Saturday, 20 November 2010

Bishop Gene Robinson: 10 Fascinating-ish Facts

1. His parents gave him a girl’s name, Vicky Jean, after his father, Victor and his mother, Imogene. He toyed with changing it. “It’s a terrible way to grow up. A Boy named Sue — I am like the living reality of that.”

2. Hugh Hefner made him realise he was a gayer. “What I do remember is at about age 12 or 13 being with a group of my friends and somehow they had acquired a Playboy magazine. They were clearly very excited by these photographs and they really weren’t doing anything for me. I thought, 'Oh my God, I think I’m different.' Almost simultaneously I realised that to say that was dangerous, possibly physically and certainly socially.”

3. Although now married to a man, Mark, he was married to a woman, Boo, for 13 years. “I loved her, I still love her.” They have two daughters.

4. He is a recovering alcoholic, just like George Bush.

5. Gene wears what he calls “my fundamentalist socks”. They are decorated with fish, a symbol of the early Church, and crosses.

6. Robinson is not a liberal theologically. "I am wildly conservative theologically.” He “absolutely full stop” believes in the bodily resurrection. “That seems like such a small miracle compared with the Creation, for instance.” And the Virgin Birth? “Why not? I believe in God’s power to do those things.” Nutter.

7. He would like to think "Jesus would have been arguing for the full inclusion of gay and lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in the life of the Church and in the life of the secular community... For 18½ centuries we had slavery and we used scripture to justify it... we have used scripture to subjugate and denigrate women... now we happen to be living in a time where we are trying to sort out whether we might have been similarly wrong about homosexuality.”

8. He has friends who think the Archbishop of Canterbury has been abducted by aliens. Not literally, mind.

9. Gene took up smoking when he was 40. "The most consciously self-destructive thing he has ever done. He tells me it is like a Persian carpet weaver, who deliberately puts a defect into every carpet he makes as an acknowledgement that only God is perfect."

10. He prefers Lady Gaga to Madonna.

All factoids gleaned from the Saturday Interview in The Times.

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