Jul 14, 2008

Smiles/Screams/Smears and Encouraging Words of Forgiveness/Outreach and Thanksgiving from Beyond!


My Mom's name was/is Ardythe Ruby Beardsley Clark and she died in her sleep well over a decade ago at age 79...my Mother was a lovely person...as a matter-of-fact at her grave, the marker is inscribed with "A Beautiful Person In Every Way"...that's a powerful and TRUE testimony for the kind example and loving living witness that Ardythe Ruby, my Mom, offered to me and those around her.
A few minutes ago I was reading words written by Bishop V.G. Robinson of New Hampshire at his "Tales from the fringe at Canterbury" blog....he
+Robinson, the duly elected/consecrated Bishop from New Hampshire was NOT invited to The Lambeth Conference in Canterbury, England by Rowan Williams, The Archbishop of Canterbury, because +Gene is a Gay Man with a devoted 20 year partner, Mark. Bishop Robinson is in England "loving them anyway" and representing Episcopalians/Anglicans who believe that God loves/welcomes EVERYONE at The Body of Christ. Last night, Bishop Gene was preaching at St.Mary's in West London when a heckler/zealot screamed "heretic" and "repent" at him while he was delivering the homily...a screaming heckler who had somehow lost himself to all sense of dignity, objectivity and basic commonsense and opted instead for the darkness of fear/hate-driven bigotry, excluding/marginalizing and the blaming/shaming of LGBT Christians at all levels of Churchlife....welcome to a quick "snap" worldview of what many of us have known, and listened to, our entire lives...hecklers. Non-stop hecklers amongst us. Hecklers who sometimes were/are friends, fellow workers, family members and/or complete strangers who had/have NO IDEA the hurt they attempt to inflict when whispering junktalk or screaming viscious filth, both in and outside of Church, that may result in crimes of HATE (some, self-inflicted by the vicitim of ugly character SLANDERING and the resulting shame of being "different").
Last night Bishop V.Gene Robinson received the blast...thanks be to God it didn't come from a gun like the one that assinated my dear friend/partner Jose Luis a little over ten years ago...thanks be to God last nights attacker was of the self-righteous, yet vile, mouthing off variety.
Bishop V.Gene Robinson of New Hampshire said of the heckler later: "I was nearly overwhelmed with sadness. All I could think about was that place in his heart which must be filled with such darkness, a place that was meant to be filled with loved, but because of whatever had happened in his life, whoever he has been associating with, it was filled with hate. Someone had to TEACH him to hate like that. He didn't learn it on his own. For a moment or two, I was nearly overwhelmed by my sense of sadness for him. The tears in my eyes and the crack in my voice were for this child of God who, I suspect, has experienced so much pain and unhappiness in his life."
"You gotta be taught to hate" is a Oscar Hammerstein lyric from South Pacific...but, God and Christians/others like my Mom wrote and lived the words that have to do with "loving thy neighbor, and everyone else, as one loves thyself."
Inspiring words/actions for a person like me who would prefer to scream "heretic" and "murder instigating bigot" at the "heckler" instead!
Most certainly my Mother taught me better than that.
Lord Hear My Prayer

6 comments:

Bonnie said...

So, now we know where your beautiful smile comes from. Beautiful mom--beautiful Leonardo.

I've been reading some of the comments re +Gene and the -heckler.

This was interesting but comes with a warning on some of the comments:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/jul/14/religion.gayrights

That +Gene ended up with applause for his sermon was heartwarming. Bets that he is going to be the hero and man of the hour every day.

Leonardo Ricardo said...

Oh Bonnie, did you read the link within your link that Giles Fraser selected? It's really a brilliant slant/essay on Gafoons and their everyday destructive "hell bent" minds:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/jul/06/anglicanism.religion

Will Hutton The Observer, Sunday July 6, 2008

'Let's at least agree on one thing, God is a hypothesis.' That's what one of my professors used to say. 'Your hypothesis may be different from mine, but if you insist it is superior because you have a better line to God than me, it leads to nothing but bitterness, rancour and even war. The best course is mutual toleration - live and let live.' But then, Jonathan is an Anglican.

Anglicanism is a liberal tradition central to the very conception of Englishness, but it finds itself under mounting threat. Last Sunday around 300 Anglican bishops, largely from Nigeria, Uganda and Australia, but including at least one from England, issued the Jerusalem Declaration. They no longer accepted that the Archbishop of Canterbury led the Anglican Church.

Claiming the mantle of true Anglicans, they insist they will be guided only by the church's founding documents, notably the 39 Articles of 1563. They would establish a new governing council of primates who would lead a voluntary fellowship of 'confessing' Anglican clergy and laity (Foca) who would assert these fundamental principles, of which the most important was not ordaining gay priests.

On the face of it, this is schism - a challenge by rebels to the constitution and principles of the Church of England. Around a third of the church's worldwide bishops, representing some 30 million out of 70 million adherents, intend to establish a church within a church. The timing of the Global Anglican Futures Conference (Gafcon) which produced the Jerusalem Declaration was not accidental. It came a fortnight before the 10-yearly Lambeth Conference starts on 16 July, the most important event in the Anglican diary.

This is where every Anglican bishop has traditionally gathered to renew common bonds, pray together and deliberate over common challenges. Now they will be reduced from 900 to 600, with the Gafcon bishops saying they will boycott Lambeth. They want more missionary zeal, although the flashpoint is Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams's refusal to discipline the American church for ordaining a gay bishop in 2003 which, they say, is directly against biblical instruction. The Lambeth conference has been organised by Anglican liberals who even welcome the deviant Americans back - and has been structured to take no hard decisions. They will stay away.

The mutual enmity and sense of betrayal is profound. Williams has said the rebels' proposed institutional changes are wrong and wants them to call a halt to their plans. So far, only one English bishop, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali of Rochester, has joined Gafcon, but the movement could join a growing evangelical fundamentalism at home. For example, Gafcon has allegedly earmarked two theological colleges, Oak Hill and Wycliffe Hall, as potential training grounds for its priests.

Gafcon's challenge is a toxic mix of doctrine laced with resentment of what its leading movers see as colonial subordination to Canterbury's liberal imperialism. Sydney's archbishop, Peter Jensen, a Gafcon driving force, is not just anti-gay, he carefully ensures there are no women priests in his diocese. The British Empire is over politically, he says, it should now end religiously. Nigeria's archbishop Peter Akinola, one of Gafcon's founders, also passionately deplores the ordination of gay priests. He likes Canterbury's authority no more than Jensen. These are fighters for freedom and the Bible, even while protesting their devotion to Anglicanism.

The row about the role of Church of England in an era of secularism and falling congregations has been rumbling on for decades. The emergence of Gafcon and Foca could trigger a full-scale crisis, notwithstanding their roots in Africa, Asia and Australia, because it gives the English fundamentalists powerful allies.

Yet in purely English terms the ordination of women priests and bishops, along with the eventual ordination of gay clergy, is inevitable. The genius of the Church of England is that because it is the official church it has to include the universe of all the English - Christian, agnostic and atheist of whatever sexual orientation. It represents the cultural heartbeat of the country, and as the country has become more progressive so has it.

This is not just a precious institution at individual moments of crisis. Anglican priests are bulwarks for a cluster of values - tolerance, mutual respect, kindness, altruism, redemption - wherever they go in the communities they serve. I've never met one I did not respect enormously. In some social housing estates they are the only decent non-official figures people encounter. And even if God is only a hypothesis, it is crucially important that the country's leading religious institution is liberal.

Williams understands this. The popular view is that he is an ineffectual, hand-wringer who is risking the break up of the Church of England. I disagree. He obviously has a responsibility to try to keep the worldwide Anglican church together if he can. But he has a greater responsibility to the genius of Anglicanism - its capacity to reconcile Christian faith with the lived lives of the English and in so doing transmute religion into a powerful liberal, rather than reactionary, force.

Neither need his strategy of gradualism and inclusivity fail. For the Gafcom revolutionaries, for all their unpleasant views, remain very Anglican in their fundamentalism. To declare adherence to the 39 Articles, whose core purpose was to ensure it is England's monarch, not the Pope, who ordains priests, will lead them to the same place as Williams if they could but see it. The Anglican church moved with the sexual times in the 16th century, founded to free English kings from papal bans on whom they married, loved and divorced. It is moving with the sexual times in the 21st century by preparing to ordain gay priests and women bishops.

People who believe in the 39 Articles, even if they live in Lagos, Kampala or Sydney, can not ultimately stray very far from Lambeth. Gafcon's bishops should leave the Church of England if they had the courage of their convictions, but they love its tolerance too much to do that. And the liberal English, whatever divine hypothesis they favour, should not allow Williams to fight alone. If we don't want bigots running our liberal church, we'd better show it more support. One step might be to turn up for the odd service."

Bonnie said...

Hi Leonardo--No, I had not read that link.

Very good article. I agree with him that:

"Gafcon's bishops should leave the Church of England if they had the courage of their convictions,...."

I might have given a different twist to the end of his sentence though. i.e., They have neither courage or convictions.

Off to bed. We have planned a morning hike at a local garden w/friends and then lunch. NC has many very beautiful native wild flowers and that is the focus of this particular garden. So, it should be fun.

fs said...

You look just like your mom, Leonardo. It's amazing. I don't know who your sister looks like, but it's not mom.

I'm convinced +Gene was chosen by God (as well as by New Hampshire) to fill this role. And he seems fully comfortable with and accepting of it as his mission -- his commission, really. If something happens to him as a result of this, I hope he'll be honored as a saint (if our branch of the one holy catholic and apostolic church has saints, that is.) But let us pray that he serves out his episcopate safely and successfully.

Bonnie, are you visiting NC or do you live there? I visited a couple of years ago and at several points was all ready to move. It is such a graceful, beautiful place, especially the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Lynn said...

Leonardo, your momma had style!

Bonnie said...

fs--Yes I live in NC. There is much to like about NC, including the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway. OTOH I sometime feel that we have landed in the same benighted political atmosphere that was all too prevalent in Colorado 20 years ago. In spite of Dobson, et al. and his marginalizing, bigoted minions, Colorado has actually improved.