During the recent royal wedding, the Presiding Bishop of the United States, The Most Rev. Michael Curry, did what he was called to do. He did, simply, preach the love of Jesus as he understood it. Despite rather pathetic efforts to alter perceptions, Bishop Curry honored God, the bride and groom, and the church he represents. It is unclear to me how he might have made things less than they should have been.
Now, I never thought I would be one to defend an Episcopal bishop; not by a long shot (not that this gentleman needs it). The Episcopal Church and I have had our battles. There was a time when elements (two bishops, especially) of this entity of the Christian church treated me with unfounded disrespect, and in ways that shut me down as a human being. That was a long, long time ago.
Since those days, I was invited to be a staff member at a wonderful Episcopal parish in North Carolina, one with which I had been intimately familiar since childhood. During that incredible period of my ministry, I had the pleasure of meeting Michael Curry and visit with him—clergy to clergy, listening to his thoughts about how Jesus enters our lives and empowers us to bring the sacred to the lives of others. He did this with humility and positive exchange, being more than open to one ordained in another tradition. We laughed together that day, and I realized he was in possession of something frequently absent among those in the ordained ministry: a wonderful sense of humor.
One of the things that impressed me was how different Curry was—in the ways of the heart—than some of those bishops I had previously encountered. Bishop Curry struck me as genuine, loving, and he expressed a gift in the pulpit uncommon to most that I had witnessed in the Anglican way. That is to say, the man had soul.
There has been an interesting array of responses to Curry’s message at the royal wedding. Some have been negative; condescending. Listening to preachers critique other preachers is a bit like watching the little boy peeing into the hurricane: The self-imposed splash-back is entertaining enough; it just doesn’t qualify as serious scholarship. “There but by the grace of God, go I….”
In this age where so many strive to be “correct,” particularly in their respective theologies, I can’t help but wonder what has happened to the concept of perspective. All points of view are valid, and it isn't always about being right, but being faithful. I am reminded of how far we have yet to go. Believe it or not, some folks aren’t always harboring an agenda. Some do what they do for the sake of the Gospel, despite the wretchedness of others.