Thursday, February 25, 2010


When I was at St. Paul's in New Haven, a place where there were usually 2 or 3 seminarians around for me to pretend to supervise, there was a young man who I admired and liked greatly.

He was a model of a good Seminarian--willing to try most anything, open and interested in the members of the parish, a reasonable preacher, a good colleague.

I was the preacher at his marriage, down in the Mainline of Philadelphia where the celebrant was the Rector at the time, Frank Griswold, who went on to become Presiding Bishop. But here's the thing, I called him once when the bishop had made a decision about gay/lesbian issues that I felt was reactionary and did not represent the general will of the diocese. I had a long talk with him about what was going on--he was a CT priest at the time--(or, more correctly, I ranted on about how awful the bishop's decision...whatever it was...was). When I asked him to help by approaching the bishop about the decision I listened to a lot of dead air on the phone.

Finally, I realized, intuitively, that he didn't agree with me.

Now, I've never made any secret of what I think about social or theological issues and this young priest had worked with me for two years and was exemplary. But in all that time and since his ordination--I was one of his presenters as I remember--he'd never once let me know that he was a whole, honkin' lot more conservative than I was.

He finally explained that he didn't agree and couldn't help me. I was stunned. I simply couldn't understand how I hadn't known his positions and thoughts. He was, for the time before he left CT for another diocese, one of the most eloquent of the right-wing of the diocese. And I had worked with him for two years and known him well after that and never realized.

Looking back I have to ponder some things. *Am I too intimidating to disagree with? Do I come on so strong about what I believe and support that it would be hard to 'cross' me? *Did he hide his opinions from me or develop them later? *What was the breakdown in our relationship that I merely assumed we agreed on most things when in fact we didn't at all? *Did I never ask him what he thought or never invite him to share his beliefs? *Was I just so self-absorbed I never realized how we differed in the years we worked so closely?

I'm still not sure--but it was jarring to me, that day I called him....

Now it is merely something I have to sit with and ponder. And wonder, whatever the reason was, were their others...?

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About Me

some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.