I’m sure you’re familiar with the current hullabaloo surrounding the nomination and subsequent installation of Gene Robinson as a “Bishop” in the Episcopal Church, USA. This is my perspective on the matter.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
As a supposedly “confessing” church, the ECUSA (and the EC-Canada) is supposed to confess that the Bible is the Word of God. A lot of the “redefining” of the bible that has been going around has been arguing that it is all about cultural and historical context. John 1:1 disagrees. Before cultural and historical context, before humanity, before the animals, before the earth, before the sun or the moon, before anything was the Word. That is pretty profound when you really sit down and think about it. In fact, a lot of arguments surround the bible and it not fitting into the modern world don’t matter when you look at them through the lense of John 1:1.
Part of the problem, I think, is that a lot of those people in the clerical world have a very similar problem to the secular academic world. A kind of Ivory Tower Syndrom, if you will. There are a few, and sadly I believe that Gene Robinson is one of them, that will redefine anything so that they don’t have to confront the real issue. The real issue was first shown in Genesis. Sin. Thinking through the harshness of Levitical law (which the Gentiles are, mercifully, free of), I wonder if its harshness was because, we, fallen humanity, fail to recognize (through conscious or unconscious avoidance) just how truly sinful we are.
There are a lot of people who are stuck on Gene Robinson’s sexual orientation. There are those that are stuck on the fact that he abandoned his marriage vows (and thus his wife and children). To me it’s bigger than that. Gene Robinson and his election to the bishopry are a natural step for the ECUSA (and soon, I’m sure, EC-Canada). It is a failure by the leadership, those that are to watch and care for Jesus’s sheep, to confront sin, and ALL of the discomfort that that confrontation would cause.
A lot of this is about choosing to no longer believe that the bible is the Word of God. However, it is also, frankly, the malaise of a modern society that wants to so desperatly avoid confrontation, that the action of not confronting evolves into an act of tolerating, then acception, then celebrating, then encouraging behavior that is condemned by the bible.
[24 October 2006: This was, originally, going to be a single post, but with the fallout continuing, it will be connected to at least one other entry, but probably more. See also: Ignoring the Sin Won’t Lessen the Pain]