About two months ago, I heard from an old friend with whom I had lost touch. Most of what he had to say revolved around his relationship with a man with whom he is now living. It’s the man he started dating after he left the man he left his wife for. It’s all so confusing it has me ending my sentences with prepositions. And prepositions are a horrible thing to end sentences with.
After listening to an update on his love life, I asked my old friend whether he was going to church. He said he wasn’t going anymore. He had left his previous church because they refused to allow gay deacons. He said he and his boyfriend needed a church that is more tolerant. I’m going to recommend that he give The Episcopal Church of the Advocate in Carrboro, North Carolina a try.
Until a couple of days ago, the Advocate website (www.ouradvocate.org) had a list of the members of its vestry, which included Frank Lombard. But after Lombard was arrested for allegedly trying to peddle his five year old adopted son on the internet – for virtually unlimited sexual abuse by a stranger – the Advocate updated its site. The church that says “We affirm, and welcome to our community and worship life, people of every kind of household and every stage of life and faith and doubt” is apparently excluding Frank Lombard.
After the news of Lombard’s arrest broke, I located his Face Book page so I could send him an interview request – but certainly not a “friend” request. For those not familiar with Face Book, it allows one to fill out a little “About me” line below one’s profile picture. Mine says “I never dated Sarah Palin. But I did sleep at a Holiday Inn Express.” Until shortly after his arrest, Frank Lombard’s read “Fan of Gene Robinson.”
For those who do not remember, Gene Robinson is the Episcopal Bishop who caused massive uproar in the church just a few years ago. He was not only openly gay but also admittedly non-celibate long before he came up for ratification as a bishop at the Episcopal convention. The vote for ratification was 62 to 45 in his favor causing serious division in the church.
It is impossible to know exactly why Frank Lombard considers himself a “fan of Gene Robinson.” Maybe he was just a fan of his because Robinson made it easier for Lombard – an openly gay man – to become a part of the vestry at The Episcopal Church of the Advocate. Or maybe Frank Lombard was more ambitious than Gene Robinson.
Frank Lombard stands accused of molesting a five year old. Is this arrest thwarting an effort by Lombard to promote tolerance of pedophilia in the Episcopal Church?
More specifically, Frank Lombard stands accused of molesting his five year old adopted son. Is this arrest thwarting an effort by Lombard to promote tolerance of incest in the Episcopal Church?
Readers of my column, even those from the San Francisco area, will be quick to point out that pedophilia, incest, and rape are more repugnant morally than homosexuality. But where does one draw the line?
In 2003, many defenders drew a line (read: manufactured a standard) by saying that Jesus never specifically condemned homosexuality in the New Testament. But there is a huge problem: Jesus never specifically condemned pedophilia, incest, or rape in the New Testament either.
After my friend told me that any church he joins must allow gay deacons I asked this question: When you chose to cohabitate with your boyfriend did this also impose on the church a demand that they allow cohabitating deacons?
The question can be worded another way: Is it the role of the church to shape the culture or to merely reflect it?
That Frank Lombard was arrested on the day of Michael Jackson’s death is highly symbolic. Christians need to take a break from worshipping this culture and the idols it produces. We need to take a closer look at the man in the mirror.