Monday, May 13, 2013

No fairy tale, this

Once upon a time there was a Mommy and a Daddy who had two little girls in quick succession and another child on the way. Shortly after a third little girl was born, the Mommy had a little talk with the Daddy that resulted in the Daddy’s paying a visit to his doctor’s office for a little snip-snip-snipping that was designed to make a vas deferens, er, vast difference in the Mommy’s and Daddy’s need for any future family planning counseling.

Unfortunately, the Daddy did not heed the nice doctor’s advice to refrain from his favorite activity (the Daddy’s, not the doctor’s, although it might also have been the doctor’s, albeit with a different Mommy) for at least six weeks.

Lo (and behold), much to her surprise, the Mommy found herself once again with child. So much for the efficacy of modern medicine, especially when Daddies disregard what their doctors tell them.

The fourth child, born 11 months after the third daughter’s entry into the world and 10 months after the Daddy’s visit to his doctor’s office, turned out to be a little boy. Before the crown prince joined the three little princesses, the Daddy paid another visit to his doctor’s office for another round of snip-snip-snipping, which this time proved successful. There were no more crown princes or princesses.

Sixteen, seventeen years passed.

The crown prince, the pride and joy of his Mommy and Daddy (especially his Daddy, whose virility/lack of self-control was legend among the family’s circle of friends), announced that he was gay. The Mommy and Daddy and all three of the princesses were very sad. The Mommy in particular flat out refused to believe it.

Ten or twelve more years passed, bringing us up to the present day.

This particular family is real, not fictional, and well-known to your correspondent. The eldest daughter has always been a very quiet person, but the other five members of the family have an opinion on anything and everything and have never shown the slightest reluctance to share it with one and all. Only the delicate story I shared with you at the beginning prevents me from saying that this family, by and large, lets it all hang out. Yes, they do. On Facebook even. Especially on Facebook.

A few days ago, the crown prince (I’ll him “Ethan Smith”) posted on his own wall a comment that he had written on someone else’s wall in response to that person’s ‘retracting his homosexuality’ and joining a group called “Black Hebrew Israelites.” Ethan had written, “You can deceive yourself all you would like about your sexual orientation, that is your prerogative, but you cannot change the reality of it. I personally find it sad that you’ve joined a truly interesting group to follow and now have to alter your state of being just to find self-worth. But I digress. To each his own; just don’t preach this bogus religious scapegoat as a means to degrade the LGBT community.” Ethan then said he would appreciate the support if readers agreed with his comment.

Several people responded, among them Ethan’s mother (I’ll call her “Mary Lou Smith”). She said, “People can change. Some people choose the lifestyle and they can choose not to be in that lifestyle.”

Ethan replied, “Being homosexual is not a choice. If someone ‘decides’ to be any sexuality other than how they feel is deceitful to not only themselves but to everyone around them.”

Mary Lou replied, “I don’t agree...I know people that have been gay and then been straight or vice versa; they are bisexual but decide to go one way...not all homosexuals are the same...”

Ethan then said, “I think you really need to have a better comprehension on what constitutes a sexuality.”

I couldn’t help thinking that this conversation should have been held in the privacy of their own home and how downright sad it was that they were having it on Facebook.

At this point, someone else (I’ll call her “Barbara”) joined the conversation and said, “I have never known anyone who has changed their sexuality and have found peace and happiness.”

Ethan replied, “Me neither, Barbara. That’s why certain states have even gone so far as to ban ‘conversion therapy’ because it’s wrong and incomprehensibly destructive.”

Another person (I’ll call him “Derek”) then wrote the following lengthy comment:

“Mrs. Smith, hopefully you can lend me a hand to better understand the bible. You’ve made it clear that you are so knowledgeable when it comes to homosexuality so I’m sure you have plenty of knowledge in so many other aspects of Leviticus as well. Because of you, when someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind him that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the specific laws and how to best follow them.

a) When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord (Lev. 1:9). The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

b) I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

c) I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanness (Lev. 15:19-24). The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

d) Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?

e) I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

f) A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination (Lev. 11:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this?

g) Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

h) Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev.19:27. How should they die?

i) I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

j) My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/ polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them (Lev.24:10-16)? Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws (Lev. 20:14)?

Thank you for serving to remind us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging. I look forward to your responses to these questions that I have been seeking answers to.”


The last time I checked, Ethan’s mother, Mary Lou, had not rejoined the conversation.

As a conservative Christian, I firmly believe that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8) but also that we must learn how to rightly divide the word of truth (Second Timothy 2:15). We should study to understand to whom something was written, and by whom, and when, and where, and why. Could it be possible that some things are intended only for a particular people at a particular time in history, and other things are intended for all people at all times in history? What a concept! The trick, I think -- perhaps challenge is a better word -- lies in knowing which are which. I can’t help thinking that Derek and Ethan may know some things that Ethan’s mother needs to learn, and that Ethan’s mother may know some things that Derek and Ethan need to learn.

Moral: As this is not one of Aesop’s fables, there is no moral. Also, as this is not a fairy tale, there is no “and they all lived happily ever after” either. Not yet, anyway.


  1. I suspected that the introductory paragraphs were autobiographical. Thank you for coming clean with us Bob.

  2. Yorky, nice try, but nope, not autobiographical. Mrs. RWP and I had two boys and one girl, and all of them are in their forties now. Read the post again, paying closer attention to detail!

  3. So, you're gay.

    Ha, I was just joining in with Yorkie there. Yes, why would anyone NOT consider sexual orientation to be a lifestyle choice? I know I chose to be heterosexual. I did a lengthy spreadsheet comparison of the advantages and disadvantages of heterosexuality versus homosexuality and decided that the favor tilted to heterosexuality, so I signed on as a heterosexual. This was so long ago that I don't remember ever once leaning in the other direction or even imagining it possible for me to lean in the other direction.

  4. Snowbrush, not that I care, but how long exactly was your, er, spreadsheet comparison?

  5. Jesus said unto him, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." Matthew 22:37-40 (KJV)

    Thanks be to God for the new covenant.

  6. whilst there's an element of humour in the response it's still pretty clever - and thought provoking. The law has just changed in my country, allowing ''gay marriage'' and it has caused all the super left and right wing people to come out (pun not intended!) guns blazing.
    I for one would be very cautious about claiming one sin to be greater than another, and hold with the vew that Lev. was written for a people at a time. Does this include homosexuality - wouldnt dare to say. this is up to God to sort not me.
    As for me, I'll get on with life, loving those I know, gay straight or otherwise.

  7. Pat, yes, I agree. In my opinion the New Covenant is a much better one than the Old. In fact, the entire Book of Hebrews was written for that very reason, to demonstrate the superiority of the new and better way.

    Susan, thank you for your comment! I read some posts on both of your blogs including your letter to your local newspaper. Good to have you aboard. I see you are a North Islander, and that Te Awamutu is not that far from Tauranga, Bay of Plenty, where another blogger friend, Katherine de Chevalle of The Last Visible Dog, makes her home.

  8. "how long exactly was your, er, spreadsheet comparison?"

    I had to do it with crayons; I wrote big as a child; and I didn't number my pages, so I'm embarrassed to confess that I really don't know, although I would estimate the length to have been from a few hundred to a few thousand pages. I recall that my mother put them in the outhouse, and they saved many a Sears catalogue from a sad fate.

  9. Snowbrush, I remember my stepmother telling a whole bunch of people one afternoon at a family reunion about about the old days when everybody used outhouses. People would take corncobs with them when nature called, three red ones for every white one they took. When a grandchild asked why did you do that, she said because you used the three red ones, and then you used a white one to see if you needed to use any more red ones.