Gutter newspaper and television has made some hay about Jim McGreevey — former New Jersey governor and “gay American” — being received into the Episcopal Church, being accepted to study at General Theological Seminary and pursuing holy orders. It’s been a busy week for him: good luck. I won’t wonder what happened if he’s not accepted into candidacy. Indeed, I’ll be suspicious if he is. Seminary gets more than its share of people looking for some new stability and direction in life. Some get it, others don’t. (Seminaries and denominations also get people with pull and money who get their way.)
I recall meeting a student at seminary orientation, visiting him in his apartment in the days before class started, and never seeing him again. Seems he holed himself up with supplies from the local liquor store and made a Lost Weekend into a Lost Week. Hospitalized for rehab after students from his denomination went to check on him, he then withdrew from school.
But, as you see from the title of this post, I have other thoughts, too. Has the Episcopal Church become “that church” — the role once filled by the Unitarian Universalists? Sure we’re funky and funny, and in a number of different ways. Some of that is OK, but if that’s all you are you start living into it and can become nothing else. Then that’s how the rest of the world sees you and you begin to spiral into your own weird world. The UUA seems to be tacking a middle course right now; it certainly seems saner as a whole than a few years ago, but I wonder if the political antics of the Bush administration hasn’t been the cause of the sobering. Or perhaps the retirement of the generation of those groovy ministers, some of whom had professional habits that make my hair curl.
It’s the Episcopal Church’s turn to look like Jerry Springer’s special guests. Fly-ins from Nigeria. American bishops with the ecclesiastic version of Guillain-Barre Syndrome. The Archbish of Canterbury looking more spectral than solid. Good luck to them, too.