This will be the first “blog” that I’ve ever written, so I want it to be truly foundational. I don’t think of myself as one who always says the most important things in the most effective way, but I do try to think important thoughts and mean, in all seriousness, what I say. This will be true in what I write as well. I spent some time today reading the Diary of Anne Frank. I found it interesting to read the everyday occurrences in Anne’s life with the knowledge of the incredible drama and moral backdrop of her time. So, I began to think that even the mundane reports of personal perception are not necessarily “off the table” when it comes to a pastoral blog. I promise that I won’t tell you I ate sardines for breakfast yesterday (or other such nonsense), so that you dwell on that instead of the thoughts that I intend to share.
I took my sons to the Mallory Run spillway at the tail water of Edinboro Lake the other day. We had the entire run of the place; it was chilly. The fishing was slow, but both boys had landed fish. I patiently tied hooks and pulled lines from snags, as this location is a 12 and under place to fish. I had my license but no fishing pole in my hand; my boys were my focus, though I really love to throw a line in myself.
Three young men walked down on the opposite side of the creek, poles and tackle in hand. Quietly bemused, I waited to see what these college-age guys would do. One of them started casting their line in the water. My boys kept fishing and I didn’t fidget or show any alarm. The point is, it’s not that big of a deal to get mad enough to say something. Landon looked at me and quietly asked, “Are they allowed to do that?” I answered him, “They apparently think so” (not loud enough to be heard across the creek). After several casts by the one individual (maybe 10 minutes), the other 2 of the trio were visibly uncomfortable and sorta nodded a “Let’s go.” And they did. Not much to philosophize here… but I will.
The young men knew the 12 and under rule, one of them broke the rule. They left without catching a fish, but what if they would have? What if they caught a trout or two and kept them? Meanwhile, the kids would have been saying, “Isn’t that kinda unfair?” What if they would have tangled one of my kids’ lines? I’m sitting there, almost dying to cast a line out myself, with no fishing rod in my hand unless I’m untangling a child’s line. I’m not barking at the guys across the creek. I’m not whispering under my breath. I’m just taking it all in. What would you do? What should I have done?
With all that’s been going on in our culture war in the last several months, I wondered if my approach to same-sex marriage should resemble my restraint with the boys at the creek. Internalizing this, I’m thinking, “They didn’t steal any fish and they didn’t take away the beauty and opportunity for my boys. Yeh, but it was wrong and they knew it.” What bothers me (and I hope you will understand that some of my blogs may, in fact, be about being “bothered” by something) is that in our current culture war, the fishermen are pushing my family out of our fishing spot. Basically, they are taking our spot without a protest.
It’s as if someone just decided to suspend the 12 and under rule for this part of the creek. Sure, we can all enjoy the stream together because you want it that way, but why don’t you see this as a problem? You want something that’s against the rules. What are you teaching my children? How am I supposed to respond? Where, now, can my boys go to fish since you think this is your spot? You want to fish in this part of the stream, because that’s what you want. And nobody else matters.