learning to play

I almost didn’t post this. And maybe I still won’t. (If you’re reading this, then you’ll know what I decided.)

See, yesterday afternoon I wrote a post about a play that my son and I went to over the weekend. The play was interesting and thoughtful, so I decided to write about it. But then I started feeling funny. For two reasons:

1) you might think I’ve been asked to do a promo review when I haven’t, and…

2) the play is about homosexuality, a topic that I’ve never written about here. To mention homosexuality, out of the blue, feels a little cavalier, like I might be exploiting an issue and/or not giving it the credence it deserves.

It didn’t relieve my anxieties any when I told my husband, “I’m writing a post about the play and I’m having some hesitations..,” and he cut me off with, “Then don’t write about it.” So not helpful.

After that, I decided I was probably over-thinking the issue and should just tell about my little Sunday afternoon and get it over with already. Bottom line: I’m cracking a can of worms when all I want to do is tell about my Sunday outing. I have no interest in going fishing.


Yesterday my older son and I went to see a private-ish showing of a new play. Only a couple churches had been invited, and since the writer/actor goes to our church (or we go to his, since he was there first), we were on the in. Lucky us.

I had hoped to see Learning to Play with my husband, but we were delinquent in making child care plans and couldn’t finagle it. So after making a couple calls to check on the show’s age appropriateness, I settled for a date with my son. He got to sit beside me and listen about the ick factor of parents (ew!) and grandparents (ew! ew!) having sex, Solomon’s concubines, sodomy, and the Song of Solomon. Lucky him.

my date

The play is mostly a one-man show, with two other guys playing instrumental music throughout. The main character is a father who is wrestling with the news that his son is gay. There is a progressive, funny, harebrained preacher. There are visits from a couple good-hearted, church-going, question-asking guys. There’s a visit to the city-dwelling, not-church-going gay cousin. There are dreams about the deceased wife, and recounted conversations with the grandmother. Reference was made to Fresh Air and a butter-happy grandmother, so I felt right at home.

Although there were several creative spins that shed light, the play’s main ideas weren’t new to me. My boat wasn’t rocked. I wasn’t pushed. I didn’t cry. As someone on the acceptance side of the equation, I felt affirmed. The play made sense.

Much to my relief (but not my surprise), the play’s church folk, the ones who view homosexuality as a sin, were not demonized. To the contrary, I found myself respecting and appreciating their questions and honest intentions. A dozen years ago, I would’ve been speaking their lines. But I wonder, how will this play feel to those who don’t feel like it is right to be accepting of gay people? Will the play give them space to reflect without being threatened? Will they come see the play?

Later that afternoon I was telling my mom about the show and she asked, “So what was the solution? Did the play give any answers?”

No, the play doesn’t give answers. It’s the exact opposite, really: a play brimful with questions. But among the questions there is beautiful music, belly laughs, lots of mucking around in the Bible, and a father who loves his son very, very much.

P.S. My son thoroughly enjoyed it.

This same time, years previous: the quotidian (4.29.13), better brownies, juxtaposed, shredded wheat bread, and thoughts from Marianne Williamson.


  • Rebecca

    The play appeared in our tends-to-be-conservative corner of the world. I heard nothing but good things about it. We had choir concerts so I missed it. Hope I can catch it again.

  • momma-lana

    You cannot know about your ability to love a child who has chosen a sinful lifestyle until you are the parents of one. It is humbling and it will keep you on your face praying and pleading with God for that child to turn from that sin.

    Our SIL is a pastor and he has found that in this country it is SO incredibly common for empty nester parents to have children who are atheists and/or gay. Most every 50 something couple in his church actually have one of each as do we. Our children were raised in the church and home schooled. We have had our rose colored glasses removed.

    • dr perfection

      ok, I will open the can of worms.

      The children you speak of did not "choose" a gay lifestyle. It was never a choice. Just as a woman is attracted to a man is not a choice. It just IS. And so you must be compassionate.

    • momma-lana

      We have been compassionate, especially when you consider that many gays are shunned by their families after they come out. As a Christian I believe that it is sin. No amount of arguing will change my mind because I know what my Bible says. This child is shaking her fist in God's face right now so to speak and it is intentional.

    • dr perfection

      Many people of great faith do not read the Bible in the way you do. Many people are willing to step back and consider the welfare of the child who was created by God and did not choose to be gay. I will pray for you.

  • karen

    I think if I lived in a neighbouring farm, we would easily be very good friends. I think we would have many interesting conversations that would wander over this and that and in those moments when we maybe don't quite see eye to eye, I have a feeling that, rather than "agreeing to disagree", we would probably easily allow each others' points to have influence within our growing understanding of ourselves, our families and our communities. I think that's why I look forward to your posts so very much.

    • Jennifer Jo

      Usually, I violently edit out my neurotic wanderings (believe it or not), but this time I left them in. I guess I was feeling more neurotic than normal? I left it messy to be honest? To be careful? Because I felt insecure?

      Anyway, I agree with you. I kinda wish I had done it that way now. Oh well.

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