Gene Robinson

Gene Robinson

In the Eye of the Storm. Swept to the Center by God.

2008. NY: New York. Seabury Books.

The name Gene Robinson, or to give him his official title - The Right Reverend V. Gene Robinson - is the ninth bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire in the Episcopal Church in the United States of America.

He was elected bishop in 2003 and is probably best known for being the first openly gay, non-celibate priest to be ordained a bishop in a major Christian denomination ‘believing in the historic episcopate. The mere mention of his name in some quarters can create quite a ‘storm’. And he is also known as the ‘gay priest’ who delivered an invocation at the inauguration of President Barak Obama which HBO television network ‘deleted’ from its broadcast.

The collection of mostly short articles and reflections which makes up this book is not just about what he thinks, which at time is rather conservative, but also about who he is as a person. So the book is a mix of personal reflections, experiences, former sermon notes, pastoral situations and, especially in the section on ‘Homosexuality and the church’, raw and honest comment.

The book is divided into four parts with each part shaped by a theme and sub-theme. Then come the chapters within each section. It sounds complicated but in fact it all hangs together quiet well.

I was intrigued by its title. Those of us who always travel close to the winds (or hurricanes) of change, know to be in the calmer ‘eye of the storm’ is only momentary. The second onslaught of wild and often irrational wind, is coming, soon. But the sub-title also gives a further clue to Robinson’s outlook on life. Being in the centre of the storm is also where God can be found. And that is both energising and enough.

A good book to read of an evening, at the end of one’s day.