In 1976, I chose to enlist in the United States Navy.
At that time, I had led a fairly sheltered existence in the rural Midwest. My mother was a little worried because I had been so sheltered. Mom decided to enlist the aid of my Aunt Irene, who had left Missouri as a young woman, and had lived in California for about fifteen years.
A Family Talk
My Aunt Irene, my mom, and I sat down in the living room for a discussion. I was a little bewildered, but felt faintly excited to hear what my aunt was going to tell me. To make a long story short, my aunt enlightened me about women who liked other women and the fact that I was going to meet women like this when I left home to start my enlistment. My reaction was fairly matter of fact. After all, I had seen "hippies" on the news, knew about marijuana, drunkenness, and seen clips from rock concerts. I was ready to leave rural Missouri and explore the world.
Naive and Culture Shocked
My First Exposure to Alternative Lifestyles
1976 was my first exposure to lifestyles that did not fit in with how I had been raised. My mom and aunt had been wise to inform me about same sex relationships, or alternative lifestyles. However, I did not care what those girls and women did in private. "Don't ask and don't tell" was the rule during the eight years that I spent in the Navy.
Almost forty years later, same sex couples are highly visible in American society. Ellen DeGeneres, Portia De Rossi, and other actresses, talk show hosts, and athletes have come to represent an acceptable lifestyle in 2015. Ironically, I am finding that my lifestyle as a married, monogamous, alcohol and tobacco free, disciple of Jesus Christ puts me into the category of living an alternative lifestyle.
The dictionary definition for the words, alternative and lifestyle says:
alternative - employing or following nontraditional or unconventional ideas, methods, etc.; existing outside the establishment: an alternative newspaper; alternative lifestyles.Jesus - Nontraditional and Unconventional
lifestyle - the habits, attitudes, tastes, moral standards, economic level, etc., that together constitute the mode of living of an individual or group
Jesus was a sinner according to the Pharisees because he would not observe the legalistic laws, traditions, and rituals that were decreed by the Pharisees. Jesus was nontraditional and unconventional because of the following habits and attitudes: (Matthew 9:9-13, Luke 5:27-32, Mark 2:15-16)
- Jesus and his disciples did not fast like the Pharisees. (Matthew 9:14-17; Mark 2:18-22, Luke 5:33-38)
- They didn't wash their hands before eating and when the Pharisees saw this they asked Jesus why they were breaking the tradition of the elders. Jesus replied with a question,"And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?"(Matthew 15:2-3)
- Jesus called a crowd to him and taught them that what goes into your mouth doesn't make you unclean, it is what comes out of your mouth that makes you unclean. The Pharisees didn't appreciate this oppositional teaching from a Galilean carpenter. (Matthew 15:10-11)
- The disciples were concerned that the Pharisees, the traditional teachers of attitudes, moral standards, etc., were upset with what Jesus said to the crowd. However, Jesus was upset that his disciples didn't understand that uncleanness is from the heart and includes evil thoughts, adultery, sexual immorality, false testimony, theft, slander, and murder. (Matthew 15:16-20)
- Jesus and his disciples ate on the Sabbath. (Matthew 12:1-8, Mark 2:23-28, Luke 6:1-5)
- Jesus healed the sick on the Sabbath.(Matthew 12:11-14)