Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Myths, Storks, and Same-Sex Advocacy

We watched Storks with our children last weekend. Based on the previews, I expected nothing more than few dumb laughs. We had exhausted the family-oriented Redbox rivals, so Storks it was.

We watched and laughed. Hard. More than a few times.

Andy Sandberg (the voice of Junior) delivered (pun intended) with his usual blend of sarcasm and self-depreciation. His female counterpart, Katie Crown, gave life to the offbeat Tulip. The officious boss Hunter, lively Gardner family, and posturing Pigeon Toady provided comic relief. But the wild and relentless Wolf Pack stole the show.

Well, not quite. A tiny little scene at the end of the film grabbed my attention. When the storks resumed their work of bringing babies to wanting families (instead of e-commerce to consumers), the filmmakers captured the emotion in a closing montage.

[Cue Vance Joy's Fire & Flood. Release the storks.]

The birds carried infants of various shapes, sizes, and colors to families of various shapes, sizes, and colors. One delivery followed another. Each couple reached with open arms and bright smiles. White couple. Black couple. Old couple. Young couple. Same-sex couple. Hispanic couple. Mixed race couple...

My wife and I shared a similar reaction. Wait!? What?! Was that two women who just received a baby?! Were they just sisters?! Were they just friends?! Did our kids notice that?!

No: They were certainly not just sisters. No: Our children watched unaware. The same-sex advocacy was too subtle for their little eyes.

However, same-sex relationships are not a foreign concept to them. They saw me reading an article on the computer the day the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage in Obergefell v Hodges. They asked why rainbow lights shone on the White House.
"Now men can marry men and women can marry women," I explained to my 8- and 9-year old daughters. "Huh?" they replied.

A few months ago my younger daughter read graphic a novel called Drama. She asked her mother, "What does gay mean?"
"It's when a boy likes a boy, or girl likes a girl," my wife said. "Huh?" Margot responded.

We have had further conversations with our daughters about marriage as defined in the Bible. (I know a prevailing wave of thinking in our culture would qualify my statement as "how we interpret marriage in the Bible." I'm certainly not ignorant of lenses I bring to biblical interpretation; we all have them. Nevertheless, I am confident the lenses I wear have been formed by diligent personal study and orthodox faith.) Storks delivering babies may be a myth. Progress and tolerance may be myths. Biblical marriage is not a myth. It is a mystery: God ordained husband and wife to reflect the love of Christ for his church (Ephesians 5:31-32).

Moreover, we expect the regularity of such conversations with our children to increase as they mature. Same-sex advocacy will be less subtle when they graduate from elementary school and watch Prime Time TV. It won't slip pass them in a closing montage; it will smack them in the face in school hallways and on sitcoms.

Sexual practice has always been somewhat loose in high school. Now sexual identity is loose, as well. We want to prepare them for gender liquidity without engendering fear or scorn. We want them to show confidence in their convictions but grace in their interactions. This "perilous and exciting" balance is what G.K. Chesterton called Orthodoxy. I am an advocate.

1 comment:

Andy Doane said...

This was a great article, Tim! While watching Force Awakens last year, I remember having the thought that the era of consuming popular media without this topic being integrated into almost everything is almost over. But I try to keep a historical perspetive; 1st-century Christians had a lot of counter-Roman-culture teaching to do to their kids, so what I have to do is nothing new.