I was brought up to think sex before marriage a sin – that a child born out of wedlock was a bastard. Because social norms and religious teaching were as one.
As a young man my focus was on getting any sex I could. That a great relationship was just “great”. So it never felt like sin. And soon “shacking up together” was the social norm. Just like not admitting this to my parents remained the norm – a generational norm – as it is for every generation. And as for “bastards” …
The number of couples who never admitted to being pregnant before wedlock – who even changed the birth year so that conception took place after wedlock … That no longer surprises me.
So I look around me now and ponder original sin. Ponder the cross and how great a sacrifice that was. That the Son of God should come to our home town to be strung up for me. How that is THE example of unconditional love that washed away with blood my sin in The Garden.
But even with all of that –
I am a sinner and will always be so. I am a bastard born out of religious wedlock who lives in sin. And only “marriage” to the Church of God is my saving. Except what follows is obligation and penance and compromise and “yes dear” the rest of my life – oh, and love.
Just not the equal kind.
Love that keeps me under obligation to the “unconditional love of God”. A love I cannot match because my love is still tainted with sin (not as washed away as I was taught). So my love can never be unconditional (in this lifetime). Which means I remain indebted to God though now saved … not now living in sin … but yet still a bastard. So I can never look God in the eyes and love equally – as still taught by the church AND social norms (still as one on this).
Over the years I have met couples committed to each other – but who know others judge they will not survive as a couple. That they are not approved of – not the right ages … the right backgrounds … the right colour … not the right this or that or the other.
We were thought of as one of those couples thirty-five years ago. And over thirty-five years there have been times when they were almost proved right. Show me any relationship over time that doesn’t and hasn’t and yet survived.
So at what point does being right become wrong – and how can being right even become wrong – because where is “truth” in all of this?
That’s why I look around and ponder how religion and social norm is a mirror image of each other. That imposes expectations and obligations for the greater good. And how wrong becomes right over time.
But most of all I wonder this …
Unconditional love is unconditional love – it either is or is not.
I have experienced unconditional love. I have loved unconditionally. I seek to love unconditionally always. It is a place of acceptance, of kindness, of neither social nor religious church teaching. It is a personal living and being – always accepting and always kind. It requires no special place and no special people. It requires no reward and it obligates me to nothing – but invites me to respect everything.
And with that the Garden and the Cross become irrelevant because with “that” I am indebted whether saved or not. Love is an obligation and duty that can never be reciprocated because I am always indebted to God. And that is taught as a social and religious norm. And that is my increasing objection to “God” as taught.
That we have taken something beautiful and made it spiteful. That we have used God to control-obligate-indebt generation after generation. But teach that as God’s “unconditional and eternal love” we can only wonder at.
We make God something God never was or is. We make love something love never was or is. We make “love” conditional and controlling – and with it God. And that is not love. Love is not “conditional” because “conditional love” is not love but control.
And looking around I find this the oddest of all ….
I get this from the same bible and the same God that I was taught made me a sinner always who needed saving from sin but who would be indebted always.
That, for me, is how wrong can become right – love is always the answer.