NOT MY SORT OF FAMILY
Perhaps I should explain that my last post was actually my first post. I had intended to get this blog site perfect before I began doing any writing. However, the front page of the Diocesan magazine “Teulu Asaph” so infuriated me when it was called to my attention that I had to put something in writing immediately. Since then, instead of beautifying this blog I have been studying the whole of this Family magazine, (Teulu is Welsh for Family) which has reinforced my view that sadly it’s not a family I want to belong to.
So now let’s turn our attention to Page Two. The headline reads,
Bishop Gregory writes: The opposite of sex
The opposite of sex? Sexless? No sex? Celibacy. Brave man! Not many clerics would have the courage to write about celibacy these days.
Well, it seems I was confused. “The Opposite of Sex” is the title of a film about raunchy sex between people who are also loving and faithful. Nothing new there then. And nothing new in a further statement. “Sex outside of marriage has been happening all around us for 2000 years, among Christians as well.”
As it turns out that is all preamble. Now we get to the nub of the Bishop’s message and as it’s all about Christian family life let’s imagine the scene played out before us. Dad at the head of the supper table, Mum at the other end and assorted teenagers on either side. Dad proceeds to list the changes that occurred in the 20th century. (I’ll itemise them otherwise it may get a little confusing. The words in “ “ are all quotes from the Bishop.)
1) “The twentieth century brought change: sex before marriage is now the norm.” The family, busily loading their plates, accept this. However, Mum secretly plans to keep her beady eye on her children as long as they are living under her roof.
2) “People can divorce fairly easily and can marry again – and again.” Eldest son knows all about this. ‘There’s a boy in my class who has two stepmothers, and one is only a few years older than he is.’ ‘What does he think of that?’ ‘Oh, God! He nearly dies of embarrassment whenever she comes up to the school.’ ‘At least she comes up to the school. That’s good parenting.’ Dad approves. ‘Good parenting! She fancies one of the PE teachers.’
3) “Adultery, while not widely approved of is not met with ostracism.” Youngest son asks, ‘What’s that got to do with ostriches?’ Mum has something to say about this. ‘Couples should make much more effort to work things out. Divorce has a terrible effect on the children.’
Her children appear to know all about adultery and can cite many examples among their friends’ parents and also among their teachers. Here Mum gets some support when she condemns adultery, as several of the children have friends who have been deeply disturbed and upset when it has happened.
4) “Homosexuality has been decriminalised, and has ceased to be categorised as mental illness.”
The children are horrified at the mere thought of people being sent to prison or to mental hospitals for being gay or lesbian. Mum recommends they watch the film “The Naked Civil Servant” with John Hurt as Quentin Crisp. ‘We certainly wouldn’t want to return to those days.’
At this point Dad asks a big question. “Is this a sharp decline in morals, or rather, people doing more of what they’ve always wanted, and the decay of social inhibition.”
No response. The family are too busy helping themselves to seconds, so he goes on….
6) “Readily available contraception means that accidental pregnancy is less of a fear.” Mum is outraged. Has he any idea how many abortions are performed in this country every year? ‘The one bright spot, as far as I can see, is the fact that teenage pregnancies are down by 20%.’
7) “The empowerment of women means that they are no longer forced to remain in loveless or abusive marriages.” Again, the older children have first hand information. They have many friends whose parents have divorced, several times, but for none of those reasons. ‘What reasons?’ asks Mum. ‘Boredom.’ ‘Jack’s Dad wanted a younger woman, and then an even younger woman. Better in bed, he said.’ ‘Sue’s Mum just got fed up looking after the family.’ ‘Meg’s Mum went to live with another woman.’ ‘John’s Dad has rejected modern life and lives in a hut in the mountains.’
Dad makes himself heard. “Where is God’s will in all this? Scripture is our supreme authority in matters of faith so what does it say? Scripture doesn’t condemn sex.”
Eldest son protests. ‘The Bible could hardly condemn sex since it’s the method chosen by God for continuing the human race.’ Dad ignores him and goes on to explain that “The partriachs lived happily with three or four wives and had sex with their slaves.”
Mum makes her own protest. ‘If you’re thinking of following their example you’ll soon find out for yourself all about the empowerment of women.’
Dad raises his voice. “Scripture is strict when it prohibits divorce, but we have learned to privilege wider Biblical virtues”.
Eldest daughter, who is doing A level English asks, ‘What is “privilege wider Biblical virtues” supposed to mean?’ She, too, is ignored. “There are undoubtedly a handful of texts in the Old and New Testaments which are hostile – to speak bluntly – to men having sex with men.”
Youngest daughter, who so far hasn’t said a word, asks, ‘Why does that matter? I thought you’ve just proved the Bible is all wrong now.’
Dad leaves the table in a huff and the family relax and talk about the things that really interest them.
Mum is concerned about the phonics screening test. ‘Phonics alone is not enough. For lots of words you still need “Look and say.”’ Eldest daughter. “Well, at least you don’t have to worry about assisted suicide, Mum. I’ll look after you when you go gaga.’ Youngest daughter. ‘I thought these migrants were Muslims? Wouldn’t they be happier going to live in other Muslim countries where it’s warm? Germany and Sweden get ever so cold in winter.’ Youngest son. ‘Will I be sent home from school if I have a leopard skin haircut?’
END OF PAGE TWO STORY.
Page Three is the same thing in Welsh. On page four a theology student proves that we should allow same-sex marriage and on page five the vice-chairman of the Evangelical Fellowship in the Church in Wales proves that we shouldn’t.
Page six has something to say about sin but I’ll leave that for another day.