Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A visit from Gene Robinson

I have long felt, as I'm sure have many of you, that the log jam broke with the election of Bishop Gene Robinson in 2003. Not just breaking a logjam of exclusion of GLBT people from the Episcopal Church, but also a reaffirmation, a challenge against the shrill voices of the right wing who claimed to define or to own the concept of "Christian". I think Bishop Gene helped voices of inclusive faith coalesce and reclaim "Christianity" from a narrow political movement on the right. And I think history will see his election as a hugely important moment in GLBT equality in this country, well beyond one denomination.

A modest, unassuming, loving man with a hint of the South in his voice, he was the perfect choice. He symbolized so much to so many far beyond the Episcopal Church. You may not quite appreciate how much this choice meant Outside. Despite its small size, the Episcopal Church continues to have an outsize influence on the Establishment. When you do something, people notice. One of my friends, who is Jewish, even wrote him a letter expressing what he meant to people far outside the faith, with his simple, and joyous, message of love and acceptance (and she got an answer, too!)

I know that Bishop Gene's election stimulated me to explore the Episcopal Church as a possible home for my wife (and me, as a sort of distaff member) and probably marks my real entry into the Episcoblogosphere.

Last summer, we drove up to Anaheim for the Integrity Eucharist. Bishop Gene presided, and I still remember his absolutely impish grin during the service as he walked around that big hotel space, flinging holy water at the joyful congregants. I also remember being able to speak briefly to him as he was coming through the reception area, on his way to vest, and saying inarticulately how much he meant to us as GLBT people. He paused, generously (he was late) and thanked me.

So I am really looking forward to hearing Bishop Gene Robinson speak, during his upcoming visit to St Paul's Cathedral, San Diego on June 12 and 13. On Saturday, June 12 he will speak from 5:30 to 7 pm on The Church in Public Life: Preachin' or Meddlin'? He will also preach at both Sunday services (8 and 10.30) and present the Forum at 9am. If you are in the vicinity and plan to attend, I suggest you get there early. Bishop Gene belongs to more than TEC.


dr.primrose said...

Sometime soon I hope that you and BP get a chance to also meet Mary Glasspool, since she's just up the road. I think you'll also be quite impressed.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Well, lucky you and BP. I envy you. I shook Bp. Gene's hand at GC09 but didn't get to say more than hello.

The Integrity Eucharist was marvelous, wasn't it?

James said...

One of the problems of living "ut pa landed" (out in the sticks) here in the Central Coast of California is that we never get anyone here. I'm very envious of your good fortune, IT and BP!

Erika Baker said...

I was fortunate to hear him preach in Putney when he came to England last year. He truly is someone who touches hearts.

dr.primrose said...

News on the California Prop. 8 wars - Mormon Church to be fined by state political commission over Proposition 8. The Los Angeles Times story says in part:

"The state Fair Political Practices Commission is expected to fine the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for not properly reporting about $37,000 worth of contributions to pass California's ban on same-sex marriages.

"The commission will fine the Salt Lake City-based church $5,538 for failing to report the numerous contributions. The fine comes in response to a complaint filed in November 2008 by Fred Karger, a gay-rights activist and co-founder of Californians Against Hate, who accused the Mormon Church of failing to report the value of the work it did to support Proposition 8."

Brian R said...

He visited my church in November 2008 while on holiday with Mark in Australia. Because that inclusive parish is under the domination of the homophobic Gafconer Jensen, Bp Gene could only attend as a worshipper but when I told him how I had wanted to enter the Anglican priesthood in the 60's but realised I could not as a gay man, he gave me a big hug. I would love to hear him preach in the flesh.

Counterlight said...

I've met him once only in passing and heard him preach. He is amazingly fearless and undaunted. He is a physically small man who fills every room he enters.

His election and consecration was a transformative moment for me too.