Her big brown eyes looked up at me, begging for the right answer. “I hear that Uncle Jim and Uncle Brad want to get married.” There was a question in there and since she saw me as an expert on all things, she brought it to me. That’s what moms do–they have the answers that soothe the souls of small children.
I took a deep breath, since I knew she was going to find out sooner or later. For a five-year-old, marriage was something that meant the two dolls could live in the same doll house and sleep in the same bed. When I was little, it was never a thing; the girl dolls married the boy dolls and that was that. My mom’s most difficult conversation with me was why the girl and boy were together and not married. The world had moved on and I had to explain that to my daughter, sure; her dad and I raised her in church, where such subjects were also being brought out into the broader subject matter more than they were when my parents raised me similarly. I am thankful that we are a part of a congregation that is not afraid to discuss such subject matter and that I can go to my leaders with questions of my own. But now, I am exposed in front of my own child and need to talk with her about my brother and his partner. “Yes, honey; Uncle Jim and Uncle Brad want to get married.”
She is not finished. “So why don’t they go to Pastor Bob and do it?”
“Honey, it’s not that simple. Boys can’t marry boys in this state.”
“What about girls? Can girls marry girls here?”
“No, they can’t.”
“Well, dear,” I wasn’t clear on all of it myself but knew I didn’t want to say the wrong thing either way; I prayed that it would come out clear and continued, “there are a few reasons. Some people say it’s against the laws of our country, while others say it’s against the teachings of the church.”
She frowned at that last part. “But God is love, so why wouldn’t He want Uncle Jim and Uncle Brad to get married when they love each other?”
I should have known this would turn into more of a theological debate than a political one. “There are passages in the Bible that say a boy shouldn’t do the things that married people do with another boy and so that’s where it starts.”
She still frowned but nodded. “Oh, like how to make babies, huh?”
“Yes, honey; that’s part of it.” I was glad in a way that she was only five and that I didn’t need to explain the sex part more deeply.
She seemed to have found the end of her questions. She wandered off, but not before commenting over her shoulder, “I don’t care about any of that. I hope Uncle Jim and Uncle Brad can get married because I don’t think Pastor Bob would be happy that they are just living together.”
And with that, she was gone, leaving me with my own thoughts.
Today’s Daily Prompt asks us to
Pick a contentious issue about which you care deeply — it could be the same-sex marriage debate, or just a disagreement you’re having with a friend. Write a post defending the opposite position, and then reflect on what it was like to do that.
The story I wrote above did not happen. I don’t have any siblings and my daughter is in her late 20s. However, I am a follower of Christ and can envision this conversation. In fact, I had to reconcile my own feelings on the topic of same-sex relationships when my son was trying to decide whether he was gay or not. Like I told him, it is above my pay grade to know whether it’s “right” or “wrong.” Now, I know there are plenty of Christ followers who would draw and quarter me for that answer. There are things that even the most learned of theologians say are a mystery in the Bible, and things that are specific to the times in which they were written. But the most important issue for me is the fact that no one knows the thoughts of God. I can’t say who will be blessed and who will be cursed for their actions. As we often say in our house, we will be so surprised when we get to Heaven and see who is there…