Tuesday, May 22, 2007

If there was ever a time for prayer and for LGBT Anglicans to find their voices

Once again the 'Bullies of the Patriarchy' have spoken, and this is where we find ourselves...

A Statement from The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, Bishop of New Hampshire
With regard to the Issuance of Invitations to the Lambeth Conference, 2008
May 22, 2007

It is with great disappointment that I receive word from the Archbishop of Canterbury that I will not be included in the invitation list for the Lambeth Conference, 2008. At a time when the Anglican Communion is calling for a “listening process” on the issue of homosexuality, it makes no sense to exclude gay and lesbian people from that conversation. It is time that the Bishops of the Anglican Communion stop talking about gay and lesbian people and start talking with us.
While I appreciate the acknowledgement that I am a duly elected and consecrated Bishop of the Church, the refusal to include me among all the other duly elected and consecrated Bishops of the Church is an affront to the entire Episcopal Church. This is not about Gene Robinson, nor the Diocese of New Hampshire. It is about the American Church and its relationship to the Communion. It is for The Episcopal Church to respond to this challenge, and in due time, I assume we will do so. In the meantime, I will pray for Archbishop Rowan and our beloved Anglican Communion.

And if that weren't enough, I'd refer you to http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/ which is currently carrying a statement from Archbishop +Peter Akinola declaring that if Martyn Minns is not invited to Lambeth, 'it will be viewed as withholding invitation to the entire House of Bishops of the Church of Nigeria.'

This from the man who walked away from the confraternal celebration of the Blessed Sacrament in Tanzania- showing open contempt for his Sister & Brother Primates.

This from the man who acted in blatant defiance of the Tanzania Communique by once again poaching in the American Province and by consecrating a 'Nigerian Bishop' within the same territory- and act of open contempt for the people and priests of our Episcopalian sister church and of its duly elected, consecrated and installed Primate.

This from the man who has backed the inhumane legalization of homophobic legislation within his own province, and who has called for the life imprisonment of LGBT Nigerians.

I've got only two words for you +Peter- I lovingly pray for you daily as my brother in Christ, but you're really starting to piss me off- and that's not even personal!

And as for Rowan... I pray for you also, but you've made a very serious categorical error m'dear. No comparison whatsoever can be made between the validity of the consecration of +V Gene Robinson and +Martyn Minns. One was the prayerful and legal action of the people and priests of a diocese under a duly consecrated Primate of the Episcopal Church. The other was an act of contempt and defiance, not only against that Province and its Primate, but against the whole communion with schismatic ends in mind.

Of course all of the above is only one side of the coin... As I reminded a friend in faith earlier today, despair is not a luxuary to even be considered at times like these. Besides which, it's only a consideration if we look no further than all the noise, threats and contempt of the Bullies of the Patriarchy.

The glorious and over-riding truth of all this is that before and after it all is This is the church of Jesus Christ, Son of the living God and so thankfully there is a bigger picture, there is a long-range view. This is not just an acrimonious exchange between the voices of inclusive witness to the good news of Christ Jesus and the voices of conservatism.

Christ meets us in the dance of process- and never was this more true than now.

Secondly, blessedly it's not all noise and acrimony.

Never have I been so proud to be a gay man of faith, when I read, meet and listen to my radiant LGBT sisters and brothers and the voices of our families, friends and alies, as we have all found voice in this 'listening exercise.' Honestly.... I am not able to recall one instance of acrimonious name-calling, threat, violence or contempt from my wondrous LGBT tribe in these past months- no matter how heated the discussion might have become. Yes, I have taken some flack over coining the prase 'Bullies of the Patriarchy' but I calls it as I sees it, and by their fruits ye shall know them.

Which doesn't let any of us off the hook... This latest manouever from Lambeth only makes our voices, our visible presence in the church more essential. Personally, I have already begun to work on a list of all of the Canadian Diocesan Bishops to be distributed as widely as I am able. Rather than a petition- which usually only gets skimmed, I will be offering this list to be used for personal messages to each Canadian Bishop.

What will we ask for ? It's early days yet, but my personal inclination is to personally ask each Canadian Bishop to boycott Lambeth rather than to become party to a public act of contempt towards our sister, The Episcopal Church, its Primate and a duly elected & consecrated Bishop.

(In addition to my usual e-mail network, I intend to post the list here)

And in the meantime, my heartfelt thanks to my radiant LGBT sisters & brothers of faith, and to all who have made our cause your own. Please know that you all are a constant embodiment of Christ Jesus for me, and a reminder of Christ's passionate call to the life He truly wants for us all.


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