Out From Under the Umbrella

playing in the rain

Pious Piety: Speaking the Truth in Love

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 or Ruth being an insufferable fundie.  Or is it fundy?  No matter.

In Ruth’s former life her ex-husband, Charles, had a cousin.  Jessica is a beautiful girl with long, curly, brunette hair, olive colored skin, and an athletic build.  She also has the voice of an angel.  She’s got some fancy name for the type of soprano she specializes in which isn’t coming to recollection at the moment, but she’s trained operatically, and has performed internationally.  A catch, you might say.

Now you know how devoutly Christian Charles’ entire family is.  Old School Christian mafia – Southern Baptist style.  So when Jessica brought her best friend to Thanksgiving no one thought anything of it.  Ruth did.  They sat awfully close together and the way they looked at each other, well, they were more than just friends.  Ruth said something to Charles about it and he just dismissed it, thought the idea was insane.  Nobody in this family would ever be…gay.  And they certainly wouldn’t bring their lover to Thanksgiving!  Not around the grandparents.  So Ruth dropped it.

After a while, though, jaws started flapping.  Jessica was bringing KrisAnne to everything.  Christmas, New Year’s, Sunday dinners.  They were pretty much joined at the hip.  So everybody started speculating.  This went on for quite a while and you can imagine the concern gossiping going on.

The next Thanksgiving Charles’ grandparents got an idea.  They’d go to Gatlinburg for the holiday and they wanted the whole family to join them.  Everybody, to a person, made the trip.  Including KrisAnne.  Charles decided it would be a good idea to find out the truth about the situation.  Didn’t sound like a bad idea so Ruth and Charles invited Jessica and KrisAnne out for dinner.

Small talk dominated the conversation over dinner, but after the plates were cleared and the coffee ordered Charles made his move.  “I’m just going to ask you what everybody else is speculating about,” he said to Jessica.  “Are you two in a relationship?  Are you…lesbians?”  Not sure how he could have gone about it, but there’s subtlety for you.  “I knew these questions were eventually coming.  I figured you’d all work this out for yourselves.  Yeah, we are.  We’re in a relationship just the same as you and Ruth.  We’ve prayed about it and know that this is right for us.”

This is where Ruth piped up.  “Jessica, I wouldn’t say this to you if I didn’t love you.  But I have to tell you we don’t agree with this.  You know what the Bible has to say about this.  It doesn’t make me love you any less, but this isn’t what God would want for you and I think you’re misguided if you think God has blessed this in any way.”

Jessica didn’t hesitate. “I’ve read the Bible and Jesus never said anything about homosexuality.  It’s not a sin.”

“Maybe not, but Paul had a lot to say about it.  And Jesus said he didn’t come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it.  The law says that it is a sin,” Ruth asserted.

“Well, Paul was a woman hater.  Look, I’m a Christian, and I go by the red letters.”

They spent the car ride back with Jessica and KrisAnne justifying how scripture didn’t condemn them.  Amazingly Jessica and KrisAnne are still Christians.  Even more Amazingly Jessica and KrisAnne didn’t hold that conversation against Ruth or Charles. In fact they became pretty good friends and they never really talked about it again.

Ruth was convinced that she’d done  the right thing.  Ruth was smug and self-satisfied in her pious piety full of pietousness.  She’d told them, in love, the truth. What she believed was the truth anyway.  Now she knows better.  It was none of Ruth’s business.  She was really just self-righteous and arrogant.

There was more to the conversation.  This was Ruth’s first encounter with someone in the LBGT community.  While she’d never say so, over the years of watching Jessica and KrisAnne together she changed a lot of her views about homosexuality even if she did still think they were probably going to hell.  They put a face on what it even meant to be homosexual.  Up until that time it had been so demonized from the pulpit that Ruth thought it was perverted.  That homosexuality meant promiscuity, orgies, pedophilia, and deviance.

Here sat these two people who were in a faithful, exclusive, loving relationship.  It was…normal.  Ruth may never get to speak to Jessica and KrisAnne again, but if she did she’d tell them how wrong she’d been.  She’d tell them she was sorry for being an insufferable fundie.  She’d ask their forgiveness for being so judgemental. She’d tell them she knows they aren’t going to hell.

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18 thoughts on “Pious Piety: Speaking the Truth in Love

  1. Ruth was simply doing what we all are doing – the best we know to do based on what we think is true. It is those last 5 words that are tricky.

    I think the word you wanted may be coloratura.

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  2. I love this story. Zoe can relate to Ruth’s times of self-righteousness and arrogance. Exrelayman is right though. They only knew what they knew.

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  3. Excellent post…I can totally relate to Ruth. I have a cousin who brought his partner to a family Thanksgiving. The discomfort of family members was palpable. I never lovingly “confronted” my cousin, but I’m sure he knew that I had a problem with his sexual orientation and his partner.

    I wish I could take it back….

    To quote good old Bob Dylan

    “I was so much older then, I’m younger then that now”

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    • Most of the family has come to a place where they just pretend like they don’t know what’s going on. For a long time it was really unpleasant, though.

      There are still a few hold outs. One of the cousins said at the last family Thanksgiving I attended that he would no longer be able to attend if “they” were there. He didn’t want his daughters, aged 5 and 3, exposed to that lifestyle.

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  4. Reblogged this on Out From Under the Umbrella and commented:

    To the entire LGBT Community: I’m sorry.
    I’ve recently had the chance to speak to Jessica and expressed my deepest regret and sorrow to her over how I spoke to her that day. She accepted my apology and we are still quite good friends.

    *I don’t normally write or speak of myself in the third person(it’s a little bit weird, I know). I was writing under a different pseudonym at the time.*

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  5. This was a nice read. It is always a good thing to be able to recognize we could have been wrong and proffer apologies.

    Fortunately for me, my first experience with the anyone from the LGBT community went down quite well. We enjoyed cold beer in the cool Nairobi night sky.

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  6. Excellent story, I love your writing style. We’ve all been there (or most of us former Christians?) I remember having just left home and headed out into the big world, one of my new uni friends making the odd decision to come out to me, and receiving the shocked face and some form of unhelpful words I thankfully can’t recall. We live in ignorance until we meet actual people.

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    • I know what you mean. When I was a Christian I thought I had all the answers. Now looking back on the many times all I had were very unhelpful and, probably more harmful, words I feel so…well, I don’t know what the word is. I can hardly go over and read your bigot friend’s posts without feeling a terrible sense of shame and somewhat depressed that what she’s offering is what I offered. *shudder*

      I wish I felt up to debating subjects with her, but I’ve tried doing that with others and I usually just end up not wanting to get out of bed for days.

      I’ve been meaning to ask what denomination you belonged to. You’ve mentioned being a former Christian before but you sometimes seem genuinely shocked by what [some] Christians believe.

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      • I know what you mean about Bigot’s posts and those like her. It is thoroughly depressing but I think I feel compelled to stick at it for as long I can stomach them because I’m worried someone confused might stumble across her posts and suck it all up. That really makes me shudder. Although, of course, I have no way of knowing if my interactions would somehow tip them even more towards her, so I just shouldn’t waste my time …

        I was brought up in the Church of Scotland (Presbyterian, whatever that is), but deconverted when I was 20. I think I’ve been out of religion and ignored it for so long, that I now do find most things shocking. If people are going to believe all that nonsense, they at least should choose the nice interpretations because there are some out there.

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        • Well, like everything else there are different flavors of Presbyterians. Some ultra conservative and some more progressive/liberal.

          Maybe it’s because my deconversion is still fairly fresh, I just find it exhausting to try to do battle with fundies. I admire those of you who can get in the trenches and take them on.

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  7. We err. The strong and honest admit it, and make amends.

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