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Friday, April 04, 2008

So, here's my question

I write this from the gathering of Claiming the Blessing, an organizing coalition of justice organizations in the Episcopal church. We have been intensely busy, making our final plans as we head toward Lambeth.

We've had the opportunity to spend some time with Our Gene, the bishop of New Hampshire. As I have delighted, once again, in his wonderful sense of humor, his deep spirituality, and his profound sense of call to this impossible vocation as the first to be able to be openly honest and transparent about the fullness of his humanity, I've found myself wondering about why the Archbishop of Canterbury has chosen not to invite him to Lambeth.

As I've asked around to folks who are far more knowledgeable than I, I've heard two theories. The first is that the British love a good insult. Indeed, they love it so much that they don't mind receiving in equal measure as they give. They clearly have insulted Gene, but they have also insulted the spirit of Anglican comprehensiveness and tolerance.

The second is like unto it: The British love to create martyrs. Witness: The Reformation. You know. The first ones. Ridley. Tyndale. Latimer. Add, now, add Gene Robinson.

What the poor blokes haven't learned is that martyrs have much more power than popular saints. Martyrdom is stronger than even heroism, martyrs having died for the cause.

In his refusal to invite a duly elected bishop to Lambeth, the Archbishop of Canterbury has created an insult as well as a martyr to the cause, thus giving away TONS of power to the insulted, martyred bishop of New Hampshire.

I have no doubt, BTW, that the so-called orthodox, being devoid of any sense of creativity but having a good sense of history, will trot out Schofield and Cox, as well as Duncan and Iker, as martyrs to their cause on the international stage at Lambeth.

Alas, poor affluent Caucasian, heterosexual, well educated men that they are! Devoid of any imagination, they are left to the dubious distinction of flattery by imitation.

So, here's my question: Who is advising this poor bloke, the Archbishop of Canterbury?

Surely, no one with any sense of Reformation history.

It simply boggles the mind.


PseudoPiskie said...

I just got a bumper sticker which says, "Be careful who you hate, it might be someone you love."

The worst thing that can happen to prejudice is exposure to the hated. Some people refuse to change or grow. It's easiest to avoid exposure to anything that might negate a firmly held belief.

Some refuse to share the eucharist with +Gene or the people who confirmed him. Perhaps being confronted with him in person might force them to confront their own sins? Who wants to do that?

Bill said...

I’m told that Canterbury is represented by the Public Relations Firm of Caiaphas, Pilot and Iscariot. They cater to the most conservative element of London society. Located in a posh shopping district in the heart of Knightsbridge, their motto for centuries has been “Yes, we will gladly cut off our nose to spite our face”. Although often accused of being insensitive to burgeoning social issues, (they opposed the anti-slavery movement of William Wilberforce), they reject that line of thinking as left wing radical whining.

MaxedOutMama said...

It boggles my mind that you would compare two people who were burned alive for testifying to their faith and another who was executed for translating the Gospel to Robinson.

Robinson isn't a martyr, and neither are Duncan, Iker and the like (although if he is, then you should also concede that they are too). These are also painfully disrespectful words to read when there are people today being killed for the crime of confessing Christ in various countries around the world. We have modern martyrs. They are not American bishops of any denomination.

Could you please be more serious? You do your cause no good and much harm. No search for integrity can be grounded on the willingness to disrespect others, and your conclusion is profoundly disrespectful of the reality that many Christians are facing today.

This entire post appeared to me to be an ad hominem attack. I am very disturbed by it.

The truth that homosexuals and lesbians are human beings deserving of life is a truth that needs to be told in some of the same countries in which Christians are being killed. Oppression tends to find consistent targets.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Relax, Max. I suppose I could have used the term "scapegoating" but what +Rowan did was to create a martyr to the cause. It's just a term, a metaphor, a way of expressing the stupidity of the decision not to invite Bishop Robinson to Lambeth. No attack, ad hominum or otherwise.

The ABC seems to have a real penchant for making a bad situation worse. Bishop Robinson is a duly elected and consecrated bishop in the Anglican Communion. He was not invited.

Meanwhile, those bishops of whom their polygamy is well known, or those who are under investigation for their participation in acts of genocide and murder, or who are in other ways scoundrels of the first order will be in attendance.

It simply makes no sense. Scapegoating Gene for the schism in the church in this way ups the ante and makes him a martyr (of course, in the metaphorical sense), giving him much more power than if he had simply been invited.

Had he been invited just like everyone else, he would have had to mind his p's and q's and maintain a very low profile.

Guess who every reporter will want to interview at Lambeth? A buck fifty says it won't be +Rowan.

Hope this helps you understand.