Book Review: In the Eye of the Storm

In the Eye of the Storm
Gene Robinson

Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: Seabury Books (April 1, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1596270888
ISBN-13: 978-1596270886
Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 0.9 inches

I will admit from the very beginning of this review that I was a reluctant reader of the book In the Eye of the Storm by Gene Robinson. I guess I was swayed by all of the press about him and his lifestyle and I assumed that it was going to be another book by a gay man telling the rest of us that we need to accept gay people in the world. I was wrong and I am glad I was wrong. This by far was the best book I have read in a long time.

Bishop Robinson talks about what it is like to be a gay man in our society today and also in the church but he speaks from his heart about what he believes we should be as a people but also what we should be as a church. “We are called by the One who made us merciful, loving, and compassionate – not judgmental.” With these words bishop Robinson begins a discussion of what we are called to be as Christians. “Loving our neighbor begins – and perhaps is only possible – when we love ourselves.” I wrote these words down when I read them and each of us should have these words written on our hearts.Bishop Robinson reminds us again and again, that we need to go where God is calling us not just where we want to go, and to minister to His people and not just the people we want to minister too. “We must go where the Gospel tell us with the poor, the dispossessed and the marginalized.” This is what Jesus did and Bishop Robinson reminds each of us that this is the great commission. “We are about changing the world – we are about loving those who Jesus loved those on the margins.” These are words for each of us in this world that has gone mad.

I was surprised that the theology of Bishop Robinson is not what I expected. Time and time again the book Bishop Robinson calls us to look at what we believe and how we practice our faith and constantly asks us what would Jesus do? He calls us back to the early church teaching of working with those on the edge and not judging people for how they dress, act, or think just love them. He reminds us that before we can love others we need to love ourselves.

Throughout this book he weaves his own experiences with those of Scripture to perhaps shine a light down the dark path that we all need to follow. He speaks of visiting the women’s prison after his election and the vestments that they made for him and now he cherishes those vestments above all the others that he has. He speaks of visits to parishes and the struggles of the people not from a gay straight point of view but from a very human dare I say pastoral place. Bishop Gene, if I may be so bold to call him that, teaches us what it truly means to be a pastor to God’s children.

Towards to end of the book he writes about the Anglican Communion and about the coming Lambeth Conference that he has not been invited too. About his feelings of not having a seat at the table even though his is a canonically elected and consecrated bishop. I get the sense from his words that he is less concerned about himself then his is about his people. By him not being at the table with his brother and sister bishops the people of his Diocese are not represented. Bishop Gene truly loves his flock, all of them, not just the ones that agree with him.

Gene Robinson is bishop of the tiny, rural Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire, but he’s at the center of a storm of controversy raging in the Episcopal Church and throughout the worldwide Anglican Communion involving homosexuality, the priesthood, and the future of the Communion. This book offers an honest, thoughtful portrait of Robinson, the faith that has informed his life, and the controversy that continues to rock his Church.


  1. we are all Gods children all made differently but in his image and is important to remember this. i don’t know if being gay is wrong or right but i do know God loves all his children.i once read a book about freddy mercurys’ boy friend and found myself feeling very sorry for him because he lost out on many things being a man and being gay. i guess only God should judge and we should love. anne

  2. You hit on it when you said, Love is only possible when we love ourselves. Do we love ourselves because of what we have, or what we have become because of what our parents provided for us, or what we have made of ourselves? Do we think we are lovable because we are accepted by others or because we are created by God who does not make junk. He loves me so I can decide to love myself and others no matter what just because…

  3. Robinson may indeed be a competent “bishop” who loves his flock. He may be at heart a good man. But the fact remains that love requires telling the Truth, and the truth is that homosexual behavior is a sin. A sheherd who believes and teaches a lie as being the Truth is not a good shepherd, by definition. If “tolerance”, “diversity” and “pluralism” are your highest virtues, I guess the man is a saint. But to those who value Truth as Christianity and the Church have always taught it, the man is deluded and a heretic. Unfortunately, in the Anglican Communion he is part of the majority.
    Take a deep breath, get off the group hug mentality, and stand up for the teachings of Christ.

  4. BTW, Father : love your Iraq War body count at the bottom of the blog. Do you think you could put up one for the number of abortions in the U.S. in the same time period, due to the actions and legislation of your liberal friends ? Warning : you’ll need a much bigger counter.

    Wishing you grace & peace and REAL oerthodoxy ~

  5. Fr. Peter: Thank you for your comments. We are all called to not be judmental and further to love. Wonder how the Bishop handles those not in agreement with his lifestyle. It cannot be easy on either side.

  6. James,

    Thanks for your comments it is nice when people put their name on them. I guess my question back to you would be are you assuming that all our bishops are sinless, or is homosexulaity just the BIG sin that we cannot forgive. How about a bishop that steals money from they church, or one who fathers children outside of his vows?

    I can see your point and I think you for your comments.

    As far as your comment on my liberal body count calculator, I did not realize that sanctitiy of life from conception to it’s natural end did not include people in other countries. If you can find me an abortion calulation I would glady put it up on my site. I think abortion is a scurge on our humanity and I would be happy to bring attention to it.

  7. I guess this will be a liberal statement. We as Christians are called to love and not to judge. There are many more verses in Scripiture to this point. If we all just loved one another the world would be a much better place.

    You do not have to agree with Bishop Robinson’s lifestyle but we have to love him.

    Love the sinner hate the sin!

  8. Fr. This one is not open for debate, we cannot change what has been given to us from above. Sin is sin and as you quickly pointed out, homosexualty is not the only sin. The biggest sin is the “LIE” that its okay as long as love is present. What kind of love is this? Hugs, kisses and throw the good book out the window? NO,No, No, doesn’t work that way. Love the sinner, hate the sin, yes. The TRUTH wins out in the end./ MARIE –P.S. Standing on the side of the teachings of Christ and His church. (No offense to the Bishop or anyone else who engages in alternative choices). A word of advise, you can’t have it both ways.

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