I posted a sermon today that Father Ted gave on the Holy Moly blog. In it, he passed along the difficult news that Gene Robinson, Bishop of New Hampshire, has entered a rehab facility. If you haven’t any interest in the controversy that the Episcopal Church is has been facing over Bishop Gene’s position as the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church, this won’t mean a lot. It does to me, mostly because gay people helped me along the way when first started attending an Episcopal church.
This is why I find it difficult to understand why the more conservative members of the denomination seem so adamantly anti-gay clergy… because my experience has always been in welcoming, progressive parishes. Maybe if I’d initially walked into a very conservative parish, I’d see it differently, or maybe I’d have walked out the door.
Because a house of worship that doesn’t welcome everybody might well turn away Christ in the person of a homeless man or a mentally ill woman, or any kind of gay-lesbian-bi-questioning-trans-what-have-you person. Shutting the door on anyone is tantamount to shutting the door in Christ’s face, in my very humble opinion. I wouldn’t want to take that chance with the church that I attend.
It was hard for me to read +Gene’s open letter announcing that he voluntarily checked himself into a facility to help him with an alcohol problem. Apparently this was for the traditional 28-day treatment, and he entered February 1, so he will depart February 28th or March 1st.
I’m not a big one for formal private prayer – I usually reserve that for when I’m actually in church. But I’ll definitely keep +Gene in my thoughts, because I’m a big one on thoughts. I’ll keep him in my hopes as well. I hope that he feels love and support, and that he has the strength to overlook the uncharitable comments made by his crtics, who have been using him as a focal point for their own political ends in the national Episcopal church and in the Anglican church worldwide.
Anyway, the sermon is posted underr the title “Extraordinary Healing.” I happened to sit in on the little Bible study Ted gave in Adult Forum last week, where we discussed the reading for this week by accident (usually we discuss the current week, but there was a little accident with the photocopier and a time machine). So having done that, I actually know the context of the Gospel reading better than usual. And I’m not that big on Bible reading, so it’s nice to have the opportunity to discuss it with the other folks and Ted in small, easily comprehended bites. This news broke later in the week, so Ted did a pretty good job working it in to his sermon discussing the finer points in the Gospel reading, which covered the story of the paralyzed man whose friends dug down through the roof of the house where Jesus was staying, so they could lower his litter down so he could be healed. The man couldn’t have gotten in to receive healing without their help
And so it appears that +Gene, with the help of his partner, daughter, friends, and colleagues, is attempting to receive healing. I hope he makes it through in good shape, because the coming year or two will probably be a little rough.
Hang in there, Gene! Hang in there.