Thursday, July 27, 2006

Bomb's away

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Jesse Hyden has written an interesting and somewhat critical article titled "Thou shalt not" on Fr. David Roseberry of Christ Church in Plano and the troubles of the Episcopal Church in the July 27th issue of the Dallas Observer. Hyden turned to Fr. Stephen Waller of St. Thomas the Apostle in Dallas for comment as Roseberry's counterpart--another priest of the same diocese, but who is gay and leads a parish that is on the cutting edge of the liberal movement in the Episcopal Church.

Sometimes that kind of "tennis match" style of reporting gets a little tired, but fair enough. What blew me away, however, was when Waller goes on to drop the F-bomb in front of Hyden. As he tells the story in the article:

The way [Waller] sees it, the Bible teaches love and tolerance. How David Roseberry has lost sight of that is beyond him. "My grasp of truth, I believe, is a bit wider than his is, and I don't know why his has to be so narrow. It's unfortunate. He's got a wonderful thing going, why does he have to #*&% it up?"

The priest went on to clear the air with this condescending comment:
"I think what's going on with the conservative right in the Episcopal Church is causing all of us to have to prop up the building, and we wouldn't have to do it if they would just settle down. The general convention made its decision to elect Katharine Jefferts Schori presiding bishop, and nobody's head fell off. Gene Robinson is the only partnered gay bishop that we know of. We've made a decision that we're not likely to elect and consecrate somebody else because we don't want to offend anybody in the deepest, darkest Africa about this. What else do you want? What they want is Gene's head on a platter and Katharine to be a guy," Waller says.

I've heard my share (more than I care to hear) of potty-mouthed priests. Cussin' clergy is nothing new. Of course, before it had always fallen on the unstained ears when I was among colleagues, behind closed doors, or on some get-together away from the laity (usually after midnight, on the tail end of hours of hearty discussions).

Is Fr. Waller just trying to sound like Kinky Friedman--out to "dewussify Texas"? Does anyone else think this was way out of line? As for myself, I don't talk like that. But I can't imagine saying it in front of the laity or an unfamiliar ear--especially a reporter!

It seams to me to be rather self-defeating if he wants to make a point and have it be persuasive at all. After the F-bomb, I just can't help but ignore the rest that he has to say, thinking, "I guess he's not a very holy priest--not someone worth listening to about what the will of God might be." In other words, I gues when it comes to cussin' clergy, my rule is "Thou shalt not."

[BTW--Gene Robinson is not "the only partnered gay bishop that we know of." Bp. Otis Charles was among the flurry of same-sex weddings in San Francisco last year. But Robinson is probably the only one who was open about it when elected.]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree about ignoring the rest he has to say. In my humble opinion, the only time anyone *needs* to cuss would be when they drop a couch on their foot. ;)