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Family As Hetero Idolatry
> Has anyone a brief academic essay or a sermon specifically on idolizing
> "family?" It seems to me that "family" has become a god for many folks (and
> they forget Jesus' own life and words re family).
The best sermon I have ever heard on Christian 'family" was quite short:
"Who are my mother and my brothers? My mother and my brothers are those
who hear the word of God and do it." -- That is, families of intent, not
families of biology. Lesbigays know quite a lot about families of intent,
and that's why we scare many of the genital exchequers who have usurped
our Father's House.
Jesus showed how much he cared about marriage by never marrying.
He drew around him all the odd balls of the time, known for their
drunkenness and sexual misconduct, and not known for having abandoned
One of his female friends was a sex-worker who washed his feet with her
hair using precious oils in the front of males who knew how much horniness
this was supposed to provoke. (Little did those present realize that she
was preparing his body for burial, and that he would be able to smell
those ointments while on the cross.)
Two of his closest friends were two women who lived alone, unattached to
men -- very much an anomaly in those times.
His own mother got pregnant by the Holy Ghost, and it took the
interference of an angel to keep her betrothed from turning her out.
Joseph was so unimportant to the gospel writers that they do not mention
him again after the birth narratives.
(I remember reading a sociological report in the 50's on tent revivalists
and their converts. The researcher interviewed one woman who said that
she had had sex with Billy and also with the Holy Ghost. When asked to
explain, she said she liked the Holy Ghost but that sex with Billy was
Of the twelve males in Jesus' inner circle, about only one of them do we
have any indication of marriage (cf. Peter's mother-in-law).
The major missionary of all Christendom said that it was better not to
marry, and recommended marriage only for lust control. Whatever his thorn
in the flesh was, it clearly was not marriage.
The largest church in western Christendom thinks so lowly of marriage that
it has forbidden it for centuries for its clergy. "Cranmer's Box" toted
the Archbishop's wife from episcopal residence to episcopal residence.
Many knew who was in the contraption, but they also knew why the
contraption was used.
The Catholic Church did not even allow marriages in the church building
until well into the middle ages, and then only on the porch for a couple
of hundred years.
For most of Christendom, only the rich married, because marriage was
primarily about property.
True, Jesus spiked the punch on the third day of a wedding in Cana, mainly
to please Mother. It would be interesting to know whether she was annoyed
more than pleased: in showing off, her son overdid it and got the already
tipsy folks quite drunk indeed. That is one way to get a long party over
with when you're ready to leave.
My friend Kim Byham was the first to point out to me the rich irony by
which heterosexuals have transformed the Garden of Eden from an icon of
sin into an icon of hetero self-righteousness.
It's quite preposterous the way that some now think that
mother-father-&-two-and-a-half children is the major unit through which
god is present in the world. That is flagrant hetero-idolatry, "Leave it
to Beaver" made into stained glass.
Compare the 'Family Values" that are truly biblical:
For I have come to set a man against his father,
and a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
and one's foes will be members of one's own household.
Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and
whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and
whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for
my sake will find it. Matthew 10:35-39
Most modern notions about family are just that, very modern. They
resemble the reality of the first century about as much as white
middle-class folks dressed up in bathrobes for a Christmas pageant. The
model the Religious Right promotes does not resemble the ways that more
than half of the human family live even in 2001.
Louie Crew, 377 S. Harrison St., #12D, East Orange, NJ 07018-1225
Love God with your mind: Visit the Global Witness at