I only turned on HBO yesterday to hear Bishop Gene's invocation at the Lincoln Memorial Inaugural Concert. I was so alienated by the Rick Warren thing, so pissed that there was this fly-in-the-ointment of joy, that Bishop Gene's last minute inclusion was at least some redress. I'm not real crazy about pop divas, or pop music in general, although it was cool to hear Stevie Wonder and James Taylor, and I confess I was swept up in the emotion of it all, heralding joyously the end of our 8 year national disgrace and nightmare under the Bush Administration. But where was Bishop Gene ?
Well, the invocation was scheduled, apparantly, for 10 minutes before the entertainment so it was not included in HBO's broadcast. How difficult would it have been to schedule things to include this important and politically sensitive speaker ? AND, to make matters worse -- the loudspeakers "malfunctioned" through all but the last sentence of his prayer, so many in the crowd did not hear it.
And maybe, just maybe, if this double glitch had not happened, then the failure to identify the Gay Men's Chorus might not have rankled so much.
It's MLK Day. Yesterday, inspired by a splendid talk after church, I read his "Letter From Birmingham Jail."
I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.
I couldn't help recalling Presiding Bishop Schori's words of several years ago regarding full inclusion of all genders, partnered or not, in all Episcopal orders and marriage rites:
"Each party in this conflict is asked to consider the good faith of the other, to consider that the weakness or sensitivity of the other is of significant import, and therefore to fast for a season," Jefferts Schori wrote.
Wouldn't a banquet of justice -- for all -- be preferable ?