Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Uniting the disaffected

What ever else people say about Gene Robinson, the Bishop of New Hampshire, in the USA he always impresses me as the person who has the character of a Bishop.
Now, he may just have a good publicity machine (something most episcopods seem to lust after) but virtually all the articles I have read about him show a man with a deep pastoral heart. Not one interested in chasing the limelight, but one rather happy to nurture  small communities of faith in difficult places. Which is what his diocese is like. (see for example this recent article from the Guardian newspaper in the UK here or here)
The fact that he is no doubt one of the most hated Anglican Bishops of all time should not go unnoticed. His deep hurt expressed in the above article goes largely unremarked, instead he is caricatured as a monster intent on destroying the Anglican Communion.
Bishop Robinson is of course gay!!
There are bishops left, right and centre all urging us to be quiet and 'moderated' about the issue of homosexual bishops. 
There are too few bishops urging us to stand fast against the prejudice and indeed hatred of homosexual people that exists in society and in the church.
The pragmatic political types invariably defeat the pastors.
While we still live in a world where it is dangerous for a person to openly declare that their sexual orientation is homosexual...and we do... then Christians, in my opinion, should be standing against that prejudice rather than adding to it.
It doesn't seem to me, for all the blustering, that the hyperbole and comment from most bishops is actually clarifying this issue. 
Their second guessing  "love the sinner but hate the sin" as if homosexuality was (in their opinion) equivalent to murder, is so often thinly veiled prejudice that someone needs to challenge it. If it goes unchallenged too many people will believe that that sort of equivalence is true.
I do not accept the case that homosexuality is sinful. (What sort of God afflicts 10 per cent of humanity with a tendency to sin which the others don't have?). 
Nor do I believe that homosexuals have any more license to be sexually immoral than anyone else. None of us has that right.
The Gene Robinsons of this world help us see, at least, that God's love transcends our own smallness of vision
This is a bit of a ramble...expressing I think something of the anger I feel about this.,
Anger that the Church which should be the champion of the downtrodden is so often (not heeding the Saviour's words) the very first to cast not onbe but many stones.
God bless Gene Robinson, I am thankful that at least one bishop has a pastor's heart.


Anonymous said...

As an arrogant heretic I say "touche Stephen". Pastoring should be paramount. We need bishops and priests of the bucolic kind, Deo volente.

trevor said...

(What sort of God afflicts 10 per cent of humanity with a tendency to sin which the others don't have?).

Well, it seemsm that some church hierarchies take the view that God afflicted about 50 percent of humanity with a tendency to sin that the others don't have (i.e. created them XX homogametic).

stephen clark said...

Yes trevor!...the comment does expose the weakness in the argument.
However the point really is that (even you and I can see) if we call something that would appear to be not within the recipients conscious-choosing...colour of skin, sexual orientation and yes, indeed, gender...fallen or sinful...ohh and by the way I am what my kids call a Rang...a redhead...proud to be such, but they think I am a mutant...
I think actually that if the sectional group is small then the injustice of it all is actually worse.