Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Archbishop Ostracizes Gay Bishop

Though I see that the Very Reverend Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, and thus head of the worldwide Anglican Communion (which includes those of us who are American Episcopalians--for now), was trying to stem controversy by not inviting V. Gene Robinson, an openly gay bishop, to the big, once a decade party he's throwing next year, I find myself crushed by the thought process that brought this decision about.

True, Robinson's ordination touched off a firestorm of recriminations throughout the church (both nationally and internationally), and yes, the church is, many believe, on the verge of a true theological and ideological crisis. But how making the unkind and ungenerous move of pointedly excluding Bishop Robinson from participation at the Lambeth Conference in '08 is meant to fix those issues is truly beyond any logic I can fathom. (And no, the Archbishop's similar exclusion of the possibly illegitimate Bishop in VA--appointed by internal church foes of LGBT inclusion--does not make it any better.)

I do not mean to judge the Archbishop, but all I can say is that until now, I've felt proud and optimistic about my affiliation with the Episcopal Church; I've been moved by the words, the sentiment and the strength of Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori (head of the Episcopal Church here in the US), and her defense of the right of people of all kinds to serve in this church. And I've even found some hope in the fact that, until now, the Archbishop has refrained from letting bigotry mark his decisions about the future of this church. But this... this just makes me so sad. For me, and for the other members of this flock who believe in the equality of all human beings. And most of all for Rev. Robinson, who has suffered so much unkindness since his ordination, simply for being who he is and wanting to serve God.

And then again: change is never easy. I suppose that's the thing we must always remember-- even as our hearts are broken a thousand times over.

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