"I'm what the world considers to be a phenomenally successful man. And I've failed much more than I've succeeded. And each time I fail, I get my people together, and I say, "Where are we going?" And it starts to get better." - Calvin Trager
Sunday, August 03, 2003 Sunday is the first of the "big" days at this convention -- the vote in the House of Deputies to consent (or not) to the election of Gene Robinson as bishop of Connecticut -- and thus the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church.
There is a lot of anxiety and fear in the air here. Thirteen bishops have threatened to withhold their assessments if Robinson is consented to. Even more than that, there are the repercussions throughout the Anglican Communion. That the media is here in force and ONLY reporting on this isn't helping things at all.
As the hour draws near, the vote weighs heavier on me -- and that more than anything troubles me. It troubles me that I am tempted to fear doing what I believe is right -- voting to consent to Gene's consecration. It troubles me that in addition to people who prayerfully have come to opposing decisions and are behaving as lovingly as they possibly can, there are people on both sides who are showing no regard and no love for their opponents.
What it comes down to though is that over the next two or three days, our church is going to change -- and what we have to decide is what that change is going to be. The media attention and the yes/no reality of a consent vote have guaranteed that we will be making a statement. It will either be a statement of Christ's radically inclusive love -- a risky statement to make in any age -- or a much sadder statement that we are not yet ready to love as CHrist would have us love.
And the more I think of it, the more I think it IS that simple. There's no way around people getting hurt. There's no way around making a statement. This is different than the same-sex blessing initiative,which can be tabled and postponed. WIth an election, you have to go either thumbs up or thumbs down.
The only question is what statement we will make. Tomorrow, at least in the house of deputies, we will know.
The past two days I was in Indianapolis for RObin's grandmother's (Gran's) funeral. And even there the conversation turned to the vote on Gene. And all of Robin's relatives who dove into the conversation ... many of them not liberal by any means ... believed that it was the right thing to consent to Gene. What was wonderful and inspirational about it is the conversation we had about how they have struggled with their views on homosexuality but have come to a place -- mostly through personal relationship with gay and lesbian people in wonderful relationships -- that this is how God made them and that we need to accept that and them. They gave me strength and hope.
Gran's funeral was today. There is no other way to describe it but as a deeply holy time. Robin's family, which I have been grafted into for the past 11 years, is amazing in their love for and commitment to each other.
I think that's what ties this all together. We're talking about love and commitment. Love and commitment in that love is life out of and over death. It is for our family right now. I believe it will be for our church.
EGR resources and connects the church to embrace what one person, one congregation, one diocese and one church can do to make this mission of global reconciliation happen.
Want to find out more ... check our our website at www.e4gr.org.
"Christ's example is being
demeaned by the church if they ignore the new leprosy,
which is AIDS. The church is the sleeping giant here.
If it wakes up to what's really going on in the rest
of the world, it has a real role to play. If it doesn't,
it will be irrelevant."