Posted by Mark Beckwith on December 19, 2010
Yesterday a small group in the diocese met with The Rt. Rev. Christopher Senyenjo, an exiled Bishop in Uganda. Christopher has been marginalized because his ministry in retirement has been to the marginalized. He has set up a counseling practice -- and a large part of his clientele is the LGBT community of the capital city of Kampala. His motivation for this ministry comes -- in some measure from Paul: "I beg...you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patients, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." (Ephesians 4:1-3) Christopher is indeed gentle and humble -- and passionate about the calling to offer God's love. And he is in trouble for it. Because the primary constituency to whom he is offering God's love is a constituency that is subject to arrest, punishment -- and even death. It is a crime to be a gay or lesbian person in Uganda. A law that was presented to the Uganda Parliament this fall that criminalized the LGBT community was shelved -- for the time being. We were told that a new version of it will probably appear after national elections -- in March, and it will be more subtle and more ruthless. In Uganda, open hostility may become official policy. Open hostility is already the practice around the world -- be it racial, regional or religious -- but official hostility is something else. Paul enjoins us to "speak the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15). They have to go together. In a sermon I heard recently, truth without love can be tantamount to abuse -- and love without truth doesn't exist. And Bishop Senyenjo offers his witness -- with extraordinary gentleness and humility. And fire -- for love. For the redeeming power of love. And it is making a difference.