Black Sheep

We say
Bible says sheep.
Blue boy sheep
Pink girl sheep.
No and.

No purple…
No yellow…
No green…

Boxes like caskets,
Bees in molasses,
Hear them gasping for air.

They wouldn’t be pigeons,
So we shooed them away.
Clipped their wings and threw them in the lions’ den,
These doves, these children of God.

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6 Responses to Black Sheep

  1. Rick Wade says:

    And . . . a third option would be?

    • reneamac says:

      I’m not advocating a third option apart from male and female. Only that there are multiple ways to be masculine and feminine; that they are separate spectrums—a feminine spectrum and a masculine spectrum as opposed to one gender spectrum… a la Sue’s gender talks.

  2. John Doherty says:

    Love this.

    Rick, shouldn’t we instead celebrate people for who they are as creative and unique beings, and not say “You’re male, you should be macho and lifting weights” or “You’re female so it’s your duty to cook”? I think that’s what Renea is getting at.

    • reneamac says:

      Thanks, John.

      You’re right, that’s what I was getting at. Originally there was no third stanza, but I added it to try and clarify that pink and blue (cooking and weight-lifting 🙂 ) were where I am looking for the “and”—as opposed to boy and girl. But poetry lends itself to being generally a bit of a “mirror dimly lit” needing multiple readings.

  3. Tammy W. says:

    Thanks, Renea. I think the church’s response to homosexuality and gender will be the most crucial issues of the next decade. Evangelical churches have done an abominable job of addressing this in a healthy way. I don’t really have a solution, but I do know what has been done and said has not worked; it has only hurt.

    • reneamac says:

      Thanks, Tammy. I have lots of ideas for the solutions box. Some day I’ll burn so intensely inside I’ll have to write about it; so be on the lookout. In the meantime, one suggestion:

      Nearly all literature, conferences, and sermons about male-female interpersonal relationships tell that narrative as the majority of people experience it. That there are such resources is good, healthy, and helpful. How much more do those who experience life differently also need such aid and tools for life? Indeed, they may very well need more support as they are often misunderstood, feel alone, and are sometimes even told that who they are is wrong. (I’m thinking, for example, of women gifted with leadership who are strong and assertive; or men gifted in the arts who are gentle and nurturing.)

      The American Church at large has no script for men who prefer the arts to sport and no script for women who prefer to discuss Origin rather than cooking or children. But the world has a script, especially for men. It goes like this: ‘If you’re a man who is creative, sensitive, and intuitive, you’re gay! And you should embrace that!’ Since the church doesn’t have an alternative explanation (except: ‘You’re the “exception to the rule,”‘ which almost always translates as ‘You’re not normal’), people often shrug their shoulders and think: ‘I must be gay. I’m not really accepted among the men at church, but here’s a community ready to accept me and give me a place to be who I am and to use my gifts and talents.”

      But what if we did have a script? What if we did provide helpful explanations for why “the exceptions to the rules” experience what they do to help them make sense of and navigate their lives better?

      I think that’s one solution. It simply does not do any good to make obligatory caveats about “general principals” and never actually affirm the minority; to never give them space to tell their story nor any help in telling it.

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