Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Bishop Gene Robinson: "I am not optimistic, but I am hopeful."

Watch this short video to see what he means.

My personal thoughts and feelings on this:

+Gene Robinson is placing his hopefulness on The Episcopal Church's 76th convention to be held in Anaheim, California, July 8-17, 2009. There, laity, clergy and bishops will meet.

In this video, +Gene looks pensive. The great weight of hurt and exclusion in words written and spoken in the last few days at Lambeth relative to our lgbt brothers and sisters within the Anglican Communion must rest on his shoulders mightily.

If anyone understands exclusion, it is +Gene. If anyone understands angry words, it is +Gene. Yet, he does not let the painful weight crush his belief in God, or stay his faith in our our beloved Episcopal Church or its processes. The least I can do--the VERY least--is the same.

I freely admit that I do not want to bare the weight or "wait" of this. I am not as strong as +Gene. I find injustice acts like a systemic poison: It makes me feel angry and ashamed. And when I feel I can do nothing to help stop it or change it, the frustration makes me feel even worse.

I cannot possibly imagine how some of our lgbt brothers and sisters must feel. I feel terrible. It is an emotional roller-coaster where my heart is in direct conflict with what I am reading and hearing the result of which is a serious spiritual imbalance. When I pray, I cry. The angst is just awful.

The only other time I have felt like this was when I first returned to the church. I cried a lot. But the tears came from an understanding and feeling directly opposite of this. There were times, in the choir, I couldn't even get sing the hymn I felt so absolutely overwhelmed. Another choir member would sing, half the time, with her arm around me. At my feet was a constant stash of Kleenex. I felt like God had opened my heart and filled it with love and joy forcing my tears to the surface of the world.

I know I cannot give up, what would that do? Would walking away be helpful in some way? If so, I cannot see how. Injustice is never corrected by walking away from it. I must walk toward it. I have never walked away from injustice, but this feels so very different.

So, I guess I have made my decision.

The convention--a year away--seems so far off. The dreams of people like Dr. Martin Luther King, Ghandi, Caesar Chavez and others were not realized quickly or easily or without personal pain and sacrifice. These three people, each of whom I so admire, never wavered and never walked away.

Perhaps that is one of the lessons for me in all of this. It is sometimes so hard to walk a path without a map. But that is what faith calls us to do, doesn't it? Doesn't it call us to step out in faith and prayer knowing that God will guide us?

In my human life I have always been a leader. Now I am a follower and perhaps that changed role is making me feel insecure and unsafe because I cannot grasp all this intellectually. Perhaps this is one of my personal tests of faith. Do I have enough faith to step out onto a path without being in control? Can I hand over to God my life in such a way that no matter what happens my faith only grows stronger? Can I get past my sometimes stubborn recklessness and set my own deliberate course of actions aside that God might lead me?

It is a time of faith. I know this won't be easy for me.

God grant that I might delight in Your will
And walk in Your way
To the glory of Your name. Amen.