ASP--The Concord Five--Chapter Twenty-one--Mary Kathryn
When the sweat was over and we had all showered and dressed, we went back to the Greywolf house for a feast. Yong Jin had food left over from Thanksgiving ready when we arrived, and it didn't take long to get the table set and the food on it. After grace, we all dived in and, as soon everyone had gotten a good start on breaking their fast, we started talking about our experience in the sweat. We sat around the table for a couple hours talking, recalling what we had experienced. I was surprised that the expectations for the sweat had been so low and the experience so high for all those participating in their first sweat.
It was 8:30 before we finished eating and cleaning up. When we were done, Linda said, "Look, we are stuck here so we might as well make the best of it. How about a dance?" She hardly had the words out of her mouth before the living room was cleared and a CD started, and the dancing began.
I was surprised when Climbing Bear got Taequo on the floor. We were all dancing pretty wildly and soon were sweating without the help of a lodge. When everyone was ready for a break, Susan asked Wounded Hawk if he would teach us to dance Indian style. He said he'd be happy to, but he didn't have a drum.
"Think you could manage with a recording?" Greywolf asked. "I have a couple tapes of the Pine Ridge drum." Greywolf then remembered there were a lot of things we didn't know, and he and Wounded Hawk finally got us to understand that the drummers and singers who play together are known as a drum. Between the two of them they explained that the rhythm of a drum is very steady with only a few changes. "The drum beat is the heartbeat of Mother Earth--your heartbeat," Greywolf said.
Greywolf started the tape and he and Wounded Hawk demonstrated the step for male dancers. "We can get into other movements later," Wounded Hawk said, "but, for now, just keep it simple." He, Greywolf, Taequo and Climbing Bear each had a guy stand on either side of them, and kept working with them how until all had gotten the hang of it.
"In pow-wow dancing the men all have fancy clothing--some traditional and some of recent design with all kinds of glitter and glitz. Most women wear very restrained clothing, not a lot of flash and glitter--well, among young girls there is some, but mostly not. That's because women shed blood every month so they don't have to prove they are brave. Men have to get all dolled-up to remind themselves they are warriors," Wounded Hawk laughed. "It's a testosterone thing. Women's movements are very soft and subtle. Very gentle," he said. Then he showed us women how to dance. It looked easy, but I guess that's the feminine in it. It looked easy, but it was hard to make it look gentle, flowing and effortless.
After we had gotten the basic steps and rhythm down, we were shown other movements, such as how to honor the drum. It was great fun, but serious at the same time. Finally it was 11:30 and Taequo said, "I think I'm ready for bed, but we do have the makings of a good number of pow-wow dancers here and I guess, since Red Hawk made them relatives, they could dance with BIA Indians". He then started laughing and pointing to me then Luke. Soon Wounded Hawk, Greywolf and Climbing Bear were also laughing. We all stood around looking lost. When Taequo finally stopped laughing long enough to talk he said, "I can just see some of those tight-ass BIA Indians when those two blond Indians join a dance". Greywolf explained that BIA Indians were "official Indians".*
After the three visiting Indians gathered up what they needed and headed for the falls, Matt, Luke, Michael and I went to the kitchen to prepare a snack. Marc followed and asked about using the phone. "I'll use my phone card," he said.
"Not to worry," Matt told him, but he did anyway. He said he was calling Douglas. As soon as Douglas answered, Marc gave the phone to Luke to say hello and then sat down on a kitchen stool to talk to Douglas himself.
ASP--The Concord Five--Chapter Twenty-one--Douglas
I wasn't surprised when Marc called me from North Carolina. I had expected it. However, I wasn't prepared for his weather report of snow and more snow. He told me about Thanksgiving dinner and the sweat, and now everyone spending Friday night together as they had Thursday night. They had danced and then had Indian dance lessons. He was very excited and it was obvious my bud was having one fantastic time. I asked about Keith and I could almost hear Marc blushing. All he would say was that it sure was nice to have someone to snuggle up to on cold winter nights.
I had nothing to report beyond the fact that Mr. Blalock had found another lawyer to assist him. He told me he was just too old to do the rough-and-tumble my case would require. My parents had decided to try to gain control of everything by saying grandmother had been incompetent when she made her will, thus voiding it. Mr. Neumann, the assisting lawyer, and Mr. Blalock both assured me the outcome was not in doubt, "Your Grandmother was as sane as any of us when she died, and the will was made well before she became ill," Mr. Blalock said. "But that doesn't mean it won't take time and money to defeat this latest ploy to get control of you and, more especially, your grandmother's money," he added.
A part of my parents' plan was to show how irresponsible I was and, thus, how Grams had to be incompetent to give me anything without a lot of strings attached. They had launched their attack while I was in Ohio, a trip they used to show I wasn't capable of using good judgement. They had stated in their petition that I obviously was irresponsible because I thought nothing of hiring a private jet to go party in Ohio. Of course their statement was not true, but that had to be proven false, along with a lot of other things they had included in their petition to the court.
Mr. Blalock said he hated to ask me to stay in Florida and not spend Thanksgiving with my friends, but he thought I better stay close. He almost cracked up when Janet said, "I guess that means I have to prepare the family's Thanksgiving dinner". But she did--with a lot of help from Lupe--and invited the Blalocks, and Mr. Neumann and his wife and son, along with my parents. My parents, of course, didn't show up, so we had a great dinner.
Marc told me he had some great news, but he wouldn't tell me anything more--not even a hint. Janet and I were both anxious to see Marc and find out what had him so excited.
The Concord Five--Chapter Twenty-one--Marc
After we had eaten and were pretty much wound down, Matt put a fifties-sixties tape in the boom box and soon we were all slow dancing. Matt had turned out all the lights and the room was lit only by the flickering fire in the fireplace.
As Keith and I danced, I held him very close. We were barely moving when I drew his lips to mine, thrust my tongue deep into his mouth and pressed my hips into his. I could feel his hardness pressing against my leg as I was sure he could feel mine. When I broke the kiss, I gazed into his eyes and whispered, "Ready for bed, Babe?".
Keith looked up and nodded as a smile spread across his face. Before he could change his mind, I took his hand, kissed it and we walked up the stairs to MY room, no longer a guest room. I belonged here and I was taking to MY bed a man I loved with my whole being.
When we reached my room I stopped Keith, took him into my arms and kissed him passionately. I broke our kiss and then swept him into my arms and carried him into the room, kicking the door closed as I did. I kissed Keith again and stood him on his feet and started undressing him. As I slid his shirt from his body, I bent forward and surrounded a nipple with my mouth, flicking it with my tongue. I reached down, opening his belt and fly, allowing his jeans to fall to the floor. His hard cock was straining at his briefs, begging to be released. I was happy to oblige.
I embraced my nude lover and held him close, but he still managed to slip my clothes from my body. We were both naked, very hard and very hot. We stood, our hips pressed together and our tongues doing battle. I released Keith, took his hand in mine and led him to my bed. I wrapped my arms around him and pulled him to me until I was lying back on the bed, Keith atop my body. Keith and I had talked a lot about our sexual experiences. We had gotten to know each other--including telling each other about our experiences with lovers, or people we had thought were our lovers. Truth be told, we hadn't just gotten to know each other in Ohio, we had fallen in love--but we'd had little privacy there, so our love-making had been limited to some hot make-out sessions and snuggling together in bed.
Not that I think we would have gone much beyond that had we had more privacy. We both had hang-ups about having sex. Well I really didn't have any hang-ups, but I wasn't ready to rush into anything, especially since Keith's sexual experiences were still painful to him. He really did have hang-ups, so I certainly wasn't going to push him. He had told me what had happened in the sweat, so I expected him to be freed-up and believe me he was--and I was ready for him! We were so hot that we were clumsy and bumbling. Finally I looked at Keith and said, "Babe, we have all night".
Keith looked into my eyes, smiled and said, "And I intend to make the most of it," and gave me a hot but gentle kiss. Of course, we were so hot that our love-making resulted in a climax for both of us long before we wanted, but it was a fantastic experience. I was thinking only of Keith, and wanting to give him my love. I concentrated totally on giving Keith pleasure, so I was surprised when we reached a climax at the same time and wave after wave of pleasure swept through my body. Our love-making was hot--very, very hot--but very gentle as well. After we had given each other the gift of our manhood, we curled together, exchanging soft kisses and gazing into each other's eyes in the moonlight reflected from the white blanket of snow outside. We lay, whispering of our love to each other until, once again, we were ready to take our love-making to the heights.
Totally relaxed and wonderfully tired after long, tender, passionate, hot love-making, we curled together and drifted into sleep where I dreamed of Keith. True to his word, Keith made the most of the night as we made love twice more before Luke called us for breakfast.
ASP--The Concord Five--Chapter Twenty-one--Luke
Sometime Friday night, the weather forecast for Thanksgiving day arrived, only a day late. I awoke as the sun falling through the windows played across my face. Matt was lying with his head on my chest, snoring softly. I smiled when I remembered him denying that he snored and offered as proof the fact that he had never heard himself snore. How long ago had that been? Remembering the first time we had slept together with no holds barred, I was amazed that it had been no longer than a few months. How the world had changed in less than a year!
As I looked at my dark angel, I recalled how we had been so sure we could never love each other more than we did when we first acknowledged our love, and smiled. Maybe we could never lust for each other's body as we did then, but our love had grown deeper each day. I also thought about what great support and love we had from our families and friends. On all accounts, we were richly blessed. I was lying very still so as not to awaken Matt, but he stirred, raised his head, smiled and gave me a morning kiss.
"Babe," I whispered, "I love friends, but there can be too many for too long. I'm ready for some plain, hot sex."
"No-one's in the shower, and I'm still Matt."
"Still hot-to-trot?" I smiled.
"Get me to the shower and I'll show you!"
We both got out of bed as quietly as possible and I picked Matt up and took him down the hall to the shower. Since we, as always, slept naked, there was no wasted time getting undressed, and even a piss did nothing to get rid of the morning woodies.
As soon as the water in the shower was warm, we climbed in and soaped each other's body, paying particular attention to the woodies and the balls beneath. We played around a bit, then Matt took my hard cock in his mouth and did wonderful things with his tongue, soon bringing me to a roaring climax. After I had returned the favor, we again washed the body we loved, dried each other and returned to our room, meeting Keith and Marc coming out of Marc's room, and Dan and Christopher, towels about their waists, on their way to the downstairs bathroom.
We dressed and went downstairs to find Taequo, Wounded Hawk and Climbing Bear in the kitchen preparing breakfast. As we walked in, Taequo handed us a cup of coffee as he said, "You know, Matt, I think I was right in saving Luke. There was a time there I wondered if he was worth it," he laughed.
"Taequo, I will be forever in your debt. He may not be worth much, but he's mine!" Matt laughed and gave me a kiss.
"Taequo, I was thinking about how much has happened in the last year--actually less than a year--and it's hard to believe. It was only five months or so ago that you pulled me from that guardrail--just a few months. Can you believe that?"
"Damn, it HAS been only five months," Taequo said, a surprised look on his face.
The five of us talked about all that had happened since we had known each other and kept saying, "That's hard to believe," and it was, but it had all happened.
"Taequo, five months ago you were alone, now you have Climbing Bear. I was ready to throw this life away and Matt wasn't much better off, and now we have each other in a bond deeper than ever. Life has been good to us," I said, as Matt kissed my cheek.
As he did, Marc and Keith came into the room. "Boyfriend for breakfast? I can go for that," Marc said and kissed Keith.
"From the looks on your faces, I think you must have had an early breakfast," Climbing Bear responded, and then burst out laughing when both Keith and Marc turned bright red.
"What's all the blushing about?" Dan asked, as he and Christopher joined us. "Marc and Keith contracted the Matt Greywolf transmitted disease?"
"Looks like it. I think they're blushing about what Marc had for breakfast," Wounded Hawk chuckled.
"Who's had breakfast?" Greywolf asked, after he and Yong Jin had said good morning.
"Don't think anyone has, at least not a regular breakfast," Wounded Hawk said. "You guys get the table set. Breakfast is ready."
We got the dishes from the cabinet and as soon as we were in the dining room, Matt said, "I don't think you have to be a medicine man, Luke, to see that something went on in the guest room last night."
"Yea, the goofy grins on two faces gave the secret away didn't they?" I laughed.
Both Keith and Marc looked up at us and really grinned. "Nothing happened in the guest room that I know about," Marc said, "but a good time was had by all in MY room".
"Don't know that I like this pushy Florida sun-bunny taking over my house," Matt said, then added, "Good to have another brother though, Marc".
Marc quickly got a strange look on his face and started getting misty eyed. "You don't know how good it is, Matt." Having said that, he walked over to Matt and gave him a hug. "You really don't know because you've always had Luke."
Wounded Hawk, Climbing Bear and Taequo brought the food and we all sat down for breakfast.
Breakfast was over and the table cleared before the others arrived. "That warm weather promised yesterday has arrived," Michael said, as he opened the front door while he was still cleaning his shoes. "Snow rapidly changing to mud out here. Should be no problem opening the club tonight."
As soon as the women arrived, we started the process of getting everyone home. "It sure will be good to get home, take a hot shower and get on clean clothes," Linda said as she and Bill left.
They took Jacob, Susan and Jack with them. Rachel had to go with us, otherwise Jacob's dad would pitch a fit. According to Rachel, he had reached the point where he exploded if he heard Jacob's name. "He rants and raves about Jacob selling out Christ for Jewish pussy," she had told us.
"I'll take the van and we can get everyone else home," I said.
"I think I can find my way if you want me to take everyone home," Marc said.
"We can tag along," Michael suggested, and he and Mary Kathryn went with Keith in the van.
When they had gone, I said, "It was good seeing everyone, but..."
"I think I know what someone said about grand kids," Greywolf chuckled. "It is hard to tell which is better, headlights coming or taillights going."
"Speaking of going, we have to hit the road," Taequo said.
"Matt, Luke, I'll be in contact," Wounded Hawk said.
"So will we," Climbing Bear said, extending his hand. After there were handshakes all around, the three left.
"Now that there is peace and quiet again, I think we need to talk about the new situation here," Greywolf said. "We have told Marc that he can live with us, but we'd like to talk to our sons."
Dad told us what they had told Marc, namely that they would be happy to have him live with them, but there were definite rules, "The same ones we had for you, Matt. I'm afraid Marc has been left alone so much he will find it difficult to remember to tell us where he's going, when he'll be back, who he is with, you know the rules."
"Dad, I think he is so happy he will be in Concord that he wouldn't object to anything except you telling him he can't see Keith. Besides, he needs to know what real parents are like," Matt said. "There is one problem, I think. What's the rule for him and Keith? I know they are both eighteen and that was a milepost for me and Luke, but what about Keith and Marc? Especially since Mr. Lewis has some say about the situation."
"Well, there's no question about whether or not they are virgins, we all know they aren't. I don't think I am off-base in saying they had sex last night, so what's the problem?" I asked.
"It could make a lot of difference and be downright sticky," Greywolf said, "if Mr. Lewis wants to cause problems. I guess I will leave all that up to Marc and Keith. What I told Marc was that I would expect him to be responsible. So far as I am concerned, as long as he is responsible, what he does in his room is his business. I can't imagine Mr. Lewis is so dense that he won't know that when he gives Keith permission to sleep over, the two will sleep together. What do you think?"
"I see your point, Dad. Luke and I will speak to Marc and make sure he knows what is and is not acceptable," Matt promised.
"We'll be happy to, Greywolf. Anything else we need to speak to Marc about?" I asked.
"I can't think of anything. I do know we have to do more talking about money. Marc is used to having carte blanche and that will not be true so long as he lives here. We'll have to work out some arrangement."
"Dad," Matt said, "he can have whatever he wants from his dad, but I think you are right, he needs an allowance. He needs to learn to live within a budget. He may never have to, but he needs to know. He will be paying room and board, right? And he will have chores?"
Greywolf laughed, "Afraid he'll have it easier than you did?".
Matt grinned and then said, "Yea, I guess, but I think it did me good".
We talked some more about Marc coming to live with the Greywolfs and Matt and I said we'd definitely have a talk with him before we left.
Since we had spent very little time with Mom and Dad, Matt and I went to my place. Mom and Dad were busy straightening up from their influx of female company. "I think girls make a bigger mess than boys," Mom said when she came down from upstairs with a load of bedclothes. As soon as they were in the washer, she sat down with us and Dad brought coffee, and the four of us just had a good visit.
We told them about Matt's tour schedule and my exhibitions. "I start in Charleston June 16 and Matt will be with me then, since his tour doesn't start until July 7. He will be back in Charleston for that and I will be in Chicago."
"We'll both be in Washington, Boston and New York at the same time, then I'll travel with Luke until his exhibition tour ends. Of course if I had selected the August tour, I would have been in Louisville, Los Angeles, Seattle, and back to Chicago while Luke was in Dallas," Matt added.
"Don't let him kid you Dad, Matt will also be in Louisville, Los Angeles, Seattle and Dallas. He'll be with me. The only time we would not be together, if he did both months, would be his first week when he is in Charleston and I am in Chicago, and his last week when he would be in Chicago and I will be in Indianapolis."
"We will be finished at Oberlin May 23," I said. "I don't know what the others are doing this summer. Paula, Kent and Eugene have done some talking about playing clubs with a couple of the other combo members, but nothing's solid. Paula has also talked about going back to the camp where she worked last summer, and Kent is giving serious thought to staying at the place and working on the landscape project he has going. Larry is looking for an opportunity to do video work this summer. He laughed about an expedition to India and Nepal his Case professor told him about. 'Yea, they'll take a rising sophomore, yea, sure they will,' he said, but he did complete the application and Eugene kept pushing him until he got his passport. I'm looking forward to having some time here--some of May and June until I start my exhibition tour!"
"Yea, I'll even enjoy working on the farm," Matt said.
"Been away so long you can romanticize the farm," Dad chuckled. "Hot sun, sweaty work, hay down your back making you sting. Looking forward to that, Matt?" Dad laughed.
We talked more about school, about the house and how things were going, just easy talk. Suddenly Matt stopped in mid-sentence, walked over to Dad and put his arms around him in a hug. "Jens, thank you so much for accepting me and your son. I suddenly realized how great it is that we still have our families. Dad said he had a hard time accepting Luke as my lover, a man. I know how much more difficult it was for you and, Jens, I really appreciate it. No, Jens, appreciate is not enough, but I don't have a word for it except... thanks."
As it was in old times, clearly Dad was somewhat embarrassed by Matt's display. He just reached around Matt and patted him a couple times and cleared his throat. He was saved further embarrassment by the entrance of Michael and Mary Kathryn.
"Everything's 'go' for the teen club," Michael said.
"Yea, we stopped by to check it out and stayed to talk with Fr. Tom. He said he had a couple calls about the club from St. Mary's people. They were very careful not to say why they were objecting, but Fr. Tom said clearly some objected to black, white and Mexican kids being together, and especially dancing together. Others, fewer, objected to men dancing with men and women dancing with women. He had to admit he almost lost it when one of the old biddies said if men danced with men it might turn them gay. 'You mean like Matt Greywolf and Luke Larsen?' Fr. Tom had asked. He said he could hardly keep from laughing out loud when he assured her that Matt and Luke could dance forever and not change their sexual orientation. 'I found it hard to believe there was anyone in Concord who didn't know Matt and Luke are a couple,' he told us. 'But then I remembered old Mrs. Foster thought Matt hung the moon and would never admit he was gay'," Michael laughed.
"I hope Fr. Tom doesn't think he has heard the last of this," Dad said. "There will be enough flack from people in Concord, but I suspect there will be those from outside as well. One of the people I know through business was behind the Lexington club from the beginning. You can imagine what I had to say about his support a couple years ago," Jens said with a weak smile.
"No problem imagining what you had to say, Jens. Not difficult at all, recalling your reaction when you discovered Luke and I were lovers," Matt said, with an "all is forgiven" smile.
"I know it took a long time before the bigots gave up trying to stop it. The outsiders were the biggest problem. When they finally realized they couldn't stop it, things settled down. I'm sure the same will be true in Concord. Yea, I suspect Fr. Tom is seeing the beginning, not the end, of protests about the club," Jens nodded wisely.
"Well, Fr. Tom said he would have something to say about the situation tomorrow. I think he's kinda excited about having something to fight for," Michael said.
"Any adults be around tonight?" Dad asked. "It would be a good idea if troublemakers turn up."
"There will be a couple off-duty police officers. One is a volunteer and the club has hired one, and there will be four parent volunteers, that's the way we set it up. Tonight there may be others because parents are always welcome. I think Bill's parents are on duty and I don't recall who else."
ASP--The Concord Five--Chapter Twenty-one--Matt
Michael and Mary Kathryn left for the club early since they were involved in running it--actually, I think they were in the kitchen. When Matt and I arrived, there was a good crowd already, but the music hadn't started. Shortly afterward, Keith announced "More" and the dancing started. The kitchen was going a land-office business until it closed at 10:00. Of course there were still drinks available and snack food from machines. As soon as Michael and Mary Kathryn and the kitchen crew had cleaned up, they joined Bill and Linda, Matt and me at a table. The evening was going fine and all were having a good time, when a group of skinheads came in shortly after Michael and Mary Kathryn sat down.
"Here comes trouble," Luke said as soon as he saw the four skinheads walk in.
"I hope not," Michael said. "Things have been going so well. At least Pop Cop is on the stick, he has moved around close to where they are sitting."
"Pop Cop?" I asked.
Bill laughed, "Yea, Pop Cop. He's near retirement age and I would have thought he'd not be interested in the club if not, in fact, opposed to it. But when we went to the police department to ask about hiring off-duty officers for the club, he said he'd be here as a volunteer. Seems he had only one child, a son who was killed in an auto accident when he was seventeen, and he still misses kids."
"He has not taken his eyes off the skinheads," I said, "but they seem to be enjoying themselves and causing no trouble."
"Maybe, but I don't trust them," Bill said, but nothing out of the ordinary had happened when the club closed at midnight. As soon as the doors were closed, we all pitched in to get things cleaned up and in order for Sunday.
ASP--The Concord Five--Matt
Luke and I spent the night with his parents and piled out of bed in a hurry Sunday morning when Jens called us and said Gabrielle would have breakfast ready shortly. After breakfast, we showered and got dressed for church. Both of us were looking forward to being at St. Mary's again. St. Anne's just wasn't home.
As I sat listening to Millie's prelude, I thought about the possibility I would not be playing at St. Anne's when I returned to Oberlin. The organist had recovered enough to play again and I hoped she would decide to take over. Of course both Paula and Fr. Manville were hoping otherwise. With a recital to prepare for, I really preferred to be free of the organist's job.
Fr. Tom mounted the pulpit with more life--spirit--than usual, and looked out at the congregation for several seconds before he started his sermon.
"It's been an interesting week in many ways. Something happened which I don't recall ever having happened to me. I read the wrong lessons and Gospel when I started preparing for today's sermon. But maybe that was no accident since the events in mid-week showed me just how right the wrong Gospel was. The Gospel I read is St. Matthew's story of the last judgement, a story you all know, I suspect. It case you don't, I'll read it again." Fr. Tom read the story (Matthew 25:31-46. See below**), closed his Bible and said, "Not the way we think of the last judgement is it? But what does it have to say about events in Concord last week?"
"Last Wednesday Concord saw an rather unusual parade and certainly a different kind of football game. Both different as much for why they happened as for how they happened. Your children, your grandchildren, your neighbor's children decided there would be a football game to prove winning is not everything. For them winning took second place to decency and honor, a position which put some adults to shame, including the football coaches who resigned rather than face a losing game. The fact that Independence won was icing on a very special cake," he said. "Delicious icing, I'd add."
"The echoes of that game and the victory dance here at St. Mary's teen club have kept the phones in my office and the rectory ringing. I have spent many of my waking hours--and some when I would have been asleep--on the phone. To be honest with you, only a few months ago I would have answered the phone with soothing words, words to smooth ruffled feathers, placating words, words of compromise. But this is a new day, a new day shown to me by your children."
"Some of those calls, I am pleased to say few in number, were from members of this parish, members of St. Mary's. Some of those who called are noticed by their absence this morning. But most of the calls were from other residents of our fair city, many of whom were cowards, refusing to give their names, but very free with their threats. And some of the calls, the most vicious and threatening, were from outsiders, none of whom identified themselves by name, but were happy to identify themselves as members of one hate organization or another."
"And why the calls? Because there is much hate in the world. Some spewed out their hatred as racists--whites hating blacks, blacks hating whites and both hating Hispanics. Hatred. Many were Bible-quoting, Bible-thumping self-proclaimed Christians. 'Race-mixing produces mongrels, dogs,' I was told by one such caller--a man whose voice I recognized as belonging to a member of the country club set, the country club where race clearly is the determining factor for membership, not honesty, decency, honor. 'Race-mixing produces mongrels,' he kept shouting. 'Seems to me we need more racial mixing then, because we can use a lot more mongrels if it means we have more people and more families such as the Greywolfs,' I replied. There was much stuttering and stammering on the other end of the line."
"Others called to tell me the Bible condemns homosexuality. When I agreed with one--a member of one of the so-called better families--he asked why, then, I allowed men to dance with men and women to dance with women at the victory dance Wednesday evening. 'Because some of them are in love with each other and some are friends who like to dance together, I suspect,' I told him. He again reminded me that the Bible condemns homosexuality. 'It also condemns eating catfish--standard bill of fare at the country club Fridays, I believe. Ever eat catfish? It condemns mixing fabrics. Still wearing cotton and polyester shirts? How about shrimp, pork? Eating those? Over the years I have been in Concord, we have had young women, old women, middle-aged women having affairs with married men. Have you participated in stoning any of them? I don't recall the stoning of one woman in Concord. The Bible says women who commit adultery are to be stoned. I guess it would be ok for a man to have an affair with your wife. He'd be safe, but I guess you'd have to help stone your wife.' It was clear to me, if not to him, that we pick and choose the commandments to follow and those to ignore."
"So is there no standard? Of course there is. For years you heard it 'most every Sunday. Remember? Jesus, being a good Jew, knew the standard. He quoted his Hebrew forefathers: 'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like unto it: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.' Loving God and loving your neighbor takes care of ALL the law and ALL the prophets, period, end of debate. And even loving God involves the neighbor. In the first Epistle of John, we are told about that for the author writes, 'If any one says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him, that he who loves God should love his brother also.' Clear enough isn't it?"
"And those who would separate the world into neighbors and not neighbors, the standard--the rule by which the neighbor is determined--is simple, very simple. Jesus got that said once and for all in the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Your neighbor is anyone--I repeat ANYONE--in need. Anyone in need--old or young, black or white, Hispanic or a good old Anglo-Saxon Protestant or Roman Catholic or someone with no religion, resident of the mill village or country club estates, gay or straight--ANYONE in need is your neighbor."
"While not in the Gospel for today, you have heard it often enough to know that judgement belongs to God, not to you or me. So it is before the throne of the Son of Man that the judgement takes place, not in the barber shop, or the teachers' lounge or the country club bar or other hangouts in Concord. It is God's judgement and we better not interfere. As people step before the judgement throne, they are separated, some to the right, some to the left. To those on the right, the Son of Man says, 'Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world'. To those on the left he says, 'You are accursed, depart form me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels'. And did you note the standard of judgement?"
"The righteous are not sent to the right because they are members of the church. There are no statements about being a member of the church, or even about being a Christian. In fact, it seems that being a Christian or a Muslim or Buddhist or pagan--or nothing at all, so far as religion is concerned, is not a matter of any consequence."
"And in light of those who called to straighten me out this week, I would point out that there is nothing about race. There is nothing at all about whether one is black or white, Hispanic or Anglo. Race has nothing to do with it. There is nothing about socializing only with your race or your social class. Nothing at all."
"Nor is there any concern with whether you are gay or straight. None, zilch, nada. One caller was ready to send me straight to hell because I allowed men to dance with each other. 'After all,' he reminded me, 'God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.' I responded from the depth of my being, 'You are only half-right. God created Adam and Eve, true, but equally true is the statement that he DID create Adam and Steve. For we are all created of God and, as such, are the beloved children of God--all of us, black, white, yellow, red, brown and tan; gay, straight, and in between. And we all have one task in this world: to love our neighbors--to give food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked and visit the sick and prisoners."
"It strikes me that the question is not with whom you sleep, dance, or socialize--for all are God's children. The question is whether you show love for all people in active care for them. And surely a teen club is one way some of us can visit those who have been imprisoned by prejudice, hatred and bigotry. It is a place where we can visit those who are suffering from the sickness of drugs, self-hate, prejudice. It is a place where we can demonstrate the love we are required to show the world. St. Mary's teen club is a wonderful place for us to show the love of God to His children and it will remain so. Amen."
It was obvious to me that Fr. Tom had decided to take seriously the summary of the law--love God, love your neighbor--in a new and powerful way.
Sunday dinner was at the Larsens'. I was glad it was just the Family since we'd had little time together, without someone else around, this Thanksgiving vacation. Even Marc had gone to dinner with Keith and his dad. They planned to tell Mr. Lewis about Marc's move to Concord and both were nervous about what his reaction might be.
During dinner we discussed the sermon. "I've never seem Fr. Tom dig his heels in before, at least not as far as they are dug in now. You can bet those who didn't show up this morning are just the beginning. There will be more controversy at St. Mary's, but Fr. Tom has picked a good cause to champion," David said and we all agreed.
After dinner, Luke and I got our things together and Marc and Keith came by, with Larry and Eugene, to pick us up at 2:30. "Thanksgiving's over," Eugene said later, as he looked out the plane's window to Concord below.
"Yea," Luke agreed. "Now we are winging our way back to Oberlin and Paula and Kent."
- BIA Indians: In order to be recognized as an Indian by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, a person must prove they are one-eighth Indian. Because of the dreadful way the BIA has treated Indians in the past (and, truth be known, in the present as well) there is much ambivalence toward the BIA among Indians and often some toward BIA "certified" Indians.
** Jesus said, "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, 'Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world, for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.' Then the righteous will answer him 'Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick and in Prison and visited you?' And the king will answer them 'Truly I tell you just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.' Then he will say to those at his left hand, 'You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.' Then they also will answer, 'Lord, when was it we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger, or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?' Then he will answer them, 'Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.' And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." Matthew 25:31-46