Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical (hermionesviolin) wrote,
Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical

Happy Father's Day (one day late).

In Sunday’s Children’s Message Tim talked about how God is the perfect Father, and how Jesus is the perfect son. I thought, “You couldn’t just say Perfect Child, huh?” Yes, i know Jesus was in fact a male, but way to exclude girls. I’m in a big “representation” phase, the importance of providing models people can see themselves in and such. Tim asked the kids various things about Jesus and one of them was “Did Jesus cry?” and Emmett (who’s about 4 or 5) said “No” and Tim said “Actually, shortest verse in the Bible, ‘Jesus wept,’ ” and i thought, “Yes! Modeling for boys that real men can cry.”

Before she sings Bev usually does a little “I was in the dark but now I’m saved” bit that makes people like my grandmother groan, but this time said that giving to God can be acts of kindness and stuff, not just monetary giving, and i was pleased to hear that, even though with all the talk about the pledge commitments and stuff it felt like it was only paying lip service to that idea.

I saw one of the guys from church outside Perks on my way home. He said he and his daughter did Relay for Life the previous day and he really tried to make it church but since he couldn’t rouse her that was his excuse. I mentioned that it was Father’s Day so he was allowed to sleep in, and he said that’s what his sister had said. I also said that the Relay for Life was a good cause and God probably considered it more important than making it to the 52nd church service in a row. He said i was making him feel much better and he was glad i had stopped and talked to him. :)

During the service the little girl (2 or 3 years old) behind me kept being talkative and her mom kept shushing her. At one point i mentioned that there was a speaker out in the parlor. Her mom didn’t take her out, though. Okay, i understand wanting to teach your kid to be quiet in certain situations, but she kept being loud during prayers and stuff. Honestly, if i were her mother i wouldn’t be able to bear it, knowing my child was being so incredibly disruptive. Grr.

I actually went to Sunday School. John’s letter to the Church of Smyrna in the Book of Revelation. Before we started, when Tim said we were doing the book of Revelation i joked that the writer was on acid. I quickly realized that he was of the “John had a vision from the Lord, straight up,” and that talking about Native American vision quests and See Sharp Press and suchlike really wasn’t so much gonna happen.

Time talked about Christians being forced to meet in secret in basements in many places in the world. A woman who came to California from i forget where said of the first service she went to in California that it was the first church service she had ever been to (and she was about 50 years old) where when people left no one was arrested or shot or beat up or anything like that. I thought of Stonewall, of the gay bars. I knew that was not a conversation i was gonna be having there.

I watched Daddy & Papa. It doesn’t actually make me wanna have kids, but it is good.

One couple had a daughter through a surrogate mother -- a close friend of theirs. They were the only couple in the video to have a daughter, and one of the dads said he had this fear that she would grow up and have a wonderful boyfriend and say, “You’re wonderful, and I love you a lot, but I just feel like there should be more than one of you.” I laughed.

I think all the couples were interracial and all the children except the surrogate daughter were non-white children. They touched on the issues inherent in interracial child-raising, and i’m okay with the fact that they didn’t deal with that much because while it is incredibly important there’s already a lot out there (though not enough i’m sure) on adopting/raising a child of another race, and this video was mostly about gay men adopting children, a topic about which there is nowhere near enough.

It was really sweet listening to these children tell the stories of how they were adopted. Oscar, for example, got taken in a couple weeks before Christmas at the age of about three-and-a-half so now he says he just showed up under his dad’s Christmas tree. But one of the couples adopted these two brothers, i think they were mixed Mexican-/African-American, who had been bounced around a lot, and one of the little boys was telling one of his dads that before he got adopted he didn’t have a home, and he was walking alone down the street and looking at the houses that weren’t his and then he came to a house that said Kelly Wallace (the dad’s name) on the outside and he knew he was home. I cried.

There was also the couple who adopted a little boy whose foster mother was a fundamentalist Christian. Definite adjustment on both sides. She stayed involved in Zachary’s (the little boy) life as a granny figure. Things like that make me really happy, because really it’s through getting to know people that minds get changed.

The following is from a conversation i had with a friend a couple weeks ago:
her: i kinda wish i knew what it was like to have a family.
me: *heart*breaks*
her: *shrugs* i'm not too upset, i guess, because i don't know what i'm missing.
..which i would suppose is a blatant lie since i'm sitting here crying over it, but. eh. life sucks, what're you gonna do?
me: Make your own family, of course. Chosen family of friends.
This is my family. I found it all on my own. It's little and broken, but still good.
her: I know. But you know it's not the same.
Family's supposed to be people who love and are there for you no matter what, they support you and take care of you when no one else will. It frustrates/saddens me no end when family isn't that. And sometimes you have to break the connections, like you would loose ties in any other bad relationship.

In Daddy & Papa there were some court bits and i thought about how on adoption papers i assume there’s a space for “adoptive mother” and “adoptive father” and if we stopped being so locked into the gender binary it would be much easier for same-sex couples to be considered legal parents. Of course messing with the gender binary and homosexuality are closely intertwined as things which freak some people out. If boys and girls look similar you might find yourself falling for someone of your own sex, for example. But i’m digressing.

I got to thinking about some of the WST readings we did last semester on family. Dominant in our society is still the husband-and-wife-with-a-boy-and-a-girl-and-a-dog-and-a-cat-in-a-suburban-house-with-a-white-picket-fence, but with stepfamilies and surrogate mothers and IVF (in-vitro fertilization) and adoption and all that, the definition of what makes a parent. I’m thinking particularly of “Lesbian Co-Mothers, Sperm Donors, and Fathers: How Many Parents Can a Child Have?” (Chapter 5 of Making Babies, Making Families: What Matters Most in an Age of Reproductive Technologies, Surrogacy, Adoption and Same-Sex and Unwed Parents). Are parents those who donate sperm and egg (and possibly also the female who gestates the child) or are parents the people who take care of the child, providing food and shelter and love and education? After her biological father, from whom she was estranged, was found dead, Sarah Michelle Gellar said, "Just because you donate sperm does not make you a father. I don't have a father. I would never give him the credit or acknowledge him as my father."

We put so much emphasis on the “given” (biological) family that we think one’s “chosen” family is somehow not good enough. Ideally your family is there for you even when no one else (read: friends, lovers, etc.) is. However, it doesn’t always work like that. Are your friends somehow never gonna be good enough just because there isn’t a close blood relation (i expect if you went back far enough everyone is related)? Are your biological parents and siblings somehow important just because of blood, even if they abuse you? There’s a time when it stops being about blood and starts being about love and trust and support and all those things.

‘When did you see her last?’
‘Must have been that awful weekend we all spent in the cockroach motel; in Cape Cod, in ‘84. After that we stopped pretending we were a family.’
‘Really? Why must I?’ Cara sounds as haughty as her sister used to.
‘Well, you know, blood being thicker than water and all that.’
‘Bullshit’s thicker than either.’
-from Hood by Emma Donoghue
Oh, and because this is the Father’s Day entry, i adore my father. Both my parents, really. I am so incredibly blessed to have the family i have. I am developing a wonderful circle of friends, but i was blessed with a wonderful given family (both immediate and extended) and i am so grateful for that.

We don’t really do Father’s Day. It’s hard enough to come up with gifts for my dad for Christmas and birthday without adding another day. And Sundays in June my dad’s always out biking. I told my mother around Thanksgiving, we could eliminate all the holidays and i would be totally okay with that. Honor your parents, be thankful for what you have, whatever... do it because you want to, not because a date on a calendar tells you to. It means so much more that way. Plus, there’s so much obligation involved. Say your mother wants to spend Mother’s Day at home, quietly, preferably sleeping late. But her mother wants to go out to lunch and shopping and suchlike. If your mother is like my mother she gives in to her mother and ends up having a not terribly wonderful Mother’s Day. Why can’t you just buy flowers, make breakfast, whatever, for a parent just because you love him or her, not because it’s a certain day? I’m shutting up now.

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