Friday, March 29, 2013


Yesterday, like every other years since 1991 Mom's eighth grade Sunday school class was at our house to celebrate a seder dinner.  Here are some pictures:
The tables are set and ready to go

Matzah Tasch (three pocketed ceremonial Matzo bag)

Seder plate with ceremonial items (from top clockwise: roasted egg, lamb shank bone, charoset, horseradish, parsley. Center: bitter herbs)
David being a goofball while eating the roasted egg

lots of good food and fellowship around the table

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Marriage has been a hot topic lately, at least according to Facebook and how many posts, status updates, and profile pictures have been dealing with it.  Specifically, marriage equality - whether or not people who are homosexual should be allowed to legally get married.   I've got friends and family who come down all over the spectrum, from saying outright that they shouldn't to saying that it isn't a big deal and everywhere in between.  And everyone feels strongly about their point of view.  Initially I thought I could simply not take a stand and just let things be as they will be, after all it wasn't really affecting me, was it?  But I can't just not take a stand.  My conscience won't let me be apathetic about it. It also won't let me blindly follow after others.   So here come my views.  If you don't like them, fine.  You don't have to like them.  If you decide you don't like me based on my views, that's fine too.  My worth is not based on what you think of me. So without further adieu...

Somewhere at some point in time, we got it in our heads that marriage was between one man and one woman.  This was "normal" and "right" and even "biblical".  Now don't get me wrong, I am a Christian and I value what the Bible has to say very highly, but I struggle with the idea that the one man, one woman model of marriage being biblical.  Yes, the Bible speaks of Adam and Eve being the first couple, the first people G-d created, if you will.  But, it also talks about Jacob, one of the forefathers of Israel (Jacob from "Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob" - the big three).  Jacob had at least three wives, and from these three wives came the twelve tribes of Israel, G-d's chosen people.  If you trace the genealogy carefully and over many years, Jesus  himself was a descendant of Jacob.  Even without tracing the genealogy, Jesus was a Jew and the Jews are descendants of Jacob.

King Solomon, one of G-d's anointed rulers over the people of Israel, and reputedly the wisest man who ever lived, had multiple wives (1 Kings 11:4).  His father, King David, also had more than one wife (He had at least one wife and then still took Bathsheba to be his wife after having her husband killed...wonderful story that one is).  Jesus was a direct descendant of David.   These are a few examples of prominent figures in the Bible having multiple wives.  So I don't believe that the one man, one woman construct of marriage is directly biblical.

Another "biblical" argument that I often hear against people who are homosexual being able to get married is that the Bible says homosexuality is a sin. I will not deny that the Bible speaks against sexual immorality and even against homosexuality.  However, the verses that deal with those topics need to be taken in context. There are passages in the Old Testament law, notably Leviticus, that speak against a "man laying with a man as one would lay with a woman"  (Lev. 18:22, 20:13).  However, this same book says that it is wrong to eat pork, shellfish and other unclean meats, to wear clothing woven of two different types of fiber, and that anyone who has a skin blemish is to be exiled.   I don't think it is right to pick and choose which Old Testament laws are to be followed and which ones are to be ignored.  If you want to use the Old Testament laws against homosexuality, then please be prepared to follow them all, not just the ones you want to, so tattoos are out as well!  

In regards to the law of the Old Testament, Jesus and the apostles were pretty clear on the old covenant (law) being replaced by the new covenant (law) made by Jesus' blood.  The Old Testament law was done away with when Jesus died on the cross (and then rose again) as an atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world.  Also, as a demonstration that the old law was in fact old, a vision appeared to Peter in which G-d instructed him that he could eat any animal for food, regardless of its previous status of clean or unclean, a direct contradiction to Old Testament law.

But what about the New Testament passages that condemn homosexuality?  Again, I will not deny that they are there.  However, right alongside homosexuality, lying, drunkenness, cheating, unruly behavior, and more are also condemned.  No one things is condemned more than another.  Unless one is completely perfect, one has no room to be judging others.  As Jesus said to the crowd who was getting ready to stone a woman caught in adultery "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone" (John 8:7).   Jesus also pretty clearly said that the greatest commandment of all was to love G-d, and the second greatest to love your neighbor. He even went on to tell a parable to demonstrate who your neighbor was, using a man from Samaria, the people most hated by the Jews, as an example of who should be considered a neighbor.
Given the evidence, I cannot accept the proposition that hating people who are homosexuals is biblical.  I also cannot accept the proposition that the one man, one woman model is biblical.

So Bible aside, what about the proposition that homosexual marriage is just not normal?  At this point in time, it is definitely not the majority position.  However, in the not too distant past, bi-racial marriages were not the majority position and were in fact, illegal.  If my limited understanding of history is correct, the Bible was even used to make a case against bi-racial marriage.  Today most people accept bi-racial marriages as perfectly normal, and those who do not are referred to in rather derogatory terms.  I have a number of friends who are in bi-racial marriages (and boy do they make beautiful babies!) and their marriages are no less valid or sacred than the marriage I have with my (mostly) white husband (in all technicality he is half Hispanic).  What was once considered an aberration is now considered normal and even beautiful.  

Some will also argue that children need both a mommy and a daddy, which is actually a completely different argument aside from the issue of whether or not people who are homosexual should be allowed to marry. It's about children, not marriage.  But since it often comes up in the discussion, here's what I think.  Children need both male and female role models.  Preferably role models who are not in jail, addicted to drugs or alcohol, who are not abusive, who actually care for them.  Many children are blessed with these role models in the form of parents.  However, many are not.  Many children grow up in single parent households, like my husband for example, or households that have less than ideal parents.  These children find their role models elsewhere.  If their father is absent, perhaps they find their male role model in a cub scout leader, a teacher or an extended family member.  Same if their mother is absent, except it's a female role model that they seek.  Any child, regardless of their parent situation, likely (hopefully) has multiple female and male role models.  If homosexuals should not be allowed to marry and raise children, then single parent households should also be disallowed, yet I don't see anyone jumping on that bandwagon.

Another argument: allowing people who are homosexual to marry will destroy the sanctity of marriage.  My biggest problem with this argument is that it is blurring the lines of religion and legality.  Do I believe marriage to be sacred?  Yes.  When I married my husband seven and a half months ago, I vowed before him, my family, my friends and my G-d that I would be faithful to him and forsake all others.  He vowed the same.  I believe our marriage to be sacred and forever binding, as long as we both shall live.  That's a religious view on marriage, particularly a religious view on marriage that is in line with my religious beliefs.  
However, the government doesn't care that we were married in a church, that we made our vows before G-d or that we view marriage as a lifelong, binding agreement.  In their eyes, we are a pair of people (at least, last time I checked we were people) who have entered into a legally binding relationship with one another.    We are no different than (fictional) Jane and Bob who have no religious affiliation and were married in front of a judge.  Both David and I and Bob and Jane have equal standing in the eyes of the law.  I don't see Christians, myself included, complaining that non-Christians (Atheists, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, etc) getting married is destroying the sanctity of marriage, because the sanctity of marriage is a religious issue, not a legal issue.  I'm relatively sure that Muslims hold marriage between believers to be sacred as would Buddhists, and Hindus, and followers of every other religion in their own ways.

By making marriage between people who are homosexual legal, the sanctity of marriage is not threatened any more than it is threatened by anyone else getting married.
I am not saying that I necessarily support churches allowing people who are homosexual to be united in marriage in a religious ceremony.  That's a religious issue and is way to huge for me to tackle in a general sense.  I'm also not saying that churches should not allow people who are homosexual to be united in marriage in a religious ceremony.  That's an issue that every religion, church, couple, and individual has to wrestle with on their own.  (Personally, if I were to ever become an ordained minister of word and sacrament, I would, at this point, given where I stand now, not conduct a religious marriage of a homosexual couple...if you want to know more on why I feel that way and believe that, ask and I will tell you, but that's not the issue at stake here.)

The bottom line is, at least for me, that the debate over whether or not people who are homosexual should be allowed to legally marry, is not primarily a religious one and we should stop trying to make it a religious one, unless we also want to create a debate over whether people who are Atheist or Muslim or Hindu should be allowed to marry, and I for one, am not willing to go there.   The issue is simple: should two men or two women be allowed to enter into a legal partnership with the same rights and freedoms as one man and one women are, regardless of race or religion?   The simple answer, for those of you who want it spelled out what I believe, is yes.  In my opinion, allowing homosexuals to be married does not threaten the sanctity of marriage in any way, and this is not a religious issue, but a legal and ethical issue.

Comments are welcome, but please keep them respectful.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Smorgasbord Sunday...on Monday

You may (or may not) have noticed that no Smorgasbord Sunday post went up yesterday.   This is due to the fact that this past week has been absolutely ridiculous and I spent a lot of yesterday sleeping.
Last week our shed/barn collapsed from snow-load and we have spent many hours doing clean-up.  My primary job has been cooking for the volunteers that have been coming to help with the work.  In addition to dealing with that, our farm was hosting a fecal float seminar (looking at poop under microscopes to determine parasite load) this weekend.  So we had people here for that who needed food and drinks as well.  We were supposed to host the course in the shed, but that didn't happen.  Instead we hosted it in the garage.   All in all it was a busy weekend.
And we have a busy week ahead of us.  We have a number of appointments this week including a GI appointment and an allergist appointment, plus my regular physical therapy appointments.  Thankfully none of them are too terribly far away and the weather looks like it will be good this week.
Because this week deserves a dose of cute, here is a picture of a baby alpaca having his first try with barley fodder.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Photo Friday

Things are abnormally busy here, so this will be short and sweet:
Snow hanging over the edge of the roof as things start to melt

David's birthday cookies (He will get a proper birthday celebration later)