“This morning, I want to talk about politics.”

Yes. These were the exact first words spoken by The Rt. Rev. Mark Hollingsworth, Jr., XI Bishop of Ohio in his annual Convention Address. My brother and I were raised, or more accurately, clearly instructed by our most proper mother that the two topics never discussed in polite society are politics and religion. So, Bishop Hollingsworth’s words snared my attention. Here was our Bishop, at our convention, speaking to polite church society. He was breaking the rules. And over the course of his address with his respectful, deliberate, softly assertive words he was demanding that we do the same.

The Bishop referenced Jesus’s direct challenges to the injustices of oppression, captivity and disenfranchisement of his time as straight political action. It is the same political action that our society requires of us now. We currently live in a society overflowing with a lack of simple civility and a loud disrespect for diversity of being and thought. It requires of us the political action of The Rev. Lisa Tucker-Gray’s “connecting and kindom”. It requires us, as The Bishop stated in his address to build authentic relationships with God, with each other and with those with whom we differ. In this way we can begin to have those impolite, rule-breaking, but so necessary political conversations with ourselves and each other from places of safety and security.

My take away from the Convention is this: Trinity Episcopal Church has the courage and steadfastness to face head on The Bishop’s “hard conversations” about difference, diversity, inclusive Christianity and is making a meaningful difference in these divisive times.

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