Monday, November 29, 2004

It's a new year, liturgically speaking: out with the old Jesus, in with the new.

From Rosh Hoshana to Chinese New Year, it's fascinating how many times one can mark the passing of 365 (more or less) days if one wants to. We celebrated by riding nine hours in a plane from Chicago to Stockholm.

Amazingly, reading the Chicago Tribune every morning turned out to be more exhausting than a nine-hour plane ride could ever be. It was a daily overload of bad and worse news, numbing in its awfulness.

"You have to pick your battles," my mother replied when I asked her how to handle it.

The war on "terror"? Creationism getting equal time with evolution in textbooks? Sex education that doesn't mention birth control or sex outside marriage? Taxes that favor the rich? A right-wing Supreme Court?

My devoutly religious parents have chosen to tackle poverty and fight for the right for same-sex marriage. Which meant the husband and I were exhibit A at an adult Sunday school class on how to effectively respond to people who oppose the right of gays and lesbians to marry other gays and lesbians.

It turns out that Jesus said nothing about homosexuality, that Paul's problem with homosexuality stands right alongside his problem with women, and that "church tradition" when it comes to marriage has changed so much over the centuries that it isn't really a tradition. There is no consistency in any shape or form. Yet, everyone in Sunday school seemed to agree that despite the fact that there's no sound basis to argue against gay marriage in either scriptural or ecclesiastical terms, you're not going to be able to quote the bible to convince someone who thinks gay marriage is the road to eternal damnation. The only thing that changes hearts and minds is an actual experience to the contrary.

It's gonna be a long fight.

Later that week, my dear sister-in-law asked if it's better to live in Sweden or the U.S. It's no contest, not really.

The Swedish word for the day is på hemväg. It means homeward bound.

- by Francis S.

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