Saturday, July 11, 2009
Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson, Episcopal Church Bishop of New Hamphsire, on What God He Believes In
Bishop Robinson likes to talk about being true to the way we were made. If only he and all the rest of us would really do that!
We are human, and we did not create ourselves. We were created by an Other—an infinite, and infinitely great, Other. Our most important characteristic as humans is that we have desire—we long for this infinite Other. Only the infinite Other can actually satisfy our deep desire. One may think that a certain special job, or a getting a certain person to be one’s spouse, or having more money, or a new car, or gratifying a sexual urge, will satisfy one’s heart and bring happiness. But that is not actually possible. One gets a new job, marries a beautiful wife, wins the lottery, buys a new BMW, or has a pleasurable and gratifying sexual experience, and it is not enough. The aching desire of the heart remains bereft and unfulfilled.
Anything from this world is small and insubstantial in comparison to the infinite Other that our hearts actually desire most. The paradox is that we are small and broken, and so are the things of this world that we think we want, but the desire in our hearts is infinite and perfect. We were in fact created to have this desire for the infinite Other.
Our problem is that our intellects are too small for our hearts. We lack the imaginative powers to comprehend that our desire for the infinite can actually be fulfilled. The joy and happiness that can be ours is beyond our wildest dreams, but, precisely because that is the case, we try to limit or reduce our desire for the infinite to something more manageable, something we can control and get our minds around.
The message of gay “Christian” activists and other self-styled progressives such as Bishop Robinson is that we should seek to fulfill our own, internally generated wants and substitute those wants for our real, pressing desire for the infinite. But the only way that anyone can do that is by betraying his own heart! It is akin to giving a child who desperately wants to be hugged by his mother a life-sized blow-up doll instead, or giving a starving man a picture of food, and expecting satisfaction to result. It is a profoundly unreasonable act.
And so we are witnesses to exceeding tragedy. We watch decent, well-intentioned, intelligent people as they are seduced into something objectively irrational—exchanging what could have been overarching and eternal joy for alluring possessions and experiences that cannot possibly make them happy. In the end, if they continue betraying their own hearts, they will have only ashes, dust, and eternal separation from what they most desire.
Christianity is the announcement that the mysterious, infinite Other became incarnate in the flesh as a man, in a unique and unrepeatable moment in history. By doing so the infinite Other took pity on our nothingness and showed us that we CAN in fact have the deepest, most urgent desire of our hearts fulfilled. A pathway for us to reach the infinite was carved into eternity.
To walk that pathway, however, we must be rigorously true to our hearts’ greatest desire. The only thing that corresponds to that desire is Jesus. He draws us to himself by using our hearts.