Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Middle Way

One of the traditions of the Episcopal Church (and the rest of the Anglican Communion, for that matter) is that we will always seek to find a middle way, or via media as the church fathers called it in the old days when Latin was still the official language of worship. This began in the days of Queen Elizabeth I, who was faced with the rather daunting task of shaping this new church started by her father, Henry VIII. With her advisors, Elizabeth decided that the Anglican faith would be a middle way, somewhere between true Roman Catholicism and true Protestantism, as exemplified by the Puritans who were starting to become a force in England.

This tradition of following the via media has spread to other aspects of Episcopal tradition as well. In some senses, this is good. It means we look for consensus and compromise, and that we can include all kinds of people.

It also sometimes, in my opinion, means that we avoid taking a stand and that we try too hard to avoid offending people.

Sometimes you just need to put your foot down and decide what you believe and where you want to go with it, and I truly wish sometimes that we could do this. There’s a chance the church will split over the issues surrounding homosexuality. I don’t want that any more than anyone else does. But I want even less to be wishy-washy about it and avoid doing what’s right just to keep the majority happy! Tyranny by a majority is still tyranny, and surely Jesus wasn’t worried about keeping the disciples happy when he was doing his earthly ministry.

Last year there was a commercial showing some people waiting in line to get into a church as if it were a nightclub. There was a bouncer going through and removing the “undesirables” from line—gay couples, young people, poor people, punked-out teenagers. The message of the commercial was that even if you’d felt that way elsewhere, their church would welcome you. It was for the United Church of Christ, as I recall.

It should have been ours. We should have been the ones to take that stand. All the directory signs and emblems boldly proclaim, “The Episcopal Church welcomes you!”

It’s time to make it clear that this statement is true.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Bishop Robinson

Bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop ever to be elected as a bishop in the Episcopal Church, has admitted to alcoholism and checked himself into a rehab center.

Of course, some Shouting Christians ™ are already using Bishop Robinson’s problem as “proof” that no gays should be in the clergy. “See? It’s proof of God’s wrath! God hates TEH GAYS!”

Never mind that God created TEH GAYS.

Quite honestly, this news didn’t surprise me. It saddens me, but it doesn’t surprise me. How much pressure must there be on some one who is “the first” anything? The vanguard of great social change is not a comfortable place to be.

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was not considered a hero by most until long after he was killed.

Whenever anyone stands up for anything that challenges the status quo, there will invariably be attempts to shout them down and shut them up.

And Bishop Robinson probably never wanted to be a “cause.” He probably never wanted anything more than to follow his calling.

Be well, Bishop. Rest and heal. Some of us are hoping you win.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Last night I saw what I will call, for want of a better term, a vision. It wasn’t a dream, because I was awake, but it certainly wasn’t a daydream in the sense of me controlling it, either. And what I saw was this.

I saw myself coming near to death, so near, oh so near, as if a lethargy had set into my limbs and I was drifting away. Then far away I saw a great river, and on the far shore wandered a multitude of souls. They weren’t joyful, they weren’t sad. Mostly, they were just there. They were lost.

These were the souls who can not fly. They are still bound to the earth; they can not rise and be reborn until they learn to fly. And it is their fear which holds them most strongly. Anger and pride hold them down somewhat, but it is their fear which binds them so strongly they can not break free.

So they wander, and they do not even know that they can fly.