Bishop Eugene Robinson
File this entry under promotion of admired friends' work. Ethan Vesely-Flad's article "For the Soul of the Church" in ColorLines has been nominated in the category Outstanding Magazine Article for the GLAAD media awards.
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) promotes fair, accurate and inclusive depictions of gay issues and individuals in media. ColorLines reminds all that race matters: "in 1903, W.E.B. DuBois wrote, 'The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line.' In the 21st century, the color lines are still drawn.... We read in between the lines. We question the lines. We cross the lines."
My church, the Episcopal Church of the U.S.A, is a party to a controversy that places it squarely in the intersection of those race and gay issues, with the added reality that today, all striving for truth is global, not just local. Using all its own lawful procedures, in 2003 the Episcopalians of New Hampshire chose a faithful, experienced priest as their bishop -- who happens to be a white, "out," partnered gay man. And all hell broke loose.
White conservatives in the U.S. church, supported by right wing money and think tanks, have teamed up with conservative African and Asian clerics to fight off what they experience as akin to blasphemy. And comfortable white U.S. liberals have often dismissed Third World opposition in terms that echo conventional European racism and imperialism. Meanwhile U.S. Episcopalians of color have largely been sidelined as the warring parties toss charges of homophobia and violating Scripture over their heads.
That is, the ECUSA chose to place itself at the nexus of many deep-seated global conflicts. Ethan's article is so thorough, nuanced and thoughtful, it eludes easy excerpting. Here is a little piece:
Within the Episcopal Church, these questions will come to head again this summer at its triennial General Convention. International Anglicanism will grapple with them again in the context of a meeting to be called by the Archbishop of Canterbury in 2008.
Kudos to Ethan for trying to capture the situation's numerous complexities. Kudos to ColorLines for printing an article about Christians tripping and falling along a path that leads to unknown ends. Kudos to GLAAD for including an article about Christianity's blundering by-ways in their media awards.