Saturday, February 4, 2012

At Sundance, Bishop Robinson is a hit.... not so much with me

A documentary film chronicling the life of gay Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson appears to have become a hit at the Sundance Film Festival.

The film [Love Free or Die] follows Robinson as the church grapples with how to handle lesbian and gay issues. Robinson’s election brought to a head divisions between liberal and conservative Episcopalians, and between the U.S. church and more conservative members of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Filmmakers followed Robinson to England in 2008, where he was excluded from the Anglicans’ Lambeth Conference of bishops. And they followed him to the Episcopal Church’s 2009 General Convention, where leaders voted to allow blessings of same-sex marriages, civil unions or domestic partnerships (where legal) and allow gay men and women to become bishops.

Along the way, they interviewed Robinson, his family and other church leaders, many of whom supported his quest for equality and some of whom did not.

Robinson sees himself as part of a new generation of church leaders who want to be open and honest about whom they are. He wants to show that people need not choose between their faith and their sexuality.

“The church asks its clergy to climb into the pulpit every week and call people to a life of integrity, but for countless generations it’s asked its gay and lesbian clergy to live a life without integrity while calling on other people to do it, and that just seems crazy to me,” Robinson said. “I think people are drawn to a religion that supports integrity and honesty and openness.”

You can read it all for yourself here.   He is described as historic and heroic by the filmmakers and some of those who saw it.  Like McGreevey, the New Jersey Governor who came out some years ago, the media likes to portray these struggles in a certain light -- one in which being true to your perceived sexuality is higher than any other value.

I wish Robinson no harm.  He may be an historic figure but he is not heroic in my book.  He has chosen self over so many others and made his own personal glory more of an issue that the now fractured and bleeding structure of the Episcopal Church.  There is nothing heroic about those who choose self over calling or over the Church to which they were called.  I am sure it is an interesting story but it saddens me to no end that this film would glorify a man so self-involved.  There is little about his story that I would call noble.  His story is a testament to what an honorable man would not do.

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