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?!!