Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Giles Fraser article from the Guardian, UK

Here's to you, Mr Robinson
The irony missed by Christian homophobes is that the gay US bishop is sustained by a faith you could call fundamentalist

Giles Fraser guardian.co.uk, Monday July 14, 2008

The emails have been coming in all day. My favourite begins: "Dear sodomite supporter, you are nothing but a dirty sodomite-loving ugly stain of a man who is a disgrace to humanity." It ends "Burn in hell, Mr K." Well, thank you for that, Mr K. I have had a fair number of letters and emails from people who think like you. One suggested that I ought to be executed at Tyburn. Another graphically described the details of fisting.

My crime had been to offer the Bishop of New Hampshire a pulpit to preach the word of God. I usually have the emotional hide of a rhino, but even I was upset by the unpleasantness of the reaction, hiding my hurt in a few too many vodkas at lunchtime. How on earth does Gene Robinson cope with the disgusting abuse to which he is subjected most days – the protester who interrupted his sermon in my church on Sunday being a pretty mild example? Day after day, buckets of spiritual shit are thrown at him, sometimes by fellow bishops, and he just keeps going.

Spending some time with him over the last few days, I have discovered how he does it. He is the real deal. He is a believer. Responding to attacks that he had a "homosexual agenda", he insisted: "Here and now, in St Mary's Church, Putney, I want to reveal to you the homosexual agenda. The homosexual agenda is: Jesus." He went on to preach a fiery, almost revivalist, sermon, calling on Anglicans to take Jesus into their heart and to allow Him to cast out their fear.

What makes this person so interesting is that he has lost any sense that he is able to support himself spiritually through his own effort alone. His recognition of his "failure" to cope is precisely his strength. The theology is pure Luther: only when you recognise that you are unable to make yourself acceptable to God under your own steam can you collapse back upon God as the sole source of salvation. Later in the sermon, he described going from a meeting of the US House of Bishops to a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous, and being relieved that, at this second meeting, he could at last speak about God.

Forget what you think you know about Gene Robinson – his is Gospel Christianity of a very traditional kind. This is what Christianity looks like once it has got over its obsession with respectability.

COMMENT: I love it all --thank you Fr. Giles. But for me that last line is the clincher. Are we living the Gospel if we are not creating SCANDAL?!!


Joel said...

This is what Christianity looks like once it has got over its obsession with respectability.br/>
Would that we could all get there!
Jesus Christ himself, perfect failure, THEN God could vindicate him AND his Message and in the vindication giving us the dynamis, Power of failing our own strength that we could share in Christ's. That Yoke, that Cross is Easy, and that burden light. As Fr. Robert Capon said, all we have to do is die. And thank God, Nature will take care of that even if we struggle to be in control til the very end. Praise the Lord.

Joel said...

And Margaret, we don't have to try to live a scandle, the fact that we are and always will be sinners and act like sinners IS the scandle. The Sin of the Church while it is the Flesh and Blood of Christ IS it's Gospel, just as The Second Person of the Trinity took on sinful human flesh! No one believed him either--- the whore mongerer and drunkard he says he was called. Praise the Lord!

Or better yet, Francis' "Perfect Joy!"

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

This is a great article. Thank you for posting it.

BooCat said...

Thank you for this. I have always contended that when you place +Gene side by side with his detractors, it is so easy to see who is filled with God's loving spirit. If, indeed, God is love, then it is +Gene who is filled with the Holy Spirit, not those who spew forth all kinds of vitriol purporting to be in "God's name."