Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Way a Pastor Should Be

The Lambeth Conference has started, but I don’t think I’m going to blog about it the way I did GAFCON. I’ve got quite a lot of writing to do at work, and it would be nice to catch up on some personal reading, as well. Plus, the new Batman movie is out. Grandmère Mimi has compiled a good list of Lambeth blogs at the top her sidebar, I agree with what most of the Three Legged James says, and The Episcopal CafĂ©’s Jim Naughton is giving us the real news the MSM won’t, and Ruth Gledhill is my queen. Go read them.

I do, however, want to pass along this bit from Bishop Gene Robinson’s blog. While yesterday’s post was powerfully personal and painful, it is Thursday’s post I have been meaning to pass along for a couple days now. +Gene wrote this after his sermon in Putney , England was interrupted by a heckler. This speaks to just why he is more qualified to be a bishop than most.

I noticed Nick in the congregation. He was the young waiter from the cafe that is built right into the entrance to the church. He had served me lunch the day before, and then later told me that he was gay and Christian. He said his mother was Catholic and had told him that although it made her sad, he was going to hell. Nick was there to receive the Body and Blood of Christ with a large congregation who did NOT think he was hellbound.

And then, after the service, there was Emily. I had been told about her by her vicar. She's about twenty years old and has muscular dystrophy. Her mobility is impaired, and her speech is labored. And she has recently announced to her family and friends that she is lesbian. She told her mother and her vicar that she wanted to be there to meet Bishop Robinson. I made sure she was brought up to the private space where we all gathered after the service.

She walked onto the terrace tentatively. I greeted her, noticing that her hands were very weak. With great difficulty, and needing time to shape each word as carefully as she could, she told me what my words and my ministry have meant to her. I asked her if I could hug her, and she melted into my arms for a long embrace. In that moment, I remembered why I was here in London , why I was talking about God's love for all of God's children. I remembered how MANY of God's lgbt children have never heard those words about themselves, or believed them. I was here for Emily, and Nick, and countless others I will never know. God loves them so much, and it must break God's heart that they doubt it. My job is to help rid them of that doubt.

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