Sunday, February 24, 2013

I Want To Be A Frog

As a young child, I recall overhearing the adults talking: “It’s a fact we just have to accept, that we’re all going to croak someday.”  I didn’t know then that “croak” was slang for dying, but I did know that frogs croaked.  And so when I heard that we’d all croak someday, I thought: “I’m going to turn into a frog!”
That was a strange thought, but even as a young lad I thought about a lot of things.  And so I thought about a frog’s life, as I knew it:  sitting on a lily pad all day in the sun, sometimes eating a fly (I wondered if they tasted good?), and going for a swim if it got too hot.  That didn’t seem like such a bad life, and so it was that I decided: I want to be a frog.
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There is an article in the March edition of First Things magazine by Gilles Bernheim, Chief Rabbi of France.  He writes about the Jewish point of view regarding the issue of homosexual marriage, a topic of much interest in France these days.  But he also tries to understand the gay community’s point of view, since it so often happens that where “gay marriage” has been legalized in some states or countries, few gays participate in what they so strongly advocated.  So why pressure so strongly for this recognition?  The rabbi learned that “in the place of sexual identity, which is considered a thing of the past, queer theory proposes the notion of a ‘sexual orientation’ chosen by each individual based upon the gender that somehow defines his or her interior being.  Queer theory defends the idea that one can be physically masculine but psychologically feminine, or the reverse.” 
This was the first time I had ever heard of this philosophy, and it seemed to explain many things for me.
If sexuality were a chosen mental state, then if you reject my sexual identity, you reject who I consider “ME” to be; you reject my very being, for I am who I think I am.  Now, if you reject a mentally delusional man who states he is the king of the United States, this is looked upon as well and proper, for he is not.  But the “queer theory” says if you reject my chosen sexuality, you are rejecting me the same as you might reject Jews or some other chosen religious mindset.  “I am who I think I am,” they seem to be saying.  And even further: “You have no right to reject who I think I am.”
If this is their understanding, I can better understand the gay vehemence for acceptance.  But my understanding a viewpoint or way of thinking does not mean I have to agree with it, and that is where it seems much foolish debate goes on in our culture.  Because you choose something, a way of thinking, you wish me to respect it and you.  But you are assuming that all ways of thinking and choosing are good and deserve respect, just because someone says so.  I disagree with that assumption.  Not all deliberate thoughts --- or actions --- are good.
I can drive up to a red light and stop, and see that no cross traffic is coming for miles in either direction.  Sitting there, waiting at the red light, seems to me to be foolish.  I don’t like that red light.  I don’t think it should be there.  It may be legal, but I still don’t like it for it is contrary to the way I want to go.  If that red light were a gay person and he perceived my attitude, he might well say I hate him (some might say I have a phobia against them), and my dislike is a hate crime.  A hate crime?  It’s a red light, not a person.  In this country it is legal to hate things, like a light pole, or even actions, like its changing from green to red.  I also hate loud commercials, but that doesn’t mean I hate people who act in them.  I hate cell phones ringing in a movie theatre; I don’t hate people who own them.  I hate the actions that gay people proudly proclaim they do --- and many heterosexual people do them also.  I don’t like red lights in the middle of nowhere, or cell phones ringing in theatres, or homosexual activity because I don’t believe the physical entities doing those actions were made to do them.  Even as a hair dryer was not made to work in a bathtub --- major problems can result --- so major problems can result from other things --- and beings --- being used not as they were made to be used.  You can’t ignore their physical being.  And especially in man, you can’t treat him as only a mental being, for he is not an angel, he has a body, too.
If my physical body can be ignored in who “I choose” to be, then my choosing to be a frog should be permissible, as should be my frog-like actions.  If I can “choose” my sexuality, then I guess I can also choose my race regardless of body appearances --- why can’t I choose to be a black man, even if my skin is white?  If my physical body is not as important as my mindset, why can’t I choose to ignore laws based on physical aging, like laws on driving age, voting, drinking, military service, and being elected president?  At age 35, cannot I have the mindset of a 40-year old and be president?  At age 50, cannot I choose to play with blocks all day and have the mindset of a 5-year old, and so choose to enter First Grade again?  If my body is what my mind says it is, regardless of physical being, why not? 
Or do you hate me?
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I am not a frog.  I cannot choose to be a woman if I have a man’s body.  I can’t get accepted under a racial preference law by saying I choose to be black.  There are many things I can’t choose to be if I, in fact, am not.
I can’t choose to be a saint, if all my actions say I am a sinner.  And if I, a sinner, were to appear at heaven’s gate saying: “I am one of the ‘chosen’ ones who chooses heaven,” I know the likely response.  He will say: “I do not know you.”  Despite whom I wish to think I am, it is my actions which will define me.
And accusing God of a “hate crime” for keeping me out of heaven, probably won’t get me in.  I’d probably have a better chance of getting in if I said I were a frog.
The problem with a person who feels he is hated for his actions --- whether they be sin or not --- is that the person doesn’t know he is loved.  I read these words tonight:
There is a relationship between love and discipline:  the weak person refuses discipline in as much as it seems a rejection (not just of his actions, but him); only the loved person can accept discipline (of his actions) as a means to grow closer to the source of love.   The Virtues, Or The Examined Life, by Romanus Cessario, O.P.  p58


  1. So good. Oh, so good. I will be re-reading and sharing it. Thank you for the holy, inspired logic of it.

    And thank you for the laugh as well. I was chuckling out loud at the first two paragraphs. And you brought it all around with "I can’t choose to be a saint if all my actions say I am a sinner." Bingo.

    Oh, so good.

  2. Yup, God is so good, Nancy. I'm just along here to take notes.

    JPII wrote some beautiful meditations titled The Theology of the Body, aptly named, for the body has a theological dimension. Our body is a unique jewel, and we should protect it, "This is mine and you can't have it," not ignore it. And if we should ever willingly give it to another, that is a sacred thing, which is why we define it as a sacrament.

    The Parable of the Talents has God giving man gifts, to be used well and multiplied. Our body is the greatest talent given us. Ignoring it or using it as a tool or plaything, as queer theory would espouse, is ignoring our link to God. It is His mind and will, not ours, which is the most important spiritual aspect of our body. And with it, we are to multiply and come home to Him, with our Family.

    For this we were created, not to croak, not to imagine we are something we are not, nor ever were created to be. I reviewed a book for Lenten reading on this subject; I can't recommend it strongly enough.

  3. Aw shucks! And here I was in the process of deciding to be a child - their lives are much less complicated. Oh well. You are so right, and expressed it with clarity.

    I've decided it's best to go forward after all, in spite of the fact its such an uphill battle. That's the only decision for which I'll receive the grace I need. Thanks for the chuckle along the way.

  4. Glad I could entertain you. Sometimes I think some people read my posts and laugh when I didn't intend them to. I just more would read them and think; I don't write to tell anyone what I think, but to get them to think.

    If you should be interested in reading that article by the French rabbi in it's entirety, it is posted here: