Tuesday, February 14, 2006

A letter from the Bishop of NH, Gene Robinson:

February 13, 2006

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I am writing to you from an alcohol treatment center where on February 1, with the encouragement and support of my partner, daughters and colleagues, I checked myself in to deal with my increasing dependence on alcohol. Over the 28 days I will be here, I will be dealing with the disease of alcoholism-which, for years, I have thought of as a failure of will or discipline on my part, rather than a disease over which my particular body simply has no control, except to stop drinking altogether.

During my first week here, I have learned so much. The extraordinary experience of community here will inform my ministry for years to come. I eagerly look forward to continuing my recovery in your midst. Once again, God is proving His desire and ability to bring an Easter out of Good Friday. Please keep me in your prayers and know that you are in mine.

Your Brother in Christ,


Anonymous said...

Interesting to think that for all these years he has considered alcoholism "a failure of will or discipline." Maybe he will "come to believe" that he has been misguided or misinformed about other things as well. This is my fervent prayer.

John Zahl said...

You know what they say: Whenever you find 4 Episcopalians, you'll always find a 5th!

Jeff Dean said...


Anonymous said...

"Over the 28 days I will be here, I will be dealing with the disease . . . which, for years, I have thought of as a failure of will or discipline on my part, rather than a disease over which my particular body simply has no control, except to stop . . . altogether."

amazing stuff.

Tim Galebach said...

Christ, I am...you.

Increasing...l...y...,...I will be...the disease.

I have learned so much. Here, I...will inform...your...God...that you are...mine.



Anonymous said...

Tim Galebach, Your sense of humor is my new "Higher Power."

bpzahl said...

um, that was sort of mean...

Tim Galebach said...

Yeah, sorry, did not mean to start any Gene Robinson bashing. This story is very interesting, but I think that the biggest thing to take from it is that, looking in from the outside, everyone thought that they knew what Gene's "problem" was, while there was something else huge going on that we all had no clue about. Sin can blindside as much as grace.

Anonymous said...

An adaptation of AA's "3rd Step Prayer" for Gene Robinson:
"Lord, we offer our brother, Gene Robinson, to thee, to build with him and do with him as thou wilt. Relieve him of the bondage of self, that he may better do thy will. Take away his difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those he would help, of Thy power, Thy love, and Thy way of life. May he do Thy will always. Amen"

P.S. To the elves:Did not know it was possible to "unring a bell" but am so very grateful. Thank you from the bottom of my sin-laden heart.

Jeff Dean said...

To the elves:

Thank you. Propreity certainly demanded your response.

To Tim:

Your comment is pricely why I might be willing to assert that the Law is devoid of specific content, though nevertheless powerful.

Irrespective of what we may feel certain a given person's "sins" are, the truth of their weakness hinges on something that only the Lord truly knows.

Therefore, we preach the generally condemming power of the law in order that it might be personally received. The specificity of sin is addressed by the Holy Spirit, not by the minister.

Despite all the railing against the Episcopal Chuch (much of it mine) for lacking the authority to define a sin and to excommunicate a sinner, this letter is powerful proof that the even those regarded as the most recalcitrant will be addressed by God's judgment and God's grace.

If the diocese of New Hampshire suddenly became home of the most orthodox, Bible-believing Christian in ECUSA, the occassion would by no means set a precedent.

bpzahl said...

Tim, I wasn't referring to your sense of humour as "mean" - I was responding to a post that John (in wisdom) removed.

Tim Galebach said...

Don't worry, I saw the original post.

Saju said...

Here is a man who is willing to accept he has got a problem... doing something about it... willing to learn from the community he is living in and offering a sense of hope (Easter out of good friday)... and most importantly requesting prayer... He is my brother indeed!

Anonymous said...

Now I really want to know what comment was removed.

Tim Galebach said...

It was a parody of the AA 12 steps, that was very uncharitable to Gene, and also had some homophobic overtones.

Eve Nash said...

I wrote it--It was more than mean; I am ashamed every time I think of it. I wrote it out in haste---laughing to myself because I was being so clever--and I KNEW even as I was posting it, that I might be sorry later, but I didn't care because I thought it was so funny.
It was so truly unfunny and unkind and was a huge disservice to AA, to gays,to Gene Robinson, and to this blog. I am so very sorry, and if anything good can come out of it, it is that I pray for Gene Robinson every time I think of this mistake (which is often), and I also will not post anonymously on any site again.

Jeff Dean said...

Hey Evenash,

Don't beat yourself up. The person who posted that commented was executed a very long time ago for his crime.

You, on the other hand, are a child of God.

Eve Nash said...

Jeff, Thank you for that very kind reminder. It is one thing to know you're a sinner, and to say that you're a sinner, and quite another to demonstrate it for all to see. Yuck. I still feel bad.
However, one other small good thing has come of it, which is for the first time in my life I can relate to a Cher song: "If I could turn back time..."