Thursday, April 25, 2013

Dude, really

Here's the straight (ha ha), unvarnished truth:  Gene Robinson can shut upEven other Episcopalians recognize this.

Ed Peters, the Internet's (and, more importantly, the Church's) prominent canon lawyer, issues a rebuttal here.

I'm sure several (thousands) will read Robinson's column, nod sagely, and conclude "That Catholic church really needs to sweep in front of its own door step first!"

Yeah, whatever.  Really when you read it you hear--distantly in the background--Robinson pleading for relevancy.  It's been ten years since his elevation to the Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire, and both he and the Church have nothing to show for it.  New Hampshire, like the rest of northern New England, remain America's least churched, least religious region.  Nobody cares, Gene.

Now that's a problem for all religious communities, so that means Roman Catholics, too, obviously. Future blog posts will deal with that reality.  Here it's enough to say that Robinson's column is why Spiritual Diabetes exists.  It's my attempt to name a spiritual yearning--and disease--that afflicts both liberals and conservatives and the 'nones' in America.  Robinson, who clearly possesses a wealth of theological education, simply can't "digest" all the spiritual realities--terrorism, government intrusion, spiritual flabbiness of some, the spiritual resistance of others--and thus strikes out at a familiar bugaboo.  It's sort of like blaming fast food restaurants for obesity.  The problem, at least at some level, though, lies with the one consuming--and that person's refusal to change his or her ways for the better.


  1. Jeff, please hear me when I say what I am about to say... While I do not support the constant, angry, seemingly-enlightened scolding of many of our Episcopalian brothers and sisters, which I get from them on a fairly regular basis, I also do not support lobbing the angry ball back into his in this case, or their court... "Shut up?" Jeff, I expect better of this from you, honestly.

    Is this this week's version of "Nyah, nyah, my church is better than your church?" Frankly, both you and Bishop Robinson seem to have this in common, all the while trying to couch it in Christ.

    And as the dear, dear friend of an Episcopal priest in the state of Vermont, you do not need to insult her and the work and presence of her denomination. And trust me - you have done that.

    Seriously. Do we not have room for discussion. As a good Lutheran pastor friend of mine said in a post yesterday, discussing exactly this sort of situation that was going on in her denomination.

    What she said, which I am about to say to you, and to Bishop Gene Robinson, someone that I generally respect and admire, and someone with whom I have corresponded, (we have numerous mutual friends), is this: What if we talked TO one another, not ABOUT one another? (emphasis mine.)

    I say that not to further lob the angry "you're-stupid-no-YOU'RE-stupid" balls around the court, but rather to invite us to that most Christ-like posture of all - talking to everyone. Sandal-shaking-dust-free options are available if the talking does not work out. Constant criticism suits no one, least of all Jesus.

    If Spiritual Diabetes sets forth to address that eponymous condition, I know that you are capable of doing just that, and not perpetuating it. Sadly, at least in my eyes, the eyes of someone who has tremendous respect for you, and a great love of our Church, thinks that you are perpetuating the condition in this post.

    Rant over.

  2. Thanks for the kind words AND the rant. In my defense, though, I'd repeat that the post in question is directly at Robinson--and perhaps those sharing his perspective--and not at the Episcopal Church USA nor its clergy and membership. So any insult to your Vermont Episcopal friend is unintentional.

    But at times it might be, well, unavoidable. The fact remains that Robinson and the like apparently feel free to lob odious articles at Roman Catholics--which we're supposed to take seriously--but then "turn-about" isn't fair play. I.e., we're not allowed to respond in kind. It's that "ABC--Anybody But Catholics" smugness that I tried to target in this post--as well as Robinson's own. Now how that involves our Episcopal friends (believe it or not, I have a few, too!) remains another issue. Not trying to paint with a broad brush, especially of the sort with which Robinson paints.