Thursday, March 27, 2014

The next time a baker turns down your business...

I got myself into a little bit of trouble recently.

shocker, I know.

I inserted myself into a conversation about the several states considering laws similar to the one Arizona recently vetoed regarding whether businesses may or may not refuse a customer on religious ground.

And though I agree with Governor Brewer vetoing Senate Bill 1062, I stated that I also disagreed with the supreme court ruling that a baker must bake a wedding cake for a gay couple though he is religiously opposed to gay marriage. In fact, the moment I read about the case of the 'cake nazi' so dubbed by many blog enthusiasts, I knew that if he loses his case, surely there will be a pushback.

The Arizona law and laws like it are precisely that pushback.  Where do the freedom and control of the customer end and the freedom and control of the business begin?   But these are things that have been debated ad nauseam so, instead of further blathering on about it, I'd just like to say what I wish had happened in the baker case.  

We're going to call the couple inquiring about the cake Joe & Joe so I don't have to determine which of them is talking in the following imaginary conversation, since it doesn't really matter.  The part of the baker will be played by 'Baker.'

Joe: Hi! You make beautiful cakes! We'd love to look at some options for our wedding.

Baker: Sure... wait, is it for you two?

Joe: Yes.

Baker: Well, gosh. Let me pray on it a moment.  Nope, I'm sorry, I can not make you a wedding cake.  I can make you any other kind of cake, just not a wedding one.  Can I interest you in a scone or a fruitcake? I mean, cupcake... sorry that just kind of slipped.

Joe: Well, I have to tell you, I'm real disappointed to hear that.  And though I'm sure your cupcakes are fabulous, we were here specifically for a wedding cake.  I can see you clearly have your convictions, but since I'm feeling kind of embarrassed and frustrated in front of my fiance here, I hope you'll do me the solid of hearing me out for just a moment.

Baker: well.. I'm not going to change my mind but go on ahead.

Joe:  Thanks.  You see, I'm a Christian as well.  And though I understand you may not accept my particular brand of Christianity, that's ok, you can probably guess that I have a hard time accepting yours.   You see, I've heard a lot of genuine concern regarding Sodom and God's destruction of the town and how that was pretty clearly related to Sodomy.  Except when I read the passage about Lot protecting the two visiting angels by saying, "please guys, don't rape the angels, I have two virgin daughters, I'll bring them out here for you... rape them, not the angels."  Well, I have a hard time thinking that consensual penis penetration was the real sin there... you know?  I kind of stumble over the raping of angels and a dad offering his daughters to a pack of rapists.

And I know there are some other places that condemn homosexuality... but there were a lot of rules on how to live back then in order to continue the species.  And they probably figured out that 'man laying with man as he does with woman' doesn't produce babies, so if populous is what they want, it makes sense to make heterosexual sex the law of the land for the time.

And also, Jesus kind of came along and said in his sermon on the mount to kind of toss what we thought we knew out the window and focus on loving one another and kindness.  At least that's what I took out of the 'love your neighbor as yourself,' thing.

Last, let's say that, as I've heard argued... you agree that 'being gay' isn't a sin, but 'having gay sex,' is a sin.  Well, from all I've heard from my married friends, your sex life diminishes rapidly after marriage so... shouldn't Christians trying to save us from ourselves encourage us to all marry one another?  If the anecdotal evidence holds up... as gay marriage increases, gay sex will decrease!

Really though, I want you to know that I love this man standing beside me fully, purely and truly. He makes me happy and he makes me a better man.  Joe and I can feel, bring and share more joy with this world together than we possibly could apart.  Couldn't this world use a little more joy?

I'm sorry you will not bake our cake as you are a beautiful artist which is what brought us here in the first place, but I respect your strong beliefs.

And I hope that you remember Joe and me and how we respected your right to run your business as you wish if you ever find yourself in the place of casting a vote determining whether you should determine how I run my life.

*respectful handshakes all around*

Friday, March 14, 2014

A joke from my 4yr old to his 6yr old brother yesterday:

J: Knock knock
B: Who's there?
J: Why did the chicken... ummm chicken!
B: Why did the chicken chicken who?
J: ummm because he needed to get to the other side of the school to ride the slide because that was where the playground was!!!!
B: (politely) I'm sorry I don't really get it.

At which point I start laughing, which gets my daughter giggling and soon the whole car is cracking up.

Sometimes we all get things a little mixed up.

In two days we will celebrate St. Patrick who used a shamrock to explain the incredibly confusing 3 Gods/ 1 God stance the Catholic religion had settled upon.

And though I believe in the sacredness, I will never again be able to do the sign of the cross upon myself without giggling just a little because of another mix up by my youngest.

I was brushing my teeth when he, at around 2 and 1/2 rushed in ready to get a sibling in trouble.

Clutching his left shoulder he cried, "MOMMM MOMMY!! Em hit me on my Holy... or on my Spirit... which one is this one?"  It took me a moment to realize that the poor third child was quite possibly never taught the word 'shoulder.'  He was not inundated with Elmo body cartoons nor lulled to sleep by 'my body' books like his siblings.  He jumped right into My Little Pony and Star Wars and they didn't cover  the basics.  So after years of prayers at meals and bedtime, he logically assumed that one shoulder was called a 'Holy' and the other, 'Spirit,' and that for some reason we named them before prayer.  I can't imagine how his little brain was computing that his forehead was also his Father...

And speaking of the Father...

My hubby and I were doing a little Muppets swedish chef impersonation (he was the body and voice, I was the arms) for my children's entertainment.  His accent was dead on... my arm acting could've used some work.  We, comically by my personal opinion, went through a routine of getting the dogs to do their tricks and rewarding them with ham all in the style of swedish chef to the delight of the youngens. At the end of it, my middle child giggled and dashed out of the room exclaiming, 'OMG.'

Before I could correct, discipline or admonish... as I've heard that Christian parents should be quick to do as the basis of OMG violates the commandments, the youngest asked, "OMG, what does that spell?"

And without missing a beat, the middle child said, 'Omg.' Yes, he said something like ummgaa.  and continued to say, "I don't really know the word, but I think it means like, wow, or something like that because people seem to say it a lot when they see something crazy."

After much more laughter than our swedish chef routine got... my daughter corrected them, "O.M.G.  It stands for Oh My Goodness."

"ohhhh," they both echoed.  Followed quickly, of course, by "Jinx! Stop Jinx 123456..."

In each and every one of these situations... the kid was wrong, or mixed up about something.  But, never in my wildest dreams would I think to be angry about it.  They were using knowledge and words and context clues and trying to piece things together as best they could given the limited understanding they had at the time.  Seeing them trying so hard to recreate humor, to accept what what we had presented them as fact, and extrapolate from basic grammar rules was fantastic and beautiful and fun.

In many groups of adults, I can correctly assume ahead of time what their stance or belief on things are... sometimes even their exact words before they say them.  We keep repeating and contradicting one another, but we have a hard time accepting that we all may be mixing things up a little.

And though all that seems obvious in politics... it is true too in religion... even and especially in the religion of atheism.

Not many seem to be willing to admit that there is a really really good chance they've got it all mixed up.

My journey with religion has been pretty open and present on these pages and though I've certainly embraced faith more, it is clear I'm constantly struggling.  In thinking about how silly it would be to get angry at my children for making mistakes with good intentions, I kind of hope that is how God sees me and all of us as we muddle through religion. Comically misunderstanding and yelling and misquoting as we go.  All with good intentions.  All just wrong.  Really really absolutely and ineptly able to understand, wrong.  

And whether or not that is true of God, maybe we should try to see each other with more forgiving eyes.

Because even though I think every single human has God wrong on some level or another... I believe that if we love, forgive and accept each other's ineptness... we come a little closer to understanding the greater picture.

Maybe even as close as my youngest did on his next joke attempt:

J: Knock knock
B: Who's there
J: Banana
B: Banana who?
J: The banana was running because someone ate his apple friend!! Oh WAIT He SPLIT!! Get it? I'm a banana split AAAA Stop eating my apple friend... haha...  Wait, what was I saying?