Opening Closet Doors

The thing that most frightens people about New Hampshire Bishop-elect Gene Robinson isn't that he's a gay man living in a committed relationship. What frightens them most is that he doesn't lie about it. Robinson has set the bar pretty high for the rest of the church, and many may never forgive him for it.

Honesty is hard work. What's more, honesty scares people. Robinson's honesty has blown the doors off too many closets for comfort. Closets come in all shapes and sizes, and hide all sorts of things.

The one we hear the most about is sexuality - and not just lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-gendered sexuality. Heterosexual closets aren't pristine. Pedophilia lurks in many more heterosexual closets than otherwise. Also lurking in straight closets is adultery, incest and who knows how many fetishes, both benign and toxic.

Then there are the closets that hold abuses of power, fraudulent uses of power, criminal abuses of power. Next come the closets full of financial misconduct - fraud, embezzlement, theft, etc. There are the closets that hold alcohol and drug abuse, including abuse of legal drugs, and closets that hold domestic violence, verbal as well as physical.

When closet doors begin to be opened around issues of sexuality, those hiding issues in their own closets get nervous.
If we begin telling the truth about sexuality, what's next? The fear of having one's vulnerabilities exposed underlies much of the argument against giving consent to the consecration of Robinson.

But the Christ who hung naked on the cross calls us to a terrible vulnerability. Let us embrace it. It is one of the most powerful evangelism tools we have.

Katie Sherrod for The Consultation Web Site -comprised of the following groups:

Episcopal Urban Caucus
Episcopal Peace Fellowship
Episcopal Women's Caucus
Union of Black Episcopalians
Episcopal Ecological Network
Episcopal Society for Ministry in Higher Education
Episcopal Church Publishing Company
Episcopal Network for Economic Justice
Episcopal Asiamerica Ministry Advocates
Associated Parishes for Liturgy and Mission
Province 8 Native American Ministries Network

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5/7/04 -j