Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: Seabury Books (April 1, 2008)
Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 0.9 inches
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.