Odd story in the news of Anglican doings. Bishop Gene Robinson is to retire. But on closer inspection this 'event' will not take place in February, 2011 (three months notice) or May, 2011 (six months notice) or November, 2011 (twelve months notice), but in January, 2013 (26 months notice). Perhaps even odder is this:
"The first openly gay Episcopal bishop, whose consecration instigated a global religious controversy, announced today that he would take early retirement, citing stress from the experience". (Explanatory note re 'early retirement': +Robinson will be 65 then, but he does not have to retire till he is 70).
Now perhaps, dear readers, you live in a different world to me, but in my world stressed people who cite stress as a reason for early retirement do not then stay in the job for a further 26 months! No doubt +Robinson has been stressed by his role as lightening rod for discontent in the Episcopalian and Anglican worlds in which he has become one of our most famous figures, but it is an oddity of this story that stress is the reason given for announcing retirement more than two years away.
However the point I think which is worth noting more about this news is that it is, in a way, a non-news story: it purports to be about a significant change, +Robinson retiring, but I find it impossible to conceive that +Robinson will cease to be retired after January, 2013 in respect of media presence and comment. In his ministry as Bishop of New Hampshire he has been a bishop of everywhere, travelling widely and speaking plentifully. Will that change in retirement? I foresee +Robinson for many years to come being an ever present voice in Anglican matters. A new Spong for a new age!