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Wednesday, October 16, 2013
I’ve been carrying around the Sept. 5 issue of The Roanoke Times, with the paper opened to the opinion page. At the top of the page is Leonard Pitts’ column on “IRS ruling moves us forward,” celebrating the ruling that married, same-sex couples can now file joint federal tax returns.
Just below this article, and just above the crease, is John Stec’s piece, “When will the attack on the family end?”
Lines like “the systematic infiltration by the homosexual lobby” and “Sodom was destroyed. Why? ‘Sodomy’ is the name of homosexual activity” and “the indoctrination of very young children in our schools that homosexual couples are the equivalent to the natural family,” all left me scratching my head.
What is natural for Stec is not natural for everyone. Here is what is natural in my life.
Recently, our daughter, who is five, was just outside my office, and I heard her sing, “I’m so lucky, I have two daddies!” Her natural family is her Daddy, James, her Papa (me) and her little brother.
When our two children were baptized in the beautifully Christian Metropolitan Community Church of the Blue Ridge, my former wife, Rev. Leigh Anne Taylor, stood with us as our son’s godmother; and our son, Taylor, 19, stood as our daughter’s godfather. Also standing with us was our daughter, Emma, 21; her fiancé, Connor (studying to be an Episcopal priest); Leigh Anne’s husband, Hugh Ballou; and James’ brother, Fletcher, and his family.
I was raised in a unique and natural family of six people who have no biological connection to each other. My mother, Marilyn, and my dad, Bill, who were not able to have biological children, created a new family by adopting four children: me, my sisters, Nancy and Peggy, and my brother, Alan.
My parents told us all how we came to be a family. They told us that we were adopted from as early as I can remember. Their honesty, authenticity and integrity, undergirded by their unconditional love, taught me that a natural family is a family centered in unconditional love.
During our marriage of 13 years, Leigh Anne and I struggled with fertility issues and looked into the option of adoption. While we were pursuing adoption, we learned that Leigh Anne was pregnant with Emma. Then, two years later she gave birth to Taylor. Our natural family was and is shaped in unconditional love.
When I came out to Leigh Anne, we talked openly and honestly about making the most natural and loving decisions for each other and our children. Even in our decision to divorce, Leigh Anne and I held one another and our children in love.
We vowed to speak and act in loving ways toward each other for the sake of our children and for the sake of our individual health and wholeness. This vow is a natural expression of our continuing love for each other.
When my partner, James, and I decided to have children, we discussed adoption and eventually decided on surrogacy, a path that many creative parents (both straight and gay) choose when creating a family.
From the beginning, we have told our children how they came into our lives and how, naturally, we have loved them with an unconditional and abiding love, and always will.
Natural families are not created or shaped by law. Natural families are created and shaped by love.
My natural, fabulous family has no hidden agenda to infiltrate the world, unless unconditional love is such.
My natural, fabulous family treasures God’s sacred story and how it continues to unfold in and through us. And we treasure the model of Jesus, who showed that love flourishes in relationship, not in law.
My natural, fabulous family practices authentic hospitality, creating space in our lives for all that we can learn from the divine and from each other.
We understand that the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was not homosexuality, but inhospitality. These two cities had forgotten how to welcome the stranger into their lives with grace, humility and wonder. When we neglect to show hospitality to the stranger, our souls will eventually be destroyed by a lack of love.
My natural, fabulous family indoctrinates our children with love, shown to us by our loving God, our loving parents, our loving siblings and one another.
I pray that natural love, love that embodies the best and most beautiful of our spiritual selves, will transform all of our natural, fabulous families into a beloved community.
Weather JournalMix on Sat AM; coming blog changes