It’s almost fall and I am behind in the writing of Plausible Liars, the fifth in the Dr. Lindsey McCall medical mystery series. Way behind, for I had intended that the first draft be completed by the end of October. Although it is true that we have sold and moved from our beautiful northern Nevada home of eighteen years and my eight-year-old laptop finally bit the dust the week we got here, (the reason there was no article last Sunday) those are not the reasons that my deadline will come and go before the story is complete.
A number of folks have asked what I am working on. When I briefly explain, the person hesitates and then without exception, says something like, “You sure pick huge subjects…”
Indeed. Most people ignore my muttered comment that I did not pick it.
In a piece I called, Saul, A Man for Our Times, I wrote this:
I recall-with amusement- my reaction to a wedding where the minister read Paul’s letter to Corinthians, the part where man was made by God and woman for man, therefore she is called, ‘woman…’bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh..’ and ‘should submit to her husband.’
At the time I was not laughing. Far from it. In fact, I had far too much to say, my language inappropriate in both word choice and volume, to express my feelings about the Biblical reading.
Only to learn how wrong I was…not a mere mistake in judgement but a colossal and grave misunderstanding. At least partially corrected, too many years later, in this chapter:
Mamertine Prison, Rome
“Aurelius, you were dismayed─even enraged─ when you learned that I have not always been celibate; but lived as a married man with children! Why would you ask for more details about a life you believed to be unfitting for a man of God?”
“Because I was wrong, Rabbi. Wholly wrong.”
Paul looked at me, almost tenderly. Those ravaged features were softened. “Why were you wrong? What makes you think that Christians I will never meet should know about my life with Hannah and our children?”
At the phrase, “our children,” his breath caught. And Paul blinked rapidly. Almost forty years and the grief is as raw, as fresh as if it all happened today.
I stared at the man who had saved my life. And that of many others. A man who would continue, through the ages, to bring those who are lost…and know they are lost, to Christ. I needed to choose my words carefully for my earlier reaction had affected him deeply, far more so than I understood at the time.
“In your letter to the Romans, you write about good zeal.” I smiled inwardly at the widening of his eyes. I had his attention. “I was filled with the opposite of good zeal when I reacted the way I did. When I learned you had once lived the life of an ‘ordinary man.’ That you had enjoyed the sensual benefits of a woman, the joy of your own children.”
the saint has become a friend. Hence his comments to Timothy in recent Christian liturgy did not turn me off. On the contrary, I have mused about his words, “…I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man. She must be quiet. For Adam was created first (italics mine,) then Eve. Further, Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and transgressed.”
Voila! He made Adam first…
For many weeks, months actually, now, I have been tinkering with Kate Townsend’s (the investigative reporter featured in all four of the Lnovels) explanation to her readers about the decision to write her series, Creating Chemical Eunuchs: Androgynizing America’s Children and just couldn’t get it said.
The ‘it’ being just why Kate had chosen to risk both career and the personal safety of her family as well as herself to write a series on this emotionally charged and explosive topic.
Now I know. In her struggle to grasp just how and why the world has embraced- even lauded- transgenderism even for very young children, Kate seeks counsel. From Fr. John Tobin, a Catholic priest and trained psychoanalyst whom readers may recall from earlier books in the Lindsey McCall series. Fr. John just happens to be a devotee of the prolific writings of St. John Paul ll.
Here’s a sneak peak at Kate’s words:
… Fr. Tobin’s advice both attracted and repelled me. “The entire story of humanity is contained in Genesis. Everything is explained there. Read the first three chapters, then read them again and then again.” As he spoke, his expression softened and those piercing gray eyes seemed to drill into my heart with his next words. “A former Pope, now Saint John Paul ll, speaks of the “Great Heart” we hear beating behind these words in Genesis. I think you will hear His heartbeats Kate.”
After searching through countless boxes of books I had not glanced at in years, I found my mother’s Bible, took a very deep breath and opened it. Aware that something momentous was happening, I did just as Fr. John advised.
This agnostic journalist read and reread the first three chapters of Genesis countless times, aware with each reading of the beauty, enormity and sheer majesty of the telling. “And the Lord God formed man from the dust of the earth and breathed into his nostrils a breath of life, and man became a living being…It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suited to him…The man gave names to all the tame animals, all the birds of the air and all the wild animals; but none proved to be a helper suited to the man. So the Lord cast a deep sleep on the man…and built the rib he had taken from the man into a woman…That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body.”
He made Adam first. Then came a helper suited for him, intended to unite, complement, complete.
I make my living as a wordsmith. But as I reflected on this second chapter of Genesis for the umpteenth time, the hundreds of thousands of words I had read and written on the matter shattered in vast masses around me, becoming meaningless, empty and vapid.
The truth is so much simpler than I had ever dreamed…it was she –Woman- who was deceived. That most cunning of all creatures, there from the beginning of time, knew to approach her, woman. Not Adam but her. Unthinking, dizzy with the forbidden fruit, she persuaded her husband…’bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh”…to disobey the God who sought them in the breezy time of each day.
I realized that all of this hideous stuff…the sexual politics, gender identity, dysphoria, the endless list of genders , war, hatred, genocide, all of it, began with there. That first lie in paradise. That she believed. And that she told.
For the very first time in my life, I have a glimmer of understanding about the natures we were originally given by that Great Heart of God. And the colossal cost to Creation when we listening to the father of lies collectively and individually.
And still we listen. Each one of us.
But the serpent said to the woman,”No, you will not die; God knows that were you to eat it your eyes will open and you will become like God, acquiring knowledge of good and evil'”
* In the garden that most of us believe to be fantasy.
*Told by the being that so many religious and non-religious consider a TV personality or ‘fun’ pal.
*But the serpent “was more cunning than all the wild creatures the Lord has made.”
* So cunning as to convince an entire world that he does not exist.