldn't get married. Seriously. I do think marriage is a sacred commitment (cue the lines from Four Weddings and a Funeral here)and not to be entered into lightly or with an eye to the exit.

I prefer not to experiment with marriage. Nor, for heaven's sake, with the raising of children. (And I speak as someone who grew up in a home where the adults SHOULD have gotten divorced but didn't. Even though I loved both of my parents, that still doesn't mean that I can't be critical of some of their decisions and the impact that they had upon my life.)

And just because his ex-wife is okay with marrying a man whose orientation CANNOT EVER lead him to commit with her, doesn't mean that that marriage was the right thing to do. And the fact that she found her new husband first hasn't made me any more comfortable with that entire situation. Just the opposite. Ugh.

And no, I don't prefer a cold divorce court. But that's where divorcing people end up. Let's not kid ourselves.

But I also think "releasing each other" from your vows is first, a fiction, and second, a perfect example of how lightly our society takes the making of vows in the first place. If one is homosexual, why would one marry someone of the opposite sex? Even if, as I understand it, everyone's cards were on the table, it's still not right. Everyone will end up hurt. I mean, the words "I'm gay" out of a man's mouth should not be followed with "Let's get married," to a woman.

Why did he marry? Could it have something to do with the stance of TEC at the time on the ordination of gay and lesbian people? I do wonder.

And the term "gay bishop" was not written by me anywhere in my post. But as a bishop, he is not only the pastor of the people of New Hampshire. He is a representative of the entire Episcopal Church. He is a bishop. Just because I don't agree with his (Gene Robinson in particular, not gay clergy in general) election doesn't mean that I don't accept it. I'm an adult.

My discomfort is just that. But at the same time, I'll be damned if I will have a man who winks at genocide tell my church what is and is not acceptable. Or whose Biblical fundamentalism picks and chooses in the finest traditions of the Crusades come into my end of the Anglican Communion and impose his "values" upon my Church.

Sarah+ said...

i think JCF is right on with a lot of what s/he says. +Gene has a strong relationship with his children and I've never sensed that he manipulates things. He is for many a voice of the inclusion and Gospel welcome that the Episcopal Church offers.

Regardless--I think that the issue of divorce is what you're driving at. And I agree that divorce is not a good thing--no one hopes for that. That said, we don't know what was going on in +Gene's head and heart when he made his marriage vows. I find it very hard to believe that he "manipulated his situation in a completely self-serving way." I firmly believe he lives with integrity and admits that he's human and makes mistakes.

If we're going to attack bishops for getting divorced, I think more than +Gene will be up for scrutiny.

"Ms. Cornelius" said...

Perhaps you could look at it this way-- look at some of my other posts, and the issue of people (and actually, so far it's been bishops) making vows that they can not (and in other cases than this one, like +Schofeld, +Iker, +Duncan, and +Kelshaw, et al, REFUSE to) fulfill is what sticks in my craw.

I don't think that is an unreasonable standard of behavior-- especially for a bishop.

Perhaps I am just too young to really "get" that whole 60s era "follow your own bliss" attitude. Perhaps the fact that I know what it's like to try to live up to your vows through all kinds of difficulty and illness and sheer boredom at times (for over two decades, now, whoa!) makes me feel this way.

Thanks for your comment!