Five years ago, Gene Robinson was elected the first openly gay Christian bishop, causing the greatest crisis the modern Protestant community has ever faced. Will his love for another man rip the church in two? We’re about to find out
By Andrew Corsello; Photograph by Gillian Laub
EVEN BEFORE HE COULD SPEAK, he knew it and felt it: knew he would never be separated from it; felt it in the form of light and heat. actually, light and heat belittled what he felt. They were just words, and words were small, man’s way of knowing; words could point and suggest, but never apprehend. When he was old enough to search for better ways to convey what he felt when the love of God came upon him, he would tell his mother and father and minister and anyone else in Nicholasville, Kentucky, that it was like butter, liquid-warm, luminous, drizzled atop his head and descending over and through him in a seamless golden coat to his feet.
As a child, he prayed the way he breathed, and for the same reason. His Sunday-school attendance record was unblemished, from toddlerhood to the time he left for college. One Sunday morning, he woke feeling that his insides were being dry-baked. “Nothing’s wrong,” he told his mother when she saw the color of his face. “Let’s go to church!” So off they went, where he passed his measles on to every student in his Sunday-school class. Weighed against the prospect of not getting his Sunday fill of Jesus, the reprobation that came from being a Patient Zero was a small price to pay.
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